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The extraordinary health benefits of propolis

Propolis is a resinous mixture produced by honey bees

The extraordinary health benefits of propolis
Propolis is available in different presentations - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 19/08/2020 18:10 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 18:10

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If you have ever had a sore throat, you might have heard about a very common home remedy: eating a propolis pill, lollipop, or drinking a bit of syrup. This natural substance is excellent for this kind of condition although it also has important health properties.

Although it is also produced by bees, propolis is different from honey and royal jelly, including the part of the beehive from which it is extracted, the presentations in which it is available, and the uses it can have.

According to Mel i Salut and MedlinePlus, propolis is a resinous mixture produced by bees from poplar sprouts and other trees that produces cones. It is generally obtained from beehives since bees use it to build them.

The nutritional content of propolis consists of resin, balms, bee wax, essential oils, pollen, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins. This provides healing, anti-inflammatory, bactericide, antioxidant, and immuno-stimulant properties.

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Although propolis is highly beneficial in its natural version, it is rarely found available in this presentation. It is more likely to find it on other presentations that are easier to consume.

Natural propolis comes in small cubes that must be chewed or licked until they have released all their pulp. The advantage of this presentation is that it has no added ingredients and the natural properties are preserved better.

Another way to eat it is as an extract; it comes in a bottle with a dropper and can contain added ingredients such as alcohol, honey, or eucalypt. This version can be diluted in liquids.

Propolis is also available in pills, tablets, and capsules, in addition to being an essential oil in ointments, creams, and lotions.

According to Verywell Health, the benefits of eating propolis have been verified. The first and most popular benefit is that it encourages the creation of antibodies and increases resistance to catarrhal inflammation, so it helps ease throat pain and the respiratory tract.

Another health benefit of propolis is that it helps with gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal cancer, and ulcers. This is due to its high content of caffeic acid, artepilin C, kaempferol, and propolis galangin. It can also help control cavities because its compounds help inhibit the growth of the Streptococcus mutans, a mouth bacteria that contributes to the development of cavities.

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Moreover, a study performed by the School of Higher Studies Cuautitlán (FES)  of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) showed that propolis is a natural element that can prevent infections from viral diseases, from seasonal influenza to COVID-19.

FES professorTonatiuh Cruz Sánchez asserted that propolis is a great option to avoid viral diseases, including coronavirus since it strengthens the immune system.

The tests to analyze the effects of propolis, performed by Cruz Sánchez along with researchers from the Laboratory or Veterinary Morphology and Cellular Biology, determined the antiviral result of propolis in cell cultures infected with different viruses.

María de Jesús González Búrquez, who is in charge of the laboratory, explained that they studied propolis during its collocation in a cell culture before the virus reproduced in all the organism, that is, before the body got sick.

Therefore, the UNAM experts warned that the best results were achieved when propolis was used before the presence of the virus.

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