Put some bee stuff on your canker sores

Is there anything bees can’t do?

According to some studies, a substance bees produce called Propolis is a very effective canker sore remedy.

According to people out there on the web who supposedly know stuff like this, propolis is a waxy, resinous substance bees produce from flower buds and sap flows, and they use it in the hive to fill in small gaps much like beeswax.  In its natural state, propolis is brown in color, sticky, and quite smelly, so while it has many medicinal uses, it hasn’t been widely accepted for those reasons.

According to an article from the Health and Med Blog, and quoting a Professor Anant Paradkar who has researched propolis for years, “Propolis has been shown to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal, a strong anti-oxidant, non-allergenic and can boost the immune system. It also promotes wound healing and has anesthetic properties.”

Those all sound like good things.

Nicholas Cage bees

Nicholas Cage gets his propolis the hard way

Wikipedia says that propolis can do everything from help sore throats with propolis lozenges, treat skin burns, prevent plaque buildup on teeth, and even works as an immunomodulator, which as RAS is an autoimmune disease, sounds very promising.

It supposedly even fights the growth of tumors.

Not bad for something that comes out of a bee’s ass.

Sound gross?  Then don’t fear, because scientists have been able to purify the propolis to remove the scent while maintaining the healthy properties.  And while all bee products found in nature can vary from location to location due to the flora of the region, lab bees can be maintained and controlled, keeping the qualities of the propolis even.

And one more thing, the stickiness in propolis supposedly helps it stay secure to the ulcer itself, keeping it from wiping off like many ulcer medications.

Durham’s Bee Farm Inc produces a propolis-based product specifically for mouth ulcers.

Not recommended for people with severe bee allergies.  Just in case anybody was wondering.

Anybody used propolis based products?  Good reviews?  Bad reviews?  Share with the class!



A friendly beekeeper set the record straight in the comments – it turns out that my “bee’s ass” joke was not accurate, that propolis is created by trees and flowers and brought to the hive by the bees, who stick it to their legs.  So there’s even less to fear about propolis.  Good feedback!

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Showing 3 comments
  • Emily Heath

    “Not bad for something that comes out of a bee’s ass.”

    Nice article but let me reassure you that propolis doesn’t come out of a bee’s ass! Despite being brown and sticky.

    It’s not produced by the bees but collected by them from trees and plants, it’s basically plant resin, which you may have seen oozing from trees before. The worker bees gather it up with their jaws and transport it home in their pollen baskets on their legs – not their butts.

    • Joe Scott

      Ha! That’s very good to know! (That’s what I get for trying to be funny!)

      Thanks for setting me straight on that. I just came across the medicinal qualities of propolis recently and didn’t quite know the difference between that and beeswax. So this isn’t something that the bees process in some way, it’s just plant resin that they pull into the hive?

      Beekeeping is really interesting to me. I’ve got a neighbor that keeps bees and we started buying honey from him. It’s worked absolute miracles for my wife’s allergies. It’s amazing to think that the honey is being made from the flowers and plants that are literally in our backyard.

      I appreciate the comment, thanks!

      • Emily Heath

        Yep, the bees collect it on warm days and carry it home, where younger house bees nibble it off their legs and put it in place in the hive to cover up any cracks or even as an anti-microbial way of covering up intruders like a dead mouse, which would be too big for little bees to carry out. So some bee saliva probably gets mixed in along the way but nothing worse than that. Once in place it goes very hard and is impossible to get off your bee suit.

        Beeswax is used to construct the combs and actually does come out of a bees body, but their belly, or more accurately their abdomen, not their butts. To make the wax the workers eat lots of honey and hang together in chains. The sugar and warmth causes their wax glands in their abdomen to produce tiny wax flakes. The bees then put the wax flakes in place using their forelegs and mouths to produce perfectly evenly sized honeycomb. It’s amazing how they do it really!

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