Bee Propolis

Bee Propolis

"The latest FDA-approved drug for fighting colon cancer [Celecoxib] may be sitting in your kitchen. Rosemary, turmeric, grapes, a honey bee product called propolis: These all contain chemicals similar to a drug used to prevent the growth of cancerous cells in the large intestine; they work much in the same way." It is interesting that the FDA approved the drug, but not the natural substances that contained a natural version of the synthetic drug. See the book: Beyond Aspirin: Nature's Answer to Arthritis, Cancer & Alzheimer's Disease (Hohm Press, 2000), by Thomas M. Newmark and Paul Schulick



Beekeeping has been an occupation for centuries in all parts of the world. Bee products such as honey, pollen, propolis and even bee venom have been used as medicines throughout history. The medicinal use of honey bee products is called apitherapy and is derived from apis, the Latin word for bee.

Hippocrates, the father of modern Western medicine, recommended using bee propolis externally to heal wounds and sores. The ancient Egyptians lauded honey as their source of eternal health and long life. A Roman scholar, Pliny, said, "Current physicians use propolis as a medicine because it reduces swelling, soothes pains of the sinews and heals sores where it appears hopeless for them to mend."

These ancient healers are not alone in their recognition of the high nutritive value and wonderful medicinal effects of bee products.

In 1948, the USDA released a report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which said that "the development of mammary tumors in mice can be decreased by the ingestion of pollenized food." More recently, raw honey has been studied and used by allergists as an aid in the treatment of allergies. This has been particularly effective with allergies due to grass and trees, such as hay fever. In the British journal, Lancet, raw honey has also been shown to be soothing and healing when applied as wound care to cuts and abrasions of the skin. There are various chemical constituents in honey that have antibacterial properties, such as glycoside oxidase. Raw honey is hydroscopic, which means it dries the area around it. This action also acts to kill pathogenic organisms.


Bee pollen is made from the germ of the plants that bees visit. This pollen is compacted into small food pellets that bees use for nutrition. These pollen packets have been analyzed to contain all the essential vitamins and minerals needed by humans. Bee pollen is commonly eaten by Olympic athletes and has been called nature's most perfect food. Senator Tom Harkin is reported to have used the local bee pollen in his area as a remedy for chronic hay fever and was so impressed that he provided the impetuous for the founding of the NIH's Office of Alternative Medicine!


Propolis is a product bees make from tree resin. They use it to keep their hives sterile. If an invader or predator enters the beehive, the workers sting it to death. In order to protect the hive from contamination because of the corpse, the worker bees mummify the organism with a thick layer of propolis. Laboratory tests indicate that propolis is a potent antimicrobial agent. Russian and Chinese doctors are currently studying propolis to be used internally to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Bee venom

Even bee venom has been used as a medicine. More than 18 pharmacologically active components have already been isolated from bee venom. These are powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-histaminic substances. It's interesting to note that in homeopathic medicine, microdoses of bee venom, called apis, are used for bee stings and other skin conditions. Scientists are studying bee venom for its use in diseases such as arthritis, neuralgia and multiple sclerosis.
So...the next time you see a honey bee buzzing around your flower garden, welcome it as a useful friend in....THE NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST.

By Eugene R. Zamperion and Ellen J. Kamhi

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