Propolis: Immune Boosting, Anti-Cancer, Neuroprotection and More

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Along with providing information on whether propolis supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy propolis supplements online through the secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

Propolis is a natural substance crafted by bees and has a long history of medicinal use due to its complex composition. This article explores the extensive background and contemporary uses of Propolis focusing on its antioxidant anti-inflammatory antibacterial and antiviral properties. Discover the natural benefits of Propolis and its capacity to improve health.

What Is Propolis?

Propolis is a resinous substance produced by bees, commonly used for its medicinal properties in various forms of supplements. This compound is created by bees from the sap on needle-leaved trees or evergreens. When combined with their own discharges and beeswax, they form a sticky, greenish-brown product used to build their hives. This substance is particularly known for its complex composition, which includes resins, balsams, waxes, essential oils, and flavonoids.

The composition of propolis varies depending on the geographic location of the bees and the local plant life, leading to variations in its properties and potential health benefits. Traditionally, it has been used for its antimicrobial properties in wound healing and as a remedy for various ailments.

In modern supplement forms, such as capsules, extracts, and creams, propolis is utilized for its potential health benefits attributed to its rich content of bioactive compounds. These supplements are sought for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. While widely used, the effects and effectiveness of propolis can vary, and its usage should be informed by current scientific understanding and guidelines.

What Are the Benefits of Propolis?

Propolis, a resin-like substance produced by bees from the sap of various plants, has been valued for centuries for its medicinal properties. Often referred to as “bee glue,” propolis plays a crucial role in hive health and offers numerous benefits for human health as well. Here are some of the key health benefits [PMC6893770] associated with propolis supplements:

  • Antioxidant Effects: Rich in antioxidants, propolis helps combat oxidative stress in the body, which is linked to several chronic diseases and aging. PMC10049182
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Its anti-inflammatory effects make propolis useful in reducing inflammation, and beneficial for conditions like arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. PMC10049182
  • Boosts Immune System Function: Propolis can enhance the immune system, possibly reducing the duration and severity of colds and other respiratory infections. PMC9740431
    • Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties: Propolis is known for its strong antibacterial and antimicrobial abilities, making it effective in fighting various infections and boosting the body’s natural defense mechanisms. PMC10049182, PMC7569119
    • Wound Healing: Its regenerative properties aid in the healing of cuts, burns, and bruises, promoting faster wound healing and reducing the likelihood of infection. PMC7569119
    • Antiviral Properties: Propolis has shown effectiveness against some viruses, making it a subject of interest in the treatment and prevention of viral infections, including herpes simplex virus and influenza. PMC9298305
    • Fungal Infections: Its antifungal properties make propolis useful in combating fungal infections, including those caused by Candida species. PMID: 35592938
  • Anti-Cancer Potential: Emerging research suggests that propolis may have anti-tumor properties, although more studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness in cancer treatment and prevention. [PMC10059947]
  • Skin Health: Applied topically, propolis can help in treating skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. [PMC7036894]
    • Skin Care: Used topically in various skin care products, propolis can promote skin repair, enhance skin hydration, and provide protective effects against environmental damage.
  • Gastrointestinal Health: Propolis may have beneficial effects on gastrointestinal disorders, including ulcers and gastritis, due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. [PMC5875067]
  • Reduction of Allergy Symptoms: Some studies suggest that propolis can modulate the immune system, and may reduce allergy symptoms. [PMC8816323]
  • Supports Oral Health: Due to its antibacterial qualities, propolis is beneficial in oral health, helping to combat gum diseases and cavities. PMC8641552
    • Dental Health: Beyond general oral health, propolis can be effective in reducing dental plaque, healing dental abscesses, and managing periodontal diseases.
  • Antioxidant Effects: Rich in antioxidants, propolis helps combat oxidative stress in the body, which is linked to several chronic diseases and aging. PMC10049182
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Its anti-inflammatory effects make propolis useful in reducing inflammation, and beneficial for conditions like arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. PMC10049182
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Propolis has shown promise in supporting blood sugar control, making it a useful supplement for people managing diabetes. [PMID: 30950136]
  • Neuroprotective Effects: Emerging research shows that propolis may have protective effects on the brain, could benefit in neurodegenerative diseases. [PMC6893770] In a blinded trial of clinical study of elderly subjects, the propolis group compared to placebo were confirmed in verbal memory and processing speed, complex attention, and concentration. [PMC7929669]

Several key themes where propolis is possibly useful were subsequently identified, namely detoxification, neuroinflammation, ischemia/ischemia-reperfusion injury/traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy models, depression, cytotoxicity, cognitive improvement, regenerative medicine, brain infection, and adverse effects. In conclusion, propolis is shown to have protective and therapeutic benefits in alleviating symptoms of brain and neurological disorders and injuries, demonstrated by various in vitro studies, animal models, and human clinical trials.

Can Propolis Be a Useful Adjuvant in Brain and Neurological Disorders and Injuries? A Systematic Scoping Review of the Latest Experimental Evidence [PMC8470086]

Is Propolis Safe?

Propolis is safe for most people when used in appropriate amounts. Extensive research and traditional usage attest to its safety profile, with few reported adverse effects. However, persons allergic to bee products should exercise caution, as rare allergic reactions can occur. Additionally, due to variations in composition based on geographical and botanical factors, quality control measures are essential to ensure purity and potency in propolis supplements. Adherence to recommended dosages before use can further enhance safety. Overall, propolis is a safe natural remedy, offering a wide range of potential health benefits with minimal risk when used responsibly.

Medication Interactions with Propolis

  • Warfarin: Propolis, with its antiplatelet effects, can enhance the blood-thinning properties of warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding. This interaction may necessitate closer monitoring of blood clotting parameters to prevent adverse events.
  • Immunosuppressants: Propolis might interfere with the effectiveness of immunosuppressant drugs, possibly compromising their ability to prevent organ rejection. This could lead to complications for transplant recipients, underscoring the importance of avoiding propolis supplementation without medical guidance.
  • Cyclosporine: While not well-documented, there’s a theoretical risk that propolis could reduce the effectiveness of cyclosporine, jeopardizing the success of organ transplant procedures. Persons on cyclosporine therapy should exercise caution before using propolis.
  • Topical Steroids: Combining propolis with topical steroids may heighten their anti-inflammatory effects, which could be advantageous in managing certain skin conditions. However, persons should be mindful of potential side effects associated with increased steroid potency, such as skin thinning or delayed wound healing.
  • Antihypertensive Medications: Propolis has hypotensive effects, and when taken with antihypertensive drugs, it may excessively lower blood pressure. This interaction underscores the importance of monitoring blood pressure closely and adjusting medication doses as necessary to prevent hypotensive episodes.

Supplement Interactions with Propolis

  • Warfarin: Propolis, with its antiplatelet effects, can intensify the blood-thinning properties of warfarin, heightening the risk of bleeding. Close monitoring of blood clotting parameters is crucial to reduce this interaction and prevent adverse bleeding events.
  • Immunosuppressants: Propolis may diminish the effectiveness of immunosuppressant medications, compromising their ability to prevent organ rejection. Transplant recipients should exercise caution before using propolis supplements to ensure optimal therapeutic outcomes.
  • Cyclosporine: While the evidence is limited, there’s a theoretical risk that propolis could reduce the effectiveness of cyclosporine, jeopardizing the success of organ transplant procedures. Persons on cyclosporine therapy should approach propolis supplementation cautiously.
  • Topical Steroids: Combining propolis with topical steroids may enhance their anti-inflammatory effects, which could be advantageous in treating certain skin conditions. However, persons should be aware of potential side effects associated with increased steroid potency and monitor for adverse reactions.
  • Antihypertensive Medications: Propolis has hypotensive effects and may excessively lower blood pressure when used with antihypertensive drugs. Regular blood pressure monitoring and adjustment of medication doses may be necessary to avoid complications such as dizziness or fainting.

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  • 5:1 Concentrate

Propolis is a mixture of resins collected by honey bees from tree buds, sap and other plant sources and is used to seal small gaps in the beehive. The function of Propolis is to reinforce the hive’s integrity and stability, as well as to maintain its sanitary state. NOW® Propolis is collected by beekeepers from active, healthy hives and possesses a variety of bioflavonoids.

Natural color variation may occur in this product.
Take 1 capsule daily.

Serving Size: 1 Capsule

Amount per Serving
Bee Propolis 5:1 Extract Powder … 300mg
(Equivalent to 1,500 mg Bee Propolis) 

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

Propolis supplements offer a range of potential health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. These natural remedies, derived from the resinous substance created by bees, have been traditionally used for wound healing and various ailments. With its diverse composition of resins, waxes, essential oils, and flavonoids, propolis holds promise as a complementary approach to wellness. Incorporating propolis supplements into your routine may contribute to overall health.

This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.

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