I take a dozen antibiotics per year due to frequent infections. What else can I take? Don’t worry, I take probiotics, what I want is a natural antibiotic.”
–M.W., Santa Barbara, California
Answer: For millions of years, honeybees have protected themselves with a sticky substance called propolis to coat and clean their hives. Call it “bee glue” this compound has exceptional medicinal benefits just like other tree saps such as Frankincense and Myrrh.
Propolis has over 200 active ingredients including cinnamic Acid derivatives which cause cancer cells inside you to kill themselves (even leukemia). It has antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-fungal and antimicrobial effects. I’m stocking up now before cough and cold season rolls in. The Brazilian species, as in Brazilian green propolis has higher amounts of these healing compounds, sold at health food stores and online. When combined with vitamin D, probiotics, Matcha tea, Maitake mushrooms and prescribed low-dose naltrexone (LDN about 4.5mg at night), I am confident you will ramp up your immune system. Talk to your doctor about these options. Now, I’d like to focus on how propolis can rapidly clear the body of dangerous pathogens, improve blood sugar and support healthy cholesterol levels, all the while reducing pain-causing cytokines.
Artepillin C, a compound in propolis shuts down NFKB, a metabolic pathway in your body that churns inflammatory compounds that make you hurt. So propolis is an anti-inflammatory.
It supports healthy blood sugar levels, as well as blood lipids (like cholesterol). I’ve always been somewhat afraid of these critters, but after studying this, let’s hear it for the bees!
As an antibiotic, propolis has been shown to kill H. pylori is implicated in gastric ulcers and colitis; also MRSA, as in the potentially fatal bug “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” It acts on these pathogens without destroying your probiotic flora. I’d still take probiotics, but it’s good to know propolis doesn’t harm your gut like conventional antibiotics. That means no diarrhea, cramping and bloating like you get from antibiotics.
As an anti-fungal, propolis has been shown to fight Candida strains of all sorts including C. albicans, C. glabrata and C. krusei. That last one is dangerous, and it occurs during production of chocolate and wine. A study compared natural propolis to the drug Nystatin, and they were equally effective. Propolis boosts your own macrophages to go and fight harder.
One of the most difficult to treat viruses known to man is influenza, another one is herpes, and of course there’s the infamous small pox. Would it shock you at this point if I told you various studies have shown antiviral capacity by propolis? Two separate studies have shown it work against HPV, or human papilloma virus, implicated in cervical cancer. Whenever I see hype about injecting little kids with vaccines for HPV, I wonder why propolis doesn’t even get honorable mention? For enhanced immune benefits, you’ll see high quality brands combine the Brazilian green propolis with probiotics, astaxanthin or other immune-boosting antioxidants.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.