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What are the benefits of propolis? Media

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What are the benefits of propolis? 

Propolis is a resin that bees create. It contains a mixture of bee saliva, beeswax which can be used into beeswax candles, and substances from plants and trees. Propolis may have some health benefits for humans, but more large-scale studies are necessary.

Bees use propolis, or “bee glue,” as a sealant. Historically, humans have used it topically or as an oral supplement. However, it may not be suitable for everyone.


This article will look at what propolis is, what the research says about its potential benefits, and how to use it.


What is propolis?


Propolis is a resinous, waxy substance that bees create by mixing their saliva with beeswax, along with compounds from various plants and trees. Bees use it to seal gaps in the hive to keep out intruders. Propolis also has antimicrobial properties and may protect bees from pathogens.


The substances that make up propolis can be complex. Scientists have identified more than 300 separate compoundsTrusted Source in propolis. The exact composition can depend on the location of the beehive.


As a rough guideline, propolis typically consists of:


tree and vegetable resins: 50%

beeswax: 30%

pollen: 5%

essential and aromatic oils: 10%

Propolis also contains polyphenols, such as flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant.


Medicinal properties

One 2019 review suggests that people have used bee propolis as a medicine since the year 300 BCTrusted Source. Ancient Egyptians used propolis for embalming, and some doctors used it during World War II to help with wound healing.


The same 2019 review suggests that it may have the following properties:





antiprotozoal, which means that it works against parasitic illnesses, such as giardiasis



Some of the substances present in propolis may also have anticancer properties.


However, although laboratory and animal studies into the properties of propolis and its components are promising, few high quality studies have proven its effectiveness as a treatment for specific conditions in humans.


Potential uses

Modern research suggests that propolis may be useful for:


minor wounds

oral hygiene


cold sores

The following sections will look at some of this research in more detail.


Wound healing

One 2015 reviewTrusted Source suggests that propolis may aid wound healing. An animal study in rats with diabetes showed that propolis helped the skin grow new cells in order to repair itself.


Because people with diabetes can experience slow wound healing, this suggests that propolis could be beneficial for helping the skin heal more quickly. As propolis also kills some types of bacteria, it may also help prevent infection.


Oral health

According to the same 2015 reviewTrusted Source, propolis also appears to prevent the formation of calcium phosphate, which is the main component of dental plaque.


Propolis and honey are also antibacterial, which may make them useful as ingredients in dental care products.


According to one small study in the review, propolis significantly decreased the amount of bacteria in the saliva of people with periodontitis.



The antioxidants in propolis may work to reduce inflammation, such as the inflammation that arthritis causes.


Animal studiesTrusted Source have tested propolis as an anti-inflammatory agent in rats and mice with arthritis. In both studies, the propolis inhibited swelling and appeared to have an impact on how the inflammation developed.


Scientists believe that propolis may regulate inflammatory substances in the body, such as prostaglandins.



A systematic review in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine suggests that propolis may work as an alternative treatment for genital or oral herpes.