Bee propolis is a sticky substance that bees make from the barks of trees, and from their own salivary secretions. Propolis is used by the bees to repair damage to their hives, and to help seal the hive from invaders. It has a long history of medicinal use in Europe, however it is relatively new in the United States. It is found naturally in honey, and is available in tablet, powder and in the form of an extract. According to Vitaminstuff.com, studies citing the benefits of propolis have been encouraging, however, research is ongoing and inconclusive. Because allergies to bee related products exist, a physician should be contacted before taking propolis in any form.
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According to Medline Plus, animal and laboratory studies suggest that propolis may be useful in treating different types of infections. Vitaminstuff.com reports that clinical studies demonstrate that propolis slows the growth of the bacteria that cause staph infections. The results of a study published on the Directory Of Open Access Journals website, showed that propolis collected from two areas of Brazil inhibited the growth of salmonella bacteria. According to Medline Plus, propolis has shown promise in treating urinary tract infections and giardia infections, however more research needs to be performed. Propolis helps to kill bacteria in the mouth, so it may be useful in preventing oral infections. Because of this benefit, It is possible to obtain a mouthwash containing up to 10 percent propolis extract.
Anti-Inflammatory and Wound Healing Properties
The results of a study published in PubMed.gov, concluded that propolis accelerated the healing of diabetic ulcers in rats. Propolis is rich in bioflavenoids, which have proven anti inflammatory properties. According to MedLine Plus, propolis could be an effective treatment for vaginal inflammation, however more research needs to be done. Research with animals has shown that propolis may be effective at healing oral wounds after tooth extraction. Other possible oral uses of propolis would be in decreasing the frequency of canker sores. Again, more research needs to be done.
Medline Plus reports that studies on humans, despite being poorly designed, have shown propolis to be effective in treating the lesions caused by the herpes simplex virus. Better designed studies on humans are necessary before Propolis can be considered an effective treatment for herpes. Some evidence exists that propolis can effectively fight the virus that causes the common cold, but more research is necessary.