Antiviral properties of beehive products

Since their discovery, viruses have been the subject of controversy. Even its origin is not clear and it is debated between three theories: relics of pre-cellular life, intracellular “parasites” or genes that escaped cells and were united with functional units (1). Although viruses have been known for their ability to generate diseases such as human immunodeficiency syndrome, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or hepatitis, it is clear that they are a source of genetic diversity and have allowed the evolutionary processes of almost all aive beings (2).

Despite the advances in science, many of the diseases caused by viruses are untreated or non-curative. For this reason, treatments are constantly being sought that are curative or that impact the evolution of the disease (3) and even more so at the time of this pandemic due to COVID-19.

Beehive products have shown interesting and important effects for various viral infections, then their mechanisms of action and applications will be reviewed.

Bee venom

Its ability to control the passage of the virus into the intracellular environment, decrease its replication and limit the number of infected cells has been documented on different viruses (4). Effects of bee venom on different viruses can be seen in the next table:


Propolis has been evaluated on some types of viruses showing relevant antiviral effects:

Bee honey

Bee honey has antiviral effects:

Royal jelly

The effect of royal jelly against the herpes simplex virus has been evaluated. Royal jelly inhibits viral replication and reduces the expression of viral proteins (24).

It can be seen that the mechanisms are diverse, which opens the possibility of using the products of the beehive in a large number of viral infections. Clinical experience has shown that the reduction of viral load, symptomatic intensity, quality of life, and a cure are achieved in most viral infections.

Bibliographic references

1.          Koonin E V., Senkevich TG, Dolja V V. The ancient virus world and evolution of cells. Biol Direct. 2006;

2.          Katsura Y, Asai S. Evolutionary Medicine of Retroviruses in the Human Genome. Am J Med Sci [Internet]. 2019 Dec;358(6):384–8. Available from:

3.          Carrasco-Hernandez R, Jácome R, López Vidal Y, Ponce de León S. Are RNA Viruses Candidate Agents for the Next Global Pandemic? A Review. ILAR J [Internet]. 2017 Dec 15;58(3):343–58. Available from:

4.          Wehbe R, Frangieh J, Rima M, El Obeid D, Sabatier J-M, Fajloun Z. Bee Venom: Overview of Main Compounds and Bioactivities for Therapeutic Interests. Molecules [Internet]. 2019 Aug 19;24(16):2997. Available from:

5.          Albiol Matanic VC, Castilla V. Antiviral activity of antimicrobial cationic peptides against Junin virus and herpes simplex virus. Int J Antimicrob Agents [Internet]. 2004 Apr;23(4):382–9. Available from:

6.          Baghian A, Kousoulas KG. Role of the Na+,K+ Pump in Herpes Simplex Type 1-Induced Cell Fusion: Melittin Causes Specific Reversion of Syncytial Mutants with the Syn1 Mutation to Syn+ (Wild-Type) Phenotype. Virology [Internet]. 1993 Oct;196(2):548–56. Available from:

7.          Yasin B, Pang M, Turner JS, Cho Y, Dinh N-N, Waring AJ, et al. Evaluation of the Inactivation of Infectious Herpes Simplex Virus by Host-Defense Peptides. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis [Internet]. 2000 Apr 3;19(3):187–94. Available from:

8.          Uddin MB, Lee B-H, Nikapitiya C, Kim J-H, Kim T-H, Lee H-C, et al. Inhibitory effects of bee venom and its components against viruses in vitro and in vivo. J Microbiol [Internet]. 2016 Dec 26;54(12):853–66. Available from:

9.          Esser AF, Bartholomew RM, Jensen FC, Muller-Eberhard HJ. Disassembly of viral membranes by complement independent of channel formation. Proc Natl Acad Sci [Internet]. 1979 Nov 1;76(11):5843–7. Available from:

10.        Boone LR, Skalka A. Two species of full-length cDNA are synthesized in high yield by melittin-treated avian retrovirus particles. Proc Natl Acad Sci [Internet]. 1980 Feb 1;77(2):847–51. Available from:

11.        Brack-Werner R, Erfle V, von Pechmann N, Neumann M, Winder D, Kleinschmidt A, et al. Antimicrobial peptides melittin and cecropin inhibit replication of human immunodeficiency virus 1 by suppressing viral gene expression. J Gen Virol [Internet]. 1998 Apr 1;79(4):731–40. Available from:

12.        Hood JL, Jallouk AP, Campbell N, Ratner L, Wickline SA. Cytolytic nanoparticles attenuate HIV-1 infectivity. Antivir Ther [Internet]. 2012;18(1):95–103. Available from:

13.        Uzair B, Bushra R, Khan BA, Zareen S, Fasim F. Potential Uses of Venom Proteins in Treatment of HIV. Protein Pept Lett [Internet]. 2018 Sep 6;25(7):619–25. Available from:

14.        Labská K, Plodková H, Pumannová M, Sensch KH. Antiviral activity of propolis special extract GH 2002 against Varicella zoster virus in vitro. Pharmazie [Internet]. 2018;73(12):733–6. Available from:

15.        Altındiş M, Aslan FG, Uzuner H, Ünal H, Köroğlu M, Kulaç S, et al. [Comparison of Antiviral Effect of Olive Leaf Extract and Propolis with Acyclovir on Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1]. Mikrobiyol Bul [Internet]. 2020 Jan;54(1):79–94. Available from:

16.        Takeshita T, Watanabe W, Toyama S, Hayashi Y, Honda S, Sakamoto S, et al. Effect of Brazilian Propolis on Exacerbation of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Mice Exposed to Tetrabromobisphenol A, a Brominated Flame Retardant. Evidence-Based Complement Altern Med [Internet]. 2013;2013:1–9. Available from:

17.        Díaz-Carballo D, K.Ueberla, Kleff V, Ergun S, Malak S, M.Freistuehler, et al. Antiretroviral activity of two polyisoprenylated acylphloroglucinols, 7-epi-nemorosone and plukenetione A, isolated from Caribbean propolis. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther [Internet]. 2010 Oct 1;48(10):670–7. Available from:

18.        Chang F-R, Hsieh Y-C, Chang Y-F, Lee K-H, Wu Y-C, Chang L-K. Inhibition of the Epstein–Barr virus lytic cycle by moronic acid. Antiviral Res [Internet]. 2010 Mar;85(3):490–5. Available from:

19.        Shimizu T, Hino A, Tsutsumi A, Park YK, Watanabe W, Kurokawa M. Anti-Influenza Virus Activity of Propolis in Vitro and its Efficacy against Influenza Infection in Mice. Antivir Chem Chemother [Internet]. 2008 Feb;19(1):7–13. Available from:

20.        Gekker G, Hu S, Spivak M, Lokensgard JR, Peterson PK. Anti-HIV-1 activity of propolis in CD4+ lymphocyte and microglial cell cultures. J Ethnopharmacol [Internet]. 2005 Nov;102(2):158–63. Available from:

21.        Lee J Le, Loe MWC, Lee RCH, Chu JJH. Antiviral activity of pinocembrin against Zika virus replication. Antiviral Res [Internet]. 2019 Jul;167:13–24. Available from:

22.        Watanabe K, Rahmasari R, Matsunaga A, Haruyama T, Kobayashi N. Anti-influenza Viral Effects of Honey In Vitro: Potent High Activity of Manuka Honey. Arch Med Res [Internet]. 2014 Jul;45(5):359–65. Available from:

23.        Shahzad A, Cohrs RJ. In vitro antiviral activity of honey against varicella zoster virus (VZV): A translational medicine study for potential remedy for shingles. Transl Biomed [Internet]. 2012;3(2). Available from:

24.        Hashemipour MA, Tavakolineghad Z, Arabzadeh SAM, Iranmanesh Z, Nassab SAHG. Antiviral Activities of Honey, Royal Jelly, and Acyclovir Against HSV-1. Wounds  a Compend Clin Res Pract [Internet]. 2014 Feb;26(2):47–54. Available from:

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