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The treasures of the hive against viruses and bacteria

February 10, 2021
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The treasures of the hive against viruses and bacteria

Royal jelly and propolis are characterized by an antiviral and antibacterial action, useful against sore throats, colds, sinusitis and in general against the infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract

If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live. This quote has been attributed for some time to the great physicist and Nobel Prize-winning Albert Einstein who, however, as it seems based on recent reconstructions, never said this sentence. In any case, this statement certainly gives a good idea of ??the importance of these small buzzing insects. Without bees, there would be a drastic drop in the production of fruit and vegetables and there would be no products that are increasingly appreciated for their beneficial properties on health, such as honey, propolis, pollen, royal jelly. Several scientific studies have been dedicated to hive products, in order to test their antiviral, antibacterial and immunostimulating action. Today we’ll focus on two in particular, propolis and royal jelly, and on their ability to fight viruses and bacteria, sore throats, colds, flu and to strengthen the immune system against external threats, including the new coronavirus. As always, however, it is important to underline that propolis and royal jelly are to be seen as further allies in the fight against coronavirus together with diet, lifestyle, hygiene and distancing, not as substitutes for these measures.


Propolis is a resinous substance produced by honey bees from substances collected by plants, such as leaves, flowers and buds. Propolis is composed of resins, essential oils, pollen, vitamin A and group B, E. Not only that, propolis also contains important antioxidants with antiviral properties, such as quercetin. Quercetin has been shown to counteract influenza and parainfluenza viruses, rhinoviruses and even coronaviruses. In particular, quercetin binds to a protein, 3C like pro, which is essential for the life cycle of the coronavirus and therefore blocks its action (Lima et al, Phytother Res, 2020). Propolis modulates the immune system, in particular it helps to regulate the release of substances with pro-inflammatory action, avoiding an excess in the inflammatory body response that, as it turns out, is the very basis of complications following the new coronavirus infection. Finally, propolis is helpful in cases of acute and chronic inflammation of the upper and lower respiratory tract, sore throat, pharyngitis, tracheitis and sinusitis (Al Hariri et al, J Family Community Med, 2019). You can find propolis in the form of a hydroalcoholic solution. At the first symptoms of sore throat and hoarseness you can take 20-25 drops directly, about a pipette, directly into the throat.

Alternatively, as a preventative and to strengthen the immune system, you can take 2-3 drops per day. You can also use propolis to rinse and gargle for the health of the throat and oral mucosa, against tooth decay and inflammation of the gums (Dodwad et al, J Indian Soc Periodontol, 2011).

Royal jelly

Royal jelly is a creamy, light yellow substance secreted by worker bees to feed the queen bee. In this way, the queen bee, in health and strength, can live up to five years, compared to the 45 days of life of worker bees, and can lay up to 2500 eggs per day. In short, royal jelly is a real super food, but not only for bees, its properties are also beneficial for humans! In fact, royal jelly is a concentrate of proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins, such as A, C, D, E and group B, mineral salts, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and phosphorus, and antioxidants. Royal jelly is antibacterial, antitumor, hepatoprotective, immunomodulating, neuroprotective, being able to reduce inflammation in the brain, antidiabetic and useful to counteract free radicals and high cholesterol levels. Royal jelly contains in fact particular compounds, such as jellein, royalisin and apisimin which are capable of breaking the cell wall of bacteria and causing their death (Collazo et al, Nutrients, 2021).

As for the antiviral action, it has been observed that royal jelly helps to counter the herpes simplex virus with an action comparable to that of acyclovir, the drug normally used in case of cold sore (Hashemipour et al, Wounds , 2013). Not only that, computer simulations have suggested that royal jelly is capable of binding to the proteins placed on the surface of the new coronavirus, inhibiting it and preventing complications in the lungs (Habashy et al, J Funct Foods, 2020). You can take royal jelly for a month, 1 gram per day. In general, when you buy royal jelly, a special, very small, teaspoon is always sold together to make the correct measurement.

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