Under proper supervision of healthcare professionals, propolis mouthwash may be a safe and effective treatment for patients with severe oral mucositis, according to study published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

Oral mucositis is one of the most common adverse events (AEs) that accompany chemotherapy and head and neck cancer-radiotherapy, and severely affects the quality of life and economic burden of patients with cancer. Evidence from previous studies that assessed the effect of propolis mouthwash has been conflicting.

For this systematic review, researchers assessed the outcomes of 5 randomized control trials that included 209 patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy. A total of 106 patients were assigned to the control arm, and 103 patients were treated with propolis mouthwash 5-15 mL, 2 to 3 times a day for 7 to 180 days.

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Results showed that patients in the intervention group who received propolis had a significantly lower risk for severe oral mucositis compared with patients who were in the control group (P =.003).

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No serious AEs associated with the treatment of cancer therapy-induced oral mucositis were reported. The studies demonstrated that propolis mouthwash was safe, effective, and well-tolerated.

The authors concluded that “the meta-analysis results are favorable and indicate that propolis can be used in clinical practice. Well-designed studies regarding other interventions are needed to improve the amount and quality of evidence guiding future clinical care.”


Kuo CC, Wang RH, Wang HH, Li CH. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the efficacy of propolis mouthwash in cancer therapy-induced oral mucositis [published online July 19, 2018]. Support Care Cancer. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4344-5