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The Amazing Power of Propolis Fighting Oral Cancer

Posted by Daniel Grande on
The Amazing Power of Propolis Fighting Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a public health problem. The use of natural substances such as propolis aims to search for chemoprevention with fewer side effects. Desirable effects of propolis on the treatment of oral cancer are regression of tumors by stimulating multicellular immunity, prevention of metastasis, speeding up apoptosis of cancer cells, mitosis-suppressing effect, anti-angiogenesis effect, immunomodulatory effect, and antioxidant effect. Propolis maintains high circulating levels of chemotherapeutic drugs such as 5-FU and MMC, thus reducing the dose of these drugs. When concurrently administered with propolis, the dose and side effects of these chemotherapeutic drugs are reduced; the cytopenia resulting from these drugs is ameliorated by administration of propolis via increasing WBC and RBC counts in peripheral blood. Propolis also has radioprotective effect. Flavonoid quercetin in propolis potentiates the growth-inhibitory activity on tumors.

It's no difficult to find researches, reviews and highlights of uses of propolis in various branches of dentistry and its possible use in the prevention and management of oral cancer.

If you just search the PubMed database for English articles for the terms-“propolis”, “oral health”, “dentistry”, and “oral cancer”, you will be surprised with the number of the results. Despite of that, it's amazing how people and also health practitioners still don't know about the extraordinary healing properties of this natural bee product.

Dental use of propolis has been emphasized by several studies, in addition to decrease dentinal hypersensitivity and permeability of dentin and occlude dentinal tubules, it has been found to be beneficial in many aspects, including prevention of dental caries; reduction of oral mucositis resulted from chemotherapy, oral cancer, gingival and periodontal diseases, plaque inhibition and anti-inflammatory and even as an analgesic.

Moreover, as an antiviral, it delays growth and progression of skin changes in an early stage of infection with Herpes simplex and does not cause cytotoxic effect. A study assessed Brazilian propolis against Herpes virus Type 1 infection. Ethanol extracts of propolis significantly limited development of herpetic skin lesions. It significantly enhanced delayed type hypersensitivity to inactivated virus. Oral ethanol propolis extract administration also significantly increased production of interferon gamma, which is associated with immunity. 

Propolis-based products have strong anti-fungal properties in relation to Candida albicans and other types of Candida species. Candida albicans (C. albicans) is most sensitive to propolis. Propolis solutions can be also used in form of mouthwash or gel for local application in patients with oral candidiasis using removable dentures.

The flavonoids in propolis, mainly pinocembrin with a high content of aromatic acids and amyrins, have been considered to be responsible for inhibitory effect on Candida. Due to the increasing resistance to fluconazole and toxicity of some antifungal drugs, new alternatives in the treatment of denture stomatitis are a novel idea. Propylene glycol Brazilian green propolis has been shown to have an antifungal activity, which is similar to miconazole in the C. albicans colonies decrease and in the erythema reduction of patients with Candida-associated denture stomatitis. The study recommended propolis to be an alternative therapeutics for this condition.

Skaba et al. showed clinical effectiveness of a toothpaste and gel containing 3% ethanolic extract of propolis in a group of patients with a greater risk of gingivitis caused by dental plaque. Preventive effect of propolis on periodontal tissues includes the slowing down of formation of precipitates of calcium phosphates; therefore, it can be used as ingredient of mouthwashes or toothpastes to limit the accumulation of dental plaque. In addition to that, it was found that Propolis also reduces halitosis (bad breath).

The table below provides information on some of the important studies done in the field of dentistry.




Propolis in the field of regenerative dentistry and in oral cancer is an exciting and rewarding field of research. It can be incorporated into tissue bioscaffolds used for tissue engineering, thereby preventing recurrence of cancer. With advances in biotechnology, biochemistry, biomaterials, bioengineering, nanotechnology, gene therapy, and regenerative medicine should be used with advantage to harness the power of propolis to full degree to get miraculous new exciting results and new modes of management or prevention of various diseases. In future, more definitive roles of propolis will be found in applications in dentistry; however, clinical trials are necessary to isolate the individual components responsible for its beneficial effects.

Reference: this information was extracted from NCBI website - US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. For full version, please visit the link: 




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