The Propolis Story

Early use of Propolis

It was probably the Egyptian priest-doctors who first utilised propolis as a medicine, having observed it's role in the hive and already used it successfully for mummification.

Propolis has been referred to in medical treatises from Arab, Greek and Roman times right up to the late nineteenth century - being cited as a natural aid for a variety of health problems, including respiratory and joint problems as well as infections and skin diseases.

Decline in use

With the advent of modern synthetic drug-based medicines, around 100 years ago in the West, the use of propolis along with other natural products began to decline in favour of the New Medicine. Much of modern medicine is derived from plant sources but now based on single active ingredients designed to target specific health problems.

Only in Eastern Europe - Russia, Romania, the old Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Poland, etc, did propolis continue to be used and its scientific basis researched. Medical institutes in Russia since the 1930's have carried out a great deal of practical research into the chemical structure and in particular the antibiotic function of propolis.

Renaissance of interest

A renaissance of interest in the West came in the 1960's and 70's with the work of Dr. Aagard Lund in Denmark and Dr.Remy Chauvin in France. Dr. Lund describes an incredible variety of health problems that propolis can treat.

Between 1980 and 1996 309 scientific papers were published about propolis. Nearly half of these were reports of projects conducted in Western countries. This ratio has continued to increase over the last 14 years.

The synergy of Propolis

Many attempts have been made to isolate those particular chemicals in propolis thought to be the 'actives', but in general researchers agree that it is the combined and synergistic effect of propolis which remains most effective.

Pharmacological studies - studies which have looked at propolis in vitro i.e. not in humans - have illustrated, amongst others, the antibiotic, anti inflammatory, anti viral, antifungal, antioxidant and antiseptic properties of propolis. See research.

The fact that propolis has so many different properties makes it able to work in a whole or 'holistic' way - that is, through its ability to trigger the body's own fighting mechanisms rather than by killing or destroying specific bacteria, viruses or fungi.

The Propolis Story

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