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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2 (2005), Issue 1, Pages 33-38

Origin and Chemical Variation of Brazilian Propolis

1Department of Botany, Institute of Biosciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2APTA (Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios)/SAA-SP Pindamonhangaba, SP, Brazil
3Viçosa Federal University, Department of Animal Biology, Viçosa, MG, Brazil

Received 1 October 2004; Accepted 10 January 2005

Copyright © 2005 Antonio Salatino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Propolis is a hive product containing chiefly beeswax and plant-derived substances such as resin and volatile compounds. Propolis has been used as an antiseptic and wound healer since ancient times and interest for the product has increased recently. Probably few plant species contribute as major resin sources. Green propolis derives mainly from vegetative apices of Baccharis dracunculifolia (alecrim plants). However, wide variation detected in the chemical composition suggests contributions from alternative resin plant sources. Predominant components of the resin of green propolis are cinnamic acids, chiefly compounds bearing prenyl groups. Terpenoid compounds, such as sesqui, di and pentacyclic triterpenoids, have been detected in many, but not all, samples investigated. Propolis research has uncovered potentialities of substances previously isolated from plants and has detected constituents of plant origin that would hardly be known otherwise.