Research into propolis
Cancer-fighting abilities - According to a study published in the February 2004 edition of the American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, propolis contains therapeutic compounds that can kill MCF-7, a breast carcinoma cell. After being given a propolis extract, 13 percent of the cancer cells present in the volunteers were eliminated in 24 hours. A later, unrelated study published in the November edition of BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine also found that Chinese red propolis (as well as other bee products like bee pollen and royal jelly) could inhibit the cancer-causing vascular endothelial growth factor.
Powerful anti-inflammatory - A study published in the June 2008 edition of European Journal of Pharmacology showed that Brazilian propolis contains a component called Artipillin C, which possesses considerable anti-inflammatory properties and helps to heal wounds. Additional research has shown that propolis can be applied topically, like a cream, to treat skin inflammations.
Antioxidant activity - Studies such as that found in the December 2004 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have demonstrated that propolis sourced from a variety of countries contain flavonoid and polyphenolic components, which possess marked antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are, of course, needed to combat the cell-damaging activities of free radicals, which can trigger cancer and other degenerative diseases like macular degeneration if left unchecked. Additionally, eating antioxidant-rich foods like propolis provides anti-aging benefits.
Immune-boosting properties - According to a study published in the August 2010 edition of Phytotherapy Research, propolis contains proteins and compounds that have the ability to alter and regulate the immune system, and which possess anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits.
Anti-septic properties - Propolis has been utilized as an anti-septic ointment for centuries due to its numerous active ingredients such as phenolic acids, terpenes, and amino acids. Ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, also claimed that propolis and other bee products had the ability to accelerate the healing of wounds such as cuts, bruises, and canker sores. Modern science is now catching up with this ancient knowledge; a study published in the September/October 2009 edition of Wound Repair and Regeneration, for instance, proved that the topical application of propolis on rodents' diabetes-based wound closures greatly accelerated the healing response.
Rich in vitamins and minerals - Research into the composition of propolis shows that it supplies our bodies with up to 60 trace minerals, including varying amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, silica, potassium, phosphorous, copper, cobalt, as well as 16 amino acids. It also contains vitamin A (carotene) and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. For this reason, propolis is much better than any multivitamin tablet, which usually contain similar ingredients but in synthetic forms.
Evidently, a lot of studies have been done on propolis that have confirmed centuries-old wisdom. However, propolis has also been linked to other benefits that are either presently unconfirmed by studies, or hindered by tenuous evidence. These include its alleged ability to prevent the formation of dental plaque, and its ability to treat serious conditions such as tuberculosis and hepatitis without side effects.
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About the author:
Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer from the United Kingdom whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website Spiritfoods, through which he helps to promote the world's healthiest foods, whether they be established superfruits such as mangosteen or lesser-known health supplements like blackstrap molasses.
Michael is also the creator of the companion site Spiritcures, which details his research into the best home remedies for common medical conditions such as hair loss.