Comparative effect of propolis of honey bee and some herbal extracts on Candida albicans



To determine the effect of propolis on Candida albicans and to compare it with the effects of some other herbal extracts and antibiotics on this pathogenic fungi.


The extracts of propolis, Thymus vulgaris, Caryophillium aromaticus, Echinophora platyloba, Allium cepa and Cinnamomum zeylanicum were prepared and the antifungi effects of the extracts were examined on Candida albicans ATCC10231 using disc-diffusion assay and micro-broth dilution. The minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) as well as inhibition zone were evaluated and the anti fungi effects of herbal extracts were compared with amphotricin B and nystatin at the times of 24, 48 and 72 h. Data analysis was performed using t test.


Obtained results showed that propolis extract with MIC90 and MFC equal to 39 and 65 μg/mL, respectively, possess the highest antifungal activity when compared with other studied extracts. The extracts of Allium cepa and Thymus vulgaris, with MFC of 169 and 137 μg/mL, respectively, showed the lowest effects on the fungi. Also nystatin and amphotricin B yielded better effects on the tested fungi compared with the effects of all studied extracts on Candida albicans.


Propolis extract is effective in controlling Candida albicans. However, the issue requires further investigation on samples in animals and performing toxicological examinations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Al-Fattani MA, Douglas LJ. Biofilm matrix of Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis: chemical composition and role in drug resistance. J Med Microbiol 2006;55: 999–1008.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Martin GS, Mannino DM, Eaton S, Moss M. The epidemiology of sepsis in the United States from 1979 through 2000. N Engl J Med 2003;348: 1546–1554.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Perumal P, Mekala S, Chaffin WLJ. Role for cell density in antifungal drug resistance in Candida albicans biofilms. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2007;51: 2454–2463.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Seneviratne C, Jin L, Samaranayake Y, Samaranayake L. Cell density and cell aging as factors modulating antifungal resistance of Candida albicans biofilms. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2008;52: 3259–3266.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Pfaller M, Diekema D. Epidemiology of invasive candidiasis: a persistent public health problem. Clin Microbiol Rev 2007;20: 133–163.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Worth LJ, Blyth CC, Booth DL, Kong DCM, Marriott D, Cassumbhoy M, et al. Optimizing antifungal drug dosing and monitoring to avoid toxicity and improve outcomes in patients with haematological disorders. Intern Med J 2008;38: 521–537.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Jabra-Rizk MA, Falkler WA, Meiller TF. Fungal biofilms and drug resistance. Emerg Infect Dis 2004;10: 14–19.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Kanafani ZA, Perfect JR. Resistance to antifungal agents: mechanisms and clinical impact. Clin Infect Dis 2008;46: 120–128.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Nascimento GGF, Locatelli J, Freitas PC, Silva GL. Antibacterial activity of plant extracts and phytochemicals on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Braz J Microbiol 2000;31: 247–256.

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Gavanji S, Larki B, Doostmohammadi M, Mortezaeinezad F. Production of a new mixed herbal medicine for minor aphthous Ulcers. Med Plants 2012;4: 49–51.

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Kumar A, Shukla R, Singh P, Prasad CS, Dubey NK. Assessment of Thymus vulgaris L. essential oil as a safe botanical preservative against post harvest fungal infestation of food commodities. Innovat Food Sci Emerg Tech 2008;9: 575–580.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Griffin SG, Markham JL, Leach DN. An agar dilution method for the determination of the minimum inhibitory concentration of essential oils. J Essent Oil Res 2000;12: 249–255.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Reddy MVB, Angers P, Gosselin A, Ahrul J. Characterization and use of essential oil from Thymus vulgaris against Botrytis cinerea and Rhizopusstolonifer in strawberry fruits. Phytochemistry 1998;47: 1515–1520.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Agnihotri S, Vaidya A. A novel approach to study antibacterial properties of volatile components of selected Indian medicinal herbs. Ind J Exp Biol 1996;34: 712–715.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Gavanji S, Asgari MJ, Vaezi R, Larki B. Antifungal effect of the extract of propolis on the growth of three species of Epidermophyton flucosum, Trichophyton violaseum and Trichophytontonsorans in laboratory environment. Afr J Pharm Pharmacol 2011;5: 2642–2646.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Joe MM, Jayachitra J, Vijayapriya M. Antimicrobial activity of some common spices against certain human pathogens. J Med Plants Res 2009;3: 1134–1136.

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Khan R, Zakir M, Afaq SH, Latif A, Khan AU. Activity of solvent extracts of Prosopisspicigera, Zingiberofficinale and Trachyspermumammi against multidrug resistant bacterial and fungal strains. J Infect Dev Ctries 2010;4: 292–300.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Bonjar GHS, Aghighi S, Nik AK. Antibacterial and antifungal survey in plants used in indigenous herbal-medicine of south east regions of Iran. J Biol Sci 2004;4: 405–412.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Yadav A, Singh R. Natural preservatives in poultry meat products. Nat Prod Radiance 2004;3: 300–303.

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Hersch-Martinez P, Leanos-Miranda B, Solorzano-Santos F. Antibacterial effects of commercial essential oils over locally prevalent pathogenic strains in Mexico. Fitoterapia 2005;76: 453–457.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Vinitha M, Ballal M. In vitro anticandidal activity of Cinnamomumverum. J Med Sci 2008;8: 425–458.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Entezari M, Hashemi M, Ashki M, Ebrahimian S, Bayat M, Azizi Saraji A. Studying the effect of Echinophora Platyloba extract on bactira (Staphilococusaureus and Pseudomonas aeroginosa) and fungi (Candidiaalbicans, Aspergilusflavus and Aspergilusniger) in vitro. World J Med Sci 2009;4: 89–92.

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Avijgan M, Hafizi M, Saadat M, Nilforoushzadeh MA. Antifungal effect of Echinophora Platyloba’s extract against Candida albicans. Iran J Pharm Res 2010;5: 285–289.

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Bansod S, Rai M. Antifungal activity of essential oils from Indian medicinal plants against human pathogenic Aspergillusfumigatus and A. niger. World J Med Sci 2008;3: 81–88.

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Hannan A, Humayun T, Hussain M, Yasir M, Sikandar S. In vitro antibacterial activity of onion (Aliumcepa) against clinical isolates of Vibrio cholerae. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad 2010;22: 160–163.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Shams-Ghahfarokhi M, Shokoohamiri MR, Amirrajab N, Moghadasi B, Ghajari A, Zeini F, et al. In vitro antifungal activities of Allium cepa, Allium sativum and ketoconazole against some pathogenic yeasts and dermatophytes. Fitoterapia 2006;77: 321–323.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Lampe JW. Health effects of vegetables and fruit: assessing mechanisms of action in human experimental studies. Am J Clin Nutr 1990;70: 475–490.

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Taguchi Y, Ishibashi H, Takizawa T, Inoue S, Yamaguchi H, Abe S. Protection of oral or intestinal candidiasis in mice by oral or intragastric administration of herbal food, clove (Syzygiumaromaticum). Jpn J Med Mycol 2005;46: 27–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Cai L, Wu CD. Compounds from Syzygiumaromaticum possessing growth inhibitory activity against oral pathogens. J Nat Prod 1996;59: 987–990.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Velluti A, Sanchis V, Ramos AJ, Turon C, Marín S. Impact of essential oils on growth rate, zearalenone and deoxynivalenol production by Fusariumgraminearum under different temperature and water activity conditions in maize grain. J Appl Microbiol 2004;96: 716–724.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Tampieri MP, Galuppi R, Macchioni F, Carelle MS, Falcioni L, Cioni PL, et al. The inhibition of Candida albicans by selected essential oils and their major components. Mycopathologia 2005;159: 339–345.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Bonvehí JS, Coll FV, Jordà RE. The composition, active components and bacteriostatic activity of propolis in dietetics. J Am Oil Chem 1994;71: 529–532.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Digrak M, Yilmaz O, Ozcelik S. In vitro antimicrobial effect of propolis collected in Elazig region. Turk J Biol 1995;19: 249–257.

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Grange M, Davey RW. Antibacterial properties of propolis (bee glue). J R Soc Med 1990;83: 159–160.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Khosravi A, Behzadi A. Evaluation of the antibacterial activity of the seed hull of Quercusbrantii on some gram negative bacteria. Pak J Med Sci 2006;22: 429–432

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Griggs JK, Manandhar NP, Towers GH, Taylor RS. The effects of storage on the biological activity of medicinal plants from Nepal. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;77: 24–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Marcucci MC, Ferrerez F, Custódio AR, Ferreira MMC, Bankova VS, Garcia-Vigueira C, et al. Evaluation of phenolic compounds from Brazilian propolis with pharmacological activities. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;74: 105–112.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Burdock GA. Review of biological properties and toxicity of bee propolis (propolis). Food Chem Toxicol 1998;36: 347–363.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Fernandes FF, Dias AL, Ramos CL, Ikegaki M, de Siqueira AM, Franco MC. The “in vitro” antifungal activity evaluation of propolis G12 ethanol extract on Cryptococcus neoformans. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo 2007;49: 93–95.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Gavanji S, Larki B, Jalali ZA, Mohammadi E, Mehrasa M, Taraghian AM. Comparative effects of propolis of honey bee on pathogenic bacteria. Afr J Pharm Pharmacol 2012;6: 2408–2412.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Grunberger D, Banerjee R, Elsinger K, Oltz EM, Efros L, Caldwell M. Preferential cytotoxicity on tumor cells by caffeic acid phenethyl ester isolated from propolis. Cell Mol Life Sci 1988;44: 230–232.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Na HK, Wilson MR, Kang KS, Chang CC, Grunberger D, Trosko JE. Restoration of gap junctional intracellular communication by caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) in a ras-transformed rat liver epithelial cell line. Cancer Lett 2000;157: 31–38.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Gavanji S, Larki B, Mohammadi E, Bakhtari A. Antimicrobial and cytotoxic evaluation of some herbal essential oils in comparison with common antibiotics in bioassay condition. Integr Med Res 2014;3: 142–152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Gavanji S, Larki B, Bakhtari A. The effect of extract of Punicagranatum var. pleniflora for treatment of minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Integr Med Res 2014;3: 83–90.

    Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Akbari S. The survey antifungal effects of Thymus vulgaris L. and Origanum vulgare L. extracts against clinical isolates Candida albicans resistant and susceptible to fluconazole. J Med Plants 2006;6: 53–62.

    Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Beytollahi J, Mansourian A, Esmaili M. Antimicrobial effect of propolis on common oral pathogen microorganisms (Candida albicans, Streptococcus mutans, Actinobacillus). J Den Soci 2010;21: 33–39.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to express their appreciation to Islamic Azad University of Khorasgan Branch for the valuable supports.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shahin Gavanji.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gavanji, S., Larki, B. Comparative effect of propolis of honey bee and some herbal extracts on Candida albicans . Chin. J. Integr. Med. 23, 201–207 (2017).

Download citation


  • Candida albicans
  • propolis
  • herbal extract
  • antibiotics