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Propolis: Learn How This Natural Compound Fights Viruses, Bacteria and Its Potential Against COVID-19!

Propolis: Learn How This Natural Compound Fights  Viruses, Bacteria and Its Potential Against COVID-19!

The world is full of natural remedies and cures for illnesses and diseases that afflict us. While we may take a spoonful of honey to relieve cough, the health benefits of natural remedies like honey may go beyond that. One natural healing compound you should know about is propolis, another substance produced by honeybees. Learn more about propolis benefits and its potential as an aid against COVID-19.

What Is Propolis?

Propolis is a waxy substance that bees produce. It is also sometimes called “bee glue” because bees use it in building as well as repairing their hives. Since ancient times, humans have used bee glue in different ways. Ancient Greeks and Romans utilized it for its disinfectant properties, and to aid in wound healing. And in traditional medicine, it is used for its reported antibacterial properties.

These days, you can find propolis in the form of health food, in cosmetics, alternative cold medicine, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and even throat sprays. These products use a purified form of propolis. What this means is that through various processes, the waxy substances have been removed, leaving only the active ingredients.

propolis benefits

What Are the Health Benefits of Propolis?

Propolis benefits also include antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. But perhaps most significantly during these times, it may also prove to be a potential tool to help reduce the health risk and impact of COVID-19 infection.

Antibacterial Benefits

Leading the way among the many propolis benefits is the compound’s antibacterial properties. In an in vitro study by Kumar et al1, 2, propolis extract proved to be effective against gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, and Asparagus nigar. Other studies have also observed propolis’ effectiveness against other bacteria.

For this reason, propolis is used as a natural remedy for a variety of bacterial infections such as:

  • Respiratory tract infections, the common cold, and sore throat
  • Wound healing, burns or acne

A Potential Aid that Fights COVID-19 Complications

In a review, “Propolis and its potential against SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID 19” by Berretta A.A. et al3, researchers observed that propolis has shown promise as an aid in the management of various comorbidities (e.g respiratory conditions, hypertension, diabetes, etc) which can help reduce the health risk and impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID patients.

In particular, COVID-19 infection is characterized by the binding of its viral spike to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Propolis is believed to exhibit anti inflammatory properties, aiding in reduction of viral replication and enhancing immunity. Propolis has also been shown to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties.

Currently, there is no specific therapy approved for COVID-19. Handwashing, social distancing and mask wearing are the current mainstays for the reduction of viral spread. And thanks to this study, propolis could prove to be another valuable aid moving forward.

Strengthens the Immune System

Researchers also found that propolis has a positive effect on a person’s immune system. The antioxidants that it contains essentially work as an immunomodulator, or a substance that changes the body’s immune response to keep it active and ready to fight any threats to the body.

Antifungal Benefits

Propolis also has antifungal properties. Based on in vitro studies, researchers have found that propolis showed promise when it comes to inhibiting the growth of some types of fungi and can have the potential for the treatment of some fungal infections. The flavonoids present in propolis contribute to its fungicide effects on certain fungi, namely, Candida famata, C. glabrata, C. kefyr, C. pelliculosa, C. parapsilosis, and Pichia ohmeri. It is also the bee product with the highest antifungal activity as tested with 40 different yeast strains of C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. krusei, Trichosporon spp., and Rhodotorula spp2.

Key Takeaways

Propolis has been long used in traditional herbal medicine as a health supplement. It may now also be a potential aid in the management of COVID-19 infection. However, it is important to note that despite the potential health benefits and the recent studies on COVID-19, you should not use it as a replacement for medical advice, treatment or medication.

It is always a good idea to first consult your doctor whenever you are trying out any new products or supplements. This way, they can guide you on how to choose a product that is suitable for you.

propolis benefits

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Kumar N, et al. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of propolis from  Tamil Nadu zone. J Medicinal Plants Res 2008;2(12):361–364. 

2 Wagh VD. Propolis: A wonder bees product and its pharmacological potentials. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2013;2013:308249. 

3 Berretta AA, et al. Propolis and its potential against SARS-CoV-2 infection  mechanisms and COVID-19 disease: Running title: Propolis against  SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19. Biomed Pharmacother. 2020;131:110622.

Ota C, et al. Antifungal activity of propolis on different species of Candida. Mycoses 2001;44(9-10):375-378. 

Hernandez Zarate MS, et al. Flavonoids, phenolic content, and antioxidant  activity of propolis from various areas of Guanajuato, Mexico. Food  Science and Technology (Campinas) 2018;38(4):DDOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/fst.29916 

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated a week ago
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran
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