Bee propolis (populus candicans) is a natural material that bees make from tree sap and wax to help seal off their hives. It has a long history of medicinal use, and modern research has found that it does indeed inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms, and may even help prevent cancer.
Bee propolis contains many antioxidant chemicals, including terpenes and bioflavonoids, as well as cinnamic, phenolic, and caffeic acids. However, propolis is best known for its natural antibiotic effects; in fact, doctors once soaked bandages in honey (which contains propolis) before dressing wounds to help prevent infection.
Clinical studies have shown that propolis inhibits the growth of the bacteria that cause pneumonia and strep and staph infections, which is particularly beneficial today when the potentially deadly staphylococcus bacteria has become resistant to almost all pharmaceutical antibiotics. Multiple studies have demonstrated that the compounds in propolis actually enhance the performance of prescription antibiotics normally used to treat serious infections.
The caffeic acid in propolis may help prevent colon cancer, according to an article published in the September 1993 issue of Cancer Research, which reported that laboratory rats who took caffeic acid did not develop precancerous tissue, even after they were exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. Propolis also contains a lot of bioflavonoids, which have been proven to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, unlike any prescription pharmaceutical available today, natural bee propolis may inhibit the growth of viruses that cause the flu and common cold, as well as the herpes simplex virus.