Bottom Line: A few studies have investigated the efficacy of propolis in treating various conditions. However, further study is needed to determine whether propolis is an effective treatment for any of these conditions.
Propolis is a mixture of pollen, beewax, and resin that is collected by honeybees from the buds and sap of certain trees and plants. It has been used in folk medicine and in food and drinks to improve health and prevent disease. Propolis is thought to be effective against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, infections, and inflammation.
Bee pollen, found in propolis, is a mixture of plant pollens, nectar, and bee saliva that bees form into granules to store as food. It is claimed as a “cure all” by some and is thought to have antiaging and stamina increasing properties, as well as antioxidant effects. Bee pollen has been used to treat chronic inflammation of the prostate, as well as other conditions. However, aside from its nutritional value, clinical data show that the benefits of bee pollen are limited.
Allergic reactions to propolis and bee pollen have been reported. Therefore, patients who are allergic to bee venom (i.e., bee stings), honey, ragweed, or chrysanthemum should not take either of these supplements. Bee pollen may increase the side effect of warfarin, a blood thinning drug.