Propolis: What is it, what is it used for, what are its benefits, how is it used?
Propolis is formed by mixing the secretion of bees with substances obtained from plants and trees and wax.
Propolis is formed by mixing the secretion of bees with substances obtained from plants and trees and wax. Propolis, also known as bee glue, is a resinous material normally used by bees to close the hive walls and strengthen the honeycomb edges and the hive entrance.
What is Propolis?
The origin of the word propolis comes from Greek. Pro means “for defense” while polis means “city”. Propolis is produced by bees to ensure the safety of their hives and colonies. Propolis, which is usually dark brown in color, can sometimes be in green, red, black and white tones. The reason for the change in color is the different source of resin in certain parts of the hive. Propolis has a unique, pleasant aromatic smell. Many studies have been conducted for many years on propolis, which, unlike bee pollen, has a much richer content. Studies have discovered that it has many benefits for human health.
Properties of Propolis
Propolis has antiseptic (preventing the formation of infection), antibacterial (preventing the formation of bacteria), antiviral (preventing the formation of viruses), antimycotic (preventing the formation of fungi) and bacteriostatic (stopping the development of bacteria) properties. In this way, it protects bee colonies against diseases.
Nutritional Values of Propolis
Unprocessed propolis generally contains 50% tree and plant resin, 30% wax, 10% essential and aromatic oils, 5% pollen and 5% other organic components. Propolis also contains 12 different flavonoids and 2 different types of phenolic acids that have antioxidant properties. Bioflavonoids are also known as vitamin P. Bioflavonoids, which contribute to strengthening the immune system and have many health benefits, are also found in many fruits and vegetables other than propolis. Although it is especially abundant in oranges, the amount of bioflavonoids in propolis is approximately 500 times more than in oranges.
Propolis contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, C and E and minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, manganese, sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Unprocessed propolis contains wax, which makes it difficult to digest, and therefore it needs to be processed to separate it from its resin-like nutritional part. During the processing of propolis, plant and larval wastes are also cleaned and made easier to digest.
What is Propolis used for?
Research has found that propolis is effective in simple injuries, oral health, inflammation and herpes. In individuals with diabetes, wounds normally heal slowly. In these people, propolis stimulates new cell formation and accelerates the wound healing process by contributing to the growth of new skin. Propolis, which kills bacteria during wound healing, also helps prevent infections.
Studies have shown that propolis prevents the formation of calcium phosphate, which causes dental plaque formation. The antibacterial properties of propolis and honey also make them effective ingredients in dental care products. The use of propolis in people with periodontitis (gum inflammation) significantly reduces the amount of bacteria in their saliva.
Antioxidants found in propolis reduce inflammation caused by diseases such as arthritis (joint inflammation). Studies have shown that propolis reduces swelling caused by inflammation caused by arthritis and affects the formation of inflammation. Propolis has an effect on herpes that occur in the genital area or around the mouth. Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). While HSV-1 typically causes oral cold sores, HSV-2 is sexually transmitted and causes painful blisters on the genitals. Studies have found that propolis is effective in healing skin lesions caused by HSV.
What are the Benefits of Propolis?
Many benefits have been found in studies on propolis collected from many trees and plants, especially poplar, oak, beech, acacia, eucalyptus and conifers. The antimycotic, antiviral and antibacterial effects of propolis prevent the formation of disease-causing microorganisms. In addition, propolis, which supports the immune system thanks to its antioxidant content, also contributes to increasing body resistance against disease factors. Propolis, which has been proven to be effective in upper respiratory tract diseases such as colds, tonsillitis, laryngitis and pharyngitis, also has protective properties against gum diseases. Propolis varieties in the form of mouthwash are also used to prevent problems in the mouth and throat mucosa.
Among other bee products such as pollen, propolis has the highest antioxidant effect. It contributes to healing by applying on the lesion in the treatment of acne and herpes. Studies have shown that propolis also contributes to healing in the treatment of ulcers, burns and inflammatory diseases. In addition, although there are studies indicating that it has an anticancer effect, its protective feature against cancer is still in the research phase.
How to Use Propolis?
Unprocessed propolis has irritating properties. Therefore, it must be diluted and processed before using propolis. Processed propolis can be made into capsules or tablets for use. There is also a chewing gum form produced using propolis, which is available in forms such as powder, concentrated liquid and syrup. It is also used as a mouthwash and lozenge due to its antimicrobial properties in throat infections and upper respiratory tract diseases. Propolis, which also has an important effect on wound healing, can be applied to the wound in the form of ointment. It is also used in toothpastes for use in tooth decay.
Propolis used in the treatment of herpes is found in the cream or ointment at the rate of 0.5% or 3%. It is used by applying it to the lips every day, 5 times a day, after the day herpes symptoms begin. It is recommended to use propolis gargle forms 3 times a day for 7 days.
What Should Be Considered Before Using Propolis?
Propolis taken orally as tablets, capsules or syrup is safe when used correctly. Care should be taken as it may cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to bees and bee products. Lozenges containing propolis can cause irritation and mouth ulcers, so they should be used with caution. Products containing propolis in the form of ointment or drops applied through the skin can also be used safely. Likewise, it is necessary to be careful when using it on the skin as it may cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to bees or bee products such as honey and pollen.
Since there is not enough information that propolis can be used safely during pregnancy, it is recommended to consult a doctor before use. Propolis taken orally as tablets or capsules can be used safely in breastfeeding people. Studies have shown that propolis taken at a daily dose of 300 mg can be used safely for up to 10 months. Therefore, breastfeeding mothers are recommended to avoid using higher doses.
Some experts and researchers state that the use of propolis in asthma patients may be dangerous. It is said that some substances, especially those contained in propolis, trigger and worsen asthma. Therefore, it is not recommended to use propolis in asthma patients. Individuals with asthma problems should have an allergy test before using propolis and use propolis according to the results.
The use of propolis by patients with bleeding disorders may increase the risk of bleeding. In particular, a chemical found in propolis can slow down blood clotting. Therefore, propolis should be used with caution in patients with bleeding disorders. In addition, the use of propolis should be discontinued at least 2 weeks before the procedure, as it may increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery in patients who are planned to have a surgical procedure.
Patients who are allergic to honey, conifers, poplar, Peruvian balsam and salicylates (aspirin) should not use propolis. As a general rule, propolis and all other bee products should not be used in children under 2 years of age.