Propolis is a resin-like material from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees. Propolis is rarely available in its pure form.
Propolis is now believed to:
- Reinforce the structural stability of the hive
- Reduce vibration
- Make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances
- Prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive, and to inhibit bacterial growth
- Prevent putrefaction within the hive. Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive. However if a small lizard or mouse, for example, finds its way into the hive and dies there, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odorless and harmless.
1. As an antimicrobial
Depending upon its composition, propolis may show powerful local antibiotic and antifungal properties.
2. As an emollient
Studies also indicate that it may be effective in treating skin burns.
3. As an immunomodulator
Propolis also exhibits immunostimulant effects.
4. As a dental antiplaque agent
Propolis is a subject of recent dentistry research, since there is some evidence that propolis may actively protect against dental caries and other forms of oral disease, due to its antimicrobial properties.Propolis can also be used to treat canker sores. Its use in canal debridement for endodontic procedures has been explored in Brazil.
5. As an antitumor growth agent
Propolis' use in inhibiting tumorigenesis has been studied in mice in Japan.In pre-clinical models of human breast cancer, propolis induces cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and reduces expression of growth and transcription factors, including NF-KB. Notably, caffeic acid phenethyl ester down-regulates mdr-1 gene, considered responsible for the resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.