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Bee Propolis
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Bee Propolis Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

Therapeutic Uses

Test tube studies have found propolis to be active against a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoans. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 These findings have been the basis for most propolis research in humans and animals.

The results of a small controlled study suggests that propolis cream might cause attacks of genital herpes to heal faster. 10 A preliminary controlled study found that propolis mouthwash following oral surgery significantly speeded healing time as compared to placebo. 11 Propolis extracts may also have value in treatment of severe periodontal disease , according to a study that evaluated the use of propolis extracts as part of an irrigation procedure performed twice weekly by dentists. 12 In one study, rats given propolis in their drinking water developed fewer cavities than rats given regular water. 13 However, no human studies have been performed to see if we would also benefit.

Animal studies also suggest that topical propolis may be of benefit in healing wounds . 14 One group of researchers compared a propolis extract against the standard antiprotozoal drug tinidazole in 138 people infected with the parasite giardiasis. 15 The extract appeared to work about as well as the drug therapy.

A number of clinical trials have tested the use of propolis for eye infections 16 and vaginal infections . 17 However, these were poorly designed; better trials are necessary before we can say for sure that propolis is an effective treatment for any of these conditions.

One isolated study, published only in abstract form, tested bee propolis in women with mild endometriosis and infertility . Reportedly, researchers found that use of bee propolis at a dose of 500 mg twice daily resulted in a pregnancy rate of 60%, as compared to 20% in the placebo group, a difference that was statistically significant. 18 It is not clear why propolis should have this effect.

Finally, test tube studies suggest that propolis has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer-preventing properties. 19 20 21 22 23 24 Again, without actual human studies, these results suggest the need for future research but do not prove propolis effective for any particular condition.


  1. Brumfitt W, Hamilton-Miller JMT, Franklin I. Antibiotic activity of natural products: 1. Propolis. Microbios. 1990;62:19-22.
  2. Burdock GA. Review of the biological properties and toxicity of bee propolis (propolis). Food Chem Toxicol. 36(4):347-63.
  3. Grange JM, Davey RW. Antibacterial properties of propolis (bee glue). J R Soc Med. 83(3):159-60.
  4. Ikeno K, Ikeno T, Miyazawa C. Effects of propolis on dental caries in rats. Caries Res. 25(5):347-51.
  5. Metzner J, Bekemeier H, Paintz P, et al. On the antimicrobial activity of propolis and propolis constituents [in German; English abstract]. Pharmazie. 1979;34:97-102.
  6. Scheller S, Tustanowski J, Kurylo B, et al. Biological properties and clinical application of propolis. III. Investigation of the sensitivity of staphylococci isolated from pathological cases to ethanol extract of propolis (EEP). Attempts on inducing resistance in laboratory Staphylococcus strain to EEP. Arzneimittelforschung. 1977;27:1395.
  7. Takaisi-Kikuni NB, Schilcher H. Electron microscopic and microcalorimetric investigations of the possible mechanism of the antibacterial action of a defined propolis provenance. Planta Med. 60(3):222-7.
  8. Debiaggi M, Tateo F, Pagani L, Luini M, Romero E. Effects of propolis flavonoids on virus infectivity and replication. Microbiologica. 13(3):207-13.
  9. Harish Z, Rubinstein A, Golodner M, Elmaliah M, Mizrachi Y. Suppression of HIV-1 replication by propolis and its immunoregulatory effect. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 23(2):89-96.
  10. Vynograd N, Vynograd I, Sosnowski Z. A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes. Phytomedicine. 2000;7:1-6.
  11. Magro-Filho O, de Carvalho AC. Topical effect of propolis in the repair of sulcoplasties by the modified Kazanjian technique. Cytological and clinical evaluation. J Nihon Univ Sch Dent. 36(2):102-11.
  12. Gebaraa EC, Pustiglioni AN, de Lima LA, et al. Propolis extract as an adjuvant to periodontal treatment. OralHealth Prev Dent. 2005;1:29-35.
  13. Ikeno K, Ikeno T, Miyazawa C. Effects of propolis on dental caries in rats. Caries Res. 25(5):347-51.
  14. Magro Filho O, de Carvalho AC. Application of propolis to dental sockets and skin wounds. J Nihon Univ Sch Dent. 32(1):4-13.
  15. Miyares AC Hollands I, Castaneda C, et al. Clinical trial with a preparation based on propolis propolisina in human giardiasis [in Spanish; English abstract]. Acta Gastroenterol Latinoam. 1988;18:195-201.
  16. Popescu MP, Palos E, Popescu F. Efficacy of combined biological therapy with bee products in localized palpebral and conjunctival eye lesions with reference to the clinico-functional changes [in Romanian; English abstract]. Rev Chir Oncol Radiol O R L Oftalmol Stomatol Otorinolaringol. 1985;29:53-61.
  17. Zawadzki J, Suchy H, Scheller S. Use of propolis for treatment of vaginitis and cervicitis [in Polish; English abstract]. Przegl Lek. 1973;30:620-623.
  18. Ali AFM, Awadallah A. Bee propolis versus placebo in the treatment of infertitily associated with minimal or mild endometriosis: a pilot randomized controlled trial. A modern trend. Fertil Steril. 2003;80 (supp 3):S32.
  19. Pascual C, Gonzalez R, Torricella RG. Scavenging action of propolis extract against oxygen radicals. J Ethnopharmacol. 41(1-2):9-13.
  20. Volpert R, Elstner EF. Interactions of different extracts of propolis with leukocytes and leukocytic enzymes. Arzneimittelforschung. 46(1):47-51.
  21. Khayyal MT, el-Ghazaly MA, el-Khatib AS. Mechanisms involved in the antiinflammatory effect of propolis extract. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 19(5):197-203.
  22. Strehl E, Volpert R, Elstner EF. Biochemical activities of propolis-extracts. III. Inhibition of dihydrofolate reductase. Z Naturforsch [C]. 1994;49:39-43.
  23. Frenkel K, Wei H, Bhimani R, Ye J, Zadunaisky JA, Huang MT, Ferraro T, Conney AH, Grunberger D. Inhibition of tumor promoter-mediated processes in mouse skin and bovine lens by caffeic acid phenethyl ester. Cancer Res. 53(6):1255-61.
  24. HladoƄ B, Bylka W, Ellnain-Wojtaszek M, Skrzypczak L, Szafarek P, Chodera A, Kowalewski Z. In vitro studies on the cytostatic activity of propolis extracts. Arzneimittelforschung. 30(11):1847-8.

1 Comment

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