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Antiviral, Antibacterial, Antifungal, and Antiparasitic Properties of Propolis: A Review

Propolis is a complex phytocompound made from resinous and balsamic material harvested by bees from flowers, branches, pollen, and tree exudates. Humans have used propolis therapeutically for centuries. The aim of this article is to provide comprehensive review of the antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties of propolis. The mechanisms of action of propolis are discussed. There are two distinct impacts with regards to antimicrobial and anti-parasitic properties of propolis, on the pathogens and on the host. With regards to the pathogens, propolis acts by disrupting the ability of the pathogens to invade the host cells by forming a physical barrier and inhibiting enzymes and proteins needed for invasion into the host cells. Propolis also inhibits the replication process of the pathogens. Moreover, propolis inhibits the metabolic processes of the pathogens by disrupting cellular organelles and components responsible for energy production. With regard to the host, propolis functions as an immunomodulator. It upregulates the innate immunity and modulates the inflammatory signaling pathways. Propolis also helps maintain the host’s cellular antioxidant status. More importantly, a small number of human clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy and the safety of propolis as an adjuvant therapy for pathogenic infections.

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