Researchers at the University of Bradford have developed a way of harnessing the healing powers of propolis – a mixture of resin and wax made by honey bees.

The benefits of propolis in medicine and food supplements has been known for many years, but its use has been limited because the sticky substance is not water soluble and has a strong smell which is off-putting.

Now the university’s Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science has developed a way of purifying propolis that retains its medicinal properties, but makes it dissolve in water and gets rid of its pungent smell.

The technique has already led to the development of a new mouth ulcer gel and opens the door to a huge range of other pharmaceutical appliances for the substance.

Centre director Professor Anant Paradkar, who led the research, said: “There is a substantial market for propolis-based products, particularly in China, the US and South Asia. The main stumbling block in developing products has been the solubility and odour issues, which our formulation overcomes.”

  • Read the full story in Monday’s T&A