What is propolis and how it is produced by bees

Propolis is produced by bees to protect the hive from microorganisms. It is used to treat various winter ailments.Bees use this substance for its biological properties (antibacterial and antifungal), to close holes and cracks, and to rebuild honeycombs and strengthen their thin edges.

Propolis is made up of:

Resins 50%
Wax 30%
Essential oils 10%
Pollen 5%
Minerals and organic compounds, such as phenolic acids (for example cinnamic acid and caffeic acid) and their derivatives, flavonoids, terpenes, aldehydes and alcohols, fatty acids , stilbens and beta-steroids

Today propolis represents a complementary remedy and an ingredient for food supplements used both for the purpose of treatment and as a preventive weapon in different parts of the world.It is usually used in autumn and cooling diseases of the upper respiratory tract such as sore throat and cold, because it is able to damage and kill many bacteria and its effect is proportional to the concentration used.

It is also widely used in the treatment of various disorders affecting the digestive system , such as:

  • mucositis (an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the oral cavity)
  • the gastritis
  • the peptic ulcer
  • ulcerative colitis.

It is also used in the dermatological field, for example for the treatment of:

  • ulcers
  • burns
  • afte
  • warts
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • psoriasis
  • cold sores and genital

In addition, it is considered a disinfectant and healing remedy.

It has the advantage of being broad-spectrum, that is, of being effective on many types of pathogens and of not being subject to bacterial resistance.

How to use

The market offers various products based on propolis, which in some cases is associated with other ingredients from the hive, such as bee pollen and honey, or with essential oils or herbs (as in the case of the hydroalcoholic extract of propolis and echinacea ).

It can be used locally, with sprays to be sprayed at the throat or systemically, in chewable tablets or liquid preparations , or in the form of drops, syrups, candies, chewing gum, creams and ointments.

Inside a food supplement, the dry extract must be titrated in total flavonoids expressed in galangine at least 8% and it should be taken from 300 to 500 mg per day between meals.

In addition, propolis is an ingredient widely used also by the cosmetic industry, which adds it to shampoos, conditioners, lotions, lip balm, toothpastes and even nail polishes.

Finally, it is also used as an additive (both as a preservative and as an aroma).

Side effects

In general, propolis, even when taken orally, is considered a safe substance; however its intake has been associated with possible side effects, in particular with the appearance of gastrointestinal symptoms, convulsions and a suspicion of renal failure .

In sensitive subjects it can cause dryness of the oral mucosa and pain or heartburn or diarrhea , which disappear with the suspension of treatment.In allergic subjects, it can cause skin reactions and dermatitis that regress with the suspension of treatment.

Furthermore, the use of chewing gums, toothpastes, mouthwashes and other oral products can be associated with the appearance of:

  • allergic stomatitis (sometimes even with ulcer formation)
  • swelling of the lips and oral cavity
  • eczema around the mouth
  • breathing difficulties
  • cheilitis (an inflammation of the lips that starts from the corners of the mouth).


Like all bioflavonoid-containing substances, propolis should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and should not be given to children under the age of one year.

Propolis is not just an antibiotic!

The antibiotic effects of propolis are known by almost everyone. The same can not be said of secondary important properties, able to help our metabolic and immune system.

  • The presence of flavones and flovonoids strengthen the immune system
  • Propolis stimulates the thymus, a gland responsible for regulating the hormonal and immune system in the pubertal period
  • It has a remarkable anti-inflammatory power and accelerates wound healing . The reason is to be found in its ability to activate the metabolism to double its rhythm.
  • Propolis, if taken regularly, is able to improve the physical and mental conditions of older people..

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