Have you ever wondered how a cut to the skin can heal without leaving a scar, and what the difference is when it leaves a scar?
When the body has access to stem cells, it can regenerate new tissue without having to create any scar tissue. The result is that the tissue is just like it was before, without any sign of damage.
But the body also has the means to heal with uni-directional cross-linked collagen (scars). The resulting tissue is inferior, lacking the same degree of elasticity.
What does any of this have to do with propolis? Well, the body also accumulates "micro scars" throughout life, and this accumulation is part of aging. The body only has so many stem cells and the situation gets even worse with age. The body will prioritize their use internally, where the formation scar-free tissue is much more important than the skin.
The Benefits of Propolis Resin
That brings us to the benefits of propolis. The key beneficial compound in propolis is Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), and numerous studies that shown that it helps support healthy collagen growth.* Specifically, a study done on dental stem cells showed that propolis remarkably promoted the formation of 100% non-porous dentin.
"Micro scars" are known to accumulate in tissues throughout the body, in the heart, the liver, blood vessels, and more, all of which is viewed as a normal aging process. Propolis has also been described as a "collagen antagonist," which is true in the sense that it prevents collagen accumulation where it is not beneficial.*
The Liver and Longevity
In the liver, for example, Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the cell type primarily involved in liver fibrosis, the biological process of scar accumulation in the liver.
It is a wonderful biological process, and it helps hold the liver together when it is damaged. That is why in people with severe liver damage there is a lot of fibroid tissue, because this process has been at work trying to hold things together.
However, for longevity it is desirable to modulate the activity of the HSCs so that there is less fibrogenesis (formation of fibroid tissue), and more natural regeneration. A study done on HSCs using propolis showed that it helped reduce transforming growth factor for collagen type I, also reducing free radical and pro-inflammatory mediators.
That study provided no explanation for the utilization of stem cells in this process, but the results were the same-- better regeneration of normal liver tissue.