Propolis is a mixture made from various tree buds, sap flows and botanical sources from honey bees. Used by bees as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the beehive, Propolis has been tried for medicinal purposes dating back to 350 B.C – the Greeks for abscesses; Assyrians for healing wounds and tumours; and Egyptians have used Propolis for mummification. Even now, it still has many uses for medicinal purposes – including when treating hair loss.
How it was discovered
It was a study first conducted in Japan that found the properties in Propolis could be used to aid hair growth and treat hair loss effectively. In 2014, scientists from Hokkaido University in Japan led by Dr. Ken Kobayashi tested the sealant on mice. Results then concluded those mice that were given Propolis grew back their fur faster than those that did not receive the application. The scientists also noticed that after the treatment of Propolis on the mice, “the number of special cells involved in the process of growing hair increased”.
How Propolis works in treating hair loss
As observed by the scientists, growth occurred without any detectable abnormalities in the shape of the follicles. Propolis works in treating hair loss through stimulating growth by inducing hair keratinocyte proliferation. The application increased the keratinocyte production and migration into the hair shaft – Keratinocytes are cells that are a major component in hair shaft and follicle production. Propolis also includes anti-inflammatory properties, which can be used to combat the inflammatory component that is linked to hair loss.
Questions of Efficacy
The research and experimental process of Propolis is fairly new. Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, a board certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology has spoken about her doubts on the mixture, stating it might not do as much as the experiment results show. “The reason people start to go bald is because…the testosterone that is released in puberty shuts down some of the hair follicles on the top of the scalp,” she told Fox News. “It has nothing to do with the inflammatory properties. Though inflammation does cause hair loss in some cases, they only occur in specific medical conditions and are not common. Those conditions are diseases like alopecia areata. Dr. Draelos also commented that the most effective thing to treat pattern hair loss right now is not Propolis but other supplements.
Whether or not Propolis is effective against conditions induced by inflammation remains to be seen once scientists carry out more research – Dr Kobayashi and his team are currently in the process of studying the effect of Propolis on human hair follicles in vitro. However, he does have hopes that Propolis can eventually be placed as a topical treatment alongside minoxidil, the main ingredient used in hair growth medication, stating that a combination of both products may prove to be very effective.
Ashley and Martin currently do not advocate the use of Propolis, however our doctors constantly stay in touch and monitor the latest research and developments in hair loss treatment.