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Bee Propolis Supplements

Bee Propolis Supplements


The name is derived from the Greek pro (before) and polis (city), since propolis “guards” the tunnel entrance to the hive, both as a building material maintaining the small size but also offering protection from bacterial and viral infection. It is usually brown, or greenish brown in color, with a pleasant aroma of resin, honey and vanilla.

Bee propolis is basically a resinous material, gathered by bees from the leaf buds and bark of trees, especially poplars. It is composed, typically, of 55% resins, 30% wax, 10% etheric oils and 5% pollen. The bees add salivary secretions and wax, then use it to seal up any holes or cracks in their hive (just as the tree bark is protected) but it is more than a sealant. Propolis is credited with keeping the hive free of infection. The queen will not lay her eggs until a fine layer of propolis has been laid down, forming a sterile seal.

Hippocrates prescribed propolis to help heal sores and ulcers. British apothecaries used propolis in their healing ointments.

Propolis is cleaned and refined through a complicated dehydration process developed by Dr. K. Lund Aagaard (“Dr. Propolis”) in Denmark. It is sold as: lozenges, capsules, tincture, salve, tablets, granules and powder, originally under the “Nordisk” label.

Method of Action

Dr. Bent Havsteen credits the protective effect against viral infections to the concentrated bioflavonoids present in propolis.

Infections, including sore throats and other winter ailments, bringing pain and fever are also reduced by propolis (e.g. the tincture as a gargle), since the enzymes required to produce prostaglandins are blocked. This works, in the same way as aspirin.

Bioflavonoids also boost immunity : the white blood cells, or lymphocytes, are stimulated to produce interferon. Allergies are also subdued. Dr. John Diamond states that propolis stimulates the thymus, the master gland of the immune system. This benefit to the immune system has been replicated in work by Dr. Remy Chauvin in Paris, France.

Dr. Havsteen also recommends patients with periodontal problems chew propolis lozenges. Not only is deterioration or receding of the gums reduced, blood vessels in the gums are fortified.

Therapeutic Approaches

Ancient traditions underlie the popularity of bee products in Russia and even the European Economic Community. Annual conferences have been organized in Czechoslovakia by Apimundia, the leading bee therapy organization in Europe.

A Russian report by Professors Tichonov and Salo, summarizing 17 years of studies was translated into English and reported in the “American Chiropractor” by Richard Churchill.

These and other studies include the following list of diseases:

acne, allergies, atherosclerosis, bileduct and gastrointestinal (e.g. ulcers), bruises, burns, cancer, common cold, cough, dental caries, diphtheria, fever, 'flu, gingivitis, gynecological problems (cervical dysplasia, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis), herpes zoster, HIV, hyperlipidemia, inflammation, itching, leukoplakia, pain, periodontal disease, pharyngitis (both sore and strep throat), radiation, radioepithelitis, scurvy, skin disorders (including shingles ), stress, thyroiditis, tuberculosis, ulcers, ulcerative colitis,vaginitis and wound healing.

A report on curing of cancer derives from Mitja Vosnajk, a former Yugoslavian politician turned bee therapist.

Professor Osmanajic reported on his study during an influenza outbreak in Yugoslavia during which the incidence in the untreated population was 63% compared with 7% in the treated group. This has been endorsed by Dr. Kivalkina in Russia.

Dr. Makarov reported on his treatment of gastrointestinal problems that propolis has “bactericidal, antitoxic, anti-inflammatory and anesthetizing properties”.

Dr. Brusilovskij experienced a 98% cure rate in cervical dysplasia.

Dr. Feiks did a study in which all 21 patients experienced complete pain relief from herpes zoster following propolis extract being brushed on to their skin (an atomizer didn’t work).

Dr. Chu in China has reported a lowering of blood flats using bee propolis.

Dr. Osmanagic also reported on the successful treatment of irradiation diseases.

Dr. Kravcuk helped 90% of patients with pharyngitis.

Skin specialist Dr. Vinogradova found propolis helped clear up blemishes; Dr. Zabelina recommends a propolis salve for healing burns.

Toxicity Factors

A natural food, propolis is generally regarded as safe.



Bankova, VS et al., A study on flavonoids of propolis. J. Nat. Products. 1983, 46(4):471.

Brumfitt, W et al., Antibiotic activity of natural products: I> Propolis. Microbios. 1990, 62(250):19.

Churchill, R: Russian doctors confirm bee propolis helps to fight colds, sore throats, and other infections. The American Chiropractor (Jan-Feb) 1980: 34-38.

Debiaggi, M et al., Effects of propolis flavonoids on virus activity and replication. Microbiologica, 1990, 13(3):207.

Facts and Comparisons. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Feb, 1996.

Frenkel, K et al., Inhibition of tumor promoter-mediated processes in mouse skin and bovine lens by caffeic acid phenethyl ester. Cancer Res. 1993, 53(6):1,255.

Hay, KD & Greig, DE: Proplis allergy: a caus eof oral mucositis with ulceration. Oral Surgery Oral Med. Oral Path. 1990, 70(5):584.

Higashi, KO & De Castro, SL: Propolis extracts are effective against Trypanosoma cruzi and have an impact on its interaction with host cells. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1994, 43(2):149.

Khayyal, MT et al., Mechanism involved in the antiinflammatory effect of propolis extract. Drugs Exp. Clin. Res. 1993, 19(5):197.

Magro-Filho, O & De Carvalho, AC: TApplication of propolis to dental sockets and skin wounds. J. NIhon Univ. Sch. Dent. 1990, 32(1):4.

Pascual, C et al., Scavenging action of propolis extract against oxyugen radicals. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1994, 41(1-2):9.

Pincelli, C et al., Contact dermatitis from propolis. Contact Derm. 1984, 11(1):49.

Propolis Information Bureau, United Kingdom. Publishes various pamphlets about bee propolis.

Scheller, S et al., Free radical scavenging by ethanol extract of propolis. Int. J. Radiat. Biol. 1990, 57(3):461.

Taikasi-Kikuni, NB & Schilcher, H: Electron microscopic and microcalorimetric investigations of the possible mechanism of the antibacterial action of a defined propolis provenance. Planta Med. 1994, 60(3):222.

Wade, C.: Propolis: Nature’s Energizer. Keats Publishing, CT 1983.

Walji, H: Nutrients For Health - Propolis & Other Nutrients from the Hive. 1996, Thorsons - Harper - Collins, London.

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