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12 kinds of effects and side effects of propolis (4 kinds of contraindications should be noted)

Propolis is one of the secrets that bees can survive on the earth for hundreds of millions of years (there are other honey, royal jelly, and bee pollen). As early as 300 BC, humans began to use propolis. Records indicate that propolis is used as medicine in many parts of the world, including internal and external use

The word propolis is derived from the Greek language, where Pro means “in front of”, and polis means “community” or “city”, which together means a defensive substance

In empirical medicine, what are the effects (benefits) of using propolis? Are there any side effects or contraindications? See the text analysis for details


What is propolis?

Propolis is a natural non-toxic substance collected by worker bees from plant secretions, such as mucus, gum, and resin, and then mixed with their own secretions and beeswax. The texture is waxy. Depending on the type of plant collected, the color may be Green, brown or reddish

In addition to being used to build and repair honeycombs, propolis can also prevent moisture from entering the hive, maintain a constant humidity and temperature, and also control the flow of air to the hive.

In addition, propolis can also be used as an antibacterial agent to prevent larvae, honey and honeycombs from being invaded by external microorganisms. It can be said to be the best chemical weapon.

Propolis is a mixture of plant compounds and bee secretions. Generally speaking, raw propolis is mainly composed of 50% resin, 5% pollen, 30% wax, 10% essential oil, and 5% various organic compounds (such as flavonoids, phenolic acids). , Esters, diterpenes, sesquiterpenes, lignans, aromatic aldehydes, alcohols) and amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. The composition will vary slightly depending on the location and time of collection



What are the empirical effects (benefits) of propolis?

  1. Propolis assists COVID-19 treatment

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It rages all over the world with clinical symptoms of acute pneumonia, generalized fever, Dry cough, fatigue, myalgia, arthralgia, dyspnea, etc., severe cases can lead to acute respiratory distress, multiple organ failure, and even death.

This new type of coronavirus has the characteristics of rapid spread and widespread susceptibility to the population. It is a highly contagious disease. Some infected patients may develop immune disorders and high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It is called a cytokine storm. One of the important reasons for clinical deterioration.

A randomized, controlled, open-label, single-center trial (one-week period, 124 COVID-19 patients with an average age of 50.0±12.8 years) pointed out that Brazilian green propolis extract was compared to a control group receiving standard care (Propomax) combined with standard treatment can shorten the length of hospital stay, and the incidence of acute kidney injury is lower. Note 1

*Conclusion: For the treatment of COVID-19, propolis adjuvant therapy may bring positive help, but limited by the small number of samples, more studies are still needed to further confirm its clinical benefits


  1. Propolis is good for periodontal diseases

Periodontal diseases (Periodontal diseases) include many forms and symptoms, the most common are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Periodontitis is widely regarded as the second most common dental disease in the world, second only to dental caries. In the United States, it is prevalent in 30% to 50% of the population, but only about 10% of cases are severe forms of the disease.

Periodontal disease is believed to be related to various systemic health problems. Including: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer (pancreatic cancer), respiratory diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and other diseases are all related to gum disease.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (Meta-Analysis, including 8 randomized controlled trials related to periodontal disease) pointed out that compared with placebo treatment, probing pocket depth was reduced by propolis treatment. Note 1

*Conclusion: For periodontal disease, propolis-based treatment may bring positive help, but it is limited by the small number of samples, and more studies are needed for further verification


  1. Propolis reduces inflammation indicators

Inflammation (Inflammation) refers to cell microbial infection (infection caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.), physical factors (such as burns, pressure, wound trauma, radiation), chemical substances (drugs, toxins, alcohol) to immune response (such as Rheumatoid arthritis) is a complex dynamic protective response, the clinical manifestations are: redness (erythema), fever (congestion), swelling (exudation), pain (through nerves and chemical mediators)

C-type reactive protein (CRP) is an acute-phase protein produced by the liver. Its level rises during inflammation. TNF-α is an early indicator of inflammation caused by infectious and non-infectious causes.

A systematic literature review and integrated analysis (Meta-Analysis, including 6 randomized controlled trials with a total of 406 participants) pointed out that propolis supplementation can significantly reduce serum C-reactive protein (C-reactive protein) and tumor necrosis factor ( TNF-α) concentration. Note 1

*Conclusion: Propolis supplementation may help reduce inflammation markers CRP and TNF-α, but limited by the small sample size, more large randomized controlled trials are still needed for further verification


  1. Propolis is good for menstrual pain

Menstrual pain (Dysmenorrhea) is defined as uterine-derived painful cramps that occur during menstruation. It is one of the causes of pelvic pain and menstrual disorders. About 45% to 93% of women of childbearing age suffer from menstrual pain. Highest rate

Menstrual pain is divided into primary menstrual pain (without organic lesions) and secondary menstrual pain (with subpelvic lesions). The cause of the disease is still unclear. However, excessive secretion of uterine prostaglandins, especially PGF 2a and PGF 2, is the main cause of uterine contractions (peak during the first two days of menstrual cramps)

A randomized double-blind controlled trial (2 months, with 86 university students suffering from primary menstrual pain) pointed out that compared with placebo, oral propolis capsules (daily dose 500 mg) help to reduce the pain index (to Visual analog scale measurement). Note 1

*Conclusion: For primary menstrual pain, oral propolis is helpful for relieving symptoms, but it is limited by the small number of samples, and more large-scale studies are needed to support it.


  1. Propolis is good for diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcers (Diabetic foot ulcers) is a common diabetic complication with high morbidity, mortality and medical costs.

It is estimated that 19% to 34% of diabetic patients may be affected by diabetic foot ulcers in their lifetime, and the risk of death is increased by 2.5 times compared with diabetic patients without foot trauma.

Related adjuvant treatments include the following, such as: non-surgical debridement, dressings and topical medications, oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, cellular biological products, human growth factors, energy therapy and systemic therapy

A randomized placebo-controlled study (8 weeks, 31 diabetic foot ulcer patients) pointed out that compared with untreated subjects, the topical use of propolis can reduce the wound area. Note 2

In addition, propolis increases glutathione (glutathione), glutathione/glutathione disulfide ratio, reduces tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and increases interleukin-10 (interleukin-10) levels

*Conclusion: Local topical propolis has a positive effect on the care of diabetic foot ulcers, but it is limited by the small number of samples, and more research is needed to support it.


  1. Propolis is good for the common cold

Common colds are the most common human diseases and a term traditionally used for upper respiratory illnesses. They include a group of heterogeneous self-limiting diseases caused by many viruses (related viruses include More than 200 kinds, still in flux, the coronavirus usually causes more severe symptoms than rhinovirus).

In addition to affecting the quality of life, the common cold will also bring a huge economic burden to society due to work absenteeism (70 million working days in the United States each year are caused by non-flu-related viral respiratory infections, which is equivalent to 8 billion U.S. dollars Indirect costs, accounting for 40% of all work lost time)

A prospective epidemiological multi-center study (7 days, 40 children with acute rhinitis and common cold symptoms) pointed out that the use of propolis nasal spray (3 times a day) can improve cold symptoms and overall quality of life . Note 3

*Conclusion: The use of propolis spray is positively helpful for relieving colds, but it is limited by the small number of samples, and more research is needed for further verification


  1. Propolis is good for diabetes blood sugar control

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic progressive disease characterized by insulin resistance, islet cell dysfunction and excessive glucose production by the liver

There are currently more than 284 million people living with diabetes worldwide, and this number is expected to reach 439 million by 2030. If not handled properly, it can lead to many health complications and disability

A systematic literature review and integrated analysis (meta-analysis, including 6 randomized controlled trials, a total of 373 adults with type 2 diabetes) pointed out that propolis supplement (daily dose between 226 to 1500 mg, minimum and maximum duration of intervention) It is 56 and 180 days) can significantly reduce fasting plasma glucose (-13.51 mg/dl) and glycosylated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1C, -0.52%) concentrations (but there is no significant improvement in fasting insulin levels or insulin resistance). Note 1

*Conclusion: Oral propolis may have a positive effect on blood sugar control, but it is limited by too few studies, too short intervention expectations, and possible methodological errors. More studies are needed to support this.


  1. Propolis improves oral mucositis (caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy)

Oral Mucositis (Oral Mucositis) refers to the inflammatory state of the oral cavity and oropharyngeal mucosa after cancer patients receive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy

Oral mucositis initially manifests as erythema of the oral mucosa, then often develops into erosions and ulcers (usually covered by white fibrous pseudomembrane)

Stomatitis caused by chemotherapy is usually less serious and usually lasts 3-12 days, while stomatitis caused by radiotherapy can last 3-12 weeks, which can significantly affect nutritional intake, oral care, and quality of life

A literature meta-analysis (Meta-analysis, including 5 randomized controlled trials, 209 cancer patients undergoing chemical or radiotherapy) pointed out that the use of propolis mouthwash (2 – 3 times a day, 5-15 ml each time, continuous 7 to 180 days) the incidence of severe oral mucositis was significantly lower than the control group. Note 1

Conclusion: Propolis mouthwash is positively helpful in improving severe oral mucositis caused by chemotherapy, but it is limited by the small number of samples and the exclusion of studies other than Chinese and English, and more large-scale trials are needed to support it.


  1. Propolis is beneficial for wound healing

Wound repair is a very complex mechanism in the human body. It is a series of cell-molecule-guided processes of hemostasis, inflammation, cell proliferation, and tissue remodeling. This includes the migration and diffusion of epidermal cells and keratinocytes, fibroblast adhesion, and synthesis. Extracellular matrix proteins, connective tissue remodeling, etc. Note 1

However, for certain wounds, such as diabetes, chronic infections, burns and large wounds, care must be taken in wound management, and reducing wound infection is the first priority

A prospective feasibility study (6 weeks, with 24 diabetic foot ulcer patients) pointed out that applying propolis solution to the local wound area can reduce the ulcer area and accelerate the wound healing rate. Note 2

*Conclusion: Topical application of propolis may have the effect of accelerating wound healing, but the results still need to be confirmed by more large-scale controlled trials


  1. Propolis is good for cardiovascular disease

For a long time, cardiovascular disease has been regarded as a male-dominated disease. However, related studies have found that women have a higher relative risk, especially morbidity and mortality. Note 3

Women who have symptoms such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, etc., are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than men. In addition, depression is another important independent factor

A double-blind controlled study (90 days, 67 adults) pointed out that propolis not only helps increase the body’s antioxidant capacity (by increasing glutathione/glutathione and reducing lipid peroxidation index TBARS), but also Raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Note 1

*High-density lipoprotein cholesterol plays an important role in vascular diseases. It can neutralize the hardening effect of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol on the blood vessel wall and prevent its oxidation. Note 2

*Summary: Propolis can enhance the anti-oxidant effect and high density of good cholesterol. It has potential anti-cardiovascular disease effects, but more empirical confirmation is needed.


  1. Propolis is good for otitis media

Otitis media is a common bacterial infection in children. It is estimated that about 50%-85% of young children will experience acute otitis media once before the age of 3, and the prevalence period is usually between 6-15 months.

Due to the physiological structure, young children are more susceptible to otitis media. Possible reasons include the shorter, more elastic and horizontal position of the Eustachian tube, which makes it easier for pathogens to invade

The eustachian tube usually does not mature until after 7 years of age, which explains the decline in incidence after this age. In addition, the immune system is also an important factor.

A controlled study (3 months, 122 children under 5 years old) found that propolis solution (additional zinc) can help reduce the number of recurrent acute otitis media and the use of related drugs (antibiotics). Note 2


  1. Propolis is good for genital herpes

Genital herpes (HSV) is the fourth most common type of sexually transmitted diseases, affecting billions of people in the world. There are two main types of viruses that cause the disease, which are divided into type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex Herpes virus. Note 6

The first type of herpes simplex virus mainly affects the oropharynx and genitals, while the second type mainly affects the genitals. Both types of viruses are related to contact with the secretions of the patient’s oral, genital or anal mucosa.

The incidence of genital herpes in most countries is between 2-74%, and the difference is very large. In some African countries, the prevalence rate is more than 70%, which not only increases the risk of HIV infection, but also increases the transmission rate of HIV.

A controlled study pointed out that the effect of propolis ointment in the treatment of genital herpes lesions and local symptoms was not lost to acyclovir/acyclovir (a drug for the treatment of herpes) and placebo, and the incidence of repeated infections was also reduced to 55% ( Compared to 66% of the preliminary review). Note 5


Are there any side effects of propolis?

Propolis has been used by humans for hundreds of years. It is a safe natural substance (whether taken orally or externally), but its possible side effects include allergic reactions, such as skin rash, local burning, gastrointestinal discomfort and other allergic symptoms (but allergies may also occur after use. After a while