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the effect of propolis on cancer

Cancer is a complex disease when cells divide and grow uncontrollably under genetic and/or environmental factors. Nutrition, air pollution, radiation, smoking, alcohol, infectious diseases, environmental pollution, food additives, and toxins can disrupt gene functions (mutation) and cause cells to multiply excessively. Genes that suppress excessive cell growth become inactive or unable to control proliferation, leading to cancer. The American Cancer Society reported in 2005 that out of 1.3 million cancer cases, 570,280 resulted in death, with one-third of these deaths attributed to smoking and one-third to poor nutrition. Nutrition is essential in preventing and managing cancer at almost every stage. Nutritional changes such as limiting refined sugar and flour intake, preventing obesity and maintaining a normal body mass index, limiting sweetener use, reducing the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in the diet to decrease the formation of mitogenic metabolites, increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, and limiting red meat intake can all help prevent cancer.

Eat a Diet Rich in Antioxidants!

It is widely accepted that those who consume fresh fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop cancer. A meta-analysis of 156 studies by Block et al. found that consuming fresh fruits and vegetables reduced cancer risk in 128. The most common cancers that can be prevented by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables are stomach, esophageal, lung, oral, pharyngeal, endometrial, pancreatic, and colon cancers. Raw vegetables are more effective than cooked ones. The cancer-preventive effects of fruits and vegetables have been linked to many components, such as dithiolthiones, isothiocyanate, indole-3-carbinol, allium compounds, isoflavones, protease inhibitors, saponins, phytosterols, inositol hex phosphates, vitamin C, D-limonene, lutein, folic acid, beta-carotene, lycopene, selenium, vitamin E, flavonoids, and fiber.

Anatolian Propolis is Rich in Phenolics and Flavonoids!

Propolis is a 100% natural bee product that bees collect from the leaves, stems, and buds of plants. Anatolian propolis contains at least 15 different phenolic and flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant properties, including caffeic acid phenethyl ester, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, quercetin, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid, rhamnetin, pinocembrin, resveratrol, apigenin, chrysin, luteolin, hesperidin, hydroxybenzoic acid, and epicatechin. Anatolian propolis has a high content of phenolics and flavonoids. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), an active ingredient in propolis obtained from honeybee hives, is known to have antitumor, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. A Scientific study says that: According to scientific research conducted at Istanbul University in 2019, which examined the phenolic contents of various propolis extract samples and their effects on breast cancer cells, the suppressive effects of propolis on breast cancer cells varied depending on the amount and types of phenolic components of each sample. Propolis extract samples were collected from Argentina, China, and Turkey. The study found that while the propolis extract samples from China did not have a significant effect, Anatolian propolis extract from Turkey showed a higher phenolic component content and had the potential to suppress breast cancer cells more effectively than other propolis samples.

A Natural Protector Against Oral Mucositis Seen in Cancer Treatments: Propolis

Cancer is known as an incurable and relentless disease among the public. Considering cancer as a disease without a cure leads to delays in diagnosis, which makes treatment more difficult. However, cancer is a group of conditions that can be treated. Treatment may be complex for some types of cancer, but it is possible for many kinds. Cancer treatment success depends on the type of cancer, the extent of the disease, and the regularity of treatment. The main methods used in cancer treatment are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. In many cases, these methods are used together depending on the type and extent of the disease. Oral mucositis is one of the common and debilitating toxicities of cancer treatment that occurs with the disruption of oral mucosa integrity following chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Serious complications such as pain, infection, and bleeding in the mouth/throat arise in patients who develop oral mucositis. In addition, there may be clinical and economic consequences such as deterioration in daily life activities, fluid, food, and analgesic support, prolonged hospitalization, and increased treatment costs. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological agents are used in the prevention/treatment of oral mucositis. Many scientific studies have proved the natural protective effect of propolis against oral mucositis.


A double-blind, randomized controlled trial was conducted at a hospital in 2016 to investigate the impact of propolis-containing mouthwash in reducing oral mucositis (intraoral sores) caused by chemotherapy in head and neck cancer patients. A total of 40 participants were equally divided into two groups. The experimental group used mouthwash with 5 ml of propolis, and the control group used 5 ml of water three times a day for seven days. No change was observed in the control group, whereas oral mucositis was completely healed in 65% of the participants using propolis-containing mouthwash on the seventh day of the study. In general, oral sores and redness decreased in all participants in the experimental group. In conclusion, using propolis as a mouthwash in chemotherapy patients is an effective and helpful intervention in treating oral mucositis.


  • Hernando Requejo, O., & Rubio Rodríguez, M. C. (2015). NUTRICIÓN Y CÁNCER [Nutrition and cancer]. Nutricion hospitalaria, 32 Suppl 1, 67–72.
  • Block, G., Patterson, B., & Subar, A. (1992). Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutrition and cancer, 18(1), 1–29.
  • Parlakpınar et al. Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE) and Myocardial Ischemia-Reperfusion (MI/R) Injury, İnönü Üniversitesi Sağlık Bilimleri Dergisi 2012; 1: 10-5
  • Ozturk, Oguz, et al. "Different propolis samples, phenolic content, and breast cancer cell lines: Variable cytotoxicity ranging from ineffective to potent." (2019).
  • Karbassi M, Yazdi M, Ahadian H, Abad M, "Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Propolis for Oral Mucositis in Patients Receiving Chemotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer," Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, vol. 17, 2016
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