(This is an article by: The American Apitherapy Society)
"Healthy Cell News"
Past to Present Propolis has been around for over 45 million years, and has been used by
man for thousands of years, both internally and externally, as a healing agent.
The Greek physician, Hippocrates, prescribed the use of propolis to help heal internal and
external sores and ulcers. Ancient Egyptians depicted propolis-making bees on vases and
other ornaments, and used the resinous substance to alleviate many ailments. Pliny, the
Roman scholar, wrote much on the use of resins such as propolis in his massive book,
Natural History. He touts the abilities of propolis to reduce
swelling, soothe pain, and heal sores,
to name a few.
In The History of Plants written by John Gerard in 1597, propolis was lauded for its
ability to provide swift and effective healing for many conditions. Apothecaries of this era used propolis as a major
ingredient in healing ointments.
Propolis is a sticky resin which seeps from the buds of certain trees--the bees prefer
poplar--and oozes from the bark of other trees, chiefly conifers. Although propolis is
vitally important to the colony, there are usually just a few propolis-gathering
specialists in the hive.
The bees gather propolis, sometimes called "bee glue," and carry it home in
their pollen baskets. There they are met by one or two other worker bees who help them
unload. These workers take the resinous material and add salivary secretions and wax
flakes to it, then use the new product for numerous protective purposes as bee propolis.
The bees use it to coat the inside of the hive, including the passageway and the brood
Propolis protects the hive in two ways: First, it reinforces the hive itself; second, it
protects the hive from bacterial and viral infection. And it is these latter properties
which man has found so helpful through the centuries.
Help From The Hive
Bee propolis is a powerful protector. It consists of
approximately 55 percent resinous compounds and balsams, 30 percent beeswax, 10 percent
aromatic oils, and 5 percent bee pollen. Other constituents include flavonoids, amino
acids, B vitamins, and most importantly, antibiotic substances.
Often called "nature's penicillin," bee propolis has effective antibacterial,
antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal, and antibiotic-properties. These
protective and healing properties have been conclusively demonstrated in numerous studies
all over the globe.
In the former Soviet Union, V.H. Karinova and E.I. Rodionova conducted a study on 135
patients suffering from various forms and stages of tuberculosis. Their patients' ages
ranged from six to 50. Patients were given bee propolis three times daily for four to 10
months depending upon response to treatment. By the end of the study, all but 12 of the
patients had improved dramatically, including some patients going into regression. The 12
who did not respond favorably all suffered from kidney tuberculosis.
In Romania, Drs. A. Vasilca and Eugenia Milcu conducted a study on the therapeutic
properties of propolis on ulcers. Thirty four patients with chronic ulcers were given
extracts of propolis daily for two weeks. The results were impressive, with 28 patients
completely recovering and six cases dramatically improving. Tissue biopsies were conducted
on some of the patients, which confirmed the regenerative effects of bee propolis.
Medical researchers N. Popovici and N. Oita of Rumania published a report on the effects
bee propolis has on mitosis (the process of cell division). They reported that a tissue
never becomes entirely malignant; it always contains some normal cells, but the activity
of the normal cells is affected and even repressed by malignant cells. Bee propolis favors
the activity of normal cells by repressing malignant cells, which helps the tissue to reestablish its normal condition. Constituents
of propolis have a mitodepressive effect (depression
of the proliferation of cancerous cells) on cells
deranged by malignancy.
In Bulgaria, Dr. S. Nikolov, et al, investigated the efficacy of bee propolis in the
treatment of acute and chronic colitis. Forty five patients, both men and women aged 20 to
65 years old and suffering from either acute or chronic colitis, took part in the study.
They were given extracts of bee propolis three times a day before meals. In 43 of the
patients results were positive, with 26 showing very good response, 12 showing good
response, and five showing satisfactory. Only two patients showed no improvement. In most
cases, pain began to diminish in seven days, disappearing on the nineteenth or twentieth
Perhaps the most broadly investigated and widely accepted attribute of bee propolis is its
immune-boosting activity. It is a natural, broad-spectrum antibiotic that activates the . Bee propolis not only prevents infectious diseases, but clears them from
the system, as well.
As demonstrated in numerous experiments, propolis has the
ability to directly destroy bacteria, viruses, and fungi, even penicillin-resistant
Bee propolis is formidable
This trait is attributed to the bioflavonoids present in propolis, which have a protective
effect against viral infections. Viruses are enclosed in a protein coating. As long as it
remains unbroken, the infectious and dangerous material remains imprisoned and is harmless
to the host organism. Unfortunately, within the host their are enzymes which remove the
protein coating, thus releasing the harmful material to wreak havoc within the system.
With the presence of bee propolis in the system, however, this doesn't occur. The
bioflavonoids inhibit the enzymes from removing the protein coating, keeping the viral
material locked inside. These same flavonoids maintain the protective coating around the
virus, thus rendering it inactive. With the presence of the bioflavonoids, the host
virtually becomes immune to the virus
Another way in which propolis aids the immune system is its ability to strengthen
phagocyte activity. Phagocytes are cells that are able to surround, engulf, and digest
microorganisms and cellular debris. This increase in activity with the introduction of bee
propolis was observed and documented by a number of Soviet and European scientists.
The Power of Propolis
The power of propolis is wide-ranging and of immense benefit to humans, as well as to its
creator--the little honey bee. People suffering from high
levels of blood fat can benefit from taking bee propolis. At
the Worker's Hospital of Lian Yun Gang, Jiangsu Province in the People's Republic of
China, Dr. Fang Zhu chose 45 patients suffering from hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and
coronary heart disease and gave them 300 mg of bee propolis three times a day for 30 days.
At the end of that period all patients showed a significant reduction of blood fats and
improvement in related disorders.
Another benefit of propolis is its inhibitory effect on certain prostaglandins, which it
accomplishes by blocking the enzymes that form specific prostaglandins. This can be of
immense benefit to those suffering from aches and fever, which are caused by
prostaglandins. Bee propolis acts in nearly the identical way
aspirin does by blocking the same enzymes, yet without the negative side effects you can
get with aspirin.
This enzyme-blocking, prostaglandin-inhibitory effect is also beneficial to the mouth and
throat. For instance, a leading cause of dental problems is
the erosion of the gums and tissues that line the tooth sockets. Inflammation and
infectious bleeding can cause a weakening of the bone structure and tooth loss. But
propolis, by blocking specific enzymes, prohibits the formation of the prostalandins which
cause the inflammation, bleeding, and eventual decomposition. At the same time, propolis
actually stimulates other specific enzymes which strengthen the walls of the blood vessels
in the gums, thereby having a twofold effect on the mouth.
When inflamed and sore, the throat responds favorably to propolis, and for the same
prostaglandin inhibition reasons. By inhibiting prostaglandin formation, inflammation
recedes and diminishes.
Another attribute of bee propolis is its ability to correct
and stabilize proper protein metabolism. A team of physicians
at the Institute of Radiology & Serajevo, Yugoslavia treated patients who were
suffering from radiation complications. These patients had serious liver damage caused by
improper protein metabolism and X-rays. The patients were given bee propolis for two
months. Another group of patients, also suffering from radiation complications, were given
a placebo. At the end of two months, those taking bee propolis had significantly improved,
with some patients' symptoms completely disappearing. No improvements were observed in the
group given the placebo.
The Human Equation
Bees have used propolis for millions of years, and humans have used it for thousands. Both
species find it immensely useful and beneficial. Much of the bees' success in surviving
through the ages may be accredited to propolis. As humans, we may yet discover we've only
just scratched the surface to the benefits of this resinous wonder.
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