The word Propolis is derived from "pro" and "polis", which translates to "front" and "city" respectively. This is a reference to the fact that Propolis is a colony's first line of defense against pathogens. It is a sticky, resinous plant material collected by bees to cover their hive to prevent microbes from penetrating. It is also a very rich source of antioxidants.
The very compounds that show antimicrobial effects, such as flavonoids, phenolics, and terpenes to name a few, are also the ones responsible for its health benefits. However, propolis has a very low bioavailability in its natural state and needs to be extracted with alcohol. This process is crucial to remove the impurities from propolis and make the beneficial compounds available to the human body.
Athlete's foot, a fungal infection usually starting on the toes, is very common and is believed to affect 70% of the world's population. According to research conducted at Kochi University in Japan in 2012, propolis in ethanol extract applied to seven patients demonstrated antifungal activity of propolis. The scientists observed healing within two weeks and proposed that propolis may be a natural aid in the management of fungal infections caused by T. rubrum.
Ngatu N.R., Saruta, T., Hirota, R., Eitoku, M., Luzitu, N.S., Muzembo, B.A., Matsui, T. & Sunganuma, N. 2012. Brazilian green propolis extracts improve Tinea pedis interdigitalis and Tinea corporis. The Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine 18(1): 8-9.