Apiotix Technologies

logo Apiotix

Research

What is propolis?

Propolis

Propolis is an entirely natural product selected and collected from plants by honey bees and used to strengthen their beehives and collective immunity. Propolis has been known and used for centuries due to its numerous health effects. It’s a mixture of several hundred active compounds, like polyphenols, terpenes, esters, and amino acids. Thousands of studies confirm its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and pro-healing effects.

In the temperate zone all over the world honey bees collect resins mainly for the black poplar (Populus nigra), so propolis from Europe is of poplar type and is characterized by specific phenolic composition: flavonoid aglycones (flavones and flavanones), phenolic acids and their esters. Propolis collected from other botanical sources in other climate zones will have different compositions, but very similar biological activity, which is fascinating. It seems that the complex content provides safe and effective therapeutic synergy.

The key to an effective standardized propolis formulation is a proper, selective extraction method. Our method is selective for phenolic acids: caffeic, trans-ferulic, p-coumaric acid, and CAPE, especially relevant for the immunomodulatory and healing actions of our extract.

The mode of action of propolis is a combination of antimicrobial, antioxidative, and immunomodulatory mechanisms. Propolis induces innate immunity by increasing the production of antimicrobial peptides & Toll-like receptors (TLR) expression after stress-induced immunosuppression. It also inhibits macrophage apoptosis via glutathione (GSH) and the tumor necrosis factors/nuclear factor kappa B (TNF/NF-κB) pathway. Our standardized propolis extract (SPE) is especially rich in phenolic phytochemicals, aromatic acids, or phenylpropanoids with potent antioxidant and immunomodulating properties. It is known that caffeic acid (CAPE) inhibits NF-KB. NF-κB regulates cell survival and coordinates the expression of proinflammatory mediators, including iNOS, COX-2, and proinflammatory cytokines. P- coumaric acid decreases the production of iNOS, COX-2, IL-1β, and TNF-α expression. The reduced level of these cytokines further reduces the activation of the MAPK and NF-κB pathway and thus alleviates immune response. Ferulic acid stimulates the phagocytic action of neutrophils. Regarding antioxidant activity, the components of our SPE reduce cellular levels of H2O2 and NO, which may be involved in its anti-inflammatory effects. Its flavonoids and caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) block and scavenge ROS, protecting the cell membranes against lipid peroxidation.

You can read more about it in a review:

Šuran J, Cepanec I, Mašek T, Radić B, Radić S, Tlak Gajger I, Vlainić J. Propolis Extract and Its Bioactive Compounds—From Traditional to Modern Extraction Technologies. Molecules. 2021; 26(10):2930.

Our propolis-based products have been tested throughout numerous in vitro and in vivo studies showing great results of tolerance and efficacy.