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Propolis: A Review of Properties, Applications, Chemical Composition, Contact Allergy, and Other Adverse Effects

de Groot, Anton C. MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000011

Propolis (bee glue) is the resinous substance that bees collect from living plants for the construction and adaptation of their nests. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and may have a wide range of other beneficial biological activities. Propolis is available as a dietary supplement, in products for the protection of health and prevention of diseases, in biopharmaceuticals, and as a constituent of (bio)cosmetics. In this article, the following aspects of propolis are reviewed: the nature and chemical composition, its biological properties and applications, contact allergy and allergic contact dermatitis (sensitizing potential, products causing contact allergy, clinical picture, frequency of sensitization, coreactivity and cross-reactivity, the allergens in propolis), and other adverse effects.

From Acdegroot Publishing, Wapserveen, the Netherlands.

Address reprint requests to Anton C. de Groot, MD, PhD, Acdegroot Publishing, Schipslootweg 5, 8351 HV Wapserveen, the Netherlands. E-mail:;

The author has no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2013 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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