Propolis is the natural resin-like substance collected from tree buds by honey bees. Green propolis is the result of higher levels of a more potent antioxidant within the propolis mixture. This is useful to the bees in preserving the integrity of the bee hive and is of particular interest to natural medicine enthusiasts.
Sometimes referred to as "bee glue," propolis is used to repair or mend small holes and cracks in the bee hive. Since propolis is collected from the available tree buds in different ratios and mixtures, the substance found in one area will never match that found in hives of other areas. In fact, batches of propolis that are tested have been shown to vary between hives in similar locales, and the substance sometimes varies even within the same hive.
Since the job of resin in the tree is to seal out harmful substances, propolis has very high antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Proponents of green propolis, which has sometimes been called the super-propolis, have cited it as a treatment for everything from mouth ulcers to heart health issues. Many claim it fights infection, inflammation, and fungus and improves overall healing time. Some studies indicate it may even actively attack cancer cells.
Like most natural types of medicine or treatment, green propolis is not endorsed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The very makeup of green propolis, which many claim makes it so beneficial, also makes it hard for science to prove if the benefits are real. Since every sample of propolis may differ, there is no universal standard, so proving its benefits is difficult. This also means that different brands which offer this substance may vary greatly in makeup and benefit.
Green propolis is also available as a dietary supplement. Generally, these supplements are available in a tincture, softgels, or even in raw form. Other types of products, such as facial cleansers and shampoos, use green propolis as a natural ingredient to help fight of acne, rosacea, and even dandruff. These products are typically available in natural food or organic health stores.
Anyone who has a known allergy to certain local pollens, bee stings, or honey may also have an allergy to green propolis. An allergy test on a small patch of skin may be beneficial before using propolis regularly or taking it internally, even in those with no known allergies. If an allergic reaction occurs, it may be best for individuals to try a propolis from a different area of the world or to discontinue its use.