Advances in Propolis Research and Propolis Industry in China

Chen Lihong1, 2,
Romanee Sanguandeekul3,
Zhang Fuxing2
Sureerat Deowanish4,
Ratna Thapa5,
Siriwat Wongsiri 5,* 

1Agricultural Technology Programme, Faculty of Science, 
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
2Apiculture Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agriculture Science, 
Xiangshan, 100093, Beijing , China
3Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, 
Bangkok,10330, Thailand
4Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University,
Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
5School of Science, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand


China has the world’s largest apiculture products as well as the highest consumption of bee products. Since the 1980s, propolis has become one of the most important honeybee products in China. Currently, propolis is one of the fastest growing honeybee products, with demand for outstripping supply. 

With increasing consumption of propolis products, propolis research has also seen significant expansion. We present here an overview of different methods of extracting raw propolis, along with contemporary research on the functions of propolis, such as its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-tumour and anti-cell toxin, activities softening blood vessels, improvement in blood microcirculation, enhanced immunity, anaesthetization and promotion of tissue regeneration. The past decade has witnessed a tremendous boom in the use of propolis in health care products and folk medicine for treating diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and some cancers, in China. It is also widely applied in animal husbandry, plant protec tion, and food industry. The new Chinese Pharmacology has included propolis in its descriptions of Apitherapy medical applications. 

A number of propolis products in Chinese markets are also reviewed, such as propolis tablets, propolis oral membrane, propolis honey, propolis tincture, propolis dental liquid and toothpaste, propolis spray and ointment. We also review propolis cosmetics, such as soap, body cream, and skin care products.

Key words: propolis, bee products, apitherapy