What is bee propolis?
Bee propolis or also referred as bee glue is a beehive product, similar to honey and royal jelly. Basically, it is a mixture of different resins that bees gather from various vegetations around them. Usually, the resin comes from tree buds, or sap flows. During the gathering process, they blend it together with their saliva or are at least, they partially metabolize.
Bees themselves use it to seal their hive and protect their colonies from harmful disease such as American Foulbrood.
Considering the health benefits, people use bee propolis as health supplements; furthermore, some of them use it as alternative medicine against heavy diseases such as cancer, chronic diabetes, etc.
It needs to be remembered that each specific type has different vegetation source. For example, European bee propolis uses poplar (Poppulus sp.) as it main resources, while Brazilian bee propolis uses Baccharis sp. as it vegetation resources. Bees use specific vegetations around them as the source. So the place where bee colonies live is an important factor.
What are bee propolis benefits for me?
Many researches and clinical studies found that it has numerous biological activities:
2. Anticancer and tumor-shrinking properties
3. Anti-inflammatory effect
4. Rich in antioxidant (due to its flavonoid compounds)
5. Hepatoprotective (liver protection).
The combination of those properties can produce positive result for our health. This is also the reason of why bee propolis can work effectively on many health problem such as fungus infection (i.e. candida infection), herpes, influenza, wound healing, hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, infertility, skin problem (e.g. warts, acne, boil,etc.), oral health problem (e.g. gingivitis, periodontitis, receding gums etc.) and many more.
For more information about the main health benefits of bee propolis, you can read this article
Is it really effective for any specific disease?
The effectiveness rate is very difficult to be determined, especially when we discuss it in general type. Due to chemical variability of bee propolis, the significance level of its health-related properties can be different from type to type.
For example, study found that the most significant cytotoxic activity against cancer belongs to bee propolis from Netherland and China, while sample from Peru shows a weaker cytotoxic activity.
For more information about chemical variability issues and its health benefits, you can read here or here
Is there any uses aside from health and medicinal concern?
In Africa, it is used for creating a waterproof layers for containers. It is also used as glue, wood preservatives/varnished especially for musical instruments (such as violins or guitar), preparing bow string and for tuning drums. In some car-polishing products, it is used as a catalyst to convert fats and oils into a car wax polishing products.
Is it safe to be consumed? How much safe is it?
Yes, it’s a very safe supplement unless you have allergy to it. The upper limit of it dose referring to LD50 is 7.34 gram/kg body mass. If you want to convert the raw number, it is equal to consume 513.8 gram of bee propolis at one time for a person who weighted 70kg. For more information about the toxicity concern, you can read here
What about propolis allergy?
People who suffer to propolis allergy are also equally allergy to bee sting and also other bee products. Based on the given statistic, the amount is approximated to be 0.001% – 0.002% of total population. That means 1 – 2 people out of 1,000 are suffered to this allergy.
To assess whether you have this kind of allergy or not, you can ask to your dermatologist for a patch testing. If you have this allergy, you will have a flare on your tested skin.
What are the allergy symptoms?
The most common symptom is dermatitis or skin inflammation. However, in some other cases, the symptoms can be:
- Oral inflammation/ulceration
- Mouth oedema (swelling),
- Nausea and stomach upsets.
What is the exact dosage for me?
The best way is following the written suggested dosage on your products. This is because bee propolis has wide chemical variability; hence, there is no international standardization yet. And if there is no international accepted standard, there is no such a thing as exact dosage. Usually, each manufacturer has their standardization. And based on that, they can determine the optimal dosage for you.
Is there any other side effect aside from allergy?
Personally, I’d say there is no side effect. However, there are two reported cases of acute renal failure as a result of bee propolis consumption. Some studies also assess the possibility of side effect. It is suggested that in excessive consumption, it might cause damage to our cells (genotoxic and cytotoxic). For more information about possible side effect, you can read this article
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