Q. Dear Terry, “I get cold sores a couple times a year that can take weeks to go away. Is there anything I can take to help prevent these outbreaks from happening?”– V.U., Carolina, PR
A. Dear V.U., When it comes to viral infections, like the herpes simplex virus (HSV), I think propolis is an excellent choice. Generally, we think of HSV-1 as oral or mouth herpes and HSV-2 as genital herpes. However, both viruses can cause lesions in either place. Propolis is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral so it is very supportive to the immune system.
Propolis is made from the resins gathered from trees and other plants, which are rich in flavonoids and polyphenol compounds. Then the plant material is modified by the bees’ own enzymes, mixed with beeswax, and made into a protective antibacterial glue and sealant. It’s so protective, in fact, that the very word, “propolis” means “defender of the city” in Greek. Propolis was used as a medicinal ingredient in the ancient world and continues to be intensively studied and recommended today.
Researchers evaluated the effects of a standardized and patented propolis extract against the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). Propolis was shown to suspend viral DNA replication, which is a huge step in overcoming a viral infection. Plus, propolis decreased viral replication similarly (or better) than the antiviral drug, acyclovir.
Make sure you use propolis that comes from a controlled and managed bee population so the material provides consistent levels of bacteria, virus, and fungi fighting compounds. Look for a propolis that uses a patented method to filter out inactive resins and beeswax. For daily support, I recommend 200 to 400 mg of propolis. Or you could take 100 mg of a chewable form of propolis with gamma cyclodextrin for enhanced absorption, once or twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally