Red Propolis Newest Weapon Against Cancer

Propolis—the mixture of sap, resin and pollen that honeybees treasure—has been known for its health-boosting effects for humans for ages. And now, a Brazilian bee farmer may have just discovered the most potent propolis on Earth.

Alessandro Esteves, a former businessman and now a hive master, has found that the red propolis his bees produce has an "unmatched" antioxidant profile that caught the attention of researchers far and wide. Tested against the threat of bacteria, viruses, free radicals and even cancer cells, the propolis came out the winner every time.

Bees value propolis for its ability to insulate and protect the hives from microscopic threats. In fact, ou could call it the immune system of the hive. And while humans are certainly a far cry from bees, we're fortunate in that propolis has the same immune-boosting properties for us as it does for bees.

According to the ratings of the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity), which measures how well a substance counteracts oxidative stress, the red propolis (commercially available as FLAV-R) came in at a whopping 354,000—that's more than triple the popular Brazilian acai berry that ranks just over 102,000. In another antioxidant potency test, red propolis scored 84.3 percent for its ability to wipe out free radicals.

Free radicals do more than just lead to disease; they also contribute to aging, making our skin look less vibrant.

Long considered an effective immune enhancer, propolis' ability to reduce oxidative stress has made it a go-to remedy for common colds and the flu, as well as more serious health issues.

Brazilian red propolis has demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that can cause vaginal yeast infections more effectively than pharmaceutical and prescription medicines.

And more impressive, recent research has found propolis to be effective in combating certain types of cancer—even pancreatic cancer, the most deadly form. One study put the red propolis up against pancreatic cancer cells and the propolis miraculously displayed 100 percent cytotoxicity—meaning the propolis killed all of the cancer cells. This is particularly astounding news because pancreatic cancer, which not only has the lowest 5-year survival rate, it is known historically as being resistant to chemotherapies and can even thrive without any nutrients to feed on.

Similar studies of the Brazilian red propolis found it effective in eliminating six more kinds of cancer cells including leukemia, lung cancer and melanoma.


1 Awale S, Constituents of Brazilian red propolis and their preferential cytotoxic activity against human pancreatic PANC-1 cancer cell line in nutrient-deprived condition. Bioorg Med Chem. 2008 Jan 1;16(1):181-9. Epub 2007 Oct 5.

Li F, et al., Cytotoxic constituents from Brazilian red propolis and their structure-activity relationship.Bioorg Med Chem. 2008 May 15;16(10):5434-40. Epub 2008 Apr 12.

Franchi, GC Jr., et al. Comparison of effects of the ethanolic extracts of brazilian propolis on human leukemic cells as assesed with the MTT assay. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:918-956

Dota KF,  et al., Antifungal Activity of Brazilian Propolis Microparticles against Yeasts Isolated from Vulvovaginal Candidiasis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:201953. Epub 2011 Mar 9.


Photo credit: wildxplorer

By Andrea Donsky| February 03, 2013
Categories:  Care

About the Author

Andrea Donsky

Andrea Donsky

Founder & Chief Passionista at See my full bio here.

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