Propolis: MedlinePlus supplements

Propolis is a resin-like material obtained from poplar and conifer shoots - trees that produce cones. Propolis is rarely available in pure form. It is usually obtained from hives and contains products from bees.

Propolis has a long history of medicinal use, dating to 350 BC, the time of Aristotle. The Greeks have used propolis for abscesses; the Assyrians have used it to heal wounds and tumors; and the Egyptians have used it for mummification. It still has many medicinal uses, although its effectiveness has only been proven for a couple of them.

Propolis is used for infections caused by bacteria (including tuberculosis), viruses (including influenza, H1N1 swine flu and the common cold), by fungi and by unicellular organisms called protozoa. Propolis is also used for cancer of the nose and throat; to stimulate the immune system; and for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) problems, including Helicobacter pylori infection in peptic ulcer. Propolis is also used as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent.

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People sometimes apply propolis directly to the skin for wound cleansing and genital herpes; use it as a mouthwash to speed healing after oral surgery; and for the treatment of minor burns.

In the manufacturing industry, propolis is used as an ingredient in cosmetics.

  • Adam Floyd