Propolis Online Conference 2021

An Online Conference all about Propolis – Thursday 27th May & Friday 28th May 2021

Propolis has been used as a medicine since Egyptian times. Modern science has explored its many anti – properties in particular the anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of a substance that provides the honeybee with its unique immune defence. The Covid Crisis has seen a renewed interest in this remarkable substance. The IPRG Online Conference will explore the following areas.

  1. The use of propolis in clinical trials
  2. The chemical and biological properties of propolis
  3. The use of propolis as a therapeutic – apitherapy
  4. Setting standards including international standards for propolis
  5. The impact of increased demand for propolis on honeybee populations

Keynote Speakers and Talks

James Fearnley

Bio

James Fearnley is Founder Director of ARC (Apiceutical Research Centre), Co-founder Director of IPRG and Global Bee Medicine Group, Founder Director of The BeeArc Project and CEO of Nature’s Laboratory.

Talk: Propolis: Medicine for the future

The problem of Multi Drug Resistant bacteria has reached alarming levels . The problem is twofold. Not only are antibiotics failing to deal with ever new and more powerful strains of bacteria, but our natural immune defence mechanisms are failing too as a result of overuse of antibiotics, illustrated by the increasing problem of autoimmune deficiency diseases.

Slowly attention may be turning away from the development of ever more powerful (and more damaging) antibiotics back to exploring ways in which human beings can support, protect and stimulate their own natural defences .

Propolis has been used for millennia in the treatment of disease. Modern research has explored a bewildering variety of anti – properties for propolis. Propolis is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal,  antitumoral and others. But propolis does not work by destroying but rather by disabling and balancing – supporting the natural ability of the body to deal with bacteria, inflammation, fungi and so on. Research in Russia going back nearly 50 years showed that propolis combined with antibiotics had a remarkable and positive effect. Recent research would seem to confirm the effect of combining antibiotic and propolis. Are we on the brink of creating a new genre of medicines which combine the destroyers with the disablers.

Professor Ali Timucin

Bio

Prof. Dr. Ali Timucin Atayoglu is a consultant medical doctor and a lecturer in Medipol University in Istanbul, Turkey. He is the president of the International Federation of Apitherapy. He is currently the president of Apitherapy Association in Turkey and the vice-chairman of Apitherapy Commission in China.

He is a member of the Scientific Committee for the Traditional & Complementary Medical Practices in the Turkish Health Ministry. He is also the chairman of the Holistic and Integrative Medicine Association in Turkey.

Talk: L-Lactic Acid: An Alternative Solvent to Ethanol for Propolis Extraction

The active substances of propolis are easily soluble in ethanol. However, ethanolic extracts cannot be used in the treatment of certain conditions. The main bioactive substances of propolis are less soluble in other solvents used in the pharmaceutical industry. L-Lactic acid is a non-toxic, bio-based, weak acid which is also approved as a food additive with no ADI value. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the phenolic compounds, and antioxidant activity analyses of propolis extracted by using lactic acid in comparison with ethanol. Extracts were prepared in different concentrations (10, 20, 30 and 40 %) for comparison. Phenolic compounds were determined in the obtained solutions by LC-MS/MS procedure and antioxidant activity analyses were performed by DPPH and CUPRAC methods. 

It was determined that the total phenolic content in the 40% propolis-lactic acid solution was significantly higher than the ethanol-propolis solution of the same concentration (p<0.05). In addition, with the CUPRAC method, there was no difference in the antioxidant capacities between ethanol and lactic acid solutions of that concentration. The results suggest that lactic acid may be used as an alternative to ethanol for propolis extraction.

Dr. Vincenzo Zaccaria

Bio

Dr. Vincenzo Zaccaria has a PhD in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and two Master’s Degrees from The University of Pavia (Italy) working on propolis. He is the R&D and Technical Manager of B Natural, author of scientific papers and communications on propolis and Professor in academic and advanced courses.

Talk: Standardized propolis on upper respiratory tract infections in humans

The most common symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are sore throat, muffled dysphonia, and swelling and redness of the throat, which result from the inflammation process following acute bacterial or viral infection.

As propolis is a natural resinous substance traditionally used to maintain oral cavity and upper respiratory tract health due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, the aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of an oral spray based on poplar-type propolis extract with a known and standardized polyphenol content, on the remission of the symptoms associated with mild uncomplicated URTIs.

Dr. Sevda Demir

Bio

Dr. Sevda Demir is a PhD candidate in Biotechnology, specialization in Virology at Yeditepe University. She is working with RNA and DNA viruses on the basis of method developement, antiviral activity, viral vaccine and oncogenic viruses. Lastly, she worked as a reseacher in Gamma Irradiated COVID-19 vaccine project which is one of the vaccine candidate of Turkey.

Talk: Evaluation of Antiviral Activities of different Standardized Propolis Extracts

Viral infections are a common problem seen in general healthcare practice. Natural products offer great promise as potentially effective antiviral drugs. Propolis is a honeybee product with biological properties and therapeutic applications. We aimed to investigate the antiviral activity of different extracts of Standardized Propolis Preparations (M.E.D.®) with glycol, ethanol, glycerol, and soya oil, against herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) viruses.

It was determined that standardized propolis preparations have antiviral bioactivity against HSV.

Bottle of propolis liquid, flowers and propolis granules.
Propolis

Professor Marla Spivak

Bio

Marla Spivak is a MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. She has been beekeeping since 1974 and has always been interested in ways to enhance the health and diversity of bees. Her research efforts focus on protecting and enhancing the health of bees through social immunity.

Talk: Propolis and the Honey Bee Microbiome

Colonies of Apis mellifera nesting in tree cavities line the nest interior with a propolis envelope, which provides waterproofing, prevents fungal decay of the hive walls and helps promote stable temperature and humidity. 

Our research revealed an additional, important function: honey bees exploit the antimicrobial properties of resins to supplement individual immune function and fight off microorganisms and pathogens. Studies on the microbiota of bees reared in colonies with or without a propolis envelope revealed that propolis exposure reduced the pathogenic or opportunistic microbes and promoted the proliferation of putatively beneficial microbes that support immune function. 

These results indicate that propolis acts as a selective agent mitigating the microbiome structure and size, rather than a general agent affecting all microbes.

Professor Miguel Boas Villas

Bio

Miguel Vilas-Boas is a Professor in Chemistry of Natural Products and Director of the Agrarian School of the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal. As a researcher in the Mountain Research Centre his goals are focused on beekeeping technology, organic beekeeping and particularly the quality evaluation of bee products.

Currently, he is the leader of the propolis group at the International Honey Commission, member of the board of directors of the Apiceutical Research Centre, Vice-President of the scientific commission on beekeeping technology and quality of APIMONDIA and the Portuguese representative in the ISO committee for bee products standardization.

Talk: Setting International Standards

The international trade of propolis and its recognition as raw material for food and pharmaceutical applications relies on a global recognition of its specifications and clear parameters to certify its composition and quality. 

To fulfil these needs ISO established a working group on propolis, within the subcommittee on bee products. With 62 international participants from 17 countries, the publication of the international standard is expected by October 2022, and is planned to establish consensual terms, including the definition of poplar, baccharis and dalbergia/clusia propolis, analytical method for propolis analysis, quality parameters specifications, and requirements for packing, labelling, storage and transportation.

Dr. Andresa Berretta

Bio

Dr. Berretta is a Biochemical Pharmacist, with Masters, Doctor and Post-doctoral Degrees from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo (FCFRP/USP). She is the Vice-President of ABEMEL since 2016 (Brazilian Association of Honey Exporters).

She is Head of Research, Development and Innovation, member of the Board of Directors and Pharmacist Responsible at Apis Flora Indl. Coml. Ltda – Propolis Leader Company in Brazil (IMS Health, 2018). Up to September 2019 she had more than 32 scientific articles, 5 book chapters and 7 patents.

Talk: Propolis EPP-AF reduced the time of hospitalization in COVID-19 patients

The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed interest in propolis products worldwide. Propolis components have inhibitory effects on the ACE2, TMPRSS2 and PAK1 signalling pathways; in addition, antiviral activity has been proven in vitro and in vivo. 

In pre-clinical studies, propolis promoted immunoregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including reduction in IL-6, IL-1 beta and TNF-α. In a randomized, controlled, open-label, single-centre trial, 124 hospitalized adult COVID-19 patients were treated with a standardized green propolis extract EPP-AF® as an adjunct therapy. Patients received standard care plus an oral dose of 400 mg or 800 mg/day of EPP-AF® for seven days, or standard care alone. Standard care included all necessary physician directed interventions. 

The length of hospital stay post-intervention was shorter in both propolis groups than in the control group. In the high dose propolis group, there was a lower rate of acute kidney injury than in the controls. Consequently, we conclude that propolis can reduce the impact of COVID-19.

Professor Vassya Bankova

Bio

Vassya Bankova obtained her PhD in Natural Product Chemistry at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. She has worked as a guest-researcher at the Ruhr University – Bochum, the University of Saarland, Saarbruecken, the Bandeirante University, Sao Paulo, and the Institute of Molecules of Biological Interest, Naples.

In 2004 she became full professor at the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry, where she is now head of Lab “Chemistry of Natural Substances”.

Talk: “Green” Approach to Obtaining Bioactive Propolis Extracts: Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents

Natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) are a new alternative to toxic organic solvents. Their constituents are primary metabolites, non-toxic, biocompatible and sustainable. 

In this study five selected NADES were applied for the extraction of propolis as an alternative to water-alcohol mixtures, and the antimicrobial and antioxidant potential of the extracts were studied. Our results confirm the potential of NADESs for extraction of bioactive constituents from propolis and suggest that NADES can improve the effects of extracted bioactive substances. 

Further studies are needed to clarify in detail the influence of the NADES on the bioactivity of the extracts, and their potential to be used in the pharmaceutical and food industry.

Dr. Dave Watson

Bio

Dr Dave Watson has worked in the fields of mass spectrometry and chromatography for nearly 40 years. He has applied these techniques to a wide range of problems in the fields of natural products analysis and clinical chemistry. In the last ten years he has focused on metabolomics and was the local organiser for the 2013 Metabolomics conference in Glasgow.

He has worked on propolis for the last eleven years and is particularly interested in its activity against infectious diseases which are prevalent in the developing world.

Talk: The antiprotozoal activity of propolis

During the past ten years we have investigated the antiprotozoal activity of propolis. In our most recent work, ethanolic extracts of four samples of propolis from the UK and one from Poland were tested against three strains of Trypanosoma brucei. The extracts displayed EC50 values of < 20 µg/ml against T. brucei. The extracts were fractionated by using several chromatographic techniques and this resulted in the isolation of 13 compounds and one two component mixture which were characterized by NMR and high-resolution mass spectrometry. 

The isolated compounds were tested against three strains of T. brucei and two strains of Leishmania mexicana. Most of the isolated compounds had EC50 values of < 100 µM. The most active compounds against T. brucei were 4’,7 naringenin dimethylether and 4’methoxy kaempferol with activity of ca 20 µM against the three strains of T. brucei. The most active compound against L. mexicana was the coumaric acid ester mixture.

Dr. Felix Zuhlendri

Bio

Felix Zulhendri, Ph.D is the owner and operator of Kebun Efi. Kebun Efi is an award-nominated agritourism company located in North Sumatra, Indonesia, that focuses on developing bee products; propolis in particular and nomadic-style tourism. Prior to managing Kebun Efi, Felix spent most of his professional career in New Zealand in the R&D and Patents Law fields.

Talk: Propolis in Metabolic Syndrome and its chronic diseases

Propolis has a wide range of therapeutic and health benefits for humans ranging from antimicrobial, anti-inflammation, antioxidant, and anticancer. This talk will present the therapeutic benefits of propolis in metabolic syndrome and its chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and Alzheimer’s disease), with particular emphasis on human clinical trials and the common denominators on how propolis works therapeutically on those disorders. 

The talk will also present the research that has been carried out by our group investigating the propolis of Indonesian stingless bees.

Dr. Stefan Stangaciu

Bio

Stefan Stangaciu is a medical doctor who has devoted most of his life to developing and supporting Apitherapy – the therapeutic use of bee products.

He is an active teacher and broadcaster, writing and delivering courses and talks on Apitherapy round the world bringing to Apitherapy a level of medical recognition to this age old but medicine.

He is Secretary General of the International Federation of Apitherapy and has founded / co-founded chaired or been a board member of many Apitherapy Associations including those in America, Germany, and in his home country Romania where he has been very influential.

Publications include: Soft Healing Through Bee Products, Gentle Healing with Honey, Propolis and Beeswax and Good Health with the Bees.

Talk: Use of Propolis in Clinical Medicine. A Short Review

Our aim was to find common characteristics, rules and principles of the use of propolis in clinical medicine. We studied papers from over 30 countries and reviewed all major apitherapy congresses from around the previous 30 years. The main topics studied were propolis geobotanical origin, uses in the beehive, physico-chemical characteristics, composition, pharmacological effects, indications, contra-indications, administration, preparations, and products. We also had discussions with scientists and practitioners that study/use propolis regularly. 

Following this we corroborated everything with our own clinical experience and that of many colleagues globally. Results showed that propolis can offer over seventy useful properties and many uses in clinical medicine, both as a preventative and as curative agent in human and veterinary medicine, in addition to other benefits. We concluded that propolis is an extraordinary “tool” in the hands of a well-informed practitioner/beekeeper. The main clinical “secrets” are the use of various propolis extracts for specific diseases/problems of individuals, and the administration through all anatomical routes, especially in emergencies or in very complex pathologies.

Professor Badiaâ Lyoussi

Bio

Pr Badiaa Lyoussi has a good experience over 30 years in the physiopathology and pharmacology of natural products from medicinal plants.

She has more than 120 scientific publications and chapters in books in many areas, including:

  • Acute and chronic toxicity of plants used in traditional medicine.
  • Management of several pathologies like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome by medicinal plants and supplements.
  • Valorization of bee products, honey, propolis, pollen, royal jelly, bee venom from Moroccan sites.

Talk: Effect of antioxidant-rich propolis, honey and bee pollen extracts against type 2 diabetes and its associated risks : a potential approach that warrants a clinical investigation

This study showed for the first time that co-administration of propolis and honey or bee pollen extracts, especially their combination, are able to attenuate the T2D caused by a high-glucose intake. The role of these natural ingredients involves prevention of hyperglycaemia, insulinemia, HOMA-IR index, HOMA-β, Insulin sensitivity, pancreatic β-cell function and lipid prolife. Furthermore, these natural products ameliorate hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity as diabetic complications.

It might be concluded that propolis , honey and pollen are potential candidates to be used in the management of diabetes and its metabolic disorders . These results pave the way for controlled clinical studies and the use of their combination might potentiate their activities.

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