Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 StarsReliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 StarsContradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 StarFor an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Common Cold and Sore Throat
500 mg one to two times per day
Propolis extracts may be helpful in preventing and shortening the duration of the common cold.
Propolis is the resinous substance collected by bees from the leaf buds and bark of trees, especially poplar and conifer trees. Propolis extracts may be helpful in preventing and shortening the duration of the common cold. A preliminary clinical trial reported propolis extract (daily dose not given) reduced upper respiratory infections in children.1 In one small, double-blind trial of propolis for the common cold, the group taking propolis extract (amount unstated) became free of symptoms more quickly than the placebo group.2 Most manufacturers recommend 500 mg of oral propolis products once or twice daily.
Female Infertility and Endometriosis
500 mg twice per day
For infertile women with endometriosis, taking propolis may improve the likelihood of pregnancy.
In a preliminary study of women with infertility and mild endometriosis, supplementation with propolis (500 mg twice a day for six months) was associated with a pregnancy rate of 60%, compared with a rate of 20% in the placebo group (a statistically significant difference).3 Whether propolis would be beneficial for infertile women who do not have endometriosis is not known.
Apply a 3% propolis ointment to the lesions four times per day
One study found that an ointment containing propolis was almost twice as effective against herpes as topical antiviral medication or a placebo ointment.
A test tube study found that flavonoids present in propolis are responsible for the supplement’s antiviral action.4 A controlled study found that an ointment containing propolis, used four times daily, was almost twice as effective as topical antiviral medication or a placebo ointment.5
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
Propolis, a resinous substance collected by bees from trees, has antimicrobial properties that may help protect against parasitic infections in the gastrointestinal tract.
Propolis is a resinous substance collected by bees from the leaf buds and bark of trees, especially poplar and conifer trees. The antimicrobial properties of propolis may help protect against parasitic infections in the gastrointestinal tract. One preliminary trial of propolis extract for children and adults with giardiasis showed a 52% rate of successful parasite elimination in children and a 60% elimination rate in adults (amount not stated).6 These results are not as impressive as those achieved with conventional drugs for giardiasis, though, so propolis should not be used as the sole therapy for parasites without first consulting a physician about available medical treatment.
Apply a topical product according to package directions
Propolis, the resinous substance collected by bees from trees, has anti-inflammatory effects and appears to improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Propolis is the resinous substance collected by bees from the leaf buds and bark of trees, especially poplar and conifer trees. Anti-inflammatory effects from topical application of propolis extract have been noted in one animal study,7and a preliminary controlled trial found that patients with RA treated with topical propolis extract (amount and duration not noted) had greater improvements in symptoms compared to placebo.8
Apply an alcohol extract containing 2 grams per 25 ml four times per day
In one study, topical application of an alcohol extract of Brazilian propolis resolved candidiasis people who were had oral candidiasis associated with denture use.
In a preliminary study, topical application of an alcohol extract of Brazilian propolis resolved candidiasis in 12 of 12 people who were experiencing oral candidiasis associated with the use of dentures. The extract, which was prepared by mixing 2 grams of dried propolis in 25 ml of an 80:20 alcohol:water solution, was applied to the lesions four times a day for seven days.9
Refer to label instructions
Applying an ointment containing propolis has been shown to relieve genital herpes. It is likely that this treatment might also benefit people with cold sores.
Application of an ointment containing propolis, the resin collected by bees from trees, has been shown to relieve genital herpes more effectively than topical acyclovir.10 It is likely that this treatment might also benefit people with cold sores, although this has not been tested. Propolis ointment should be applied four times per day.
How It Works
How to Use It
Most manufacturers recommend 500 mg of oral propolis products once or twice daily. For topical applications, follow label instructions.
Where to Find It
Propolis is available in liquid extract form as well as in capsules and tablets. Topical creams and sprays containing propolis are also available, but whether they closely resemble topical propolis products used in research is unclear.
Propolis is not an essential nutrient and no deficiency states have been reported.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.
Interactions with Medicines
As of the last update, no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
Propolis is generally nontoxic, though allergic reactions have been reported.11 These reactions are typically limited to skin rashes;12 however, as with other bee products (e.g., pollen and royal jelly), more severe allergic reactions are possible. People who are allergic to bee pollen, honey, or conifer and poplar trees should not use propolis unless tested first by an allergy specialist. As the effects of propolis during pregnancy and breast-feeding have not been sufficiently evaluated, women should not use it during these times unless directed to do so by a physician.
1. Crisan I, Zaharia CN, Popovici F, et al. Natural propolis extract NIVCRISOL in the treatment of acute and chronic rhinopharyngitis in children. Rom J Virol 1995;46:115–33.
2. Szmeja Z, Kulczynski B, Sosnowski Z, Konopacki K. Therapeutic value of flavonoids in Rhinovirus infections. Otolaryngol Pol 1989;43(3):180–4 [in Polish].
3. Ali AFM, Awadallah A. Bee propolis versus placebo in the treatment of infertility associated with
minimal or mild endometriosis: a pilot randomized controlled trial. A modern trend. Fertil Steril2003;80(Suppl 3):S32 [abstract].
4. Debiaggi M, Tateo F, Pagani L, et al. Effects of propolis flavonoids on virus infectivity and replication. Microbiologica 1990;13:207–13.
5. Vynograd N, Vynograd I, Sosnowski Z. A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV). Phytomedicine 2000;7:1–6.
6. Miyares C, Hollands I, Castaneda C, et al. Clinical trial with a preparation based on propolis “propolisina” in human giardiasis. Acta Gastroenterol Latinoam 1988;18:195–201.
7. Park EH, Kahng JH. Suppressive effects of propolis in rat adjuvant arthritis. Arch Pharm Res 1999;22:554–8.
8. Siro B, Szelekovszky S, Lakatos B, et al. Local treatment of rheumatic diseases with propolis compounds. Orv Hetil 1996;137:1365–70 [in Hungarian].
9. Santos VR, Pimenta FJ, Aguiar MC, et al. Oral candidiasis treatment with Brazilian ethanol propolis extract. Phytother Res2005;19:652–4.
10. Vynograd N, Vynograd I, Sosnowski Z. A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV). Phytomedicine 2000;7:1–6.
11. Burdock GA. Review of the biological properties and toxicity of bee propolis (propolis). Food Chem Toxicol 1998;36:347–63 [review].
12. Hausen BM, Wollenweber E, Senff H, Post B. Propolis allergy. (I). Origin, properties, usage and literature review. Contact Dermatitis 1987;17:163–70 [review].
The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2013.
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