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May 8, 2017

8 Health Benefits of Propolis Extract and How to Use It

propolis extract
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Realizing how much a bee sting hurts, may make it difficult to think of any positive aspects of these insects. However, bees produce many useful products, including Propolis. Propolis has a variety of health benefits, and ancient civilizations used it to treat everything from abscesses and wounds, to tumors and infections. Though we’ve made substantial medical advances, we’re still using propolis today. Below you will read some of the health benefits of propolis extract, its level of effectiveness, and the best ways to use it.


8 Most Important Propolis Extract Uses

1. Treat Skin Wounds and Minor Burns

Propolis extract has been used to treat wounds and burns from as early as 350 B.C. The results for this use are overwhelmingly positive, mostly due to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of the product. The components of propolis soothe the skin, promote healing, and protect against infection. Recent research has shown that propolis extract also has regenerative properties which allow for skin cells to repair themselves.

  • Use a cream, lotion, or ointment;
  • Apply at least 1/2 teaspoon to the affected area of the skin;
  • Leave on for 5 to 15 minutes;
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times a day.

2. Treat Acne

The same regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties that make propolis extract an effective treatment for wounds and burns, make it a perfect non-medical approach in the treatment of acne. Once a breakout occurs, propolis extract can be applied to the affected area. It can also be used as a preventative measure.

  • Use either cream, lotion, or ointment;
  • Apply 1/2 teaspoon over the breakout area;
  • Leave on overnight;
  • As a preventive measure, apply daily as a facial mask;
  • Leave on for 15 minutes.

3. Treat Respiratory Infections

Propolis extract contains antibacterial and antiviral components which can be used to treat many types of infections. It is particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of flu, asthma, and even the common cold. Propolis decreases inflammation in the lungs and tissues and thereby increases ventilation. The component that is most responsible for this impact is CAPE, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, an amino acid that famous for being one of the most effective, natural, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents.

  • Solid form: mix ½ teaspoon into your favorite beverage or simply eat it like honey;
  • Liquid form:, put up to 5 drops into your favorite beverage;
  • Capsule or tablet form: take 1000 to 2000 mgs, 2 times per day.

4. Treat Ear Infections

Since CAPE is a proven infection fighter, propolis extract is an effective home remedy for ear infections. It reduces the inflammation, and attacks the bacteria, virus, or fungus that is the root of the problem.

  • In liquid form, put 5 drops into the ear at least 2 times per day;
  • In capsule or tablet form, take 1000 to 2000 mgs, 2 times per day. Check with your doctor for appropriate dosage for children.

5. Treat Oral and Dental Issues

Propolis extract contains flavonoids which are particularly effective in killing the bacteria that cause oral infections. For this reason, it is often prescribed as a post oral surgery treatment. Also, if you examine the ingredients in oral products, you will see propolis on the list. It is being added because it reduces the bacterial plaque that causes tooth decay and gingivitis.

  • Use a toothpaste, mouthwash, or oral rinse containing propolis extract at least 2 times per day;
  • In liquid form, use a dropper or swab to apply to teeth or surgery site, 2 times per day.

6. Treat Herpes

The antioxidants, amino acids, and flavonoids found in propolis extract are antiviral agents. Research has shown that these components have had some limited impact in reducing the growth of the herpes virus, and in accelerating the healing of sores and lesions.

  • Generously apply a propolis cream or ointment to sores and other affected areas, at least 3 times per day. More serious lesions may require larger dosages and you should consult your physician for these.

7. To Boost the Immune System

Propolis extract has the chemical compound which boosts the immune system. A Phytotherapy research study confirmed these findings, concluding that subjects who used a propolis extract supplement over a period of time had more energy and were better suited to fight certain infections.

  • Take propolis supplement in liquid, solid, or capsule/tablet form according to the package dosages.

8. Treat Cancer

Research cited on GreenMedInfo.com notes the anti-cancer activity of the ethanol extracts found in propolis extract. The studies showed that in those instances where propolis extract was administered, cancer cell growth was inhibited as the ethanol interrupted cancer cell cycle proliferation. While this is exciting news, it is tempered by the fact that this research is in its infancy. On a positive note, propolis does seem to have the potential to kill some cancer cells and even reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. It is currently viewed as a complimentary therapy for certain cancers rather than a sole treatment.


  • 3 to 9 grams (depending on the level of involvement) in any form.

Summing Up

Propolis extract has been effective in the treatment of some very specific conditions but more research is clearly needed. There seems to be more reward than risk, but some allergic reactions have been reported so you should check with your healthcare provider before beginning to take propolis extract. The future seems bright but there is much more information to learn. Please help by sharing your experience with this product.


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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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