Propolis: Its Role and Efficacy in Human Health and Diseases


With technological advancements in the medicinal and pharmaceutical industries, numerous research studies have focused on the propolis produced by stingless bees (Meliponini tribe) and Apis mellifera honeybees as alternative complementary medicines for the potential treatment of various acute and chronic diseases. Propolis can be found in tropical and subtropical forests throughout the world. The composition of phytochemical constituents in propolis varies depending on the bee species, geographical location, botanical source, and environmental conditions. Typically, propolis contains lipid, beeswax, essential oils, pollen, and organic components. The latter include flavonoids, phenolic compounds, polyphenols, terpenes, terpenoids, coumarins, steroids, amino acids, and aromatic acids. The biologically active constituents of propolis, which include countless organic compounds such as artepillin C, caffeic acid, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, apigenin, chrysin, galangin, kaempferol, luteolin, genistein, naringin, pinocembrin, coumaric acid, and quercetin, have a broad spectrum of biological and therapeutic properties such as antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstruct pulmonary disorders, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory tract-related diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, as well as neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, and immuno-inflammatory agents. Therefore, this review aims to provide a summary of recent studies on the role of propolis, its constituents, its biologically active compounds, and their efficacy in the medicinal and pharmaceutical treatment of chronic diseases.