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NZ bee compound gives tumours the buzz-off

By Martin Johnston

Bees collect propolis to seal their hives.

Bees collect propolis to seal their hives.

A bee product from New Zealand has been shown to suppress tumours in mice, says a study presented to a scientific conference in the United States.

The researchers at a German hospital tested propolis against tumours that can occur in the nervous system and on skin in a condition called neurofibromatosis.

Propolis is a resin found in young tree buds. Bees collect the substance, mix it with their own enzymes and beeswax, and use this to seal the hive.

About half of cases of neurofibromatosis are inherited, while the rest arise from spontaneous gene mutation. The condition has two types. The German experiment involved the more-common type 1, which occurs in about 1 in 3000 people.

The type 1 condition’s effects range from mild to severe. The tumours only rarely become malignant, although they can still cause potentially serious problems, including seizures, learning disabilities and bone deformities.

The German study found that using propolis supplied by Te Awamutu company Manuka Health suppressed growth of type 1 neurofibromatosis tumours in mice by over 90 per cent.

“Caffeic acid phenethyl ester is the first identified anti-cancer ingredient in propolis, an extract from beehives … ,” the scientists said in their paper for a conference in Utah.

It was the most potent natural derivative of caffeic acid yet identified that was involved in the chemical signalling pathway that controlled the growth of the tumours. It had not been tested alone in clinical trials because it was not easily absorbed. Propolis, however, contained other substances which made it more easily absorbed, as well as other anti-cancer substances.

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester appeared to work better in the presence of the other polyphenols found in propolis to suppress growth of the tumours, in test-tube and animal experiments.

The lead researcher, Dr Hiroshi Maruta, is now using propolis in a group of 15 sufferers of type 1 neurofibromatosis in Japan.

Propolis is sold as a complementary remedy said by its suppliers to have various health benefits.


June 14, 2007 - Posted by | Appearances, Awareness, Medical, neurofibromatosis, News, nf, NF1, Research


  1. I’ m very glad that propolis can cure neurofibromatosis tumours in mice. I hope very soon people will be cure with it. So I know that is an experimental remedy! I have a neurofibromatosis and may be I will have no more tumours thanks bees!!! Kind regards Francis “vilain petit crapaud” or ” naughty little toad”

    Comment by Boyer-Madrieres.Francis | October 1, 2008 | Reply

  2. Does anyone know if the study has been completed? Has there been anything done with humans? Any result? And also, does it matter what propolis is it? NZ? or any other. I bought Brazilian propolis, will it help?

    Comment by Tanya | November 3, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thank you both Boyer and Tanya for your visit and comment. There will be drug studies here in the USA Texas. One that I know of will be a cream. I’m looking forward to the study. Maybe someone in the medical field will see your question, and have an answer for you.

    Comment by Reggie Bibbs | November 3, 2008 | Reply

  4. hi, Reggie,
    I found your web site today. You are a brave man!
    My elder brother (45) has NF1, but we can say that he has a mild case, of course no treatment, but surgery. He was not interested in the past about going into surgery, but this year it was like he woke up, and started seriously with that. Of course, we know that more neurofibromas will grow.
    I usually look for new info on the web. This week I started looking links between NF1 and apitoxin (bee poison) and then with propolis. I saw the Bio 30 web site, then I thought that here in my country (Argentina) we can buy easily propolis. So, was New Zeland propolis better than ours?? I still don’t know, but as far as I could understand, the main thing is the bioflavonoids concentration in the liquid propolis, so I ‘m decided to buy different propolis brands, and make them analyze, to determine the mg/g concentration of bioflavonoids. After I knew this, I’ll take the best one and I’ll ask my brother for taking this medicine, and try. There ‘s no way that this makes him feel bad, and who knows, could be good for general health, and maybe for NF1!
    so this is what I’ll do next 🙂

    Comment by Laura | November 19, 2008 | Reply

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