by Angela Van Alten, Nutritionist and Beekeeper's Daughter
We all remember the H1N1 flu scare in 2009, don't we? We shouldn't forget the 1918, 1957 and 1968 viral outbreaks of Influenza A either.
Studies are now showing that bee propolis has strong anti-influenza activity and you just might want to keep a bottle on hand for any future outbreaks. Based on this study done in Japan, it might also be wise to take a low dose daily during the cold and flu season to boost immunity and prevent a nasty virus from taking hold.
In this study, scientists exposed the well known H1N1 virus to Propolis compounds in a lab setting and found strong evidence that propolis has an anti-influenza effect. A water based propolis from Brazil was used.
According to the researchers, the compounds within propolis that demonstrate the anti-flu properties are called caffeoylquinic acids. One of these compounds, Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester or CAPE, has been shown in other studies to have many other health benefits related to immunity. If you take Propolis, you'll want to ensure that your supplement contains CAPE as well as chlorogenic acid, another active flu fighter in propolis.
So how do you use propolis to boost immunity and ward off nasty flu bugs? This study didn't provide dose amounts as it was done in a lab setting and not in humans or animals. As a result, it is difficult to draw exact conclusions as to how much propolis to take during a flu episode. Fortunately, I have used propolis for years for many different conditions and have recommended it to countless people in our Honey Shop so I do have some experience as to how much 'works.'
For prevention, it has been my experience that 1000 mg's per day of propolis is an effective daily general dose. This can be consumed in capsules or tinctures. For acute situations, I often use much higher doses up to 6000 mg's per day for several days. I would only take this dose if I am absolutely sure that I am not allergic to bee products in any way.
I keep a bottle of water based propolis in the house at all times and in my car and a propolis throat spray in my purse. If I come in contact with someone who has the flu, I take either several sprays of the throat spray or a full dropper of tincture as soon as possible. I do the same if I am in a room with people who are currently ill - coughing, sneezing etc.. I will also take a dropper full in the morning and several times throughout the day, including right before bed. I continue this dosing schedule until I am sure that I am not coming down with the flu or the threat has passed. I then continue on with my prevention dose of 1000 mg's per day.
If you find propolis tinctures difficult to ingest due to their unique taste and texture OR want to give it to your children but encounter stiff resistance, I would suggest trying out our new Acai Fruit Flavored Propolis Tincture. This product has allowed me to be able to give my children propolis each day as it simply taste delicious. It is 100% natural with no artificial color or flavors and does not have the waxy texture that many propolis tinctures have.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011.