Propolis has been used for centuries by many cultures for its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and detoxifying properties.  Propolis, also known as “Russian penicillin” or “bee glue”, is a sticky substance that bees make from tree and other plant resins. Bees keep their hive from being infected by coating the inside of the hive with it, thus preventing the spread of bacteria and fungi that would be detrimental to the well being of the colony.  Propolis from different regions of the world exhibit slightly different properties depending on the types of tree and plant resins available in the area.

Propolis contains flavonoid compounds known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity as well as tissue strengthening and regenerative effects.  A 1994 Polish study found that mice given propolis lived longer than the mice in the control group.  Antioxidants are thought to have anti-aging properties in humans as well.

In many countries where antibiotics are not widely available, it is a common to use propolis to heal a wide variety of wounds.  Used as an antiseptic wash or salve, propolis is able to prevent the growth of bacteria in cuts and burns and it can also promote the healing process in lesions of the skin that have not healed.  Used as a mouthwash, propolis is able to prevent bad breath, gingivitis, tooth decay and gum disease and it is commonly taken as a remedy for sore throats.  Propolis is capable of acting as an anti-inflammatory as well.  It can help with symptoms of arthritis, boils, acne, asthma, dermatitis, ulcers, and inflammatory bowel diseases.  Propolis has also been found to have antimutagenic effects, which may aid in the prevention of cancer.  In conjunction with royal jelly it can ameliorate the side effects of chemo and radiation therapies.

(taken from material provided by Andrew Kochan, MD, 6-08)