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Malaysian Kelulut Golden Propolis Extract

Nowadays, honey is found in almost all kitchens as sweetener or as a flavouring agent. Besides being nutritious, it is also packed in antioxidants and has various medicinal properties. Traditionally, honey is used to treat throat infection and for wound healing for as long as one can remember.

Besides honey, bees also produce other useful substances such as royal jelly, bee bread, bee pollen and propolis. Propolis is a resinous material that the bees collect from leaf buds and cracks in the bark of the poplar genus and other tree species . Like honey, it has been used in folk medicines in many regions of the world from ancient times till now. Propolis exhibits a wide range of biological and pharmacological properties, such as hepatoprotective, antitumor, antioxidative, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Although more than 300 constituents have been identified in propolis in the past few years, these functional properties are mainly ascribed to only a few substances: principally polyphenols of flavonoids, phenolic acids and their esters, of which flavonoids in particular are considered as the top contributors. However, propolis in its raw form is difficult to use due to its poor solubility in water, susceptibility to oxidation, low bioavailability, and short half-life, limiting its application for human consumption, unless extracted and formulated. Worse, many bee farmers, not realising its true potential, just discard propolis and harvest only honey for commercial purposes. This is a wasted opportunity considering propolis’ potent medicinal value.

 

Our team of researchers from the School of Pharmacy, Monash Malaysia (Professor Gan Siew Hua, Dr. Ronald Lee, Mr. Kashif Maroof, A/Prof. Goh Bey Hing and A/Prof Siow Lee Fong) decided to take the challenge to produce a new invention that will be the first liquid formulation for stingless bee propolis. The aim is to produce a clear product that is visually appealing, is halal and is suitable for export. The work is in collaboration with a local company, Eco Bee Sdn. Bhd.

First, propolis was extracted using supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) which is environmentally friendly due to the use of green solvents. The method is also advantageous since it operates at a low temperature, thereby retaining valuable heat-sensitive compounds. In addition, it is highly selective, yielding purer extraction. Finally, the product was formulated into a lipid-based delivery system with pharmaceutical grade lipids and surfactants forming an appealing golden yellow solution.

Figure 1: A group picture at the ITEX 2022 booth. From right: Mr. Bruce (representative from Eco Bee Shop.), Madam Cathie Tan (Eco Bee Shop Manager), Professor Gan Siew Hua, Head, School of Pharmacy, Monash University Malaysia, Professor Matthew Nicholson, Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor, Monash University Malaysia, and Dr. Ronald Lee, Lecturer, School of Pharmacy, Monash University Malaysia.

The team named the product as “Malaysian Kelulut Golden Propolis”. Recently, we exhibited the product at the International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX), held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (26-27th May, 2022). The product has minimal impact on the environment and is deemed as waste to wealth, since propolis usually deemed as a “waste” is being repurposed as a health supplement. Its production utilised recyclable packaging materials such as glass, paper and rubber. Even the dropper bottles can be repurposed.

The product garnered much commercial interest at the exhibition, and the team was honoured to receive a Silver Award from this prestigious ITEX exhibition. The product can be a natural ingredient for cosmetics, personal care products (e.g. hand soap, shampoo, toothpaste, mouth spray, throat spray, mouth wash, creams) and helps to reduce reliance on synthetic compounds. It is currently being sold by Eco Bee Sdn. Bhd., and has penetrated international markets as well. It achieved good sales during the pandemic due to its purported immune-boosting properties.

From the success of the current endeavour, we have received additional funding from a government grant, the Private Public Research Network (PPRN) for further development of stable propolis based powders which have wide potential applications for formulation into tablets, capsules or sachets and is easier to handle logistically versus liquids as they are lightweight.

Contact Us


Eco Bee Biotech Sdn Bhd (109707-M)

 79, Jalan Lagenda 4, Lagenda Industrial Park, 81000 Kulai, Johor, Malaysia.

 

  07-2881982  (Mon-Fri: 9a.m.-6p.m.)

  016-7226852

  016-7626728 

 

  07 5996139

 

  sales@ecobeeshop.com.my

  buzz@beeshop.com.my

 

 

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