Brazilian red propolis exhibits antiparasitic properties in vitro and reduces worm burden and egg production in an mouse model harboring either early or chronic Schistosoma mansoni infection

J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 Jan 10;264:113387. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.113387. Epub 2020 Sep 9.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Propolis has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years and, in the past few decades, it has attracted renewed interest. Although propolis has been traditionally used in many communities worldwide against parasitic diseases, its effect against Schistosoma mansoni infection remains unclear.

Aim of the study: To demonstrate the effects of Brazilian red propolis on Schistosoma mansoni ex vivo and in an animal model of schistosomiasis.

Materials and methods: In vitro, we monitored phenotypic and tegumental changes as well as the effects of the crude extract of propolis on pairing and egg production. In a mouse infected with either immature (early infection) or adult (chronic infection) worms, propolis was administered by oral gavage and we studied the influence of this natural product on worm burden and egg production.

Results: Propolis 25 μg/mL reduced motility and caused 100% mortality of adult parasites ex vivo. Further analysis revealed a pronounced reduction in oviposition after exposure to propolis at sub-lethal concentrations. In addition, scanning electron microscopy showed morphological alterations in the tegument of schistosomes. In the animal model, propolis markedly reduced worm burden and egg production in both early and chronic S. mansoni infection when compared to untreated control animals.

Conclusions: The efficacy of Brazilian red propolis in both in vitro and in vivo studies suggests its potential anthelmintic properties against S. mansoni infection.

Keywords: Anthelmintic; Natural products; Propolis; Schistosoma; Schistosomiasis; Schistosomicidal activity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiparasitic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antiparasitic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Brazil / ethnology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Helminths / drug effects*
  • Helminths / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Ovum / drug effects*
  • Ovum / physiology
  • Propolis / pharmacology
  • Propolis / therapeutic use*
  • Random Allocation
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / drug therapy*
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / pathology


  • Antiparasitic Agents
  • Propolis