Propolis Information and Facts

Propolis is the resinous substance collected by bees from the leaf buds and bark of trees, especially poplar and conifer trees. Bees use the propolis along with beeswax to construct their hives. Because of antimicrobial properties of propolis, it helps keep hives free of germs. Propolis has a long history of use in folk medicine and was even used as an official drug in London in the 1600s. Over time, propolis has been used for many purposes and marketed as lozenges, cough syrups, toothpastes, mouth rinses, lipsticks, cosmetics, and even for the varnishing of Stradivarius violins. It appears to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities.

Propolis contains protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids. For this reason, some people use propolis as a general nutritional supplement, although it would take large amounts of propolis to supply meaningful amounts of these nutrients.

Many animal and human studies have also shown propolis to exhibit mild anti-infective effects which may be due to flavonoids it contains. However, propolis is not as effective as prescription anti-infective medications, although some individuals consider it to be safer and healthier.

While not conclusive evidence has yet been produced, propolis may offer a number of other health/medicinal benefits including the following:
  • A chemical in propolis known as caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) may interfere with the formation of substances that promote inflammation in the body.
  • Propolis may enhance the function of the immune system.
  • Several other laboratory studies found that propolis promote a healthy liver.
Topically, propolis has been used in connection with skin wounds. Because propolis has a sticky consistency, it may have been used to protect raw skin before bandages were available. Its mild anti-infective properties may have promoted healing.

Dosage and Administration

Most manufacturers recommend 500 mg of oral propolis products once or twice daily. For topical applications, follow label instructions.