Mesothelioma is notoriously difficult to treat, and research is constantly ongoing to try and find a cure for the debilitating asbestos cancer.
Researchers in Taiwan have been looking into propolis to see if this could be the next weapon in the fight against mesothelioma.
Propolis – what is it?
Propolis is a sticky resin produced by bees from saliva, wax and the sap of evergreens. It is rich in antioxidants and is used by bees to protect their hives. It has antifungal, antibacterial and regenerative properties.
In the past, ancient civilisations used propolis to treat their wounds and would ingest it to treat illnesses.
Using propolis in modern medicine
The use of propolis as a medicine today is not new, around five years ago there was research conducted that suggested the substance can help to heal burns.
As early as 2014, it was thought that propolis could have cancer-fighting properties due to it containing polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in many fruits and vegetables and help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
It is thought that compromised immunity and inflammation help mesothelioma spread and so addressing both of these could prevent the spread of mesothelioma.
Benefits of propolis
The recent research reviewed studies of propolis to find the benefits of using it as a treatment for various cancers.
In addition to boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation, they found that propolis is pro-apoptotic and cytotoxic, this means that it prompts natural cell death and kills cancer cells. It prevents cell division as well as preventing cancers from spreading and invading tissue. In addition, it also prevents a tumour’s blood supply from developing.
Propolis as a mesothelioma treatment?
With many mesothelioma patients not being eligible for surgery and/or chemotherapy, finding alternative treatments is important. The results of this study suggest that further research is needed into propolis to develop it into an effective mesothelioma treatment.
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Chiu, HF, et al, “Chemopreventive and Chemotherapeutic Effect of Propolis and Its Constituents: A Mini-review”, June 30, 2020, Journal of Cancer Prevention, http://www.jcpjournal.org/journal/view.html?doi=10.15430/JCP.2020.25.2.70
Xuan, H, “Antitumor Activity of Chinese Propolis in Human Breast Cancer MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 Cells”, May 22, 2014, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/280120/
Goldman, R, ” The Benefits and Uses of Propolis”, September 28, 2018, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/propolis-an-ancient-healer
Martinotti, S, “Propolis: a new frontier for wound healing?”, July 22, 2015, Burns & Trauma, https://burnstrauma.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41038-015-0010-z
Propolis, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-390/propolis