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Bee Allergies & Propolis

Bee Allergies & Propolis Bee Allergies & Propolis Bee Allergies & Propolis


Used medicinally for thousands of years, propolis is a substance derived from certain trees and collected by bees for use in their hives. Current research aims to substantiate the effects of propolis on various health conditions. Propolis, however, is considered an alternative treatment and has not been tested enough to verify its safety. It is known, however, that if you're allergic to bees, it's best to avoid propolis for the potential risk of an allergic reaction. Always talk to your physician before taking propolis to treat any medical condition.

About Propolis

Propolis is a resin derived from conifer and poplar trees. Honeybees go to these trees, collect the resin and bring it back to the hive to mix with beeswax and other substances, and use this to hold the hive together. Most propolis used commercially is derived from beehives, not directly from the trees that produce the resin. Propolis is used in products such as cosmetics, lozenges and chewing gum and has been studied for its effects on infections, tumors, dental pain and herpes. Research is ongoing about its health effects and nothing has been scientifically substantiated.

Bee Allergies and Propolis

If you are allergic or hypersensitive to bees or bee products, it's best to avoid products with propolis. Because most commercially used propolis is derived from the hives of honeybees, using propolis in any form may trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms include tightening of the throat, itchiness, hives and even collapse. Propolis is available in different forms from health food stores and, if you have contact with a beekeeper, in raw form, but it's also an ingredient in common products. Look at the ingredient list of products such as lozenges and chewing gum to see if they contain propolis.

Propolis Benefits

Although propolis has been studied for its effects on numerous conditions, most of these studies are not extensive enough to validate its health claims. However, MedlinePlus notes that propolis is possibly effective for two conditions. First, it may help heal genital lesions associated with herpes simplex virus-2. Second, it may reduce pain and inflammation following dental surgery. Both of these effects are likely due to the innate healing properties of propolis. According to a review in the journal "Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention," propolis is known to have some antioxidative, antibacterial, anti-ulcer and anti-tumor properties and has been used for centuries in folk medicine.


Some individuals may experience eczema, fluid retention, redness, burning and fever with frequent use of propolis. Dr. Andrew Weil, a noted physician specializing in integrative medicine, states that propolis is generally a safe home remedy that can be applied to uncomplicated wounds and used as a gargle or tincture for mouth sores and sore throats. However, because the effects of propolis are not proven, it's best to always talk to your doctor before using propolis.

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