Propolis: a natural remedy with multiple health benefits

Derived from resin collected by bees from various botanical sources such as trees and plants, propolis is used to protect the hive against bacteria, fungi, and viruses, establishing itself as an effective barrier against pathogens.

One of the distinctive characteristics of this product is its classification based on color, with the most common types being brown, red, and green. Each variety has distinct characteristics and unique therapeutic properties.

For example, brown propolis is more common in the southern region of the country, while red propolis originates in the northeast. Both have been the subject of studies and research due to their benefits.

According to Professor Armindo Vieira Júnior, founder of Cia da Abelha and considered one of Brazil's most renowned beekeepers, "Brazilian propolis, like honey, is organic, meaning it does not require medications like antibiotics to combat diseases. That's why there is growing international interest in propolis produced in Brazil," he says.

What makes this food so valuable are its bioactive compounds, with a highlight on flavonoids: natural substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

According to Dr. Samuel Dalle Laste, propolis's ability to protect blood vessels is one of its most notable properties. He says this is due to the flavonoids, which contribute to vascular health by aiding in the support of collagen present in the walls of blood vessels.

"This can result in an improvement in venous return, especially in the veins of the legs, known as saphenous veins," Samuel states.

The doctor emphasizes that, being a natural product, propolis offers an interesting alternative to medicinal anti-inflammatories, which can often cause unwanted side effects such as gastritis and kidney damage.

Propolis is known for its ability to selectively and safely inhibit inflammation. Furthermore, it has antiseptic properties, thanks to benzoic acid present in its composition.

This compound is effective in inhibiting and eliminating bacteria, making it an ally in the prevention of infections.

A study conducted at the São Rafael Hospital in Salvador, Brazil, showed that consuming propolis reduced the hospital stay time of COVID-19 patients who ingested the substance during their hospitalization. The study was led by clinical researcher Marcelo Silveira from Apis Flora.

"This is just one study among many that suggest how propolis consumption can be promising in the treatment of COVID-19. Its health effects, low cost, and ease of use make it an excellent adjunct treatment for boosting immunity and fighting infections," Marcelo emphasizes.

The healing power is also worth noting. Dalle Laste mentions that specifically, pinocembrin is used in ointments to promote tissue regeneration. It can be beneficial in the treatment of gastritis, contributing to the health of the gastric wall and alleviating discomfort.

For those struggling with food cravings, apigenin, found in propolis, can be a valuable ally as it helps in modulating cravings for sugars and calorie-rich foods. This is because apigenin is involved in the regulation of genes related to appetite.

Additionally, cinnamic acid plays a crucial role in intestinal health, as it has the ability to combat microorganisms that can lead to dysbiosis.

"This is particularly relevant considering that dysbiosis can affect the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, influencing our mood and well-being," warns Samuel.

Another important aspect addressed by Dr. Samuel is the strengthening of the immune system. He explains that the product can help improve the function of defense cells, providing a more effective immune system response against pathogens.

A study conducted by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) evaluated the effects of green propolis extract in 40 asymptomatic seropositive patients. The results indicated that propolis could be an alternative to improving the immune response and reducing inflammation in these patients.

Propolis is available in various forms, including liquid extract and tablets. The liquid is known to extract more bioactive compounds, making it a stronger option, although it may not be suitable for children or pregnant women.

However, the aqueous form, found in natural product stores and pharmacies, is milder in terms of taste.

Dr. Samuel emphasizes that the compound should not be seen as a standalone solution but as part of a holistic approach. He recommends that people consider an assessment with a nutritionist when incorporating the product into their diet, highlighting that its use is intrinsically related to nutrition.

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