A new study appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that a substance called propolis, which is used as a sealant in honey bee hives, might contain clues for developing a potential new therapy for hair loss.
Propolis is a resin-like material that honey bees use to seal small gaps in their hives. It work as a physical barrier, but it also contains active compounds that fight fungal and bacterial invasions.
In ancient times, propolis was used to treat tumors, inflammation, and wounds. More recently, research has shown that it promotes the growth of certain cells involved in hair growth.
In order to test it, Ken Kobayashi and his co-authors applied propolis to healthy mice that had been shaved or waxed. The mice that had been treated with propolis regrew their fur faster than those that had not received treatment. The scientists also noticed that after the topical application, the number of special cells involved in the process of growing hair increased.
Although they tried the material on mice that could grow fur instead of on mice that were balding, the researchers note that hair loss conditions often result from abnormal inflammation. Since propolis contains anti-inflammatory compounds, they expect that it could possibly help treat balding conditions. However, further testing is needed to see if that is the case, and to see if the beehive material affects human hair follicles.
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