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Am J Kidney Dis. 2005 Dec;46(6):e125-9.

Acute renal failure induced by a Brazilian variety of propolis.

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Department of Nephrology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Propolis is a resinous substance collected by honeybees and used in hive construction and maintenance. Cumulative evidence suggests that propolis may have anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant, antihepatotoxic, and antitumor properties. In addition to topical applications, products containing propolis have been used increasingly as dietary supplements. Although reports of allergic reactions are not uncommon, propolis is reputed to be relatively nontoxic. Its systemic toxicity is rarely reported and hence may be underestimated. This is the first report of propolis-induced acute renal failure. A 59-year-old man required hemodialysis for acute renal failure. The patient had cholangiocarcinoma and had ingested propolis for 2 weeks before presentation. Renal function improved after propolis withdrawal, deteriorated again after reexposure, and then returned to a normal level after the second propolis withdrawal. This case indicates that propolis can induce acute renal failure and emphasizes the need for vigilance and care when propolis is used as a medicine or dietary supplement.

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