Recent development of chemical components in propolis

  • Yuanjun Xu
  • Liping Luo
  • Bin Chen
  • Yuxin Fu


Propolis is a resinous substance collected by honeybees from various plant sources. On account of its chemical composition, propolis possesses several biological and pharmacological properties. In recent years, many papers have provided information concerning its composition. This review compiles data from most studies of propolis, focusing on the chemical composition of ethanol extracts of propolis (EEP), water extracts of propolis (WEP), and volatile oils from propolis (VOP). The characteristic compounds of EEP are polyphenols including flavonoids and related phenolic acids, and flavonoids are the most abundant and effective parts. They are considered to contribute more to the antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant effects than the other constituents. The main flavonoids in EEP are pinocembrin, galangin, chrysin, quercetin, kaempferol, and naringenin. The constituents reported to be in WEP include phenolic acids, caffeoylquinic acid, 3-mono-O-caffeoylquinic acid, caffeic acid, flavonoids, etc. The propolis volatile compounds are benzyl alcohol, benzyl acetate, cinnamic alcohol, vanillin, eudensmol, cyclohexyl benzoate, and benzyl benzoate, which are responsible for several biological properties. As a natural mixture, propolis is widely used in medicine and cosmetics, as well as being a constituent of health foods. Since propolis has been used extensively, information on its composition is not only of interest to the academic field, but also to propolis users.


propolis chemical composition ethanol extract water extract volatile oil 


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© Higher Education Press and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Life Science and Food Engineering CollegeNanchang UniversityNanchangChina

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