the ancient civilizations with their millenarian therapies knew and used the
products of the bees as a valuable resource in its medicine. The histories of
the medicine of the Chinese, Tibetan, Egyptian and Greco-Roman civilizations are
also rich, containing in their old writings, hundreds of recipes based mainly on
honey, propolis, bee larvae and sometimes the own bees, to cure or to prevent
illnesses. From the Hebraic Civilization, the Holly Bible, in some texts, exalts
and ennobles the nutritious and medical properties of the honey. Some other
texts refer to the propolis as “The balm of Gileade ", that was used to cure
wounds, reaching high prices in the market of that time. In Japan, the use of
the propolis took a great pushing in 1985, after the accomplishment of XXX
International Congress of APIMONDIA in the city of Nagoya. Nowadays, Japan is
the principal consumer of Brazilian propolis.
Propolis is a resinous substance, which bees collect from flowers and floral
buttons, buds, barks of trees, especially from elms, and is used as a type of
cement in the construction of the beehive. With the Propolis, the bees close off
small openings and cracks in the hive, welding honeycombs, as well as sealing
off the hive from cold winds, and preventing the entrance of its natural enemies
(fungus and bacteria). Propolis is thus the raw material used in the
construction of bee's community.
Some studies have been made for
the determination of the physiologic activity, such as anti-microbial,
anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral.
properties of propolis have been motivating isolation researches, identification
of chemical compounds, and the possible relationship of these with its
biological activity. The presence of several phenolic compounds explains,
partly, the great variety of the biological and therapeutic properties told in
the literature, mainly in the last 3 decades.
Anti-fungal: Some authors
demonstrated that among other activities, propolis has antimicotic action due to
cynamic acid and a flavonoid named crisina. There are reports in the literature
that a 50% propolis ointment cured with no return, 97 of 110 patients with
Kerion on the scalp (ringworm). In addition, other authors verified that the
ethanolic extract of propolis has demonstrated an inhibitory activity on 17
dermatotitis, and also showed that propolis formulation with propylene glycol
was same or superior to the one of the antifungae medications against the
mushrooms M. kennels, T. rubrum, T. mentagrophytes and Scopulariopsis.
Comparison of propolis skin cream to silver sulfadiazine:
a naturopathic alternative to antibiotics in treatment of minor burns.
School of Medicine University of Texas, Medical Branch, Galveston TX, USA.
BACKGROUND: Propolis, a naturopathic substance derived from bees wax extract,
has recently been praised for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and
cicatrization-enhancing properties. OBJECTIVE: In our study, we compare these
properties in a high-grade Brazilian propolis skin cream directly with silver
sulfadiazene (SSD) in the treatment of minor burns (superficial second degree)
in the ambulatory care setting (less than 20% total body surface area burned).
SETTINGS/LOCATION: The study was conducted at the burn clinic in Pronto Socorro
para Queimaduras, Gioania, Brazil. SUBJECT: Patients were admitted to the study
only if their initial presentation for burn care was within 48 hours postinjury
and if bilateral wounds of similar depth and quality were present.
INTERVENTIONS: Patients had propolis skin cream applied to one wound and SSD
applied to the other selected wound on initial presentation and underwent
debridement and dressings change the following morning. Patients subsequently
returned to the clinic every 3 days to have the wounds checked and dressings
changed. At these check-ups, wounds were cultured for microbial growth and
photographed to document inflammation and cicatrization. Patients were
instructed not to disturb their wounds or change their dressings at home, thus
propolis skin cream and SSD were applied to the wounds only at the specified
3-day intervals. RESULTS: Our preliminary results do not show any significant
difference in microbial colonization between wounds treated with SSD and
propolis skin cream, however, wounds treated with propolis skin cream
consistently showed less inflammation and more rapid cicatrization then those
treated with SSD. CONCLUSION: Propolis skin cream appears to have a beneficial
effects on the healing of partial thickness burn wounds. If dressings had been
changed more frequent the antimicrobial and wound healing effects would have
PMID: 11890438 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of
propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV).
Institute of Epidemiology, Lvov State Medical University, Ukraine.
Ninety men and women with recurrent genital HSV type 2 participated in a
randomized, single-blind, masked investigator, controlled multi-centre study
comparing the efficacy of ointment of Canadian propolis containing natural
flavonoids with ointments of acyclovir and placebo (vehicle) on healing ability
and capacity to remedy symptoms. Thirty individuals were randomized to each
group. Treatment was intended to start in the blister phase. All participants
had HSV type 2 isolated, confirmed by serum immunoglobulin levels. The
participants were examined on the 3rd, 7th and 10th days of treatment by
gynaecologists, dermatovenerologists or urologists at seven different medical
centres. Apart from clinical symptoms the number and size of the herpetic
lesions were noted. At each examination the lesions were classified into four
stages: vesicular, ulcerated, crusted and healed. The study ointments were
applied to affected areas four times daily. In women with vaginal or cervical
lesions a tampon with the appropriate ointment was inserted four times daily for
10 days. Endpoint variables were healing time and time until loss of symptoms.
RESULTS: On Day 10, 24 out of 30 individuals in the propolis group had healed.
In the acyclovir group 14 out of 30 and in the placebo group 12 out of 30 had
healed. (p = 0.0015). The healing process appeared to be faster in the propolis
group. In the propolis group 15 individuals had crusted lesions on Day 3
compared to 8 individuals in the acyclovir group and none in the placebo group
(p = 0.0006). On Day 7, 10 participants in the propolis group, 4 in the
acyclovir group and 3 in the placebo group had healed. At the initial
examination all patients had local symptoms and 28% general symptoms. At Day 3,
3 patients in the propolis group had local symptoms compared to 8 and 9 in the
acyclovir and placebo groups respectively. Of the women, 66% had vaginal
superinfections of microbial pathogens at the initial examination. In the
acyclovir and placebo groups no change in the vaginal flora was found following
treatment whereas in the propolis group the incidence of superinfection was
reduced by 55%. (p = 0.10 n.s.). CONCLUSION: An ointment containing flavonoids
appeared to be more effective than both acyclovir and placebo ointments in
healing genital herpetic lesions, and in reducing local symptoms.
PMID: 10782483 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]