Propolis Information

We found this on the web several years ago and are posting it here for your information.

Past to Present

Propolis has been around for over 45 million years, and has been used by humans for thousands of years, both internally and externally, as a healing agent.

The Greek physician, Hippocrates, prescribed the use of propolis to help heal internal and external sores and ulcers. Ancient Egyptians depicted propolis-making bees on vases and other ornaments, and used the resinous substance to alleviate many ailments. Pliny, the Roman scholar, wrote much on the use of resins such as propolis in his massive book, Natural History. He touts the abilities of propolis to reduce swelling, soothe pain, and heal sores, to name a few.

In The History of Plants written by John Gerard in 1597, propolis was lauded for its ability to provide swift and effective healing for many conditions. Apothecaries of this era used propolis as a major ingredient in healing ointments.

Propolis is a sticky resin which seeps from the buds of certain trees--the bees prefer poplar--and oozes from the bark of other trees, chiefly conifers Although propolis is vitally important to the colony, there are usually just a few propolis-gathering specialists in the hive.

The bees gather propolis, sometimes called "bee glue," and carry it home in their pollen baskets. There they are met by one or two other worker bees who help them unload. These workers take the resinous material and add salivary secretions and wax flakes to it, then use the new product for numerous protective purposes as bee propolis. The bees use it to coat the inside of the hive, including the passageway and the brood chambers.

Propolis protects the hive in two ways: First, it reinforces the hive itself; second, it protects the hive from bacterial and viral infection. And it is these latter properties which man has found so helpful through the centuries.

Help From The Hive

Bee propolis is a powerful protector. It consists of approximately 55 percent resinous compounds and balsams, 30 percent beeswax, 10 percent aromatic oils, and 5 percent bee pollen. Other constituents include flavonoids, amino acids, B vitamins, and most importantly, antibiotic substances.

Often called "nature's penicillin," bee propolis has effective antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal, and antibiotic-properties. These protective and healing properties have been conclusively demonstrated in numerous studies all over the globe.


In the former Soviet Union, V.H. Karinova and E.I. Rodionova conducted a study on 135 patients suffering from various forms and stages of tuberculosis. Their patients' ages ranged from six to 50. Patients were given bee propolis three times daily for four to 10 months depending upon response to treatment. By the end of the study, all but 12 of the patients had improved dramatically, including some patients going into regression. The 12 who did not respond favorably all suffered from kidney tuberculosis.


In Romania, Drs. A. Vasilca and Eugenia Milcu conducted a study on the therapeutic properties of propolis on ulcers. Thirty four patients with chronic ulcers were given extracts of propolis daily for two weeks. The results were impressive, with 28 patients completely recovering and six cases dramatically improving. Tissue biopsies were conducted on some of the patients, which confirmed the regenerative effects of bee propolis.


Medical researchers N. Popovic and N. Oita of Rumania published a report on the effects bee propolis has on mitosis (the process of cell division). They reported that a tissue never becomes entirely malignant; it always contains some normal cells, but the activity of the normal cells is affected and even repressed by malignant cells. Bee propolis favors the activity of normal cells by repressing malignant cells, which helps the tissue to reestablish its normal condition. Constituents of propolis have a mitodepressive effect (depression of the proliferation of cancerous cells) on cells deranged by malignancy.


In Bulgaria, Dr. S. Nikolov, et al, investigated the efficacy of bee propolis in the treatment of acute and chronic colitis. Forty five patients, both men and women aged 20 to 65 years old and suffering from either acute or chronic colitis, took part in the study. They were given extracts of bee propolis three times a day before meals. In 43 of the patients results were positive, with 26 showing very good response, 12 showing good response, and five showing satisfactory. Only two patients showed no improvement. In most cases, pain began to diminish in seven days, disappearing on the nineteenth or twentieth day.

Immune System

Perhaps the most broadly investigated and widely accepted attribute of bee propolis is its immune-boosting activity. It is a natural, broad-spectrum antibiotic that activates the thymus gland. Bee propolis not only prevents infectious diseases, but clears them from the system, as well.

As demonstrated in numerous experiments, propolis has the ability to directly destroy bacteria, viruses, and fungi, even penicillin-resistant staphylococcus.

Bee propolis is formidable against viruses. This trait is attributed to the bioflavonoids present in propolis, which have a protective effect against viral infections. Viruses are enclosed in a protein coating. As long as it remains unbroken, the infectious and dangerous material remains imprisoned and is harmless to the host organism. Unfortunately, within the host there are enzymes which remove the protein coating, thus releasing the harmful material to wreak havoc within the system. With the presence of bee propolis in the system, however, this doesn't occur. The bioflavonoids inhibit the enzymes from removing the protein coating, keeping the viral material locked inside. These same flavonoids maintain the protective coating around the virus, thus rendering it inactive. With the presence of the bioflavonoids, the host virtually becomes immune to the virus.

Another way in which propolis aids the immune system is its ability to strengthen phagocyte activity. Phagocytes are cells that are able to surround, engulf, and digest microorganisms and cellular debris. This increase in activity with the introduction of bee propolis was observed and documented by a number of Soviet and European scientists.

The Power of Propolis

The power of propolis is wide-ranging and of immense benefit to humans, as well as to its creator--the little honey bee. People suffering from high levels of blood fat can benefit from taking bee propolis. At the Worker's Hospital of Lian Yun Gang, Jiangsu Province in the People's Republic of China, Dr. Fang Zhu chose 45 patients suffering from hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and coronary heart disease and gave them 300 mg of bee propolis three times a day for 30 days. At the end of that period all patients showed a significant reduction of blood fats and improvement in related disorders.

Another benefit of propolis is its inhibitory effect on certain prostaglandins, which it accomplishes by blocking the enzymes that form specific prostaglandins. This can be of immense benefit to those suffering from aches and fever, which are caused by prostaglandins. Bee propolis acts in nearly the identical way aspirin does by blocking the same enzymes, yet without the negative side effects you can get with aspirin.

This enzyme-blocking, prosta-glandin-inhibitory effect is also beneficial to the mouth and throat. For instance, a leading cause of dental problems is the erosion of the gums and tissues that line the tooth sockets. Inflammation and infectious bleeding can cause a weakening of the bone structure and tooth loss. But propolis, by blocking specific enzymes, prohibits the formation of the prostalandins which cause the inflammation, bleeding, and eventual decomposition. At the same time, propolis actually stimulates other specific enzymes which strengthen the walls of the blood vessels in the gums, thereby having a twofold effect on the mouth.

When inflamed and sore, the throat responds favorably to propolis, and for the same prostaglandin inhibition reasons. By inhibiting prostaglandin formation, inflam-mation recedes and diminishes.

Another attribute of bee propolis is its ability to correct and stabilize proper protein metabolism. A team of physicians at the Institute of Radiology in Serajevo, Yugoslavia treated patients who were suffering from radiation complications. These patients had serious liver damage caused by improper protein metabolism and X-rays. The patients were given bee propolis for two months. Another group of patients, also suffering from radiation complications, were given a placebo. At the end of two months, those taking bee propolis had significantly improved, with some patients' symptoms completely disappearing. No improvements were observed in the group given the placebo.

The Human Equation

Bees have used propolis for millions of years, and humans have used it for thousands. Both species find it immensely useful and beneficial. Much of the bees' success in surviving through the ages may be accredited to propolis. As humans, we may yet discover we've only just scratched the surface to the benefits of this resinous wonder.