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What is bee propolis


Bees gather balsam from the buds of birch and poplar trees and resins from conifer trees. They mix them with their own exudates such as saliva, pollen, wax and digestive enzymes to form propolis: a dark, resinous gum with a strong antiseptic smell. It is not soluble in water and only dissolves in pure alcohol. In cold weather it is very hard but it becomes sticky when heated. Bees use propolis to waterproof their hives as well as keep the insides of their hives sterile and keep themselves free from diseases. Propolis is rich in vitamins, bioflavonoids, enzymes and trace elements.

The main chemical classes found in propolis are flavonoids, phenolics and terpenes. The flavonoids include quercetin, apigenin, galangin, kaempferol, luteolin, pinocembrin, pinostrobin and pinobanksin. Galangin is one of the most effective antibiotics we have, and it is a natural substance! The phenolic ester (caffeic acid phenethyl ester or CAPE) present in propolis is receiving much attention by medical researchers because of its potential for the treatment of a number of disorders, including spinal cord injury as well as immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities. Laboratory testing has confirmed that propolis is: antiviral, (including anti HIV-1 activity), antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant, antimycoplasmic, antiparasitic, anticarcinogenic and antithrombotic.

Propolis also has anaesthetizing properties and instantly stops the pain from a bee sting. It has a powerful anti-inflammatory action and may be helpful for arthritic conditions. This is due to caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) that inhibits the lipoxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid that causes inflammation. Ladies with endometriosis who take propolis have a 60% more chance of falling pregnant and have less pain and inflammation with this disorder. (see; Your Life: information on endometriosis and search ENDOMETRIOSIS in the left hand navigation.

What can bee propolis be used for?

Topical treatment: Medical studies have shown that topical application of propolis in tinctures or ointments helps against genital herpes, cold sores, dental caries, periodontal disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, eczemas, scars, psoriasis and fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot. The tincture applied to bee stings gives instant pain relief and reduction of swelling. Propolis remedies are also good for earache or infections of the outer ear. Propolis preparations can be applied to cuts, scratches and surgical wounds. Propolis tincture made from alcohol can be used directly for bee stings, or diluted with a little water or hand lotion for other applications. A propolis, beeswax and honey ointment such as Nature Fresh Bee Balm is ideal for external use, especially on dry, scaly skin conditions and scars.

Taking propolis for health and vitality: Several studies suggest that propolis taken as a tincture or in tablet form is useful in treating the common cold, influenza, microbes, parasites, stomach ulcers and respiratory problems.

Respiratory complaints: Very effective if taken as a tincture for: colds, influenza, catarrh, rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis and sore throats. Doctors can support therapy for: asthma, chronic pneumonia and tuberculosis with propolis.

Stomach and digestive disorders: Stomach ulcers from helicobacter pylori infections. Effective in large, frequent doses for gastritis, dysentery, diarrhoea, and leaky gut syndrome caused by parasites, worm and fluke infestations.

What is the best way to take Nature Fresh bee propolis tincture?

Dosage guidelines: 2 - 5 drops in 50 ml warm water, or ½ teaspoon of honey twice a day is the average serving for adults as a health supplement. For babies and small children, 2 drops once or twice a day is sufficient.

For more effective treatment: take 5 – 10 drops of propolis tincture 3x a day. Evidently there is no limit to the daily intake and no toxic or adverse side effects have been reported. (Providing you are not allergic to the substance). 

How to make your own propolis honey:

This is very convenient and you soon learn to love it! Place 100 ml of honey in a jar and stir in the tincture you need:

5ml(1 teaspoon) of tincture = 100 drops. This will mean 1 drop in each 1 ml of honey. Thus a teaspoon of honey will contain 5 drops of tincture. Take the honey as is, or add it to rooibos tea or warm water, so that the alcohol is removed.

For 10 drops a day, add 10 ml (2 teaspoons) tincture to the 100 ml honey and have 1 teaspoon a day. (Or 2 x ½ teaspoon). For very intensive treatment, eg: getting rid of parasites or a stomach ulcer, take 10 drops 3x a day, before meals. Do this for a week and then reduce to 5 drops 3x a day for the second week. Afterwards, take 5 drops a day.

Side Effects and special precautions

Few side effects, other than allergic reactions, have been reported with propolis. Do not use propolis if you are allergic to bee products, balsam or pine resin. Allergic reactions may cause swelling, redness, eczema or fever and it may irritate the skin, causing burning, peeling lips, irritation, lesions, itching, swelling, psoriasis or eczema. Dilute the propolis and test a small area first.When used in the mouth, propolis may irritate the mucous membranes.

Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

There is not enough scientific information in this area, but many pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and small babies have been successfully treated with propolis products as an alternative to antibiotics and other potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Find a practitioner or health shop who is more experienced in this field so you can take propolis under professional guidance should you be in doubt. 


Burdock GA. Review of the biological properties and toxicity of bee propolis (propolis). Food Chem Toxicol. 1998; 36:347-363. Chopra S, Pillai KK, Husain SZ, Giri DK. Propolis protects against doxorubicin-induced myocardiopathy in rats. Exp Mol Pathol. 1995; 62:190-198.El-Ghazaly MA, Khayyal MT. The use of aqueous propolis extract against radiation-induced damage. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 1995; 21:229-236.Grange JM, Davey RW. Antibacterial properties of propolis (bee glue). J.R Soc Med. 1990; 83:159-160.Harish Z, Rubinstein A, Golodner M, et al. Suppression of HIV-1 replication by propolis and its immunoregulatory effect. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 1997; 23:89-96.Khayyal MT, el-Ghazaly MA, el-Khatib AS. Mechanism involved in the anti-inflammatory effect of propolis extract. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 1993; 19:197-203.Kujumgiev A, Tsverkova I, Serkedjieva Y, et al. Antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity of propolis of different geographic origins. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999; 64:235-240.Ledon N, Casaco A, Gonzales R, et al. Antipsoriatic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of an extract of red propolis. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao. 1997; 18:274-276.Lin SC, Lin YH, Chen CF, et al. The hepatoprotective and therapeutic effects of propolis ethanol extract on chronic alcohol-induced liver injuries. Am J Chin Med 1997; 25:325-332.Matsuno T, Jung SK, Matsumoto Y, et al. Preferential cytotoxicity to tumor cells of 3, 5-diprenyl-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (artipillin C) isolated from propolis. Anticancer Res. 1997; 17(5A):3565-3568.Mirzoeva OK, Calder PC. The effect of propolis and its components on eicosanoid production during the inflammatory response. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1996; 55:441-449.Mirzoeva OK, Grishanin RN, Calder PC. Antimicrobial actin of propolis and some of its components: the effects on growth, membrane potential and motility of bacteria. Microbiol Res. 1997; 152:239-246.Natarajan K, Singh S, Burke TR Jr, et al. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester is a potent and specific inhibitor of activation of nuclear transcription factor NF-Kappa B. Proc NatlAcad Sci. 1996; 93:9090-9095.Ozturk F, Kurt E, Cerci M, et al. The effect of propolis extract in experimental chemical corneal injury. Ophthalmic Res. 2000; 32:13-18.Park EH, Kahng JH. Suppressive effects of propolis in rat adjuvant arthritis. Arch PharmRes. 1999; 22:554-558.Rao CV, Desai D, Simi B, et al. Inhibitory effect of caffeic acid esters on azoxymethane-induced biochemical change and aberrant crypt foci formation in rat colon. Cancer Res. 1993; 53:4182-4188.

Special note: This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health practitioner first if you are: pregnant, breastfeeding or epileptic or if you have a serious health condition. You are responsible for your own health and safety. 

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