Flavonoid analysis and antimicrobial activity of commercially available propolis products.Acta Pharm 2005; 55(4):423-30AP
Propolis ethanolic solutions are the most used propolis products on the market for the treatment of minor ulcers in the mouth, angina, thrush or skin infections. Since it is still an unofficial drug in pharmacy, we analyzed the contents of flavonoids in ten commercially available ethanolic solutions of propolis from the Croatian market using two complementary colorimetric methods. Antimicrobial activities, determined with the diffusion method, against six bacterial species (Bacillus subtilis NCTC 8236, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923, Streptococcus pyogenes ATCC 12204, Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212, Escherichia coli ATCC 10536, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853, and one yeast-like fungus Candida albicans ATCC 10231 were compared. Results of flavonoids analysis suggested that the contents of flavones and flavonols in the products were uniform and ranged from 0.14 to 0.41%, but the content of flavanones varied greatly from 0.43 to 18.78%. Total flavonoid content, as the sum of two colorimetric methods, in propolis products was between 0.78 and 18.92%, and most products had the flavonoids content below 9%. All products with the total flavonoids content above 1% showed antimicrobial activity against the four Gram-positive bacterial species tested, and against P. aeruginosa and the yeast-like fungus C. albicans. Total flavonoids contents, expressed as the sum of two colorimetric methods, could be useful methods for estimating the flavonoid contents of propolis products. Our results indicate that the quality of commercially available propolis products requires verification.