At this very particular moment, we are collectively exposed. The solid glue of our friendships, of our microworld is severely tested by the suspicion of the invisible monster. No matter how well we love ourselves, anyone can be a bearer, with inattention and little sense of responsibility. We understand that we can create an alcohol-based amuchin-like cleaner at home. Nature also offers us a useful antibacterial if we need, for example, to disinfect the oral cavity but also with many other properties. Propolis comes from the hive, an antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal substance. But what is propolis and what is it made of and what is it for?
Let's start from the end: it is used for bees to disinfect the environments where the larvae of new individuals are housed, but also to seal points in the house where dangerous elements for the family could be introduced. It also serves to literally embalm unwanted guests who cannot be pushed out of the house, such as moths. It is probably the observation of this activity that pushes the Egyptians to use it to embalm the pharaohs, while the Incas prescribed its use in antipyretic function and Pliny in Naturalis Historia recalls that a small amount was entrusted to Roman soldiers for disinfection of wounds, and evidence of its effectiveness is also found in the Koran.
Propolis is a compound made up of different substances (about 300) different depending on the botanical species from which it derives and can vary greatly depending on the geographical area. In general we can say that this particular substance is composed on average of 10-30% of waxes, which allow bees to model it, about 50% of resins and balms, 10-15% of essential oils and balms, 5% of pollen and a small percentage of organic substances (Marcucci MC Propolis: chemical composition, bio-logical properties and therapeutic activity. Apidologie26,83-99, 1995). From the vegetable substances present inside this precious mixture, the greatest healing properties come, substantiated by the greater presence of flavonoids, aglycones, flavonones, phenolic compounds, aromatic acids, esters of caffeic acid etc in geographical areas where birch prevails (as in northern Europe) ; different types of flavonoids, hercitin and quercitin esters with other substances including diterpenes characterize the propolis produced in tropical areas.
This wide variety of chemical composition affects the aromatic characteristics, the color, the consistency but also its biological efficacy. European propolis provides many useful compounds for health with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action (flavonones, flavones, phenolic acid esters, phenolic acids), anticancer (phenolic esters of caffeic acid), hepatoprotective (caffeic acid, ferulic acid , phenethyl esters of caffeic acid), allergenic (3,3-dimethylcaffeate).
Its effectiveness has been proven in various areas of medicine such as in dermatology, gynecology, stomatology, pediatrics and veterinary medicine; its antiviral activity was found to be effective, for example, against herpes symplex type I (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/np50090a003), but also against fungal proliferation of candida.
In the affections of the oral cavity, which cause sore throat, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, propolis has proven effective against the action of viruses, bacteria and mixed situations. Today it is possible to find many titrated formulations on the market which therefore keep the antiseptic and curative action of this precious substance active, which can be administered directly on site with spray applicators.
A full-bodied literature highlights the bacteriostatic efficacy in small quantities, but bactericidal in more massive doses also against Staffilococco aureo, Staffilococco pneumoniae and Neisseria menigitidis.
The difference between the propolis in hydroalcoholic extract and the water-soluble actichelated version probably more effective in terms of cell penetration and consequently a better antiviral activity towards Herpes virus, Influenza virus, Parainfluenza virus and Adenovirus (Serkedjieva J., Manolova N) is still being studied. ., Bankova V. Anti-in-fluenza virus effect of some propolis constituents andtheir analogues (esters of substituted cinnamic acids). J. Nat. Prod. 55, 294-302, 1992).
Once again the wonderful world of bees demonstrates advanced knowledge, in this case expressed in terms of defense. The alliance with these beautiful animals allows us to learn and benefit, with respect, from their innate wisdom.
That's all for the hive today.