Antioxidant activity of propolis: role of caffeic acid phenethyl ester and galangin.Fitoterapia 2002; 73 Suppl 1:S21-9F
Propolis, a natural product produced by the honeybee, has been used for thousands of years in folk medicine for several purposes. The extract contains amino acids, phenolic acids, phenolic acid esters, flavonoids, cinnamic acid, terpenes and caffeic acid. It possesses several biological activities such as antiinflammatory, immunostimulatory, antiviral and antibacterial. The exact mode of physiological or biochemical mechanisms responsible for the medical effects, however, is yet to be determined. In this work, we have investigated the antioxidant activity of a propolis extract deprived of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE). In addition, the activity of CAPE and galangin was also examined. Propolis extract (with and without CAPE) and its active components showed a dose-dependent free radical scavenging effect, a significant inhibition of xanthine oxidase activity, and an antilipoperoxidative capacity. Propolis extract with CAPE was more active than propolis extract without CAPE. CAPE, used alone, exhibited a strong antioxidant activity, higher than galangin. The experimental evidence, therefore, suggests that CAPE plays an important role in the antioxidant activity of propolis.