Propolis: How Honey Bees May Help Fight Cancer

Propolis, aka “Bee Glue”, is a resinous substance with a long standing history of use in the medical world. Dating back to about 350 B.C., in the time of Aristotle, Grecians used this bee product for abscesses and Assyrians used it to assist with the healing of wounds and tumors. In more modern day applications, propolis has been used to ease symptoms associated with various viruses, such as the common cold and H1N1, canker sores and infections caused by bacteria, some ailments associated with fungi and even those due to single-celled organisms called protozoans. Some recent research has shown that propolis can be useful in assisting with the treatment of various cancers by inducing signals that inhibit abnormal cell division, while limiting abnormal cell survival by promoting apoptosis (programmed cell-death). Further studies need to be conducted, but use of this healing agent could potentially help to halt the development of various malignancies. Some of these that have already been documented include trials focused on prostate, cervical, oral, breast and pancreatic cancers.

It is said that this ‘sap-like’ bee product, which at times can be used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, may help boost the immune system and has the potential to treat various gastrointestinal problems. Topically, as true to its history, propolis has also been used for cold sores, genital herpes, burns, wound cleansing and even as a mouth rinse to expedite the healing process following oral surgery.

Precautions: As more research should be conducted to ensure safety, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or breast-feeding avoid using propolis. It is also believed by some experts that the use of propolis may exacerbate asthma symptoms, and those who are allergic to bee by-products should also avoid use.

At this time, there are no known interactions between propolis and medications, food, supplements or other herbs. Please speak to your doctor, or contact Portland based Acupuncturist, Boynn McIntire at All and One Acupuncture, before trying this product for personal use.


The use of acupuncture and herbal therapy, in conjunction with modern day medicine, can be a very effective way to address many, and most, ailments. Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective in treating the common cold and easing symptoms associated with various viruses and bacterial infections.

-Written by: Diana Beilman, Clinic Assistant & Master’s Student in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

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