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Bee Propolis Health Benefits: Antibacterial Properties

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Bee Propolis Health Benefits: Antibacterial Properties

What is propolis? 

Propolis, also known as bee glue, is a dark sticky resinous substance collected by bees from the leaf buds, twigs, trunk wounds, and trees such as sweet chestnut, horse chestnut, poplar, aspen and cottonwood. Bees attach the propolis to their hind legs, and carry it back to their colony, where it is combined with beeswax and used by worker “hive” bees to seal and sterilize the colony nest.

Propolis is in fact a very complex substance. It contains a variety of organic  compounds such as polyphenols (flavonoid aglycones, phenolic acids, and their esters, phenolic aldehydes and alcohols), terpenoids, steroids and amino acids, as well as inorganic compounds. There is substantial ongoing research addressing the many potential medicinal uses for propolis and its constituents.

Health benefits of propolis

Propolis has been used in folk medicine to maintain health since ancient times. Many biological properties including antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even more complex   properties have been ascribed to propolis. As a result, propolis is available commercially in different formulations such as tablets, capsules, toothpaste, mouthwash preparations, face creams, ointments and lotions. The antimicrobial activity of propolis against a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses has been investigated since the late 1940s. 

Studies on propolis

New findings by researchers at Hacettepe University in Ankara Turkey (one of the world’s leading centres of apitherapy research) revealed that propolis has strong antibacterial effects on two of the most common food-borne pathogens: Salmonella and Listeria. 

Salmonella and Listeria are two important food-borne pathogen bacteria. Salmonellosis is the most prevalent food-borne disease caused by Salmonella in many countries. In general, foods of animal origin such as beef, chicken, turkey, pork, eggs, milk, and their products have been implicated in outbreaks of human salmonellosis. Enteritidis is reported to be one of the most frequently isolated serotypes in foods and it is closely associated with raw, undercooked, or contaminated eggs and egg products. There has also been an increased incidence of gastrointestinal infections caused by Listeria. While Listeria is much less common than salmonella, it is more dangerous in terms of hospitalization and mortality rates. This bacterium is widely distributed in the natural environment and consequently present in various animal products and in vegetables. Many types of heat-processed or ready-to-eat foods, such as raw and pasteurized milk and dairy products (particularly cheeses), ice cream, raw vegetables, fermented raw-meat sausages, raw and cooked poultry, raw meats (all types), and raw and smoked fish are common sources for this bacterium . 

The new findings on propolis confirmed that the antibacterial activity of propolis may be attributed to the synergism between flavonoids and other components and compounds of the samples. The study also provides useful information for the usage of propolis as a natural antimicrobial agent to control microbial growth in food products and might provide an alternative to chemical preservatives.


Research is summarized by NRGY Honey. NRGY Honey do not own the rights to the research.