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Adverse Reactions to Taking Propolis

Adverse Reactions to Taking Propolis Adverse Reactions to Taking Propolis Adverse Reactions to Taking Propolis


Bee propolis, also referred to as bee glue, Russian penicillin and beeswax acid, is similar to resin that forms in the buds of cone-bearing trees. The substance is sticky and greenish-brown in color and has a faint aromatic smell. Companies collect propolis from beehives. People use the substance for medicinal purposes such as treating herpes outbreak and treating mouth conditions. Consult your health care professional before taking propolis to treat a medical condition.


Propolis does not typically cause adverse reactions and many people use products containing propolis without experiencing side effects. Adverse reactions are more common for people who use more than 15 g of propolis daily, according to Information is lacking for symptoms of toxic levels of propolis. Ointments, oral solutions and lozenges may cause adverse reactions.

Local Irritation

People using propolis to treat conditions such as a herpes outbreak and mouth pain may experience irritation. Lozenges containing propolis or a mouth rinse containing the substance may cause mouth ulcers or irritation to occur. People applying a propolis ointment---used to treat a genital herpes outbreak---may experience irritation to the surrounding skin. People who also suffer from eczema may be more susceptible to developing skin irritation.

Allergic Reaction

Some people may experience an allergic reaction when taking propolis. Individuals with an allergy to bees or bee products, honey, poplar trees, conifer trees, Peru balsam, or aspirin may be more likely to experience an allergic response when using propolis. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include swelling of the face, mouth and airway; difficulty breathing; an increase in heart rate; and hives. An allergic reaction requires emergency medical attention to prevent life-threatening complications.


Pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding should avoid using propolis. The product may cause harm to the developing baby. Individuals who suffer from asthma should not take propolis because chemicals in the substance may cause the condition to worsen, according to MedlinePlus.

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