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Propolis is a resin naturally produced by bees from tree sap, which is combined with bee wax and saliva, resulting in a sticky brown product that serves as a coating and protection for the hive.
Currently, more than 300 compounds have been identified in propolis, most in the form of polyphenols that act as antioxidants, helping to prevent and fight diseases. Propolis also has properties that protect against bacteria, viruses and fungi, as well as being anti-inflammatory and has a healing action.
Propolis varies between brown, green or red colors and the most common form of presentation is in extract, but it is also found in powder and in the base of other products that use this ingredient such as creams, ointments, capsules and even cosmetics.Learn more about propolis in the following video:
Thus, due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, propolis can bring several he alth benefits, being able to serve for:
1. Strengthen the immune system
One of the best known properties of propolis is its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antiviral action, strengthening the immune system against local infections throughout the body.
For this reason, propolis has been recommended to help treat strep throat and tonsillitis. In addition, the resin is also indicated to treat respiratory problems, such as flu, sinusitis and colds.
2. Accelerate wound healing
Propolis has been proven to act on skin lesions, preventing the growth and action of bacteria, yeasts and fungi, accelerating the healing process. Applying propolis to the skin every 3 days can help treat minor burns and prevent infections.However, more studies are needed to define the dose and effects of this compound.
When compared to the anti-inflammatory action of Dexamethasone, for example, propolis showed better results in the treatment of surgical wounds in the mouth. Propolis also accelerates the healing of wounds on the feet of people with diabetes and promotes recovery from burns by accelerating the growth of he althy new cells.
3. Help treat herpes
Some ointments contain propolis in their composition, such as Herstat or Coldsore-FX, which act to reduce symptoms and faster healing of cold sores and genital herpes. However, propolis alone has also shown results, if applied 3 to 4 times a day on the wound, presenting a more efficient healing time than with other substances, such as Acyclovir, which is normally indicated in the treatment of herpes.
Furthermore, the use of propolis cream is already associated with protecting the body against future herpes lesions.
4. Cure canker sores and gingivitis
Because of its antimicrobial properties, taking propolis every day, orally, fights and reduces canker sores as well as preventing them from appearing. The same happens in the case of people with gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum, where propolis can be used in gel or with a rinse, preventing and reducing the signs of the disease, in addition to helping to fight bad breath.
5. Prevent against cancer
Propolis has an anti-cancer effect, as it is an immunomodulator, it can increase antibody activity, reducing the chance of cells becoming cancerous and preventing their multiplication. Some studies indicate that the use of propolis as a complementary treatment for breast cancer is quite effective.
6. Protect against Helicobacter pylori
Propolis has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, in addition to being able to model enzymatic activities, and, therefore, has been considered as an alternative for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori), helping to relieve symptoms of gastritis, peptic ulcer and some types of cancer.
How to use propolis
Propolis can be used directly on the skin, in water for steam inhalations, for gargling or can be taken neat or diluted in water or tea.
Pure propolis is resin dehydrated and ground into flakes. This form is more difficult to find, but it is sold in he alth food stores or directly with producers and can be consumed in addition to juices or yogurt. The extract is concentrated propolis diluted in alcohol or water.
There are already creams, ointments and lotions containing the resin on the market, and to be ingested it is found in the form of pills, liquid extract and capsules and also exists in functional foods and cosmetics. Propolis can be found and purchased at pharmacies and he alth food stores or directly from producers.
Propolis is marketed in different concentrations and therefore there are still no studies that indicate a recommended dose. There is usually a suggested dose recommendation on the product label, but it is advisable to consult a doctor or he alth professional specialized in the use of the resin before using it.
Possible side effects
The main side effect that can occur with the use of propolis is the allergic reaction that causes symptoms such as swelling, redness, itching or hives on the skin.
To avoid severe allergy reactions, it is recommended to do a sensitivity test before using the propolis, for which it is only necessary to drip 2 drops of the extract on the forearm and wait between 20 to 30 minutes and check for itching or skin redness.
Who should not use
Propolis extract is contraindicated for people with allergies to bees, propolis or any of the components of the product formula. During pregnancy or lactation, propolis should only be used with medical advice.
In addition, versions of the extract with alcohol in the composition are also contraindicated for children under 12 years of age and alcoholics.