Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for PROPOLIS are as follows:

Possibly effective for…

  • Diabetes. Research shows that taking propolis may improve blood sugar control by a small amount in people with diabetes. But it doesn’t seem to affect insulin levels or improve insulin resistance.
  • Cold sores (herpes labialis). Most research shows that applying an ointment or cream containing 0.5% to 3% propolis five times daily helps cold sores to heal faster and reduces pain.
  • Swelling (inflammation) and sores inside the mouth (oral mucositis). Most research shows that rinsing the mouth with a propolis mouth rinse helps heal sores caused by cancer drugs or dentures.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Prone to allergies and allergic reactions (atopic disease). Early research shows that taking propolis while nursing a newborn infant doesn’t seem to reduce the child’s risk of developing allergies at one year of age.
  • Burns. Early research shows that applying propolis to the skin every 3 days might help treat minor burns and prevent infections.
  • Canker sores. Early research shows that taking it by mouth daily for 6-13 months reduces canker sore outbreaks.
  • A painful disease transmitted by mosquitos (dengue fever). Research shows that taking propolis helps people with dengue fever leave the hospital faster. It is not known if propolis helps with symptoms of dengue fever.
  • Foot sores in people with diabetes. Early research shows that applying an ointment to sores on the feet of people with diabetes might help the sores to heal faster.
  • Genital herpes. Early research shows that applying a 3% ointment four times daily for 10 days might improve the healing of lesions in people with genital herpes. Some research suggests that it might heal lesions faster and more completely than the conventional treatment 5% acyclovir ointment.
  • A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Early research suggests that using it in a gel or a rinse might help prevent or reduce signs of gum disease.
  • A digestive tract infection that can lead to ulcers (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori). Early research shows that taking 60 drops of a preparation containing Brazilian green propolis daily for 7 days does not reduce H. pylori infection.
  • Infection of the intestines by parasites. Early research suggests that taking a 30% propolis extract for 5 days can cure giardiasis in more people than the drug tinidazole.
  • Thrush. Early research suggests that using Brazilian green propolis extract four times daily for 7 days can prevent oral thrush in people with dentures.
  • A serious gum infection (periodontitis). Early research shows that deeply rinsing the gums with an extract solution decreases the bleeding of gums in people with periodontitis. Taking propolis by mouth helps to prevent loose teeth in people with this condition. But taking it by mouth doesn’t seem to help with plaque or bleeding.
  • Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis). Early research shows that applying Brazilian green propolis to the skin decreases itching, peeling, and redness in students with athlete’s foot.
  • Upper airway infection. There is some early evidence that propolis might help prevent or reduce the duration of common colds and other upper airway infections.
  • Swelling (inflammation) of the vagina (vaginitis). Early research suggests that applying a 5% propolis solution vaginally for 7 days can reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life in people with vaginal swelling.
  • Warts. Early research shows that taking it by mouth daily for up to 3 months cures warts in some people with the plane and common warts. However, propolis does not seem to treat plantar warts.
  • Wound healing. Early research shows that using a propolis mouth rinse five times daily for 1 week might improve healing and reduce pain and swelling after mouth surgery. However, if people are already using a special dressing after dental surgery, using a propolis solution in the mouth does not seem to offer additional benefit.
  • Improving immune response.
  • Infections.
  • Infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs).
  • Inflammation.
  • Nose and throat cancer.
  • Stomach and intestinal disorders.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Ulcers.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate propolis for these uses.

Side Effects Of Propolis

  • When taken by mouth: POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. It can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to bees or bee products. Lozenges containing propolis can cause irritation and mouth ulcers.
  • When applied to the skin: POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin appropriately. It can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to bees or bee products.

Warnings & Precautions

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if propolis is safe to use when pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth while breastfeeding. Doses of 300 mg daily for up to 10 months have been used safely. Stay on the safe side and avoid higher doses when breast-feeding.
  • Asthma: Some experts believe certain chemicals in propolis may make asthma worse. Avoid using propolis if you have asthma.
  • Bleeding conditions: A certain chemical in propolis might slow blood clotting. Taking it might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
  • Allergies: Do not use if you are allergic to bee by-products including honey, conifers, poplars, Peru balsam, and salicylates.
  • Surgery: A certain chemical in propolis might slow blood clotting. Taking propolis might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking it 2 weeks before surgery.

Dosage Of Propolis

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For diabetes: 500 mg three times per day for 8 weeks. 900 mg of propolis daily for 12 weeks. 400 mg daily for 6 months.
  • For swelling (inflammation) and sores inside the mouth (oral mucositis): 80 mg of propolis (Natur Farma S.A.S.) 2-3 times daily has been used along with rinsing with bicarbonate solution.


  • For cold sores (herpes labialis): Creams or ointments containing propolis 0.5% or 3% applied to the lips 5 times per day at the start of cold sore symptoms.


  • For swelling (inflammation) and sores inside the mouth (oral mucositis): 5 mL of propolis 30% mouth rinse (Soren Tektoos) for 60 seconds, three times daily for 7 days has been used. 10 mL of a mouth wash has been used as a gargle 3 times daily in addition to chlorhexidine mouthwash and fluconazole for 14 days. Propolis 2% to 3% (extract EPP-AF) has been applied to dentures 3-4 times daily for 7-14 daily.


Consult your doctor or pharmacist.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.