Bee propolis? Although I’ve used it, I found myself wondering what is bee propolis? Paul Allison usually talks about taking it like a supplement. But what is it? I spent about 20 hours researching the topic. Here is what I learned.
What Is Bee Propolis?
As you probably know, in the process of making honey, bees make also make beeswax and bee pollen. But what you may not know is that they also make a compound call propolis. Sometimes people also call it bee glue. This is a sticky, green or brown substance that they use to coat and protect their hives.
Bees make it using sap and other parts of plants. They often use it to build, repair and protect their hives against animals and other insects. However, when humans use it, they have better health. It actually has more than 300 active, natural ingredients. It may help you lower your blood pressure, heal wounds, protect your liver, have less pain, stronger bones and a better immune system.
Just like beeswax, bee pollen and honey, propolis is wonderful for you!
Keep reading to understand why!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Propolis?
There are several health benefits to using bee propolis as a supplement. Some of the people who benefit most are people with chronic pain, suffering from a viral or biotic infection, Type 2 Diabetes or skin conditions. Propolis is a wonder supplement because of all of these amazing health benefits.
Propolis will have you feel better, live longer and recover faster from pain. These are things everyone wants. The health benefits of propolis are vast and seemingly unrelated. However, with so many active ingredients, it makes sense that it would affect more than one aspect of everyday life.
Bee propolis can benefit your skin and hair, blood sugar, pain response, cardiovascular health, and boost your immune system against viruses, bacterias and fungi. It can help you be more fertile and protect yourself and your family against sickness and infection.
I will explore just some of its many benefits in this section. If you want to see how propolis can help you, keep reading!
Bee Propolis Skin And Hair Benefits
The Top Skin Benefits
- Soothes away irritation, inflammation and burns.
- Renews and rejuvenates skin to a youthful appearance.
- Moisturizes skin
- Fights free-radicals
- Calms down skin oil production
- Its antimicrobial and antiviral effects may even prevent acne and kill bacteria.
- Topically, it treats wounds.
Honey can be a powerful moisturizer to lock moisture into your skin but propolis and royal honey add nutrients your skin needs to look its best. The antioxidants and purported anti-inflammatory effects make it perfect to get rid of little bumps and blemishes.
If you ever have cold sores, propolis may help the cold sore disappear completely! Mix just a drop of propolis tincture in a small amount of facial moisturizer and gently apply to the affected area.
It can smooth damaged skin. Because of that, it is often used in anti-aging skin products. One of the best benefits for people with diabetes are for diabetic wounds. Propolis can help your body heal better and faster than you could without it. Read below to learn more about how it can help diabetics.
Propolis Diabetes Benefits
Will propolis help people with diabetes? Absolutely! Of course, always talk to your doctor before you change anything but we will go through some of the research on the topic.
There is lots of evidence that natural molecules from plants, polyphenols, may manage and prevent Type 2 Diabetes. In addition to several animal-based studies, scientists have started studying propolis’ effect on humans with diabetes.
In one double-blind clinical trial on 66 people with diabetes and insulin resistance, researchers gave one group 300mg of propolis pills for 12 weeks. Whereas the control group took similar looking pills without any propolis. The researchers found that the people with Type 2 Diabetes who took propolis daily saw glycemic improvements!
In a larger meta-analysis, researchers said that propolis supplementation may be effective in controlling glycemic levels of patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study found, while looking at a certain type of propolis, that people with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus benefited greatly from propolis. They found a decrease in several blood markers (HbA1c, 2hpp, insulin, HOMA-IR, HOMA-β, C-reactive protein and TNF-α). They noted, it may also prevent liver and renal dysfunction.
Propolis Pain Relief Benefits
It may actually provide natural pain relief. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it can help you feel better when you are in pain. It may even lower your body’s production of prostaglandins.
If it does, it may inhibit pain in the same way as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. However, propolis doesn’t seem to have any of the same side effects as taking those medication. This may be a better option for some people.
It may even be as powerful as flurbiprofen, a painkiller for arthritis, without the upset stomach. Propolis also does not seem to have the same negative side effects of over-the-counter painkillers.
Most over-the-count pain relievers are really rough on the liver or the kidneys. They may even reduce fertility with long term use. Propolis is well tolerated and actually improves fertility for both men and women. It may be a better choice for many people seeking relief from pain.
One of the most important aspects of human health is cardiovascular health. Without a healthy cardiovascular system, we wouldn’t be able to get oxygen to all of our bodies’ organs. However, one of the best health benefits of propolis is that it supports healthy levels of cholesterol and lowers blood pressure levels.
As it is likely that inflammation contributes to health disease, it would make sense that lowering inflammation would lower the risk of heart disease. Propolis is cardioprotective and vasoprotective so it will help you have better cardiovascular health over the long term.
In a research journal article, they stated “Our findings indicate potential benefits of propolis use in human health. The use of propolis appears to have positive effects on oxidative status and improvement of HDL-c, both of which contribute to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.” They concluded that “According to the results, the use of propolis may improve the prognosis of several chronic diseases and potentially contribute to decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Because of all of these studies, taking propolis for the health benefit to your cardiovascular system should be well worth it for most people.
Will Propolis Boost The Immune System?
By its antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and even anti-tumour effects, it seems to really benefit the immune system. It also has potent natural antioxidants. If you are looking for some ways to get sick less, propolis may be the answer for you.
Here are some ways it may boost your immunity!
Is Bee Propolis Antibacterial?
Yes, it has been shown to fight bacteria from at least 16 types of bacteria, including e.coli, and staphylococcus aureus (which can cause pneumonia, heart valve and bone infection). Propolis may prevent some types of food poisoning. Some people even use as a natural antibiotic of sorts.
Scientists have actually found that propolis with traditional antibiotics enhances their efficacy. This synergistic effect may be especial important in drug resistant bacteria. It works similarly to a broad spectrum antibiotic because it kills a wide variety of bacteria. Next time your on antibiotics, may consider taking propolis.
Its antibacterial effects make it work great as a mouthwash. In fact, it appears to kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis (gum infections) and plague.
Is Bee Propolis Antiviral?
Yes! Propolis can kill some of the most common household viruses like the flu, the cold and even COVID-19. Taking it may make it so your body can better fight the virus you are exposed to on a daily basis. It may even prevent food poisoning by killing the viruses that cause it.
Because of its amazing antiviral capabilities, it is especially good to have on hand during the cold and flu season every year.
In fact, it can even fight against Canine distemper in dogs.
Viruses Propolis Can Help Fight Against
- The Flu (Influenza)
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2)
- Common Cold (Human rhinoviruses (HRVs)
- Chickenpox and Shingles (varicella-zoster virus)
- Human Papillomavirus (with interferon and B vitamins)
- Potato Virus
- Newcastle Disease
- Herpes (Including Cold Sores)
Is It Anti-fungal?
Yes! Propolis has anti-fungicidal effects against at least 11 funguses. It can fight multiple types, at least 155 strains of Candida, which is a fungus that usually cases thresh. It can prevent other bad yeasts from growing. If you are looking for a natural anti-fungal, propolis may be one of your best options.
Can Propolis Help With Allergies?
Yes! Propolis can improve allergies. Generally, local raw honey and bee pollen are much better options for allergies. However, since allergic responses involve the immune system, propolis can help you have a better allergic response in the future.
If you are struggling with seasonal allergies, we would first recommend our Bee Bread. It is a combination of raw Florida honey and Florida bee pollen. This is a great option for most people with environmental concerns.
However, if you already have local honey, just adding bee pollen to your mix may help you to feel better.
Does Honey Have Propolis?
The benefits of propolis can be absolutely life-changing for some people who try it. But, you have to take enough for it to actually work for you. With some people, that is just a couple drops of tincture. However, others need almost a spoonful to feel its effects.
If you are taking propolis for pain caused by inflammation, it can take about two weeks to notice a difference. This usually is longer for people with chronic pain. If you have minimal pain, you may notice results right away.
When you apply it to skin or use it as a mouthwash, you only need a drop or two. With mouthwash, usually one drop in a quarter cup of water will be strong enough. For skin, we recommend adding 1-2 drops in about a tablespoon’s worth of moisturizer.
Is Propolis The Same As Beeswax?
Although somewhat similar in color, beeswax is not propolis. Propolis, sometimes called bee glue, fortifies and protects the hive from foreign intruders. Beeswax comes from wax caps within the hive and from pieces of the honeycomb. Beeswax found inside honeycomb can actually be consumed as food.
Although beeswax has many purposes, including use as a lotion, (see the recipe here!) it does not have the same health benefits of propolis but it is wonderful for candles and other things.
Is Propolis The Same Thing As Bee Pollen?
No, while propolis does contain some bee pollen, it is composed mostly of resin and oils with vitamins and amino acids. For this reason, we would recommend having bee pollen for allergies. Propolis is a sticky yellow or green liquid solution. Bee pollen is usually granular, almost resembling Grape Nuts cereal.
Is Propolis Safe To Eat?
Yes! The biggest safety concern with propolis is that, very rarely, people are allergic to something in it. Generally, taking a small amount initially is a good starting point. If a reaction does occur, usually over the counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl or Claritin, will stop a reaction. If it doesn’t, please seek urgent medical attention.
The second biggest concern is of drug interactions. Of course, propolis is natural. Kind of like eating fruit, you can’t really have too much of it. However, some people may take medication that requires extra care.
RxList states that people on anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs, including aspirin, may have moderate interaction. In that case, you may wish to ask your healthcare provider. I would also recommend to start with a small amount and scale slowly for everyone.
A study on mice found that levels in excess of body weight were safe.
How To Take Propolis
The best way to take propolis tincture is to dilute it in water or another beverage. As it is very bitter, I prefer adding it to lemon and honey water or tea.
If you chose the capsule route, it is usually best to take it with food. You can also encapsulate a few drops into an empty vegetarian or gelatin capsule. This can be especially helpful since most people do not care for the flavor of propolis in tincture.
However, one of the best ways to use Propolis is actually directly on the skin. If you have sensitive skin, you can add it to coconut oil or any lotion you have on hand.
Diluting it doesn’t harm its efficacy. If you have never used propolis topically, it is probably a good idea to start by adding it to lotion. That may prevent a sensitivity reaction from occurring.
You can also use it as a mouthwash. Simply mix several drops in some water and slush it around your mouth like Listerine. Because of it antibacterial properties, it makes a great natural mouthwash.
When Should I Take It?
Generally, it is best to take propolis in the morning with breakfast. Otherwise, taking it with lunch is another good option. Taking it with food or a source of fat may increase your absorption of it.
Some people prefer to take it later in the day. You can take it right before bed. However, we usually use it topically at night and take it internally throughout the day. This way, it will be in your system throughout the day.
Should I Take It Daily?
For the best possible benefit, you should use propolis daily. This is because it will be able to work better if you take it consistently. When you take propolis daily, you will be able to get those wonderful health benefits from taking it.
For blemishes, it works well to use it as soon as they appear. Once they are gone, one or two more applications can ensure they disappear completely.
Propolis Extract or Tincture
Should you pick propolis tincture or a capsuled extract?
The powdered propolis usually contains fillers to turn the liquid into a solid, power form. Of course, this makes it easy on large manufactures to mass produce it. Unfortunately, these fillers often add extra carbohydrates and other substances into the supplement.
The purest form of propolis is a quality tincture solution. Although it does contain a small amount of alcohol, it doesn’t have anything else added to it.
The tincture is also more potent and stronger lasting than in extract form. This is why we went with only providing a tincture solution for our customers.
Does It Expire?
One of the best things about propolis tincture is its long shelf life. Unlike pills that using go bad within a year or two, the alcohol in the tincture keeps the vital nutrients active and stable longer. You can store and use the propolis tincture indefinitely. However, it usually is best if it is less than 5 years old.
Can You Have Propolis When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
As with all aspects of their diet, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers need to be careful. However, if you are pregnant and have had it before, it should be alright.
In a study, they found that 380mg/kg was safe for consumption while pregnant. Using that math, a 110 lbs pregnant woman would be able to safely consume 18.96 grams a day. That’s roughly two thirds of a bottle of Allison’s Apiaries Propolis. With its potent taste, I doubt anyone would enjoy consuming that much at once.
Can Bee Propolis Increase Fertility?
Infertility deeply affects so many couples trying to conceive. However, there actually is evidence that propolis may help woman with infertility to conceive. It may also increase men’s reproductive health.
In men, propolis improves sperm’s mitochondrial respiratory efficiency and can protect them from DNA damage. Basically, this leads to healthier sperm cells. Since about half of all cases of infertility are caused by male infertility, it may be a good place for a couple to start.
For women, several conditions can lead to the symptoms of infertility. A couple of common conditions are Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. With PCOS, propolis may help with insulin resistance that most women with PCOS have. For both conditions, propolis can lower oxidative stress. Lower oxidative stress results in better fertility and pregnancy outcomes.
One study found that woman with endometriosis and primary infertility for at least 2 years were 40% more likely to be able to achieve pregnancy within 9 months. This alone should be enough for women with infertility and suffering from endometriosis to consider adding propolis to their routine.
Can Dogs Eat Bee Propolis?
Yes, bee propolis is safe for dogs! In fact, dogs get many of the same benefits humans get from propolis. It is natural antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory substance that can even help with your puppy’s allergies.
Not only is it natural but it can protect them from the canine flu, kennel cough and other infectious illnesses. You can even mix it with honey to treat your dog’s gum disorders.
If your dog has a cut, put some propolis on the wound. Not only will it help your dog heal faster but it may prevent them from licking it. The only real downside is that your dog may not like the taste of it.
Research shows it may even have antiviral activity against Canine Distemper Virus. A very serious condition, spread through airborne exposure. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it attacks their respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems.
How Propolis Works
Propolis is made up of several different natural materials. Bees made it from plants and mostly use it to bind and protect their hives. Doing these requires using some of the best parts of the plants at high concentrations. The plants they use contain bioflavonoids and polyphenols. These are big words to basically say that the best parts of fruits and flowers are in propolis.
Propolis is mostly made of resin, followed by wax and oil with just a tiny bit of pollen. There are several minerals, amino acids and even vitamins in it. These natural compounds help your body when it is under stress, inflamed, in pain, or injured.
How Is Propolis Made?
Just like we extract honey, we also extract propolis straight from our hives. Instead of explaining the entire process, why not just check out this video of one of our fellow beekeepers?
What Are Some Other Common Names For Propolis?
According to RXList, Propolis is also called:
- Acide de Cire d’Abeille
- Propolis Balsam
- Baume de Propolis
- Bee Glue
- Propolis Cera
- Bee Propolis
- Beeswax Acid
- Cire d’Abeille Synthétique
- Propolis d’Abeille
- Cire de Propolis
- Propolis Resin
- Colle d’Abeille
- Hive Dross
- Pénicilline Russe
- Propolis Wax
- Résine de Propolis
- Russian Penicillin
- Synthetic Beeswax
Most of these synonyms appear to be translations. Maybe you can use one the next time you travel abroad. If you have ever used one of these terms, please comment down below.
I would love to hear which one you used!
What Is The Best Bee Propolis To Buy?
Naturally, we like Allison’s Apiaries Propolis the best!
Like honey, propolis can vary based on how a beekeeper extracts it, the type of bees that made it, the geographical region that produced it and other factors.
Unfortunately, most supplements and extracts rely on propolis from China or other countries. While these products may benefit consumers, there isn’t a way to know all the additives or purity of those products.
We trust Paul Allison because he only uses the purest food-grade alcohol to extract it from his own bees. Nearly every week at the Winter Garden Farmers Market, people come up to him and tell him about how propolis changed their lives for the better. You ought to see what it can do for you!
Well, there you have it! This is my complete guide on everything you need to know about bee propolis and what it can do for you. You now know that propolis has antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
You know that propolis can be great for your skin. It can help diabetics keep their blood sugar low. It can boost your immune system. Propolis may help women with fertility problems.
If you know anyone who could benefit from bee propolis, please share this article with them.
What was your experience with bee propolis?
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