Health Effects of Propolis: Scientific Studies
Propolis is one of the strangest natural products of recent times. What are the effects of propolis, which is characterized by its protective properties, on our health? Is it really a health promoting product as mentioned? What do scientific studies say about the health effects of propolis?
- What is propolis? what is it good for
- Scientific studies on the effects of propolis
In this content you will find some important scientific studies on the health effects of propolis. Before telling them, we briefly answered what propolis is and what it is good for.
What is propolis? what is it good for
Propolis is a product made by bees, just like raw honey and pollen. Unlike honey and pollen, bees do not produce propolis to meet their nutritional needs. They produce propolis to protect themselves, their offspring, their food and the entire hive. In this sense, we can think of propolis as a strong protective shield that protects the hive from the outside and inside. This is the meaning of the word anyway: Pro (City) and Police (Defense) This means city defense.
Bees produce propolis by adding their own secretions to the extracts they collect from the leaves, stems, and buds of various plants. Just like with honey, there is a collaboration between nature and bees. Propolis, which usually ranges in color from dark brown to green, has a sticky and dense consistency.
The chemical content of propolis is mixed. Studies say it's made up of more than 300 compounds. The most famous contents of Propolis are as follows:
* Propolis, which contains vitamins B1, B2, C, E, is also rich in minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.
* However, propolis contains intense phenolic and flavonoid components. These components have antioxidant properties and support your immune system against various diseases. It also has very powerful antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal effects. In this way, propolis kills viruses, bacteria and harmful microorganisms and prevents them from multiplying.
Antioxidant effect of propolis
Phenolic compounds give fruit and vegetables their unique taste. At the same time, they not only protect plants from harmful creatures, but also have a positive effect on human health thanks to their antioxidant effect . Rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds with antioxidant properties, propolis is a natural source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants support health in many ways. It primarily helps your immune system fight infection. Antioxidants are extremely important to protect your cells from external influences and to maintain their healthy life.
What is propolis good for?
Bees produce propolis to protect their hives inside and out. Propolis has strong antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal effects. It is a natural antiseptic and creates a sterile germ-free environment in the hive.
Bees cover their food and incubate with propolis before being placed in the combs. This way, bees and food (like honey and pollen) remain intact. In addition, bees cover the cracks in the hive with propolis. In this way they prevent the penetration of cold air or insects from the outside. They build a channel covered with propolis at the entrance to the hive. Before entering the hive, they pass through this channel and are cleaned of bacteria and microorganisms that bring them from outside. Propolis acts directly on bacteria and microorganisms.
The antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant effects of propolis are also important for human health. It can prevent various infections by acting against bacteria, viruses, microorganisms and fungi. In addition, it is one of the sources of antioxidants with the highest antioxidant capacity in nature. Some studies mention the antioxidant capacity of pomegranate. Did you know that propolis has 80 times the antioxidant capacity of pomegranate? Of course, replace any propolis with the same properties. It is recommended to buy real propolis with high antioxidant capacity from a specialized manufacturer.
Scientific studies on the effects of propolis
Many scientific studies have been conducted on the beneficial effects of propolis on human health. These studies have been published in Science Direct, Wiley Library, Pubmed and Google Scholar. The studies conducted deal with the antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antioxidant effects of propolis. In the rest of the content you will find some examples of important scientific studies on the effects of propolis on human health.
Effect of propolis against infections of the upper respiratory tract
In a double-blind randomized controlled scientific study conducted in 2020 at the University of Naples Federico, the effect of propolis on upper respiratory tract infections was studied. 122 patients with upper respiratory infections participated in the study. The participants were divided into two groups as an experimental group and a control group.
58 people in the experimental group were sprayed with propolis with a polyphenol content of 15 mg/ml three times a day for 8 weeks. The control group did not take any propolis. While an 83% reduction in symptoms was observed in patients in the experimental group using propolis spray, there was no reduction in symptoms in 64 people in the control group. Researchers have recommended the regular use of propolis.
Effect of propolis against influenza viruses
A scientific study conducted in Japan and Brazil in 2008 examined the effects of propolis on the influenza virus that caused flu. As a result of the study, it was found that the ethanol extract of propolis prevented the development of this virus, and also reduced the symptoms of the flu.
The effect of propolis against herpes
A double-blind randomized controlled scientific study conducted at Charles University in 2017 examined the effect of propolis on herpes simplex. The study used lip balm with 0.5% propolis in 189 patients with herpes simplex and 5% aciclovir cream in 190 patients for 10 days and compared their effectiveness.
As a result of the study, it was found that the use of propolis lip balm reduced the symptoms of herpes (pain, burning, tightness, swelling) compared to the use of aciclovir cream. Researchers have recommended the use of propolis for herpes.
Effect of propolis against psoriasis and eczema
Psoriasis and eczema are inflammatory skin diseases. A scientific study conducted at Gaziantep University in 2003 examined the effects of antioxidants on psoriasis. 44 people took part in the study. 22 of the participants had psoriasis and formed the experimental group, 22 of them were healthy individuals and formed the control group.
In the study, samples were taken and analyzed from the skin surfaces of participants in both groups. As a result of the study, it was found that the disease was caused by increased free radicals (cellular waste) and insufficient antioxidant activity. In line with all this information, it is recommended that psoriasis and eczema sufferers by all means use propolis, one of the most powerful antioxidants known in nature. In addition to consuming at least 20 drops of propolis extract per day, it is recommended to apply it directly or mixed with cream to the lesions visible on the skin's surface.
The effect of propolis against diabetes
A scientific study by the Universities of Zhejiang and Rhodes published in 2005 examined the effects of propolis on diabetes mellitus disease (diabetes). As a result of the study, it was found that propolis can control blood sugar, regulate glucose and blood lipid metabolism, thus reducing lipid peroxidation and scavenging free radicals.
The effect of propolis on oral and dental health
In the 2010 study conducted at Jendauba University, the effects of propolis against bacteria that occur in the mouth and are widespread were examined in detail. In an in vitro study, 33 different bacteria were grown under appropriate conditions for 48 hours and then their interactions with propolis extract were observed. At the end of 24 hours, an 87% decrease in bacterial activities was observed in the samples to which propolis was added. As a result of the study, it was found that propolis is effective against bacteria that threaten oral health and helps prevent oral diseases.
1- Zohreh Ahangari, Mandana Naseri and Farzaneh Vatandoosta: Propolis: Chemical Composition and Its Applications in Endodontics (2018)
2- Eddy Betances-Salcedo, Isabel Revilla, Ana M. Vivar-Quintana, and M. Inmaculada González-Martín: Flavonoid and Antioxidant Capacity of Propolis Prediction Using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (2017)
3- María I Gil, Francisco A Tomás-Barberán, Betty Hess-Pierce, Deirdre M Holcroft, and Adel A Kader: Antioxidant Activity of Pomegranate Juice and Its Relationship with Phenolic Composition and Processing (2000)
4- Cristina Esposito, Emanuele Ugo Garzarella, Bruno Bocchino, Maria D'Avino, Giuseppe Caruso, Antonio Riccardo Buonomo, Roberto Sacchi, Fabio Galeotti, Gian Carlo Tenore, Vincenzo Zaccaria, Maria Daglia: A standardized polyphenol mixture extracted from poplar-type propolis for remission of symptoms of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection (URTI): A monocentric, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial (2020)