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Propolis: benefits, types and uses

The propolis has many health benefits and is now one of the most popular natural products.

Since the ancient times, the propolis has been empirically used by advanced civilizations, like the Egiptians, Mayans, Greeks and Romans, and in the last few years it has been scientifically studied on its various functions and pharmacological uses, which has proved some clinical features already observed (Ghisalberti, 1979).

The propolis and its benefits were always widely studied:

  • Antimicrobial (Meresta e Meresta, 1985),
  • Anti-inflammatory (Dobrowolski, 1991),
  • Cicatrizant(Tsakoff, 1978),
  • Immune Modulator (Matsuno,1997),
  • Antioxydant (Rajan,2001),
  • Antitumoral & Others (Ghisalberti, 1979),
  • Retroviral Immune Modulator (R.Veronez e cols., 1988)

Types of propolis

The most known kinds of propolis, usually studied and used are: the dark propolis (regular/traditional), the green propolis and the red propolis.The propolis becomes different depending on the flora and vegetation in use by bees to produce it.

Traditional Propolis

The most used and easily found given its botanical origins, produced by bees from a large variety of plants and having no dominance of any particular plant. The traditional propolis has different colors, from the light grey to the black depending on the region.

The more important active components and substances include: phenolic compounds, flavonoids, enzymes, benzoic acid derivates, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, terpenoids and essential oils (Popravko, 1975).

Green propolis

The green propolis comes from bee that extract substances like resins and exudates from a species named “Alecrim-do-Campo”. Besides all benefits from other common variations of the propolis, reasearches unveiled that on top of antioxydant properties, the green propolis has an antitumoral effect and for that it is widely used in Japanese hospitals (Paredes, Gruzman ET AL., 2003).

Day by day, the green propolis becomes even more known and relevant, as it obliterates bacterias, fungus, viruses and improve immunology and defenses, also protecting the skin during radiotherapy sessions and avoiding radiodermatitis. Analysis made within the country and elsewhere confim the green propolis has high phenolic and flavonoid concentrations, both powerful antioxydant. They keep the free-radicals that cause damage to the cells and tissues away.

Red propolis

The main botanical precedent for the red propolis has been identified as being the Dalbergia ecastophyllum, commonly named as Rabo-de-Bugio, a plant found along the coastal areas, beaches and mangroves in Brazil’s northeastern region.
The red propolis differs considerably from the other 12 types of propolis already known and registered, which makes it an unique and particular product.

The components and substances uniquely found in the red propolis include the benzophenone, the dihydroxiisoflavone, homopterocarpin, medicarpin and isoflavonoids. Adding these feats to the regular benefits from other propolis variations, the red propolis is considered a premium and desired product in several countries.