A protective, sterilizing product bees make for constructing their hives has just been turned into a powerful medicine for pesky mouth ulcers.
The natural component is called propolis. “Propolis is a complex chemical mix and a very useful natural product,” said Professor Anant Paradkar, who led the research. “Propolis has been shown to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal, a strong anti-oxidant, non-allergenic and can boost the immune system. It also promotes wound healing and has anesthetic properties.” Researchers have known about propolis for many years, but due to its waxy, smelly nature it has not been used widely in medicinal circles. Researchers from the University of Bradford’s Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science have discovered how to purify the propolis. “There is a substantial market for propolis-based products — particularly in China, the USA and South Asia. The main stumbling block in developing products has been the solubility and odor issues, which our formulation overcomes,” explained Paradkar. Working specifically to use propolis as a mouth ulcer medicine the team of researchers has not only created a natural alternative to the current types of mouth ulcer gels, but their new product appears to have one small advantage. “A problem for mouth gels is that adhesion to the skin membrane inside the mouth is difficult — because of the nature of the surface, the gel can simply slide off,” said Professor Paradkar. “As propolis retains some of its stickiness even in a water soluble formulation, when it is applied to specific areas in the mouth, it adheres more effectively.” Look to the company Nature’s Laboratory to market the end result. They are working directly with the researchers from the University of Bradford’s Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science to bring this product to market.