Honey isn’t the only product by the bees. Bees also produce a greenish-blue, glue-like substance named “Propolis”. It is a mixture of bees’ saliva, beeswax, and the nectar they collect from flowers and buds. Propolis is used by the bees for coating their hives and sealing the superfluous gaps present in it.
History also reveals plentiful benefactions offered by propolis. It has long been used by the Greeks to treat swelling and blisters while the Assyrians treated infections with propolis and used it to improve the process of healing. The Egyptians used it to prevent the decay of mummies.
In addition, a recent study has proved propolis to be effective against the spreading of colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the third most frequently occurring cancer all around the globe. One individual in every twenty people is diagnosed with colon cancer. Colon cancer is caused by genetic alterations inside the body which causes the Polyps to turn into cancerous cells. Polyps are present naturally underlying the gut region. At the point of initiation, polyps form small and benign clumps of cells which over the time turn metastatic causing the death of the organism directly.
The symptoms of the diseases include changes in bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, cramps, sudden weight loss, weakness, and fatigue.
Current procedures design to somehow treat and eradicate cancer pose numerous negative effects on the body. Therefore, the scientists have been looking for an alternative therapy that may not treat cancer but would at least prevent it in the best possible manner.
The extensive studies and untiring efforts of the scientists finally brought them a fruitful solution. The researchers declared propolis to exhibit antimitogenic and anticancer properties. It was reported that propolis contains Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) which accounted for its efficacy against colon cancer.
The researchers tested CAPE on colon cancer cells. For the experiment, an Albino laboratory-bred mice or BALB/c strain was inoculated with colon cancerous cell lines CT-26. The cells were introduced via the tail vein. The mice were then fed with 20mg/kg of CAPE for about 21 days. The rate of migration and invasion of the cells were evaluated along with the expression of matrix metalloproteinase.
Matrix metalloproteinase or MMPs are the destructive proteolytic enzymes formed when the cancerous cells adhere to the lining of the colon causing the contraction of the endothelial membrane.
It was found that CAPE inhibited the levels of metalloproteinase; MMP-2 and MMP-9. Consequently, it prevented the metastasis or the migration and invasion of the colon cancer cells.
The researchers have reported about 300 active compounds in the propolis. Majority of these compounds are polyphenols in nature loaded with antioxidants that prevent infectious organisms to invade the body.
CAPE too is reported to contain a variety of flavonoids, terpenoids, amino acids, and esters of phenolics acids. In addition to the antimitogenic and anticancer properties, it also possesses antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.
However, the composition of propolis isn’t same all around the world. CAPE is only produced by the bees from American and European countries.
Propolis also finds extensive uses in the healing of wounds and especially cold sores. It is available in the form of topical ointments and creams in the market. The extensive range of healthful characteristics it owns makes it suitable for a natural source of medication. Moreover, it is also ascertained not to cause any side effects to the organism.