Botanical origin and biological activity of propolis

Ramón Enrique Robles-Zepeda, Javier Hernández Martínez, Adriana Garibay Escobar, Dora Edith Valencia Rivera, Carlos Arturo Velázquez Contreras

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


© 2012 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Propolis is a bee product made of resins collected by honeybees (Apis mellifera) from parts of plants (leaves, bark, sprouts, and fruit), buds and exudates (Marcucci 1995, Hernandez et al. 2007, Lotti et al. 2010). These resins are mixed with beeswax and salivary gland secretions (Burdock 1998, Castaldo and Capasso 2002). The color of propolis varies considerably from dark-brown to yellow, depending of its botanical sources (Burdock 1998). The word propolis comes from Greek words “pro”, which means “in defense of”, “before”, and polis, which means “city”, (propolis: “In defense of the city (hive)") (Burdock 1998). Propolis is a “sticky” material used by bees to seal cracks, holes, and cement things together in the hive (that is why it is often called “bee glue”). Propolis possesses potent antimicrobial properties and it is used to keep a sterile environment within the hive (Banskota et al. 1998, Pereira et al. 2000). Honeybees do not like intruders (i.e., rodents, insects, etc.) in their colonies, so worker bees will sting intruders as a form of defense, and the dead intruders are embalmed with propolis, avoiding putrefaction and maintaining sterile conditions in the hive (Sahinler and Kaftanoglu 2005).
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationMedicinal Plants: Biodiversity and Drugs
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781466507951
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


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