Bees make propolis, which they use to glue the materials of their hives together, by mixing beeswax and other secretions with resins from the buds of conifer and poplar trees. Those resins have natural germicidal properties. For centuries, people have used propolis on wounds and as a remedy for ailments ranging from acne to cancer, osteoporosis, itching, and tuberculosis. Today, propolis is used in the manufacture of chewing gum, cosmetics, creams, lozenges and ointments and is being investigated as a dental sealant and tooth enamel hardener. A number of studies have tested its effectiveness in humans and animals as a treatment for burns, minor wounds, infections, inflammatory diseases, dental pain, and genital herpes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, initial studies demonstrate that using a mouthwash containing bee propolis may inhibit oral bacteria, reduce inflammation associated with periodontitis and prevent the formation of dental plaque.
Animal-based and in vitro studies indicate that bee propolis may stimulate the immune system and may deter various viral infections, including herpes simplex virus and intestinal infections caused by Helicobacter pylori.
NIH notes that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that bee propolis exerts anti-inflammatory effects, which suggests that this substance may help to treat various inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatism.
A study submitted to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine by Scott R. Gregory, MSII, and fellow colleagues of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas, showed that bee propolis speeds the healing of minor burns.