Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brazilian Red Propolis: Botanical Origin and Physiological Activities

Presented at: 5th German Apitherapy Congress, March 23-25, 2007, Passau, Germany

Brazilian red propolis is found in the northeast of Brazil inside the mangrove swamps. The Africanized honeybee uses the red propolis to seal off holes and cracks and protects the swarm from pathogenic bacteria and fungi.

Prof. Dr. Yong Kun Park, from UNICAMP University defined 12 different groups of Brazilian propolis. Red propolis was recently classified as group 13 with the botanical origin Dalbergia ecastophyllum (Leguminosae). The botanical origin was verified by observation and different chromatographic methods/histological exams.

Propolis of group 13 is rich in flavonoids and other phenolic compounds with highly interesting physiological properties. Prof. Park´s research group identified the flavonoids liquiritigenin, isoliquiritigenin, daidzein, dalbergin, formononetin and biochanin A. Isoliquritigenin and liquiritigenin inhibited the growth of prostate cancer in vitro.

It also inhibited the enzyme xanthine oxidase. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors were suggested in the treatment of hepatitis and cerebral tumors, as these diseases are augmenting the levels of xanthine oxidase in the serum.

Isoliquiritigenin and liquiritigenin demonstrated also an anti-allergic activity, which was dose-dependant. Formononetin and biochanin A are isoflavonoids with estrogen and anti-fungal activity. They are metabolized to daidzein and genistein, respectively, which are well-known isoflavonoid aglycons found e.g. in soy and are largely used to treat women with problems related to menopause. They showed activity against prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Red propolis had shown analgesic effects in vivo, in concentrations of 25–40 mg dry extract/kg body mass. It has also shown high free radical scavenging and hepato-protective activity.

Dr. Andreas DAUGSCH, Prof. Dr. Yong Kun PARK
State University of Campinas (UNICAMP),
College of Food Engineering,
Department of Food Science,
Laboratory of Food Biochemistry,
Campinas-SP., CEP: 13081-970, Brazil.

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