5 Bee Propolis Benefits + Dosage, Side Effects

Propolis is one of the world’s oldest medicines. Research suggests it may help fight infections, boost the immune system, and improve type 2 diabetes. Used since prehistoric times, the ancient Egyptians even considered it holy. Read on to learn about the potential health benefits of propolis, along with its most common side effects and dosage information.

What Is Propolis?

The natural form of propolis – also known as bee’s glue – is a hard, brittle resin that becomes very sticky and waxy when heated up. The word propolis means “suburb” in Greek, as the bees use propolis to extend and defend their hives [1].

Propolis is produced by honeybees using plant parts and sap. Bees use propolis as a type of cement for building, repairing, and protecting their hives against bacteria and intruders. Observing bees, humans all over the world learned to use propolis for millennia as a health supplement, “cure-all”, and even for rituals such as mummification [2, 1, 3].

Recent research and interest in propolis revealed its potential health benefits for lowering blood pressure, strengthening the bones, helping to heal wounds, and protecting the liver [4, 5].

This article will guide you through the modern uses of this ancient remedy.

Propolis Bioactive Compounds

The chemical makeup of propolis is closely connected to its geographical origin, flora, and the bee species. It can vary widely, even from hive to hive [6].

Organic propolis is typically dark brown or green in color, has a sweet smell, and is made up of [7, 8, 9, 10]:

The main active ingredients in propolis are flavonoids such as chrysin, which are strong antioxidants that bees get from plant and flower parts. Bees make propolis by mixing their saliva with plant material, pollen, and beeswax [11].

Over 300 biologically active ingredients have been identified in propolis thus far, including fragrant chemicals, acids, carbohydrates, plant oils, and vitamins (B1, B2, C, and E). New types of propolis are being discovered as interest grows around the world [12].

Mechanism of Action

A large number of bioactive and