Propolis is an increasingly important allergen , with European studies reporting positive patch test rates of to %. In one series from Finland, the rate increased from % in 1995-7 to % in 2000-2. Another study in children reported an increase from 2% to % between 1995 and 2002; 75% of the patch test-positive children had used a natural product or alternative medicine remedy. In a 2010 Polish patch test study of children with chronic recurrent eczema and atopy, a positive propolis patch test was recorded in % of children aged 7-8 years and % of adolescents aged 16-17 years. Propolis was the second most common positive patch test allergen after nickel in children and the fourth most common in adolescents.
The good news is that test tube studies have demonstrated that propolis can stop both HSV-1 and HSV-2 from reproducing. A study of people with genital herpes compared an ointment with propolis to Zovirax ointment, which is a common conventional treatment for genital herpes that lessens the symptoms of the infection. What did researchers find? The subjects using the propolis ointment had their lesions heal faster than those using the topical Zovirax ointment. Another study also revealed that a 3 percent propolis ointment can possibly reduce the pain and duration of cold sores. ( 8 ) This explains why many natural lip balms designed for cold sore and fever blister treatment contain propolis.