Propolis / Bee Products

One of the most well-documented products from the honey bee, propolis (also called Russian penicillin or bee glue) is known in countries outside the United States as a powerful, natural antibiotic. The former Soviet Union performed many scientific studies on the effects of propolis.

This sticky, brown resinous substance is collected by honeybees from various plants and mixed with wax to sterilize their home against infection and for use as a multi-purpose cement and varnish. Propolis is harvested from the beehive and is made available in various forms to be used internally or externally. Propolis is available in capsule and tincture form to be taken internally to help fight infections. Because of its antibacterial and antifungal qualities it is a frequent ingredient in salves, lozenges, chewing gum and toothpastes.

Exact dosing recommendations cannot be made due to differences between various products. Capsules of 500mg are often recommended from 1 to 4 times daily. Follow product directions or your doctors instructions.

While the claim is seen that propolis has proven safe for human use, caution is advised for people sensitive to bee stings. Some of those allergic to bee stings have allergic reactions to propolis as well. Furthermore, people suffering from bronchial asthma and eczema may be more sensitive to bee products. It is not yet proven whether propolis itself or protein residues left by bees in propolis cause these allergic reactions. Another bee product, royal jelly, is associated with a higher risk of serious allergic reactions. Most such reports regarding royal jelly have been in asthma sufferers.

The antimicrobial activity of Manuka honey has been compared to other honey in several studies.

Different honeys have been tested against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, which are microorganisms that infect wounds. These two organisms were most sensitive to manuka honey, illustrating the presence of its special constituents. Both manuka honey and heather honey, which has activity due primarily to hydrogen peroxide, inhibited Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but only manuka honey inhibited a number of other bacteria.

Both manuka and kanuka honey had high antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, and most of the effectiveness of manuka honey was attributed to a substance other than hydrogen peroxide.

Manuka honey has been found to be effective against Helicobacter pylori, which is the pathogen responsible for gastric or peptic ulcers and implicated in gastric cancer. Helicobacter pylori isolated from biopsies of gastric ulcers were sensitive to a 20% solution of manuka honey, but were not affected by a 40% solution of another honey in which the antibacterial activity was primarily due to its hydrogen peroxide content. Growth of these bacteria was prevented completely by a 5% solution of manuka honey.

An extensive article on the use of Manuka Honey can be viewedhere.

In a new report by Food Safety News, more than 75% of the honey on American supermarket shelves may be ultra-processed—to the point that all inherent medicinal properties are completely gone—and then smuggled into the country by the barrel drum. Nearly all of this fake honey is made in China. Some of these brokers will even create bogus country of origin papers. All 60 jars of “honey” tested by FSN came back negative for pollen (including Sue Bee and Winnie the Pooh brands), which is a clear sign of ultra-processing.

“The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies. The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others have also ruled that without pollen, there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.”

Chances are good that ultra-processed honey is actually honey, but the possibility exists that it may never have been honey at all, as the only way to really tell if it is honey or not, is by its pollen content. “It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China.”

In their investigation, FSN discovered the following:

  • 76% of honey samples bought at grocery stores (such as TOP Food, Safeway, QFC, Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.) were absent of pollen.
  • 77% of the honey from big box stores (like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target) were absent of pollen.
  • 100% of the honey sampled from drug stores (like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy) were absent of pollen.
  • 100% of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

The good news: every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen, as did organic brands from common grocery stores.


Propolis / Bee Products can help with the following


Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever

Some patients have reported a resolution of hay fever symptoms after contacting a local bee keeper and asking for some cappings. Cappings are the waxy sealant the bees use to seal the honeycomb cells. Normally this is cut away and discarded by the bee keeper when collecting the honey. Consuming some of this capping several times a day for 2 weeks may help reduce your allergic response to local pollens.


Poor/Slow Wound Healing

The topical use of honey has long been recognized as an aid to wound and ulcer recovery. An extensive article on the use of Manuka Honey can be viewedhere.

MEDIHONEY Wound & Burn Dressings are being distributed during November 2007 to physicians, hospitals and acute rehabilitation clinics. The product marks the first FDA clearance of a honey-based product for managing wounds and burns.

“Clinical studies of MEDIHONEY have shown it has promise over current treatments because of its strong wound healing benefit,” said Ed Quilty, CEO of Derma Sciences (OTCBB:DSCI), the manufacturer and marketer of MEDIHONEY and other advanced wound care products.

The dressings are made with Leptospermum Honey, the pollen and nectar of which comes from the Manuka bush, a wild shrub indigenous to New Zealand. The medicinal honey is harvested by beekeepers, filtered and then sterilized and standardized. Leptospermum honey dressings have been in use for some time throughout the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. In July 2007 the FDA cleared them for use in wound and burn care, making them the first honey-based products cleared for medical use in the Untied States. Over the past decade, researchers have begun to report the unique characteristics and components of Leptospermum honey, making this particular variety of honey ideal for wound management.


Gastric/Peptic Ulcers

An extensive article on the use of Manuka Honey can be viewedhere.



UMF Manuka Honey dressings kill MRSA, something many of our strongest antibiotics cannot do, and what’s more, they are available on the NHS. Professor Molan is one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of Manuka honey in wound care. He has conducted numerous clinical trials that document the success of Manuka Honey in killing MRSA and treating various other bacterial infections associated with open wounds and ulcers at New Zealand’s Waikato Hospital.

It is believed that although honey cannot combat MRSA once it has reached the bloodstream, it can stop the initial wound infection spreading within the body, and can also halt the spread of the bug to other patients.



Propolis has proven effective in helping to deal with a wide variety of infections including sore throat. [Doroshenko, P. N. (1978, 1981, 1990) (U.S.S.R.)]


Helicobacter Pylori Infection

In a clinical trial of 45 patients with dyspepsia, the subjects were given 30ml (about 1 ounce) of raw honey three times a day. After treatment, the number of patients with blood in their stools caused by peptic ulcers decreased from 37 to 4; the number of patients with dyspepsia decreased from 41 to 8; the number with gastritis or duodenitis, as viewed by endoscope, decreased from 24 to 15; and the number with duodenal ulcers decreased from 7 to 2. In another study on gastric ulcers, the healing rate from raw honey was 70%, measured as the number of honey-treated ulcers compared to the untreated control group. A study in 1994 showed that the Manuka antibacterial factor in raw active Manuka honey completely halted the growth of Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria responsible for upper G.I. dyspepsia of stomach ulcers) at concentrations as low as 5%, but the hydrogen peroxide components in other honeys did not, even at concentrations as high as 50%.


Cancer / Risk - General Measures

Bee propolis, a sticky resin collected by bees from trees, is a COX-2 inhibitor, according to Dr. Gaynor. Dr. Rao has found bee propolis very effective for cancer prevention in animals, noting, “You can use it in lower doses than curcumin because it is highly absorbable.” It is typically sold as 500mg capsules.


Female Infertility

Forty women with primary infertility of at least 2 years’ duration, and mild or minimal endometriosis, were randomly assigned to receive bee propolis (500mg BID) or placebo for 9 months. Twelve (60%) of 20 women in the active-treatment group became pregnant, compared with 4 (20%) of 20 in the placebo group. No side effects were reported. [Fertil Steril 2003;80(Suppl 3): p.S32]


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended



An alcohol or water-alcohol solution, usually referring to a preparation from herbal materials.


(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.


A lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be triggered by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.


Swelling of the outer skin of unknown cause. In the early stage it may be itchy, red, have small blisters, and be swollen, and weeping. Later it becomes crusted, scaly, and thickened.


Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.


Tending to destroy microbes, hinder their multiplication or growth.


Free radicals that are by-products formed in our bodies when molecules of fat react with oxygen.


Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.

Helicobacter Pylori

H. pylori is a bacterium that is found in the stomach which, along with acid secretion, damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing inflammation and peptic ulcers. Although most people will never have symptoms or problems related to the infection, they may include: dull, 'gnawing' pain which may occur 2-3 hours after a meal, come and go for several days or weeks, occur in the middle of the night when the stomach is empty and be relieved by eating; loss of weight; loss of appetite; bloating; burping; nausea; vomiting.

Peptic Ulcer

A general term for gastric ulcers (stomach) and duodenal ulcers (duodenum), open sores in the stomach or duodenum caused by digestive juices and stomach acid. Most ulcers are no larger than a pencil eraser, but they can cause tremendous discomfort and pain. They occur most frequently in the 60 to 70 age group, and slightly more often in men than in women. Doctors now know that there are two major causes of ulcers: most often patients are infected with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori); others are regular users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which include common products like aspirin and ibuprofen.


Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

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