Propolis is the resinous substance collected by bees from the leaf buds and bark of trees, especially poplar and conifer trees. Bees use the propolis along with beeswax to construct their hives.
Propolis is available in liquid extract form as well as in capsules and tablets. Topical creams and sprays containing propolis are also available, but whether they closely resemble topical propolis products used in research is unclear.
Propolis has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
|Science Ratings||Health Concerns|
Cervicitis (topical use)
Genital Herpes (topical use)
Infertility (female) (in women with endometriosis)
Rheumatoid arthritis (topical)
Cold Sores (topical)
Dental caries (topical)
Periodontal disease (topical)
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.
Propolis is not an essential nutrient and no deficiency states have been reported.
Most manufacturers recommend 500 mg of oral propolis products once or twice daily. For topical applications, follow label instructions.
Propolis is generally nontoxic, though allergic reactions have been reported.1 These reactions are typically limited to skin rashes;2 however, as with other bee products (e.g., pollen and royal jelly), more severe allergic reactions are possible. People who are allergic to bee pollen, honey, or conifer and poplar trees should not use propolis unless tested first by an allergy specialist. As the effects of propolis during pregnancy and breast-feeding have not been sufficiently evaluated, women should not use it during these times unless directed to do so by a physician.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with propolis.
1. Burdock GA. Review of the biological properties and toxicity of bee propolis (propolis). Food Chem Toxicol 1998;36:347–63 [review].
2. Hausen BM, Wollenweber E, Senff H, Post B. Propolis allergy. (I). Origin, properties, usage and literature review. Contact Dermatitis 1987;17:163–70 [review].
Copyright © 2007 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com
The information presented in Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.