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Common Name(s)

Propolis also is known as Propolis balsam, propolis resin, propolis wax, bee glue, hive dross.

What is Propolis?

Propolis is a natural resin collected from the buds of conifers and other trees by honeybees. It is used by bees to seal walls and strengthen combs of hives, as well as to embalm dead invaders. It is a sticky, greenish-brown mass with a slight aromatic odor.

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Propolis has been used as a medicinal agent since ancient times. It was used in folk medicine as early as 300 BC for cosmetic purposes, inflammation, and wound healing. It has been used internally and externally and is believed to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi, to possess local anesthetic, antiulcer, and anti-inflammatory properties, and to lower blood pressure and stimulate the immune system.

Propolis exhibits antimicrobial action against gram-positive bacteria, yeasts, and some viruses. Commonly used in oral and dental preparations, propolis may have a role in reducing tooth decay and oral ulcers and in promoting the health of injured teeth. Cytotoxicity of propolis and its chemical constituents has been demonstrated to stop the growth of tumor in animals and tumor cell; however, clinical studies in human cancer are lacking. Immune system effects, antioxidant actions, and effects on the heart have also been described.

What is the recommended dosage?

There is limited clinical evidence to support specific dosage recommendations for propolis.


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Side Effects

Allergic reactions with skin and mucous membrane irritations have been reported. Sensitization to propolis also has been reported.


Information regarding toxicology is lacking.


1. Propolis. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; August 2010.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.