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NZ Propolis is exciting prospect for the treatment of cancer

From ancient to modern times, herbs and other plant products have been widely used as medicinal agents, first in folk medicine and other activities in many parts of the world and later developed and improved on a scientific basis into drugs that are used in the health system. Propolis is one of the few natural products that has maintained its popularity over a long period of time. As reviewed here, propolis contains a broad spectrum of compounds that may be useful in the treatment of different pathological conditions. In fact there is much literature that deals with the in vitro and in vivo biological properties of propolis. This wide range of bioactivities, the continuous discovery of new compounds, the long history of propolis use, and its safety profile make propolis a potential candidate for drug discovery that may be useful in several clinical scenarios. Nevertheless, it is necessary to make an effort to standardize propolis composition since it seems that propolis biological properties and chemical composition not only are variable but also are strictly linked. In our opinion, propolis extracts may be important economically and would allow a relatively inexpensive treatment in different diseases; however, to promote its use in modern medicine, it will be necessary to identify and isolate the bioactive compounds to be tested separately or in combination with other drugs already available.

Drug discovery does not consist only of the isolation of bioactive lead compounds from the natural sources. In fact, this process continues outside the academic laboratories through preclinical studies followed by clinical trials. Thus, despite the in vitro and in vivo assays, which provide new valuable information on propolis biological properties and mechanisms of action, it will be necessary to analyse the effectiveness of propolis clinically, to complement the basic research available, and to evaluate the potential of propolis in human health promotion.

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