Bee Propolis May Improve Infertility Associated With Mild Endometriosis

Emma Hitt, PhD

October 17, 2003

Oct. 17, 2003 — Bee propolis appears to be effective for the treatment of infertility associated with mild endometriosis, according to the findings of a small randomized trial.

Propolis is derived from plant resins collected by honeybees. According to Ali F. M. Ali, from the Ain Shams University, in Cairo, Egypt, and colleagues, the substance has "many pharmacologic actions," including inhibition of C aromatase and vascular endothelial growth factor as well as strong anti-inflammatory activity.

Dr. Ali and colleagues presented their findings this week at the 59th annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in San Antonio, Texas.

The researchers conducted a study of 40 patients with primary infertility for at least two years and endometriosis diagnosed with laparoscopy. Patients were randomized to receive 500 mg of bee propolis twice daily or a placebo and were followed for nine months.

Of the patients taking bee propolis, 12 women (60%) became pregnant compared with four (20%) in the placebo group (P < .001).

"The compliance of patients was satisfactory with no reported side effects," the authors note in their abstract.

The researchers conclude that "bee propolis is an effective line of treatment for infertility associated with mild or minimal endometriosis."

They point out that their research was a pilot study with a limited number of patients, but that the results indicate that a "multicenter prospective trial of bee propolis is warranted."

ASRM 2003 Annual Meeting: Abstract O-84. Presented Oct. 13, 2003.

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

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