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Health Benefits and Side Effects of Propolis Explained

Truth be told, not everyone knows that honeybees provide more than just the obvious honey. Well, these tiny and territorial insects produce a substance called propolis in addition to other important products. Propolis in particular is produced using sap sourced from needle-leaved evergreens. It is a sticky, greenish-brown substance that is used by the bees to coat the hive. Humans have used the product for thousands of years due to its many health benefits.

Source of Propolis’ Super Healing Power

Propolis has some amazing capabilities. This may be attributed to the 300 compounds in propolis that have been identified by scientists. Most of these compounds are polyphenols or antioxidants that prevent damage in the body and fight diseases.

It is composed of polyphenols referred to as flavonoids that are normally produced in plants as a form of defense. Flavonoids are available in foods with antioxidant properties such as:red wine, fruits, vegetables, and green tea.

It has antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. It is these capabilities that give propolis its healing power. It is widely used in food and cosmetic products. For instance, lip balms, toothpaste, lotions, shampoos, cosmetics, and ointments.

Propolis

Health Benefits of Propolis

1. Defense Against Bacteria

A study done to measure the anti-bacterial capabilities of propolis found out some amazing results. When it was compared to calcium hydroxide, it was ascertained that propolis is capable of eliminating certain pathogens than calcium hydroxide. Given the fact that calcium hydroxide is one of the best anti-bacterial agents then it infers that propolis too is among the best.

Historically, it has been in use as a flu and cold remedy. The recent studies prove that it is powerful in killing bacteria.

2. Keep Blood Pressure in Check

Propolis helps keep blood pressure within required levels. A recent study that tested its benefits  with respect to blood pressure found out tha tit decreases Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). TH is an enzyme that inhibits the production of nitric oxide. Without nitric oxide in the body the blood vessels will be unable to pump the blood well within the body. Therefore, since propolis decreases the level of TH in the body that means the blood pressure is kept within healthy levels.

Those who suffer from hypertension will benefit immensely when they take raw honey since raw honey contains huge amounts of propolis.

3. Treatment of Allergies

Those with seasonal allergies should take propolis since it has been found to be a good remedy for such problems. Its efficacy towards calming allergic reactions can be attributed to the fact that it inhibits the production of histamine, a compound that encourages sneezing. Histamine also results in watering of eyes and running nose. An intake of propolis stops the secretion of histamine and thus relieves allergic reactions.

4. Improvement in Athletic Ability

Propolis is rich in antioxidants that are useful in preventing overheating. This is according to an article published in the Journal of Food Science. The main ingredient in propolis that boosts athletic stamina is called Caffeic acid phenethyl or CAPE. This sparks a number of biological activities that include: antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. It also helps minimize stress which is the main cause of fatigue in athletes.

5. Counter to Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Most of those diagnosed with the disease realize they have it usually when it is too late. Fortunately, now with propolis you no longer have to wait to be diagnosed with the disease. Why not include propolis as a part of your daily regimen and try to prevent the disease as much as possible? This natural product not only suppresses this type of cancer but it also prevents it from developing.

The research that was carried out to determine the efficacy of propolis in fighting prostate cancer found out some astounding results. Propolis accelerated the death of prostate cancer cells and that means it can help boost the effectiveness of chemoprevention of prostate cancer.

6. Cancer of the Colon

Recent scientific studies debunked some unexpected facts about propolis. Historically, propolis has been applied as a natural remedy to common cold, flu, and allergies. But with recent studies focused on colon cancer cells, it has been established that it is not only a powerful anti-microbial agent but is also an excellent anti-cancer product. Furthermore, it is capable of killing cancer cells through necrosis and leaves healthy cells untouched. This is unlike chemotherapy that kills both cancer and living cells.

The scientific studies carried out in the recent past have helped explain why some of the healthiest people all over the world reside in places where propolis and honeybee products are taken as part of daily regimen.

7. Wound Healing

Propolis has a compound called pinocembrin, an antifungal flavonoid that helps heal wounds. This gives the product anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help heal wounds. A study done recently found out that propolis accelerates the growth of healthy cells in those who have experienced severe burns. Other studies have also showed that propolis is effective for healing oral surgery wounds.

Side Effects of Propolis

Propolis is a natural product found in honey and therefore most people take it without their knowledge. Those who have an allergy to honey or bee products might respond negatively to it as well. One of the most common side effects reported is an eczema-like skin breakout. However, this happens rarely. Those with asthma or are under any kind of medication should seek advice from their doctor before they use propolis.

A Final Word

Overall, the health benefits of propolis far outweigh its negative effects. It is available in various forms in health food stores and pharmacies. Topical forms of propolis include lotions, creams, and ointments. Other forms of propolis include liquid extract, tablets, and capsules.

References

  1. Khalil ML. Biological activity of bee propolis in health and disease. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006 Jan-Mar;7(1):22-31.
  2. Hausen BM, et al, Propolis allergy. (I). Origin, properties,
    usage and literature review. Contact Dermatitis. 1987 Sep;17(3):163-70.
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15490973

 

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