What is propolis? What are the benefits of propolis?
Propolis is a resin-like product that bees produce by processing the substances they collect from coniferous trees, buds, leaves, stems, and secretions of plants with enzymes they secrete from their glands. It uses propolis, which has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, to protect its hives against bacterial and fungal infections such as bees, bacillus larvae, to ensure the hygiene of combs, and to prevent other insects and animals from entering the hive. Also, thanks to propolis, which is used to strengthen the honeycombs in the hive and repair cracks, bees enter and exit the hive through a protective channel. Thus, both the hive and themselves are hygienic. Propolis, which is a combination of the words “pro”, meaning entry and defense, and “polis” meaning city, is a kind of resin produced by bees to ensure the safety and hygiene of their hives. Propolis, which is mostly dark brown in color and has a unique odor, has different and much richer content than bee pollen.
Many studies have been carried out today on this product, which has been consumed as a medicine in the treatment of different infections by people throughout history. In addition to its benefits to human health, these studies have shown that the content of propolis collected from plants in different regions and produced by bees is similar when evaluated in terms of basic components, and there is no significant difference in the content of propolis produced between seasons.
What is Propolis?
Propolis, also known as parabolic or bee gum among beekeepers, is a product used by bees to sterilize the honeycombs in the hive, protect the hive against insects, fungi, and bacteria from outside, repair and strengthen honeycombs. Bees biochemical changes with their own secretions to produce propolis from the stems, leaves, buds, and nectars of many plants, especially coniferous trees. Propolis is also used to ensure the hygiene of the hive thanks to its antibacterial properties and to strengthen the defense of the hive with its resinous feature. The color of propolis, which is mostly dark brown, can be transparent, red, yellow, and green, depending on the area where it is collected. Composed of rich content, propolis has been used as a medicine by people throughout history. Today, some scientific studies are showing that its use has a positive effect on health.
Approximately 300 different compounds were found in the content of poplar-type propolis, which is frequently used, including nearly 150 bioactive components. Unlike bee pollen, propolis containing vitamins B1, B2, C, E is also rich in minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Propolis, known to help destroy harmful viruses and bacteria when used by humans, is a natural product that can be used by adults and children to strengthen the immune system. Propolis, which is known to be effective against fungi, can also be used to meet the need for antioxidants. However, unprocessed propolis is mixed with a substance that is difficult to digest, similar to wax. It is important to separate the wax-like substance, which makes up about half of the propolis found in nature, from its resin-like nutrient part. Proper separation of propolis from beeswax is extremely important in terms of the digestibility of the product. This process also separates propolis from plant and larvae residues. Therefore, it is not recommended to consume unprocessed products collected by scraping from nature.
What Are the Benefits of Propolis?
It has been determined that 50% resin, 30% beeswax, 10% essential and aromatic oils, 5% pollen, and 5% mineral substances and propolis, which are formed from organic residues, have many positive effects on human health. Propolis is a very rich product in terms of its benefits. In addition to its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory content, it is known to have preventive and therapeutic properties for many different ailments. Ethanol extract (the process of separating beneficial ingredients and making them ready for consumption) in propolis helps strengthen the immune system. Ethanol extract also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, and local anesthetic properties.
Caffeic acid phenyl ester and clerodane diterpenoid, which are contained in propolis, are also thought to prevent the development of cancerous cells and reduce the likelihood of healthy cells turning into cancerous cells. It has been suggested to play a role in the treatment of breast, skin, larynx, liver, colon, bladder, and ovarian cancer. It has also been seen in limited studies that this ingredient protects the liver against harmful substances. It has been determined in the same limited studies that other active substances in propolis content are effective against viruses such as adenovirus and influenza and play a role in wound healing. Bioflavonoids contained in propolis provide effective protection against viruses.
Some research shows that propolis helps cure ailments such as colds and flu. It is thought that propolis, used by adding to toothpaste, reduces bacterial growth in the mouth and helps to heal some ailments in the gums. The skin benefits of propolis are mostly limited to healing wounds and burns. There are limited studies that propolis, which is effective in faster healing of skin burns because it accelerates cell growth, provides protection against ulcerative colitis, ulcers, stomach, and intestinal cancers as well as other gastrointestinal system disorders, and helps in the treatment of these diseases. In the same study, it is also shown that propolis effectively destroys pathogens that have negative effects on health, such as helicobacter pylori. Frequently asked, “What are the benefits of propolis?” The question can be answered in this way.
How Is Propolis Used?
It is known that propolis, which bees form as a result of putting substances collected from trees and plants into biochemical interaction with their own secretions, has positive effects on human health. Propolis, which is thought to be effective in strengthening the immune system and eliminating diseases in the mouth and throat, is found in water-soluble drops, tablets, capsules, creams, sprays, syrups, and powder forms. Due to the variety of forms, it can be said that propolis is generally used orally or by rubbing it on the skin.
Drops of propolis can be consumed by dropping into liquid and solid foods for mouth sores and throat infections or can be used by gargling. Tablets and capsules of propolis can be swallowed with water to strengthen the immune system and relieve sleep problems; Cream propolis is used by rubbing it on the skin for the treatment of minor burns and wounds.
Propolis in spray form is sprayed to the throat to help treat throat infections, and syrup is applied for cough and mouth sores. It is known that propolis in powder form is more effective when consumed with honey. It can be added to beverages and yogurt. Before using propolis for the treatment of diseases, the physician should be consulted and used at the dose and time determined by the physician.
Things to Consider Before Using Propolis
Before the use of propolis, the instructions for use of the product should be read carefully, and the physician should be consulted in the presence of a suspicion. Also, people with chronic diseases should consult their physician before using propolis. Some of the things to consider before using propolis are:
- Some of the natural ingredients in propolis can slow blood clotting. Therefore, consumption of propolis and another natural, herbal products or medicines should be stopped before a planned operation.
- People who are allergic to honey are recommended not to consume propolis.
- Pregnant and nursing mothers need to consult their physician before using propolis.
- Propolis should not be used with alcohol.
- Those with respiratory conditions such as asthma should seek medical advice before using propolis.
- No natural or herbal products, including propolis, should be consumed in high amounts.
- Prolonged use of propolis can cause allergic reactions.
We wish you healthy days.