This article is for informational purposes only. The current coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing event and certain details may change as new information comes to light. There are currently no effective or FDA-approved products available to treat this new coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2 or 2019-nCoV), although research is still ongoing.
There are few, if any, studies of the effectiveness of apitherapy products on COVID. There are many research articles on the use of some apitherapy products for other viruses. We know that the proteins and fats of viruses can be destroyed by heat. We know that the free radicals in the infected cells can be blocked by the use of antioxidants.
One of the best apitherapy products for use against viruses is bee propolis. Propolis is said to have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. But scientific research into propolis is unfortunately still limited.
What is propolis?
Propolis is commonly known as the "bee glue", which is a generic name that refers to the resinous substance collected by the bees from different types of plants.
The word "propolis" is derived from the Greek and means defense for "pro" and city or community for "polis." Beekeepers collect the bee propolis. It can be eaten, or better yet, it can be dripped into alcohol or water.
In 1990 an article appeared in the Journal Micobiologics: Effects of propolis flavonoids on infectivity and virus replications. Studies have been published on the effects of propolis against viruses such as corona, herpes and other viruses. In Germany, a study was published in 2018 on the effect of propolis against the herpes virus. The study looked at the effectiveness of propolis on herpes compared to conventional acyclovir treatment.
There are published studies. Many of the apitherapy products are used in addition to propolis to treat viruses. Some are honey, royal jelly and even bee venom.
In general, propolis has an antimicrobial potential in test tubes, animals and during some human experiments. There are currently no cell-based studies on the new coronavirus.
We don't really know the impact of taking propolis for infections, especially COVID-19, but it appears to be a generally very healthy immune support supplement.
In an old clinical study of 50 people with a cold caused by rhinovirus, propolis accelerated the recovery.
A herbal preparation containing propolis, echinacea and vitamin C reduced the incidence and duration of respiratory infections in a trial with 430 children.
A propolis extract (NIVCRISOL) reduced the incidence of chronic symptoms and the presence of pathogens in the upper respiratory tract in a clinical trial in children with rhinopharyngitis.
A propolis ointment was more effective than both placebo and an antiviral medicine (aciclovir) at healing the lesions in a clinical trial in 90 people with genital herpes. Likewise, a lipstick with propolis was more effective than aciclovir in a clinical trial involving nearly 200 people with cold sores. Propolis was also effective against both types Herpes in mice.
In mice infected with influenza A (H0N1 and H1N1), decreased propolis extract the virus yields and death rate.
In mice with respiratory syncytial virus infection weakened Brazilian propolis is the aggravation of symptoms caused by a chemical (tetrabromobisphenol A). Propolis reduced virus titers, CD8 + cell counts in the lungs and the production of the cytokines IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-6.
The phenolic compound caffeic acid is phenethyl ester reduced pneumonia and damage caused by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in mice.
The combination of propolis flavone and epimedium polysaccharide increased the cure rate and decreased the mortality rate in chickens with Newcastle disease.
In an old cell-based study, the propolis flavonoids chrysin and kaempferol inhibited two coronaviruses: human OC43 and bovine CDCV.
Propolis extract was active against the viruses that cause the following disease in test tubes:
- Oral and genital herpes
- Newcastle disease
In test tubes, propolis and its active components had antibacterial activity against some microorganisms causing respiratory infections (such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus parainfluenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis and Streptococcus pyogenes).
Propolis and its active ingredients also boosted the immune system in animals vaccinated against the following viruses:
- Bovine herpes virus type 5
- Pig parvovirus
- Southern herpes virus type 1
- Newcastle disease
A propolis ointment was more effective than both placebo and an antiviral medicine (aciclovir) at healing the lesions in a clinical trial in 90 people with genital herpes. Likewise, a propolis lipstick was more effective than aciclovir in a clinical trial in nearly 200 people with cold sores.
Propolis was also effective against both types of herpes in mice.
Asthma is a risk factor for complications with COVID-19, so in theory improving asthma can reduce your risk of complications if you get COVID-19.
In a small trial of 24 asthmatic patients, those who received propolis showed a reduction in the incidence and severity of nocturnal attacks and an improvement in lung function. Propolis decreased the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, ICAM-1, IL-6 and IL-8) and messengers (prostaglandins E2 and F and leukotriene D4), while the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 .
Mast cell over-activation and histamine release is the leading cause of allergic reactions, including seasonal allergies, asthma and eczema. In mouse studies, the phenolic compounds quercetin, pinocembrin and caffeic acid phenethyl ester in propolis blocked the release of histamine, ROS and cytokine and relieved asthmatic symptoms.