As the hay fever season begins, we look at how propolis could help.
Hay Fever – What Causes It & What are The Symptoms?
Hay fever, also sometimes known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat. For those with an allergy, pollen triggers the antibody immunoglobulin E. According to NHS figures approximately 20% of us here in the UK suffer from hay fever, with symptoms that can include frequent sneezing, runny or blocked nose, itchy, red or watery eyes (allergic conjunctivitis),an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears and a cough, caused by postnasal drip. Less common symptoms can include the loss of your sense of smell, facial pain, sweating and headaches.
There are around 30 different types of pollen that cause hay fever and it is possible to be allergic to more than one type.
The types of pollen fall into three main groups: Tree, grass and weed pollen, and because these plants produce pollen at differing times, the hay fever season can last from March to September. In short, it’s a big issue for many people and can last for weeks or months.
What is Propolis and How can it Help?
Honey bees collect resins from plants and trees and process it through their bodies to produce a sticky substance which is known as propolis, from the Greek Pro Polis “ Defender of the City.” It is rich in flavonoids, terpenoids, phenolics and their esters, and contains more than 500 identified chemical compounds.
It has been shown to have antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-oxidant, anti-viral & anti-allergic properties and is used to promote the health of the hive. This amazing substance has also been shown to have beneficial effects in humans.
The Anti-Allergic Properties of Propolis & Its use in the Treatment of Hay Fever
In 1980 Dr. Remy Chauvin (1), the French physician, known for his championing of propolis, treated a number of patients with hay fever. The patients were treated with an alcohol extract of propolis in soluble starch. Each patient received 7-8 doses daily for 8 days, each dose containing 250mgs of dry propolis extract. The patients’ symptoms were almost completely alleviated. Small doses were given in the following 2 years with continuing positive results.
More recently research (2) has confirmed that the anti-allergic properties of propolis may be partly attributed to the inhibitory activity of propolis on the activation of epithelial cells, mast cells, basophils, and eosinophils and the release of various allergic mediators. The active constituents of propolis with anti-allergic properties are flavonoids such as chrysin, kaempferol, galangin, and pinocembrin and cinnamic acid derivatives such as caffeic acid phenethyl esther (CAPE) and artepillin C.
James Fearnley, CEO of BeeVital, has been researching the medicinal properties of propolis for over 30 years and says, “In a world where we are increasingly looking to complementary and natural medicines to promote health and treat debilitating conditions, propolis, produced by the wonderful honey bee, is providing relief and hope to many.”
- Chauvin, R. (1980). Use of propolis in treatment of hay fever. Pharmacological assays, Apiacta, 15 (3) 101-3.
- Liew, K.Y.; Kamise, N.I.; Ong, H.M.; Aw Yong, P.Y.; Islam, F.; Tan, J.W.; Tham, C.L. Anti- Allergic Properties of Propolis: Evidence From Preclinical and Clinical Studies. Pharm. 2022, 12, 785371.
Advice should be sought from a qualified health practitioner before using propolis to treat health conditions.