Propolis Stops Cold Sores…Cold!

Good Health Lifestyles Get Healthy, Research Roundup

The Study: Comparative Study with a Lip Balm Containing 0.5% Propolis Special Extract GH2002 versus 5% Acyclovir Cream in Patients with Herpes Labialis in the Papular/Erythematous Stage: A Single-blind, Randomized, Two-arm Study.

Background and objective: This controlled single-blind trial compared the efficacy of a lip balm with propolis special extract GH2002 at a concentration of 0.5% in the treatment of episodes of herpes labialis with that of 5% acyclovir cream.

Method: Patients in the erythematous/papular stage were randomized: 189 patients were treated with propolis cream, 190 patients were treated with acyclovir cream (intention-to-treat population). Application was 5 times daily. The primary parameter was the difference in median time to complete encrustation or epithelialization of lesions. Secondary parameters were the development of typical herpes symptoms (eg, pain, burning and itching, tension, and swelling), the global assessment of efficacy, and the safety of application.

Result: The predefined clinical situation was reached after a median of 4 days with propolis and after 5 days with acyclovir (P < 0.0001). Significant differences in favor of the study preparation were found with all secondary parameters and symptoms. No allergic reactions, local irritations, or other adverse events were observed.

Conclusion: A formulation of 0.5% propolis GH2002 extract lip balm was found to be superior in the treatment of episodes of herpes labialis over 5% acyclovir cream in patients in the papular/erythematous phase upon inclusion. EudraCT Registration No. 2006-001971-38.

Source: Arenberger P, Arenbergerova M, Hladíková M, Holcova S, Ottillinger B. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2017 Oct 14;88:1-7


According to the Mayo Clinic, about 90 percent of adults worldwide carry the virus that causes cold sores, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), even if they’ve never had symptoms.

This painful condition not only causes a high degree of self-consciousness, it can also be dangerous if sores spread and develop near the eyes. Currently, there are prescription medications and conventional topical creams. But there is also a natural medicine on the forefront of research: propolis.

Propolis is a material collected by bees from nearby trees and flowers for the construction of the hive. It has strong antibacterial properties and has long-been regarded as a source of powerful compounds that can boost immune defenses for people, too. The very name “propolis” is Greek and means “defender of the city.”

This study used a specific propolis extract called GH2002, which is purified to remove wax and other debris, and to concentrate its beneficial compounds. In a variety of tests, it has shown consistent positive results. For this clinical research, it was blended into a topical lip balm. In just four days, 55 percent of those in the propolis cream improved versus only 25 percent using a conventional acyclovir cream. By the next day, cold sore symptoms improved in 89 percent of the propolis group, and only 57 percent in the acyclovir cream group. Additionally, the GH2002 propolis group suffered from fewer accompanying cold sore issues, like indentations left in the skin (eruptions) and the appearance of fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) that later burst and crust over.

The results show that propolis can be more than a viable alternative to conventional lip balms for cold sores – it can be a definite improvement.


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