Functional properties of honey, propolis, and royal jelly

J Food Sci. 2008 Nov;73(9):R117-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2008.00966.x.


Honey, propolis, and royal jelly, products originating in the beehive, are attractive ingredients for healthy foods. Honey has been used since ancient times as part of traditional medicine. Several aspects of this use indicate that it also has functions such as antibacterial, antioxidant, antitumor, anti-inflamatory, antibrowning, and antiviral. Propolis is a resinous substance produced by honeybees. This substance has been used in folk medicine since ancient times, due to its many biological properties to possess, such as antitumor, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects, among others. Royal jelly has been demonstrated to possess numerous functional properties such as antibacterial activity, anti-inflammatory activity, vasodilative and hypotensive activities, disinfectant action, antioxidant activity, antihypercholesterolemic activity, and antitumor activity. Biological activities of honey, propolis, and royal jelly are mainly attributed to the phenolic compounds such as flavonoids. Flavonoids have been reported to exhibit a wide range of biological activities, including antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, and vasodilatory actions. In addition, flavonoids inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, capillary permeability and fragility, and the activity of enzyme systems including cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Bees
  • Fatty Acids*
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Food / standards*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / etiology
  • Honey* / adverse effects
  • Honey* / analysis
  • Humans
  • Insect Hormones*
  • Maillard Reaction / drug effects
  • Marketing / methods
  • Propolis* / adverse effects
  • Propolis* / chemistry
  • Propolis* / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Flavonoids
  • Insect Hormones
  • Propolis
  • royal jelly