In 2011, according to the American Cancer Society, about 571,950 Americans were expected to die of cancer, more than 1,500 victims per day. Currently, natural compounds, such as bee propolis, are being evaluated for their
potential anti-cancer effects with many potent drugs originating from plants.
a resinous product collected by bees from plants that is used to seal their
hives from intruders. This unique substance
has been used in folk medicines in many regions of the world for diverse
ailments, and was first utilized by the Ancient Greeks to heal wounds. A variety of propolis can be found around the world, from green propolis in Brazil, to red propolis in China. Believed to have a wide range of purported health benefits, propolis has recently become a "hot spot" for natural anti-cancer drug research in the last few years.
The National Institutes of Health, however, states that there is insufficient evident supporting propolis use as an effective treatment for cancer. In Egypt, 150 adult female Swiss albino mice were injected with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and treated orally with Egyptian bee propolis (Badr et al., 2011). After 11 successive days of propolis treatment, the mice were examined and found to have a reduction in tumor size and number of cancer cells, with an increase of life span percentage.
The anti-cancer activities of propolis have been largely attributed to its abundance of flavonoids, which are found ubiquitously in plants. Two flavonoids that are widely present in propolis, but have not been heavily studied upon, are quercetin and chrysin.