Bee propolis extract is all the rage these days. Its daily use is recommended by health magazines, nutritionists, and even some doctors. The extract can be easily found in local health stores and on the internet. Its popularity may have led you to wonder exactly what it is and whether this is something that could benefit you.
What is it?
Bee propolis extract is made out of propolis, a tacky, resin-like material that bees use to seal their hives. It is a mixture of beeswax and materials collected from the sap of trees and flowers, which gives it a sugary, mossy smell and dark color. Propolis is actually a mix of more than 300 composites some of which include steroids, minerals, sugar, vitamins, bee saliva, amino acids, and bioflavonoids.
Benefits of Propolis Extract
Bee extract has undergone several studies that support the health claims that have been made about it for hundreds of years. These claims hold that bee propolis has various properties that act as medicinal agents in the human body. These properties include:
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Researchers have found that the ability of bee propolis to act as an anti-inflammatory agent makes it useful in the healing of wounds and ulcers
- Anti-bacterial properties: Research has shown that the anti-bacterial properties of bee propolis is beneficial for fighting plaque and bacteria inside of the human mouth
- Anti-viral Properties: In various studies, individuals suffering from herpes outbreaks, caused by the herpes simplex type 2 virus, have found relief and a reduction of lesions by using creams containing bee propolis
- Respiratory tract infections: the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of bee propolis make it effective in the treatment of respiratory tract infections
- Infertility: A research study conducted in 2003 showed that a 500mg daily dosage of bee propolis extract in tablet form increased pregnancy rates for women with infertility problems.
- Hot Flashes: It is believed that it can help with hormone control and the relief of hot flashes during menopause
- Acne: Although there are not enough clinical trials to substantiate the claim, more holistic doctors and natural healers are prescribing bee propolis as an anti-bacterial to treat acne.
Bee propolis can be used topically or it can be taken orally. The stuff can come in ointments, tablets, pills, mouth rinses, sprays, or in liquid form. In research studies, patients often have taken a daily dosage of 500mgs. However, the FDA does not have any standard guidelines for usage.
Counter-Indications and Side Effects
As with other bee products, allergic reactions can occur when using bee propolis extract. There is also some evidence that propolis may have negative interactions with some cancer medications. It is important to consult with your doctor before using bee extract for health or medical reasons.
The bees have been busy! Worker bees gather materials to not only feed their hives, but protect them. Bee propolis is used to seal their hives from unwanted intruders, and to create sterilized areas to hatch their young. As humans, we can take advantage of many be products and byproducts like bee propolis extract in order to lead more healthy lives.