Monday, March 30, 2015

Acacia Honey Boosts Healing of Corneal Abrasions

The effects of acacia honey on in vitro corneal abrasion wound healing model

BMC Cell Biology, Volume 16

Background

Acacia honey (AH) has been proven to improve skin wound healing, but its therapeutic effects on corneal epithelium has not been elucidated to date. This study aimed to investigate the effects of AH on cultured corneal epithelial cells (CEC) on in vitro corneal abrasion wound healing model. Six New Zealand white rabbits’ CEC were isolated and cultured until passage 1. Circular wound area was created onto a confluent monolayer CEC using a corneal trephine which mimicked corneal abrasion and treated with 0.025% AH supplemented in basal medium (BM) and complete cornea medium (CCM). Wound healing was measured as the percentage of wound closure by the migration of CEC on day 0, day 3 and day 6, post wound creation. The morphological changes of CEC were assessed via phase contrast microscopy. Gene and protein expressions of cytokeratin (CK3), fibronectin and cluster of differentiation 44 (CD44) in AH treated groups and control groups were determined by real-time PCR and immunocytochemistry, respectively.

Results

Cultured CEC exhibited similar morphology of polygonal shaped cells in all culture media. CEC cultured in AH-supplemented media showed higher percentage of wound closure compared to the controls. Gene expression of CK3 increased in AH-supplemented groups throughout the study. Fibronectin expression was increased at the initial stage while CD44 expression was increased at day 3, post wound creation. The protein expression of CEC cultured in all media was in accordance to their respective gene expressions.

Conclusion

Supplementation of AH in BM and CCM media accelerates CEC wound closure of the in vitro corneal abrasion model by increasing the expression of genes and proteins associated with CEC wound healing.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Flavonoid Found in Honey, Propolis Has Protective Effect Against Oxidative Damage

Protective Effects of the Flavonoid Chrysin against Methylmercury-Induced Genotoxicity and Alterations of Antioxidant Status, In Vivo

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015;2015:602360

The use of phytochemicals has been widely used as inexpensive approach for prevention of diseases related to oxidative damage due to its antioxidant properties. One of dietary flavonoids is chrysin (CR), found mainly in passion fruit, honey, and propolis.

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a toxic metal whose main toxic mechanism is oxidative damage. Thus, the study aimed to evaluate the antioxidant effects of CR against oxidative damage induced by MeHg in Wistar rats. Animals were treated with MeHg (30 µg/kg/bw) in presence and absence of CR (0.10, 1.0, and 10 mg/kg/bw) by gavage for 45 days. Glutathione (GSH) in blood was quantified spectrophotometrically and for monitoring of DNA damage, comet assay was used in leukocytes and hepatocytes. MeHg led to a significant increase in the formation of comets; when the animals were exposed to the metal in the presence of CR, higher concentrations of CR showed protective effects. Moreover, exposure to MeHg decreased the levels of GSH and GSH levels were restored in the animals that received CR plus MeHg.

Taken together the findings of the present work indicate that consumption of flavonoids such as CR may protect humans against the adverse health effects caused by MeHg.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Royal Jelly Protects Against Testicular Damage from Diabetes

Protective effects of royal jelly against testicular damage in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

Turk J Med Sci. 2015;45(1):27-32.

BACKGROUND/AIM:

To examine the effects of royal jelly (RJ) on testicular damage in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Eighteen adult Wistar albino rats were used, 6 in each of the 3 treatment groups: Group A: control, Group B: STZ-induced diabetes (untreated), Group C: STZ-induced diabetes plus RJ (400 mg/kg daily for 4 weeks). Diabetes was induced by a single intraperitoneal injection of STZ (60 mg/kg). Four weeks after the onset of diabetes, testicular apoptotic cell death was examined using immunohistochemical staining for caspase-3 and Ki67 staining for localization of proliferative cells.

RESULTS:

Compared with the control, the body and testicular weights of the RJ-treated and untreated diabetic rats were decreased (P < 0.05). The histopathological examination showed a significant increase in degenerative changes in the seminiferous tubules and in spermatogenesis of the STZ-treated rats. In contrast, the RJ treatment group showed near-normal morphology, in addition to an increased intensity of immunohistochemical staining for Ki67-positive cells.

CONCLUSION:

Diabetes induced a significant increase in testicular apoptotic cell death (caspase-3-positive cells). Caspase-3-positive cells were significantly decreased in the STZ plus RJ-treated group compared with the untreated STZ-induced diabetic group (P < 0.05).

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bee Venom May Help Prevent Tooth Decay

Antimicrobial activity of apitoxin, melittin and phospholipase A2 of honey bee (Apis mellifera) venom against oral pathogens

An Acad Bras Cienc. 2015 Mar;87(1):147-155

In this work, we used the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) technique to evaluate the antibacterial potential of the apitoxin produced by Apis mellifera bees against the causative agents of tooth decay.

Apitoxin was assayed in natura and in the commercially available form. The antibacterial actions of the main components of this apitoxin, phospholipase A2, and melittin were also assessed, alone and in combination. The following bacteria were tested: Streptococcus salivarius, S. sobrinus, S. mutans, S. mitis, S. sanguinis, Lactobacillus casei, and Enterococcus faecalis. The MIC results obtained for the commercially available apitoxin and for the apitoxin in natura were close and lay between 20 and 40µg / mL, which indicated good antibacterial activity.

Melittin was the most active component in apitoxin; it displayed very promising MIC values, from 4 to 40µg / mL. Phospholipase A2 presented MIC values higher than 400µg / mL. Association of mellitin with phospholipase A2 yielded MIC values ranging between 6 and 80µg / mL.

Considering that tooth decay affects people's health, apitoxin and its component melittin have potential application against oral pathogens.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Honey and Propolis Studied for Treatment of Helicobacter pylori (Ulcers) Infection


Dietary amelioration of Helicobacter infection

Nutr Res. 2015 Mar 6. pii: S0271-5317(15)00046-9

We review herein the basis for using dietary components to treat and/or prevent Helicobacter pylori infection, with emphasis on (a) work reported in the last decade, (b) dietary components for which there is mechanism-based plausibility, and (c) components for which clinical results on H pylori amelioration are available.

There is evidence that a diet-based treatment may reduce the levels and/or the virulence of H pylori colonization without completely eradicating the organism in treated individuals. This concept was endorsed a decade ago by the participants in a small international consensus conference held in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, and interest in such a diet-based approach has increased dramatically since then. This approach is attractive in terms of cost, treatment, tolerability, and cultural acceptability.

This review, therefore, highlights specific foods, food components, and food products, grouped as follows: bee products (eg, honey and propolis); probiotics; dairy products; vegetables; fruits; oils; essential oils; and herbs, spices, and other plants. A discussion of the small number of clinical studies that are available is supplemented by supportive in vitro and animal studies. This very large body of in vitro and preclinical evidence must now be followed up with rationally designed, unambiguous human trials.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Varied Dilutions of Honey Promotes Wound Healing


Modulating prime molecular Expressions and in vitro wound healing rate in keratinocyte (HaCaT) population under characteristic Honey dilutions

J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Mar 17. pii: S0378-8741(15)00161-0

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY RELEVANCE:

In traditional medicines honey is known for healing efficacy and vividly used as 'Anupan' in Ayurvedic medicines appreciating roles in dilutions. Validating efficacy of physico-chemically characterized honey in dilutions, studies on in vitro wound healing and attainment of cellular confluence epithelial cells including expressions of cardinal genes is crucial.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

To evaluate effects of characterized honey in varied dilutions on cellular viability, in vitro wound healing and modulation of prime epithelial gene expressions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Six Indian honey-samples from different sources were physico-chemically characterized and optimal one was explored in dilutions (v/v %) through in vitro studies on human epithelial (HaCaT) cells for viability, wound healing and expressions of genes p63, E-cadherin, β-catenin, GnT-III and GnT-V.

RESULTS:

Studied honey samples (i.e. A-F) depicted range of pH (2-4), water (12.48-23.95), electrical conductivity (2.57-14.34), carbohydrate (68.73-98.65), protein (0.316-5.36) and antioxidant potential. Though sample A and F showed physico-chemical proximity, but overall bio-impact of the earlier was better, thus studied in 8-0.1% (v/v) dilution range. Four dilutions (0.01, 0.04, 0.1, 0.25v/v %) augmented cellular viability but in vitro wound healing was fastest (p < 0.05) under 0.1%. Such efficacy was further documented for p63 up-regulation by immunocytochemistry and mRNA studies. The E-cadherin and β-catenin mRNA-expressions were also up-regulated and their proteins were predominantly cytoplasmic. E-cadherin up-regulation was corroborative with down-regulation and up-regulation of GnT-III and GnT-V respectively.

CONCLUSION:


Present study illustrated efficacy of particular honey dilution (0.1%) with characteristic free radical scavenging activity in facilitating cell proliferation and attainment of confluence towards faster wound healing and modulation of cardinal epithelial genes (viz.p63, E-cadherin, β-catenin, Gnt-III &V).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bee Stings Said to Cure Lyme Disease


How a Bee Sting Saved My Life

Gizmodo

Ellie Lobel was ready to die. Then she was attacked by bees. Christie Wilcox hears how venom can be a saviour.

"I moved to California to die."

Ellie Lobel was 27 when she was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease. And she was not yet 45 when she decided to give up fighting for survival...

When the bees finally dissipated, her caregiver tried to take her to the hospital, but Ellie refused to go. "This is God's way of putting me out of my misery even sooner," she told him. "I'm just going to accept this."

"I locked myself in my room and told him to come collect the body tomorrow."

But Ellie didn't die. Not that day, and not three to four months later.

"I just can't believe that was three years ago, and I just can't believe where I am now," she tells me. "I had all my blood work done. Everything. We tested everything. I'm so healthy."

She believes the bees, and their venom, saved her life...

After the attack, Ellie watched the clock, waiting for anaphylaxis to set in, but it didn't. Instead, three hours later, her body was racked with pains. A scientist by education before Lyme took its toll, Ellie thinks that these weren't a part of an allergic response, but instead indicated a Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction – her body was being flooded with toxins from dying bacteria. The same kind of thing can happen when a person is cured from a bad case of syphilis. A theory is that certain bacterial species go down swinging, releasing nasty compounds that cause fever, rash and other symptoms.

For three days, she was in pain. Then, she wasn't.

"I had been living in this… I call it a brown-out because it's like you're walking around in a half-coma all the time with the inflammation of your brain from the Lyme. My brain just came right out of that fog. I thought: I can actually think clearly for the first time in years."

With a now-clear head, Ellie started wondering what had happened. So she did what anyone else would do: Google it. Disappointingly, her searches turned up very little. But she did find one small 1997 study by scientists at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, who'd found that melittin killed Borrelia. Exposing cell cultures to purified melittin, they reported that the compound completely inhibited Borrelia growth. When they looked more closely, they saw that shortly after melittin was added, the bacteria were effectively paralysed, unable to move as their outer membranes were under attack. Soon after, those membranes began to fall apart, killing the bacteria.

Convinced by her experience and the limited research she found, Ellie decided to try apitherapy, the therapeutic use of materials derived from bees.

Her bees live in a "bee condo" in her apartment. She doesn't raise them herself; instead, she mail orders, receiving a package once a week. To perform the apitherapy, she uses tweezers to grab a bee and press it gently where she wants to be stung. "Sometimes I have to tap them on the tush a little bit," she says, "but they're usually pretty willing to sting you."

She started on a regimen of ten stings a day, three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Three years and several thousand stings later, Ellie seems to have recovered miraculously. Slowly, she has reduced the number of stings and their frequency – just three stings in the past eight months, she tells me (and one of those she tried in response to swelling from a broken bone, rather than Lyme-related symptoms). She keeps the bees around just in case, but for the past year before I talked to her, she'd mostly done just fine without them...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Researchers Identify Key Component of Manuka Honey

Drought causes shortage of honeycomb

Radio New Zealand, 22 March 2015

The dry conditions in the South Island have led to a major shortage of honeycomb.

Managing director of a Timaru honey company, Steve Little, said there had been very little clover in pastures, so bees had produced much less honeycomb than usual.

He said production is down in the country's main production areas, South Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

Mr Little says 20000-dozen squares of honeycomb would usually be exported annually, but that is down to about 3000 this year.

However, he said the lack of honeycomb has been offset by very high prices for New Zealand honey, so profits are still high for producers.

Meanwhile the UMF Honey Association said researchers have identified the first of the key components that make up manuka honey.

Japanese researchers have published a study showing a compound called leptospermum is only found in manuka flower nectar.

The association general manager, John Rawcliffe, said the presence of leptospermum means it can now be easily proved whether honey genuinely comes from manuka flower nectar...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Honey Boosts Antioxidant Activity of Infusions of Medicinal Plants

Is honey able to potentiate the antioxidant and cytotoxic properties of medicinal plants consumed as infusions for hepatoprotective effects?

Food Funct., 2015, Accepted Manuscript

Due to the enormous variety of phytochemicals present in plants, their extracts have been used for centuries in the treatment of innumerous diseases, being perceived as an invaluable source of medicines for humans. Furthermore, the combination of different plants was reported as inducing an improved effect (synergism) in comparison to the additive activity of the plants present in those mixtures. Nevertheless, information regarding the effects of plant infusions added with honey is still rather scarce.

Accordingly, the aim of this study was evaluating the interaction between chestnut honey, a natural product with well-reported beneficial properties, and three medicinal plants (either as single plant or as combinations of two and three plants), with regard to their antioxidant activity and hepatotoxicity.
Antioxidant activity was evaluated by comparing the results from four different assays; the hepatotoxicity was assessed in two different cell lines. Results were compared by analysis of variance and linear discriminant analysis.

The addition of honey to the infusions had a beneficial result in both cases, producing a synergistic effect in all samples, except β-carotene bleaching inhibition for artichoke+milk thistle+honey preparation and also preparations with lower hepatotoxicity, except in the case of artichoke+honey. Moreover, from discriminant linear analysis output, it became obvious that the effect of honey addition overcame that resulting from using single plant or mixed plants based infusions.

Also, the enhanced antioxidant activity of infusions containing honey was convoyed by a lower hepatotoxicity.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bees: helping to fight antibiotic resistance and treat HIV

Medical News Today, 3/19/2015

Compared with spiders, we tend to have a higher tolerance for bees. Though they seem incapable of finding their way back out of an open window they just flew through - making us do a lot of curtain-flapping and arm-waving - they are responsible for producing one of the nation's most-loved foods: honey.

But according to scientists, these insects are capable of so much more. In 2013, MNT reported on a study published in Antiviral Therapy, in which researchers revealed how a toxin found in bee venom - melittin - has the potential to destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The investigators, from the Washington University School of Medicine, explained that melittin is able to make holes in the protective, double-layered membrane that surrounds the HIV virus. Delivering high levels of the toxin to the virus via nanoparticles could be an effective way to kill it.

Study author Dr. Joshua L. Hood believes these findings could lead to the creation of a vaginal gel to halt HIV transmission. "Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection," he explained.

A more recent study published in September 2014 claims bees may also be useful for creating a new class of antibiotics. Researchers from the Lund University in Sweden discovered lactic acid bacteria in fresh honey found in the stomachs of bees that has antimicrobial properties.

The team found that the bacteria is effective against a number of drug-resistant pathogens responsible for potentially life-threatening infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE).

At a time when existing antibiotics are increasingly failing to work against such infections, the researchers say their findings suggest a viable alternative.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Honey and Green/Black Tea May Help Prevent Stomach Ulcers

Honey and green/black tea consumption may reduce the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2015 Mar 6. pii: S0732-8893(15)00066-8

The aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of dietary and demographic factors and some habits on the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in 150 dyspeptic patients examined endoscopically and by the urea breath test. Positivity rate was lower (50.6%) in patients consuming honey ≥1day weekly compared with the remainder (70.8%) and in those consuming green/black tea ≥1day weekly (45.2%) compared with the other patients (64.8%).

Logistic regression confirmed that the factors associated with significantly lower H. pylori positivity rate were the consumption of honey (odds ratio [OR], 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.19-0.78) and green/black tea (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.21-0.95).

In conclusion, honey and green/black tea intake is associated with reduced prevalence of H. pylori infection.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Healing from the Hive: Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Migraines, Eczema, Psoriasis and Herpes


Mountain Xpress, 3/18/2015

In a bowl-shaped valley tucked away in Spring Creek near Hot Springs, Lady Spirit Moon Cerelli of BEe Healing Apiary tends to her hives. A renaissance woman in every regard, Cerelli is a military veteran, a fiber artist, a trained herbalist and a certified beekeeper, specializing in beekeeping free of pesticides, antibiotics or essential oils. She’s also an apitherapist.

Cerelli uses bee venom on non-allergic patients for the treatment of chronic health concerns including autoimmune deficiency, arthritis and muscular dystrophy. She places a bee on an acupuncture point of the body and WHAP! Once she strikes the bee, its stinger penetrates the skin and the venom sinks in. For gentler “micro doses,” Cerelli takes the stinger of a single bee and uses it to prick different points, mainly around the eyes and on some tiny scars, though she says all treatments are individualized.

Apitherapy, or “bee therapy,” is the medicinal use of bees and the products from their hives for health and wellness. Apitherapy utilizes everything from honey to pollen to venom to somatic experiencing, where body sensations are used to heal from trauma. Proponents of the practice claim bees and their products can address chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and various diseases, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and herpes....

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tualang Honey May Help Improve Memory, Treat Depression

Tualang honey improves memory performance and decreases depressive-like behavior in rats exposed to loud noise stress 

Noise & Health, Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 75  |  Page : 83-89

Recent evidence has exhibited dietary influence on the manifestation of different types of behavior induced by stressor tasks. The present study examined the effects of Tualang honey supplement administered with the goal of preventing or attenuating the occurrence of stress-related behaviors in male rats subjected to noise stress.

Forty-eight adult male rats were randomly divided into the following four groups: i) nonstressed with vehicle, ii) nonstressed with Tualang honey, iii) stressed with vehicle, and iv) stressed with honey. The supplement was given once daily via oral gavage at 0.2 g/kg body weight. Two types of behavioral tests were performed, namely, the novel object recognition test to evaluate working memory and the forced swimming test to evaluate depressive-like behavior. Data were analyzed by a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) using IBM SPSS 18.0. It was observed that the rats subjected to noise stress expressed higher levels of depressive-like behavior and lower memory functions compared to the unexposed control rats. In addition, our results indicated that the supplementation regimen successfully counteracted the effects of noise stress. The forced swimming test indicated that climbing and swimming times were significantly increased and immobility times significantly decreased in honey-supplemented rats, thereby demonstrating an antidepressant-like effect. Furthermore, cognitive function was shown to be intensely affected by noise stress, but the effects were counteracted by the honey supplement.

These findings suggest that subchronic exposure to noise stress induces depressive-like behavior and reduces cognitive functions, and that these effects can be attenuated by Tualang honey supplementation. This warrants further studies to examine the role of Tulang honey in mediating such effects.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Propolis Component Possesses Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and Anti-microbial Properties

Regulatory Effects of Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester on Neuroinflammation in Microglial Cells

Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Mar 11;16(3):5572-5589

Microglial activation has been widely demonstrated to mediate inflammatory processes that are crucial in several neurodegenerative disorders. Pharmaceuticals that can deliver direct inhibitory effects on microglia are therefore considered as a potential strategy to counter balance neurodegenerative progression. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a natural phenol in honeybee propolis, is known to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Accordingly, the current study intended to probe the effects of CAPE on microglia activation by using in vitro and in vivo models. Western blot and Griess reaction assay revealed CAPE significantly inhibited the expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS), cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and the production of nitric oxide (NO). Administration of CAPE resulted in increased expressions of hemeoxygenase (HO)-1and erythropoietin (EPO) in microglia. The phosphorylated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-α was further found to regulate the anti-inflammatory effects of caffeic acid. In vivo results from immunohistochemistry along with rotarod test also revealed the anti-neuroinflammatory effects of CAPE in microglia activation. The current study has evidenced several possible molecular determinants, AMPKα, EPO, and HO-1, in mediating anti-neuroinflammatory responses in microglial cells.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Propolis May Help Treat High Blood Sugar After a Meal

Inhibitory Properties of Aqueous Ethanol Extracts of Propolis on Alpha-Glucosidase

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:587383. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

The objective of the present study was to evaluate the inhibitory properties of various extracts of propolis on alpha-glucosidase from baker's yeast and mammalian intestine. Inhibitory activities of aqueous ethanol extracts of propolis were determined by using 4-nitrophenyl-D-glucopyranoside, sucrose and maltose as substrates, and acarbose as a positive reference. All extracts were significantly effective in inhibiting α-glucosidase from baker's yeast and rat intestinal sucrase in comparison with acarbose (P < 0.05). The 75% ethanol extracts of propolis (75% EEP) showed the highest inhibitory effect on α-glucosidase and sucrase and were a noncompetitive inhibition mode. 50% EEP, 95%, EEP and 100% EEP exhibited a mixed inhibition mode, while water extracts of propolis (WEP) and 25% EEP demonstrated a competitive inhibition mode. Furthermore, WEP presented the highest inhibitory activity against maltase. These results suggest that aqueous ethanol extracts of propolis may be used as nutraceuticals for the regulation of postprandial hyperglycemia.