Propolis

Propolis

Propolis is a resinous mixture that 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 mm to in|6.35 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. At lower temperatures it becomes hard and very brittle.

For centuries, beekeepers assumed [R Krell 1996. value-added products from beekeeping [http://cd3wd.com/CD3WD_40/LSTOCK/004/w0076e/w0076e14.htm FAO AGRICULTURAL SERVICES BULLETIN No. 124] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome ] 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:
# reinforce the structural stability of the hive
# reduce vibration
# make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances
# prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive
# 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, found its way into the hive and died 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

The composition of propolis will vary from hive to hive, district to district, and from season to season. 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, and will gather what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that propolis chemical composition 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). Poplar resin is rich in flavanoids. "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 additional 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 [cite journal

last = Mesquita | first = R. C. G. | coauthors = Franciscon C. H.
title = Flower visitors of "Clusia nemorosa" G. F. W. Meyer (Clusiaceae) in an Amazonian white-sand Campina
journal = Biotropica | volume = 27 | issue = 2 | pages = 254–8 | month = June | year = 1995
url = http://www.jstor.org/pss/2389002 | accessdate = 2008-05-17
doi = 10.2307/2389002

] . "Clusia" resin contains polyprenylated benzophenones. [cite journal

last = Tomás-Barberán | first = F. A. | coauthors = García-Viguera C., Vit-Oliviera P., Ferreres F., Tomás-Lorente F.
title = Phytochemical evidence for the botanical origin of tropical propolis from Venezuela
journal = Phytochemistry | volume = 34 | issue = 1 | pages = 191–6 | date = 1993-08-03
doi = 10.1016/S0031-9422(00)90804-5 | accessdate = 2008-05-17

] [cite journal

last = Scott Armbruster | first = W.
title = The Role of Resin in Angiosperm Pollination: Ecological and Chemical Considerations
journal = American Journal of Botany | volume = 71 | issue = 8 | pages = 1149–60 | month = September | year = 1984
url = http://www.jstor.org/pss/2443391 | accessdate = 2008-05-17
doi = 10.2307/2443391

] [cite journal

last = Bankova | first = V.
journal = Evidence-based Compl. and Alt. Medicine | volume = 2 | issue = 1 | pages = 29–32 | month = February | year = 2005
title = Recent trends and important developments in propolis research
url = http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/2/1/29 | accessdate = 2008-05-17
doi = 10.1093/ecam/neh059
pmid = 15841275

] In some areas of Chile, propolis contains viscidone, a terpene from "Baccharis" shrubs [Montenegro G, et al. 2004. Similitude pattern and botanical origin of the Chilean propolis. Phyton 145-154] , and in Brazil, naphthoquinone epoxide has recently isolated from red propolis [Trusheva, Boryana; Popova, Milena; Bankova, Vassya; Simova, Svetlana; Marcucci, Maria Cristina; Miorin, Patricia Laguna; Pasin, Flavia da Rocha & Tsvetkova, Iva (2006): Bioactive Constituents of Brazilian Red Propolis. DOI|10.1093/ecam/nel006 [http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/3/2/249.pdf Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 3(2): 249–254] ] , and prenylated acids such as 4-hydroxy-3,5-diprenyl cinnamic acid have been documented [Park YK, Alencar SM, Aguiar CL. 2005. Botanical origin and chemical composition of Brazilian propolis. [http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jafcau/2002/50/i09/abs/jf011432b.html "J. Agric. Food Chem." 50:2502–2506] ] . An analysis of propolis from Henan, China found sinapic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid and chrysin, with the first three compounds demonstrating anti-bacterial properties [cite web| last =Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi
title =Isolation and identification of antibiotic constituents of propolis from Henan
publisher =PubMed
url =http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1804186?dopt=Abstract
accessdate =2008-08-19
] .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.

Uses

Medicinal use

Propolis is marketed by health food stores as a traditional medicine, and for its claimed beneficial effect on human health. Natural medicine practitioners often use propolis for the relief of various conditions, including inflammations, viral diseases, ulcers, superficial burns or scalds. Propolis is also believed to promote heart health and reduce the chances of cataracts [cite journal

last = Orhan | first = H. | coauthors = Marol S., Hepşen I. F., Sahin G.
title = Effects of some probable antioxidants on selenite-induced cataract formation and oxidative stress-related parameters in rats
journal = Toxicology | volume = 139 | issue = 3 | pages = 219–32 | date = 1999-12-06
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=10647922 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1016/S0300-483X(99)00128-6

] . Old beekeepers recommend a piece of propolis kept in the mouth as a remedy for a sore throat. Propolis lozenges and tinctures can be bought in Australia, Italy, Republic of Korea, Poland, Canada, Croatia, Norway, and France. Though claims have been made for its use in treating allergies, propolis may cause severe allergic reactions if the user is sensitive to bees or bee products [cite journal

last = Brovko | first = T. E. | coauthors = Kravchuk P. A.
title = Two cases of allergic reaction after administration of propolis drugs
journal = Zh Ushn Nos Gorl Bolezn | volume = 30 | issue = 4 | pages = 102–3 | date = July-August 1970
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=5503978 | accessdate = 2008-01-14

] .

Some of these claims are being clinically investigated and several studies are published in the biomedical literature. Since the chemical composition of propolis varies depending on season, bee species and geographic location, caution must be applied in extrapolating results (above). Depending upon its composition, propolis may show powerful local antibiotic and antifungal properties, [cite journal

last = Orsi | first = R. O. | coauthors = Sforcin J. M., Rall V. L. M., Funari S. R. C., Barbosa L., Fernandes JR A.
title = Susceptibility profile of Salmonella against the antibacterial activity of propolis produced in two regions of Brazil
journal = Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases | volume = 11 | issue = 2 | pages = 109–16 | year = 2005
url = http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=abstract&id=115293 | accessdate = 2008-01-14

] and studies indicate that it may be effective in treating skin burns. [cite journal

last = Gregory | first = S. R. | coauthors = Piccolo N., Piccolo M. T., Piccolo M. S., Heggers J. P.
title = Abstract Comparison of propolis skin cream to silver sulfadiazine: a naturopathic alternative to antibiotics in treatment of minor burns
journal = J Altern Complement Med. | volume = 8 | issue = 1 | pages = 77–83 | month = February | year = 2002
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=11890438 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1089/107555302753507203

] [cite journal

last = Hoşnuter | first = M. | coauthors = Gürel A., Babucçu O., Armutcu F., Kargi E., Işikdemir A.
title = The effect of CAPE on lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide levels in the plasma of rats following thermal injury
journal = Burns | volume = 30 | issue = 2 | pages = 121–5 | month = March | year = 2004
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=15019118 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1016/j.burns.2003.09.022

] [cite journal

last = Ocakci | first = A. | coauthors = Kanter M., Cabuk M., Buyukbas S.
title = Role of caffeic acid phenethyl ester, an active component of propolis, against NAOH-induced esophageal burns in rats
journal = Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. | volume = 70 | issue = 10 | pages = 1731–9 | month = October | year = 2006
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=16828884 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1016/j.ijporl.2006.05.018

] Propolis also exhibits immunomodulatory effects [cite journal

last = Brätter | first = C. | coauthors = Tregel M., Liebenthal C., Volk H. D.
title = Prophylactic effectiveness of propolis for immunostimulation: a clinical pilot study
journal = Forsch Komplementarmed. | volume = 6 | issue = 5 | pages = 256–60 | month = October | year = 1999
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=10575279 | accessdate = 2008-01-14

] [cite journal

last = Ansorge | first = S. | coauthors = Reinhold D., Lendeckel U.
title = Propolis and some of its constituents down-regulate DNA synthesis and inflammatory cytokine production but induce TGF-beta1 production of human immune cells
journal = Z Naturforsch [C] . | volume = 58 | issue = 7-8 | pages = 580–9 | date = July-August 2003
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=12939048 | accessdate = 2008-01-14

] and is a subject of recent dentistry research, since there is some evidence that propolis may actively protect against caries and other forms of oral disease, due to its antimicrobial properties. [cite journal

last = Botushanov | first = P. I. | coauthors = Grigorov G. I., Aleksandrov G. A.
title = A clinical study of a silicate toothpaste with extract from propolis
journal = Folia Med (Plovdiv) | volume = 43 | issue = 1-2 | pages = 28–30 | year = 2001
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=15354462 | accessdate = 2008-01-14

] [cite journal

last = Koo | first = H. | coauthors = Cury J. A., Rosalen P. L., Ambrosano G. M., Ikegaki M., Park Y. K.
title = Effect of a mouthrinse containing selected propolis on 3-day dental plaque accumulation and polysaccharide formation
journal = Caries Research | volume = 36 | issue = 6 | pages = 445–8 | date = November-December 2002
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=12459618 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1159/000066535

] [cite journal

last = Duarte | first = S. | coauthors = Rosalen P. L., Hayacibara M. F., Cury J. A., Bowen W. H., Marquis R. E., Rehder V. L., Sartoratto A., Ikegaki M., Koo H.
title = The influence of a novel propolis on mutans streptococci biofilms and caries development in rats
journal = Arch Oral Biol. | volume = 51 | issue = 1 | pages = 15–22 | month = January | year = 2006
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=16054589 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2005.06.002

] [cite journal

last = Park | first = Y. K. | coauthors = Koo M. H., Abreu J. A., Ikegaki M., Cury J. A., Rosalen P. L.
title = Antimicrobial activity of propolis on oral microorganisms
journal = Curr Microbiol. | volume = 36 | issue = 1 | pages = 24–8 | month = January | year = 1998
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=9405742 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1007/s002849900274

] Propolis can also be used to treat canker sores [cite journal

last = Samet | first = N. | coauthors = Laurent C., Susarla S. M., Samet-Rubinsteen N.
title = The effect of bee propolis on recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a pilot study
journal = Clin Oral Investig. | volume = 11 | issue = 2 | pages = 143–7 | month = June | year = 2007
url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?uid=17285269 | accessdate = 2008-01-14
doi = 10.1007/s00784-006-0090-z

] , and its use in canal debridement for endodontic procedures has been explored in Brazil. [cite journal

last = da Silva | first = F. B. | coauthors = Almeida J. M., Sousa S. M.
title = Natural medicaments in endodontics - a comparative study of the anti-inflammatory action
journal = Braz Oral Res. | volume = 18 | issue = 2 | pages = 174–9 | date = April-June 2004
url = http://www.scielo.br/pdf/pob/v18n2/a15v18n2.pdf | accessdate = 2008-01-14

format=PDF]

Other uses

Propolis is used by certain music instrument makers to enhance the appearance of the wood grain. It is a component of some varnishes and was reportedly used [Gambichler T, Boms S and M Freitag 2004 Contact dermatitis and other skin conditions in instrumentalmusicians. [http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-5945-4-3.pdf BMC Dermatology 2004, 4:3] ] by Antonio Stradivari.

ee also

* Discussion of "bee space" in the beehive article.

References

External links

* [http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=416484 Contact dermatitis and other skin conditions in instrumental musicians] published online April 16, 2004


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