Propolis is used for canker sores and infections caused by bacteria (including tuberculosis), by viruses (including flu, H1N1 “swine” flu, and the common cold), by fungus, and by single-celled organisms called protozoans. Propolis is also used forcancer of the nose and throat; for boosting the immune system; and for treating gastrointestinal (GI) problems including Helicobacter pylori infection in peptic ulcer disease. Propolis is also used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
People sometimes apply propolis directly to the skin for wound cleansing, genital herpes and cold sores; as a mouth rinse for speeding healing following oral surgery; and for the treatment of minor burns.
In manufacturing, propolis is used as an ingredient in cosmetics.
1. Anti-Microbial Action
Propolis has a wide range of antibacterial properties. It is also has anti-fungal and anti-viral powers. In one animal study, applying a propolis solution to wounds helped speed healing in diabetic rats.
In children, propolis has been found to:
- Prevent respiratory tract infections
- Remedy symptoms of the common cold
- Prevent middle ear infections
2. Heals Burns
A 2002 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that propolis may promote the healing of minor burns. The researchers compared a propolis skin cream with silver sulfadiazine, a drug used to treat burns. Study results showed propolis was just as effective as the drug in treating second-degree burns.
3. Prevents Dental Cavities
Greek and Roman physicians used propolis as mouth disinfectant. Modern studies show it may be effective in the treatment of periodontitis and gingivitis.
Many studies have also found that extracts from bee glue limit bacterial plaque and reduce tooth caries.
Other studies show that propolis may even help regenerate dental pulp, as well as bone tissue, and cartilage.
4. Treats Parasites
Preliminary trials show propolis may eliminate parasites. In one study people who took propolis had a 52 to 60% success rate in eliminating the parasite giardiasis.
5. Wart Removal
In a single-blind, randomized, 3-month trial, 135 patients with different types of warts received oral propolis, echinacea, or a placebo. The results were reported in the International Journal of Dermatology. Patients with plane and common warts achieved a cure rate of 75% and 73%, respectively. The results were significantly better than those associated with echinacea or placebo.
Propolis is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin appropriately. It can cause allergic reactions, particularly in people who are allergic to bees or bee products. Lozenges containing propolis can cause irritation and mouth ulcers.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking propolis if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Asthma: Some experts believe certain chemicals in propolis may make asthma worse. Avoid using propolis if you have asthma.
Bleeding conditions: A certain chemical in propolis might slow blood clotting. Taking propolis might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Allergies: Do not use propolis if you are allergic to bee by-products including honey, conifers, poplars, Peru balsam, and salicylates.
Surgery: A certain chemical in propolis might slow blood clotting. Taking propolis might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking propolis 2 weeks before surgery.
None interactions are recorded.
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