Propolis is a honey-related product with reported health benefits such as improved immunity, lowered blood pressure, treated allergies and skin conditions. A literature review and narrative synthesis were conducted to investigate the evidence on the reported health benefits and future direction of propolis products. Using a predefined search strategy we searched Medline (OvidSP), Embase and Central for quantitative and qualitative studies (1990-2018). Citation, reference, hand searches and expert consultation were also undertaken. Studies of randomised control trials and observational data on humans with health-related outcomes were included. Collected data were entered into NVivo software (Version 12, QRS International) and analysed using a thematic framework and a narrative synthesis of emergent themes. A total of 63 publications were discussed. The majority were cell-based and animal studies, with a few key human trials conducted. There is significant promise for propolis as an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with particular promise in cardiometabolic health.
Keywords: bioactives; cardiovascular; nutrition; stroke.