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Propolis

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Propolis

Propolis as hive sealing

Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6 millimeters (0.24 in) or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at and above room temperature, 20 °C (68 °F). At lower temperatures, it becomes hard and very brittle.

Purpose

For centuries, beekeepers assumed[1] that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts. However, 20th century research has revealed that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter months throughout most temperate regions of the world.

Propolis is now believed to:[2]

  1. reinforce the structural stability of the hive;
  2. reduce vibration;
  3. make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances;
  4. prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive, and to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth;[3]
  5. prevent putrefaction within the hive. Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive. However, if a small lizard or mouse, for example, finds its way into the hive and dies there, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odorless and harmless.

Composition

Resins in hive

The composition of propolis varies from hive to hive, from district to district, and from season to season.[4] Normally, it is dark brown in color, but it can be found in green, red, black, and white hues, depending on the sources of resin found in the particular hive area. Honey bees are opportunists, gathering what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that the chemical composition of propolis varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation. In northern temperate climates, for example, bees collect resins from trees, such as poplars and conifers (the biological role of resin in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects). "Typical" northern temperate propolis has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams (50%), waxes (30%), essential oils (10%), and pollen (5%). In neotropical regions, in addition to a large variety of trees, bees may also gather resin from flowers in the genera Clusia and Dalechampia, which are the only known plant genera that produce floral resins to attract pollinators.[5] Clusia resin contains polyprenylated benzophenones.[6][7][8] In some areas of Chile, propolis contains viscidone, a terpene from Baccharis shrubs,[9] and in Brazil, naphthoquinone epoxide has recently been isolated from red propolis,[10] and prenylated acids such as 4-hydroxy-3,5-diprenyl cinnamic acid have been documented.[11] An analysis of propolis from Henan, China found sinapinic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid, and chrysin, with the first three compounds demonstrating antibacterial properties.[12] Also, Brazilian red propolis, largely derived from Dalbergia ecastaphyllum plant resin, has high relative percentages of the isoflavonoids 3-hydroxy-8,9-dimethoxypterocarpan and medicarpin.[13] Other flavonoids commonly present include galangin and pinocembrin.[14] Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is also a component of some varieties of propolis from New Zealand.[15]

Occasionally, worker bees will even gather various caulking compounds of human manufacture, when the usual sources are more difficult to obtain. The properties of the propolis depend on the exact sources used by each individual hive; therefore any potential medicinal properties that may be present in one hive's propolis may be absent from another's, and the distributors of propolis products cannot control such factors. This may account for the many and varied claims regarding medicinal properties, and the difficulty in replicating previous scientific studies investigating these claims. Even propolis samples taken from within a single colony can vary, making controlled clinical tests difficult, and the results of any given study cannot be reliably extrapolated to propolis samples from other areas.

Medical uses

Given the enormous revenues generated by traditional medicines like propolis,[16] and modern pharmaceutical drugs like acyclovir,[17] it is not surprising that the medicinal use of propolis has both its proponents and opponents. Proponents of propolis argue that it has been used for thousands of years,[18][19] and is unlikely to have maintained its popularity as a traditional medicine if its use was ineffective or associated with frequent or severe adverse reactions. Opponents argue that propolis composition varies geographically, seasonally, and with bee species,[4] and that it is irresponsible to promote its use without extensive in vitro, in vivo, and clinical investigation to establish both safety and efficacy.

For impartial information, it is advisable to consult organizations like the National Institutes of Health. Based on the available scientific evidence, the National Institutes of Health rates propolis as "possibly effective" for treating cold sores, genital herpes, and post-surgery mouth pain. Currently, there is "insufficient evidence" to rate the effectiveness of propolis in treating canker sores, tuberculosis, common colds and other infections, nose and throat cancer, improving the immune response, ulcers, stomach and intestinal disorders, wounds, inflammation, minor burns, or other conditions.[20]

Biomedical research

Propolis is the focus of a large number of research projects.[21] Some preliminary research findings (published in the biomedical literature), together with their limitations, are described below. Readers are reminded that the following information represents preliminary research and does not constitute medical advice. Readers are directed to their local physician or healthcare provider for medical advice.

As an antimicrobial

Preliminary scientific studies show some types of propolis have in vitro antibacterial[22] and antifungal[23] activity with active constituents including flavonoids like galangin[24] and hydroxycinnamic acids like caffeic acid.[12] In the absence of any in vivo or clinical studies however, it is not clear if this antimicrobial activity has any therapeutic relevance.

As an emollient

Preliminary in vivo studies with rats suggest propolis may be effective in treating the inflammatory component of skin burns.[25][26] Also, a clinical trial has shown Brazilian propolis skin cream to be superior to silver sulfadiazine for the treatment of partial thickness burn wounds.[27] Recent studies have raised concerns about the efficacy of silver sulfadiazine, however, and suggest that it may actually delay wound healing. Further clinical research is needed.

As an immunomodulator

Propolis has been reported to exhibit both immunosuppressive and immunostimulant effects.[28][29] Further research is needed to establish if there is a practical application for these seemingly opposing pharmacological effects.

As a treatment for allergies

Though claims have been made for the use of propolis in treating allergies, propolis can itself cause severe allergic reactions if the user is sensitive to bees or bee products.[30]

As an oral hygiene product

Propolis has been the subject of recent dentistry research, and there is some in vivo and clinical evidence that propolis might protect against dental caries and other forms of oral disease, due to its antimicrobial properties.[31][32][33][34] Propolis is also being investigated for its efficacy in the treatment of canker sores[35] and in reducing the inflammation associated with canal debridement and endodontic procedures.[36]

As an antioxidant

One in vivo study has shown that propolis reduced the chances of cataracts in rat pups.[37] Again however, in the absence of any clinical studies, it is not clear if this activity has any therapeutic relevance.

In cancer treatment and cancer prevention

In in vitro tests, propolis induces cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and reduces expression of growth and transcription factors, including NF-κB. Notably, caffeic acid phenethyl ester down-regulates the mdr-1 gene, considered responsible for the resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.[38] In in vivo studies with mice, propolis inhibits 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone-induced tumorigenesis.[39] Once again, in the absence of any clinical studies, it is not clear if this activity has any therapeutic relevance.

Other uses

In musical instruments

Propolis is used by most stringed instrument makers (violin, viola, cello and bass) to enhance the appearance of the wood grain. It is a component of some varnishes and its distinctive smell is easily recognizable in a luthier's shop. Propolis was undoubtedly used by Antonio Stradivari and his luthier colleagues of the time.[40]

In food

Propolis is used by some chewing gum manufacturers to make propolis gum.

Car wax

Propolis is used to bring about a chemical reaction to convert fats and oils into automobile wax during application.[41][42][43][44]

See also

  • Discussion of bee space in the beehive article.

References

  1. ^ R Krell 1996. value-added products from beekeeping FAO AGRICULTURAL SERVICES BULLETIN No. 124 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome
  2. ^ Simone-Finstrom, Michael; Spivak, Marla (May–June 2010). "Propolis and bee health: The natural history and significance of resin use by honey bees". Apidologie 41 (3): 295–311.  
  3. ^ Walker, Matt (23 July 2009). "Honeybees sterilise their hives". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  4. ^ a b Toreti VC, Sato HH, Pastore GM, Park YK (2013). "Recent progress of propolis for its biological and chemical compositions and its botanical origin". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013: 697390.  
  5. ^ Mesquita, R. C. G.; Franciscon C. H. (June 1995). "Flower visitors of Clusia nemorosa G. F. W. Meyer (Clusiaceae) in an Amazonian white-sand Campina". Biotropica 27 (2): 254–8.  
  6. ^ Tomás-Barberán, F. A.; García-Viguera C.; Vit-Oliviera P.; Ferreres F.; Tomás-Lorente F. (1993-08-03). "Phytochemical evidence for the botanical origin of tropical propolis from Venezuela".  
  7. ^ Scott Armbruster, W. (September 1984). "The Role of Resin in Angiosperm Pollination: Ecological and Chemical Considerations". American Journal of Botany 71 (8): 1149–60.  
  8. ^ Bankova, V. (February 2005). "Recent trends and important developments in propolis research". Evidence-based Compl. and Alt. Medicine 2 (1): 29–32.  
  9. ^ Montenegro G, Mujica AM, Peña RC, Gómez M, Serey I & B N Timmermann (2004). "Similitude pattern and botanical origin of the Chilean propolis". Phyton 73: 145–154.  
  10. ^ Trusheva, B.; Popova, M.; Bankova, V.; Simova, S.; Marcucci, M. C.; Miorin, P. L.; Pasin, F. D. R.; Tsvetkova, I. (2006). "Bioactive Constituents of Brazilian Red Propolis". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 3 (2): 249–254.  
  11. ^ Park, Y. K.; Alencar, S. M.; Aguiar, C. L. (2002). "Botanical Origin and Chemical Composition of Brazilian Propolis". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50 (9): 2502–2506.  
  12. ^ a b Qiao Z, Chen R (August 1991). "[Isolation and identification of antibiotic constituents of propolis from Henan]". Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi (in Chinese) 16 (8): 481–2, 512.  
  13. ^ Silva, B. B.; Rosalen, P. L.; Cury, J. A.; Ikegaki, M.; Souza, V. C. C.; Esteves, A.; Alencar, S. M. (2008). "Chemical Composition and Botanical Origin of Red Propolis, a New Type of Brazilian Propolis". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 5 (3): 313–316.  
  14. ^ Cushnie TPT, Lamb AJ (2005). "Antimicrobial activity of flavonoids". International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 26 (5): 343–356.  
  15. ^ Demestre M, Messerli SM, Celli N et al. (August 2008). "CAPE (caffeic acid phenethyl ester)-based propolis extract (Bio 30) suppresses the growth of human neurofibromatosis (NF) tumor xenografts in mice". Phytother Res 23 (2): 226–30.  
  16. ^ "Traditional medicine (Fact sheet no. 134)". World Health Organization. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Pharmaceutical Industry". World Health Organization. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Fearnely J. (2001) Bee propolis. Souvenir Press Ltd. London
  19. ^ The Holy Bible, Jeremiah 8, verse 22; Jeremiah 46, verse 11; Jeremiah 51, verse 8
  20. ^ "Propolis:MedlinePlus Supplements". U.S. National Library of Medicine. January 19, 2012. 
  21. ^ Sforcin, JM.; Bankova V. (2011-01-27). "Propolis: is there a potential for the development of new drugs?". T Ethnopharmacol 133 (2): 253–60.  
  22. ^ Orsi, R. O.; Sforcin J. M.; Rall V. L. M.; Funari S. R. C.; Barbosa L.; Fernandes JR A. (2005). "Susceptibility profile of Salmonella against the antibacterial activity of propolis produced in two regions of Brazil". Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 11 (2): 109–16.  
  23. ^ Cafarchia C, De Laurentis N, Milillo MA, Losacco V, Puccini V (1999). "Antifungal activity of Apulia region propolis". Parassitologia 41 (4): 587–590.  
  24. ^ Cushnie TPT, Lamb AJ (2005). "Detection of galangin-induced cytoplasmic membrane damage in Staphylococcus aureus by measuring potassium loss". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 101 (1-3): 243–248.  
  25. ^ Hoşnuter, M.; Gürel A.; Babucçu O.; Armutcu F.; Kargi E.; Işikdemir A. (March 2004). "The effect of CAPE on lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide levels in the plasma of rats following thermal injury". Burns 30 (2): 121–5.  
  26. ^ Ocakci, A.; Kanter M.; Cabuk M.; Buyukbas S. (October 2006). "Role of caffeic acid phenethyl ester, an active component of propolis, against NAOH-induced esophageal burns in rats". Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 70 (10): 1731–9.  
  27. ^ Gregory, S. R.; Piccolo N.; Piccolo M. T.; Piccolo M. S.; Heggers J. P. (February 2002). "Comparison of propolis skin cream to silver sulfadiazine: a naturopathic alternative to antibiotics in treatment of minor burns". J Altern Complement Med. 8 (1): 77–83.  
  28. ^ Brätter, C.; Tregel M.; Liebenthal C.; Volk H. D. (October 1999). "Prophylactic effectiveness of propolis for  
  29. ^ Ansorge, S.; Reinhold D.; Lendeckel U. (July–August 2003). "Propolis and some of its constituents down-regulate DNA synthesis and inflammatory cytokine production but induce TGF-beta1 production of human immune cells". Z Naturforsch [C]. 58 (7–8): 580–9.  
  30. ^ Brovko, T. E.; Kravchuk P. A. (July–August 1970). "Two cases of allergic reaction after administration of propolis drugs". Zh Ushn Nos Gorl Bolezn 30 (4): 102–3.  
  31. ^ Botushanov, P. I.; Grigorov G. I.; Aleksandrov G. A. (2001). "A clinical study of a silicate toothpaste with extract from propolis". Folia Med (Plovdiv) 43 (1–2): 28–30.  
  32. ^ Koo, H.; Cury J. A.; Rosalen P. L.; Ambrosano G. M.; Ikegaki M.; Park Y. K. (November–December 2002). "Effect of a mouthrinse containing selected propolis on 3-day dental plaque accumulation and polysaccharide formation". Caries Research 36 (6): 445–8.  
  33. ^ Duarte, S.; Rosalen P. L.; Hayacibara M. F.; Cury J. A.; Bowen W. H.; Marquis R. E.; Rehder V. L.; Sartoratto A.; Ikegaki M.; Koo H. (January 2006). "The influence of a novel propolis on mutans streptococci biofilms and caries development in rats". Arch Oral Biol. 51 (1): 15–22.  
  34. ^ Park, Y. K.; Koo M. H.; Abreu J. A.; Ikegaki M.; Cury J. A.; Rosalen P. L. (January 1998). "Antimicrobial activity of propolis on oral microorganisms". Curr Microbiol. 36 (1): 24–8.  
  35. ^ Samet, N.; Laurent C.; Susarla S. M.; Samet-Rubinsteen N. (June 2007). "The effect of bee propolis on recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a pilot study". Clin Oral Investig. 11 (2): 143–7.  
  36. ^ da Silva, F. B.; Almeida J. M.; Sousa S. M. (April–June 2004). "Natural medicaments in endodontics - a comparative study of the anti-inflammatory action". Braz Oral Res. 18 (2): 174–9.  
  37. ^ Orhan, H.; Marol S.; Hepşen I. F.; Sahin G. (1999-12-06). "Effects of some probable antioxidants on selenite-induced cataract formation and oxidative stress-related parameters in rats". Toxicology 139 (3): 219–32.  
  38. ^ Wu, J.; Omene, C.; Karkoszka, J.; Bosland, M.; Eckard, J.; Klein, C. B.; Frenkel, K. (September 2011). "Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE), Derived from a Honeybee Product Propolis, Exhibits a Diversity of Anti-tumor Effects in Preclinical Models of Human Breast Cancer". Cancer Letters 308 (1): 43–53.  
  39. ^ Sugimoto Y, Iba Y, Kayasuga R, et al. (April 2003). "Inhibitory effects of propolis granular A P C on 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone-induced lung tumorigenesis in A/J mice". Cancer Lett. 193 (2): 155–9.  
  40. ^ Gambichler T, Boms S, Freitag M (April 2004). "Contact dermatitis and other skin conditions in instrumental musicians". BMC Dermatol. 4: 3.  
  41. ^ "Landau Carriage of 1743". Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  42. ^ "Pete’s 53’ contains Propolis". Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  43. ^ "GuruWax blend of propolis". Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  44. ^ "Propolis when heated cause the wax to set-up". Retrieved 2011-03-08. 

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