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Exploring the Potential Benefits of Manuka Honey and Propolis for Arthritis Relief: What the Science Says

Exploring the Potential Benefits of Manuka Honey and Propolis for Arthritis Relief: What the Science Says

PRI Team
4 minute read

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Exploring the Potential Benefits of Manuka Honey and Propolis for Arthritis Relief: What the Science Says

  1. What is Arthritis?
  2. What is Manuka Honey?
  3. Benefits & Mechanisms of Action of Manuka Honey for Arthritis
  4. How to Use Manuka Honey for Arthritis
  5. What is Propolis?
  6. Benefits & Mechanisms of Action of Propolis for Arthritis
  7. How to Use Propolis for Arthritis
  8. Disclaimers & Known Drug Interactions

1. What is Arthritis?

An estimated 58 million adults in the U.S. have Arthritis, characterized by joint inflammation. This painful condition can significantly affect one's quality of life. Medications might provide some relief but have many side effects, especially when taken regularly. Many individuals are seeking natural remedies to alleviate their arthritis symptoms. Two such remedies that have gained attention are manuka honey and propolis. In this blog post, we will explore the potential benefits of manuka honey and propolis individually for arthritis relief based on scientific research.

2. What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka Honey is made in New Zealand & Australia by bees who pollinate the Manuka tree and contains MGO, short for methylglyoxal, a compound not found in other types of honey. This compound gives manuka honey unique antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

3. Benefits of Manuka Honey for Arthritis

  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: Manuka honey has exhibited anti-inflammatory effects (1) by reducing the production of inflammatory markers in the joints. 
  • Antioxidant Activity: Manuka honey is rich in bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties, such as methylglyoxal (MGO). It can scavenge harmful free radicals that contribute to joint inflammation and damage in Arthritis.

Mechanisms of Action of Manuka Honey:

  • MGO: Manuka honey's unique antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to its high methylglyoxal (MGO) content. The antibacterial & anti-inflammatory effects of MGO may help reduce joint inflammation and alleviate arthritis symptoms.

4. How to Use Manuka Honey for Arthritis:

  • Consuming Manuka Honey: You can consume manuka honey orally by incorporating it into your diet, such as by adding it to your tea, yogurt, or as a sweetener in recipes. You can also take one tablespoon a day straight up!
  • Topical Application: Manuka honey can be applied topically to the affected joints as a natural topical ointment. We recommend mixing the honey with a carrier oil such as castor. You can also add propolis and even manuka oil.

5. What is Propolis? 

Propolis is a bee-made resin using plant resins, a bit of honey, and a little bee saliva. They use it to fill in small cracks in the beehive. It also helps maintain the hive temperature, prevents predators from entering, and protects against dangerous microbes and fungi.

6. Benefits of Propolis for Arthritis 

  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: Propolis has exhibited anti-inflammatory effects by reducing the production of inflammatory markers in the joints. 
  • Antioxidant Activity: Propolis is rich in bioactive compounds, such as flavonoids, with antioxidant properties. Flavonoids can scavenge harmful free radicals that contribute to joint inflammation and damage in Arthritis.

Mechanisms of Action of Propolis:

  • Flavonoids: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of propolis are attributed to its high content of flavonoids. Flavonoids have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce joint inflammation and alleviate arthritis symptoms.

7. How to Use Propolis for Arthritis:

  • Consuming Propolis: Propolis is best taken in the morning. While there are no official dosage recommendations, ½ - 1 dropper daily is ideal. Place the propolis under your tongue and allow it to dissolve. Those who dislike the flavor recommend placing the propolis in a glass of juice. Drink slowly.
  • Topical Application: Propolis can be added directly to the skin, though we recommend mixing it with a carrier oil such as castor. 

8. Disclaimers & Known Drug Interactions

As always, we strive to provide you with the best information backed by scientific studies. However, we are not doctors and cannot recommend any treatment for specific concerns. Talking to your doctor about any concerns you might have is important. 

That said, here is what we think you need to know:

Neither Manuka Honey nor Propolis has no known severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other drugs. 

Take caution when combining propolis with medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs). Propolis is thought to slow blood clotting, though more studies need to be conducted on the topic.

Allergic reactions (skin or respiratory symptoms) may occur, particularly in people who are allergic to bees or bee products.

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