- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy - the use of this product cannot be recommended:
Buccal pain and wound healing - topical use
Dental caries prevention - topical use
Dental plaque and gingivitis - topical use
Genital herpes simplex virus infection - topical use
- Also used for these other indications, but with no proof of efficacy:
Bacterial and fungal infections - topical use
Minor burns - topical use
Stimulate the immune system (antioxidant properties)
Cold and respiratory tract infection
- Risk of Drug Interaction: Low
- Adverse effects: Not Frequent
Propolis is a resinous substance that honeybees collect from the buds and bark of certain trees. Propolis is made up of resin, wax, essential oils and pollen and contains organic acids, flavonoids, trace elements and vitamins.
Propolis is available in gum, lozenge, cream and ointment form.
Direction of use
- Dental pain and wound, dental plaque and gingivitis:
Used doses: rinse mouth with propolis solution (0.2 to 10%) once or twice a day for 60 to 90 seconds.
- Genital herpes simplex infection:
Used doses: apply ointment (3%) on the affected areas, four times daily.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that propolis is effective in any other indication.
- Side effects
Propolis causes very few adverse events.
The risk of developing an allergy is high, particularly in those who are hypersensitive and increases with the duration of treatment. It is therefore recommended to avoid prolonged usage. Propolis is contra-indicated for those with any allergies to bee products and there is a possible cross allergy with Peru balsam.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
There is no information on the use of propolis during pregnancy or when nursing. It is therefore recommended that the product not be used by pregnant or nursing women.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Passeportsanté.net. Propolis. www.passeportsante.net
- Medline Plus, Propolis, medlineplus.gov, January 2007
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
- Health Canada, Natural Products Database
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.