Propolis: Properties and proven health benefits

Propolis: Properties and proven health benefits

Scientific name: propolis

Common name: propolis

Botanical classification: without, plant resin

Vegetable material produced by bees to ensure the asepsis of their hive, propolis, pure or liquid, is renowned since antiquity for its beneficial effects in the treatment and prevention of respiratory diseases. Excellent immunostimulant, it is a very active antibiotic and cicatrisant.

Botanical description of propolis


Propolis is made by bees from their secretions and substances, from resinous, balsamic and gummy origins, taken from trees and plants. The main species that produce this viscous material are conifers (such as pine, fir and spruce), and buds of alders, birches, poplars, willows, oaks, ash trees, chestnuts India and elms. The presence of each species is closely related to the season, geography, climateand species of harvesting bees.

Composition of Propolis

Used Parts

All the material is used in herbal medicine, after washing and removal of the wax.

Active subtances

Propolis contains flavonoids (including chrysin, pinocembrin, galangin, quercetin); caffeic, ferulic and benzoic acids; vanillin; essential oils (pinene, eugenol, guiaol); vitamins; trace elements (including silica, zinc and iron).The material has more than 400 compounds, whose distribution varies significantly according to the hives and the periods of the year. Organic propolis proves to be the most effective because of its production in a preserved natural environment. The quality of propolis seems, in fact, extremely linked to pollution levels and, in particular, to the presence of heavy metals.

History of the use of propolis in herbal medicine

history pf propolis

Known for more than 3000 years, propolis was frequently used by Egyptians to prepare ointments and mummify the dead.  “Aristotle” , “Pliny the Elder” and other ancient civilizations, like the Greeks and Romans, appreciated it for its antiseptic and healing abilities. Pure propolis was thus part of the pharmacy of legionaries. During the middle Ages, it still contributed to the healing of arrow wounds. Despite some marginal uses, especially during the Boer War in 1902, it is gradually replaced, over the last two centuries, by traditional medicines. However, propolis retains all its properties to soothe respiratory diseases and stimulate the immune system.

Medicinal benefits of propolis

Internal use of propolis

  • Propolis improves the body's defense against bacterial, fungal and viral infections, by stimulating the immune system and due to its antibiotic properties.
  • It treats respiratory and ENT diseases by its anti-inflammatory, antitussive and anesthetic effects.

External use

Antiseptic and disinfectant

  • On wounds: propolis has cleansing and restorative action, a stimulating effect on tissue regeneration and growth.
  • Against the affections of the skin: warts, mycoses and athlete's foot.

Usual therapeutic indications of propolis

  • Respiratory diseases or ENT of bacterial origin
  • viral or inflammatory attacks (sore throat, colds, coughs, pharyngitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, otitis, rhinitis)
  • extinction of voice
  • healing of wounds

Other therapeutic indications demonstrated for propolis use

Propolis improves oral hygiene (prevention of cavities and canker sores) and reduces pain associated with periodontitis and gingivitis. It reduces the risk of recurrence of cold sores and genital herpes. It is considered as an effective antispasmodic against gastric acidity and inflammations of the intestine or colon, while regenerating the flora. It prevents and cures vaginal mycosis, even recidivating. It also relieves muscular and rheumatic pains and it calms and heals burns and sunburns.

Use and dosage of propolis

Use and dosage


The use of standardized preparations makes it possible to use propolis more quickly without having to treat it after harvest. The most successful products are capsules, powdered formulas and solutions, mixing oils and liquid propolis. They complement each other with propolis pure to go and original tincture, the use of which is more marginal.

It is possible to make many preparations yourself:

  • Chewing dough: cut organic propolis into 10 g platelets. Consume 2 to 3 platelets a day.
  • Cough syrup: mix 5 drops of pure propolis in 150 ml of thyme tea. Add honey and lemon juice for the taste. Drink 1 tablespoon, three times a day.
  • Honey: Crumble 10 g of pure propolis and mix carefully with 500 g of honey. To eat at will.
  • Original tincture: dilute original tincture of organic propolis and apply locally on sores or painful parts.

Precautions of propolis

Quite similar to a food supplement, propolis has the benefit of having no threshold of toxicity.


Avoid the use of propolis in case of recognized allergy to the different products of the hive.

Side effects

Few, minor and reversible side effects are usually related to allergic reactions to bee products. Urticaria, asthma and mild renal and respiratory insufficiency are the main disorders observed.

Interactions with medicinal plants or supplements

A risk of cross allergy seems to exist with the tiger balm and the balm of Peru as well as with preparations with balsam poplar.

Drug interactions

No known interaction.

Doctor's opinion: Recognized benefits

Recognized benefits

The anti-infectious properties of propolis and the benefits of its disinfecting action have been proven over the centuries. Its antibiotic properties, particularly effective against more and more powerful microbes, make it an important ally in the fight against all viral infections and diseases, such as colds, flu, sore throats, bronchitis or angina. Its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving powers relieve patients suffering from chronic cough, laryngitis, rhinitis and ear infections. Its antifungal action promotes the elimination of germs and fungi.


Because of the risk of developing sensitivity and then an allergy to bee products, taking propolis daily, without any real needs, is not advisable. It seems necessary to favor punctual cures, from three weeks minimum to three months maximum. Using standardized commercial preparations allows the assessment of personal consumption, even if the absorption of high doses shows no toxicity. According to the precautionary principle, it is therefore not appropriate to give propolis to pregnant women and children under 3 years of age.

Propolis research

According to a study from the University of Chicago in 2012, propolis contains a compound of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), whose anti-mitogenic properties could slow the growth of cancer cells, especially in the prostate. Other research focuses on its use during chemotherapy, to alleviate side effects. The results obtained in Japan, by “Mizukami" (Japanese oncologist), show a clear slowdown in the destruction of white blood cells and platelets and a real stimulation of immunity, allowing a faster healing.



Yves DONADIEU. Propolis, natural therapeutic. Maloine editions. 1986.

Gerard DUCERF. Ethnobotanical guide of phytotherapy. Promonature editions. 2006.

Collective work. The precise phytotherapy: nature at the service of your health. Alpen editions. 2012.

Eric MELIN. Beekeeping Botanical Course. Apiculture School of the Walloon Region.

Mark L. WINSTON. The biology of the bee. Frison-Roche editions. 1993.

Posted on 02/26/2018 by Ines Kammoun Benefits and virtues of herbs 4 509342
Tag: propolis

4 commentaires

  • Yassin Fateh

    Yassin Fateh 06/29/2021

    ﴿ثُمَّ كُلِی مِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَ ٰ⁠تِ فَٱسۡلُكِی سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلࣰاۚ یَخۡرُجُ مِنۢ بُطُونِهَا شَرَابࣱ مُّخۡتَلِفٌ أَلۡوَ ٰ⁠نُهُۥ فِیهِ شِفَاۤءࣱ لِّلنَّاسِۚ إِنَّ فِی ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ لَـَٔایَةࣰ لِّقَوۡمࣲ یَتَفَكَّرُونَ﴾ [النحل ٦٩]
  • Mohamed Hussein

    Mohamed Hussein 02/23/2021

    جزاكم الله خيرا.علي هذه المعلومات الرائعة.وبارك الله فيكم وعليكم
  • aissaoui amin

    aissaoui amin 10/06/2020

    Est-ce que vous vendez du propolis gomme a mâcher ?
  • Samir

    Samir 04/03/2018

    Bonjour à Tous, merci beaucoup pour les efforts qui ont été consentis pour la réalisation de ce travail excellent. Mes encouragement et respects pour toutes les personnes qui activent dans les domaines de la biologie et de la médecine pour contribuer au bien être des individus et à celui de toute l'humanité. Encore merci

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