Friday, June 03, 2011
Chemistry Central Journal, Published: 1 June 2011
Propolis is a bee product, composed mainly of plant resins and beeswax, therefore its chemical composition varies due to the geographic and plant origins of these resins, as well as the species of bee.
Brazil is an important supplier of propolis on the world market and, although green colored propolis from the southeast is the most known and studied, several other types of propolis from Apis mellifera and native stingless bees (also called cerumen) can be found.
Propolis is usually consumed as an extract, so the type of solvent and extractive procedures employed further affect its composition. Methods used for the extraction; analysis the percentage of resins, wax and insoluble material in crude propolis; determination of phenolic, flavonoid, amino acid and heavy metal contents are reviewed herein.
Different chromatographic methods applied to the separation, identification and quantification of Brazilian propolis components and their relative strengths are discussed; as well as direct insertion mass spectrometry fingerprinting.
Propolis has been used as a popular remedy for several centuries for a wide array of ailments. Its antimicrobial properties, present in propolis from different origins, have been extensively studied. But, more recently, anti-parasitic, anti-viral / immune stimulating, healing, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic activities of diverse types of Brazilian propolis have been evaluated.
The most common methods employed and overviews of their relative results are presented.