Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Manuka Honey/Gellan Gum Hydrogels May Help Cartilage Repair

Antibacterial effectiveness meets improved mechanical properties: Manuka honey/gellan gum composite hydrogels for cartilage repair

Carbohydr Polym. 2018 Oct 15;198:462-472

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Biomaterials for cartilage repair are still far from clinical requirements, even if several studies recently focused on this topic. In this respect, Nature-derived hydrogels are a promising class of scaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering, mimicking the native cellular microenvironment. However, they frequently lack mechanical features required for cartilage applications and are commonly subjected to infection threat.

This work describes the innovative use of Manuka honey as molecular spacer for preparing gellan gum-based composites with intrinsic antibacterial properties and superior compressive Young's modulus in respect of several Nature-derived gels based on chitosan, hyaluronic acid or alginate. The addition of Manuka honey made hydrogels able to inhibit the proliferation of S. aureus and S. epidermidis clinical isolates. Furthermore, no cytotoxic effects were detected on human mesenchymal stem cells seeded on the hydrogels. Moreover, chondrogenesis experiments showed a consistent expression of collagen II and high synthesis of GAGs and proteoglycans, thus indicating the formation of cartilage matrix.

Overall, these data suggest that the developed smart composites have a great potential as tools for cartilage tissue engineering.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Beeswax Useful in Natural Antimicrobial Coating for Fresh Produce

Physicochemical and Antimicrobial Characterization of Beeswax-Starch Food-Grade Nanoemulsions Incorporating Natural Antimicrobials

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 15;18(12). pii: E2712

Nanoemulsions are feasible delivery systems of lipophilic compounds, showing potential as edible coatings with enhanced functional properties.

The aim of this work was to study the effect of emulsifier type (stearic acid (SA), Tween 80 (T80) or Tween 80/Span 60 (T80/S60)) and emulsification process (homogenization, ultrasound or microfluidization) on nanoemulsion formation based on oxidized corn starch, beeswax (BW) and natural antimicrobials (lauric arginate and natamycin). The response variables were physicochemical properties, rheological behavior, wettability and antimicrobial activity of BW-starch nanoemulsions (BW-SN).

The BW-SN emulsified using T80 and microfluidized showed the lowest droplet size (77.6 ± 6.2 nm), a polydispersion index of 0.4 ± 0.0 and whiteness index (WI) of 31.8 ± 0.8. This BW-SN exhibited a more negative ζ-potential: -36 ± 4 mV, and Newtonian flow behavior, indicating great stability. BW-SN antimicrobial activity was not affected by microfluidization nor the presence of T80, showing inhibition of the deteriorative fungi R. stolonifer, C. gloeosporioides and B. cinerea, and the pathogenic bacterium S. Saintpaul.

In addition, regardless of emulsifier type and emulsification process, BW-SN applied on the tomato surface exhibited low contact angles (38.5° to 48.6°), resulting in efficient wettability (-7.0 mN/m to -8.9 mN/m). These nanoemulsions may be useful to produce edible coatings to preserve fresh-produce quality and safety.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Bee Venom May Help Treat Atopic Dermatitis

Apamin inhibits TNF-α- and IFN-γ-induced inflammatory cytokines and chemokines via suppressions of NF-κB signaling pathway and STAT in human keratinocytes

Pharmacol Rep. 2017 Oct;69(5):1030-1035

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Atopic dermatitis (AD) is identified by an increase in infiltrations of several inflammatory cells including type 2 helper (Th2) lymphocytes. Th2-related chemokines such as thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC/CCL17) and macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC/CCL22), and pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 are considered to play a crucial role in AD. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α- and interferon (IFN)-γ induce the inflammatory condition through production of TARC, MDC, IL-1β and IL-6, and activations of related transcription factors, such as nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) in keratinocytes. Apamin, a peptide component of bee venom, has been reported its beneficial activities in various diseases. However, anti-inflammatory effects of apamin on inflammatory condition in keratinocytes have not been explored. Therefore, the present study aimed to demonstrate the anti-inflammatory effect of apamin on TNF-α- and IFN-γ-induced inflammatory condition in keratinocytes.


HaCaT was used as human keratinocytes cell line. Cell Counting Kit-8 was performed to measure a cytotoxicity of apamin. The effects of apamin on TNF-α-/IFN-γ-induced inflammatory condition were determined by real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. Further, NF-κB signaling pathways, STAT1, and STAT3 were analyzed by Western blot and immunofluorescence.


Apamin ameliorated the inflammatory condition through suppression of Th2-related chemokines and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Further, apamin down-regulated the activations of NF-κB signaling pathways and STATs in HaCaT cells.


These results suggest that apamin has therapeutic effect on AD through improvement of inflammatory condition.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Brazilian Propolis Shows Better Anti‐Inflammatory Effect

Effect of propolis on preserving human periodontal ligament cells and regulating pro‐inflammatory cytokines

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Propolis has been suggested as a storage medium for avulsed teeth. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of Brazilian propolis with Hank's balanced salt solution and milk in maintaining the viability of human periodontal ligament cells, their osteogenic differentiation potential, and pro‐inflammatory cytokine expression.

Material and Methods

Cell Counting Kit 8 assays were performed to test human periodontal ligament cell viability in different storage media. The preservative effect on osteogenic differentiation was evaluated using alkaline phosphatase staining and activity assays, Alizarin Red S staining, and western blotting. Quantification of pro‐inflammatory cytokines was performed using real‐time PCR and enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assays.


Brazilian propolis at 10 μg/mL was not cytotoxic toward human periodontal ligament cells. The milk group showed the highest cell viability. Brazilian propolis and Hank's balanced salt solution groups showed similar cell viabilities. Alkaline phosphatase staining and activity were similar in all groups. Calcium deposition and mineralization nodule formation were similar in the Brazilian propolis and Hank's balanced salt solution groups but were higher in the milk group. Osteogenic marker gene and protein levels were similar in all groups. The genes and protein expression levels of IL1β, IL6, and IL8 decreased significantly after treatment with Brazilian propolis. TNFα mRNA expression showed no significant difference among the experimental groups. Pro‐inflammatory cytokine levels in the milk group were higher than in the Brazilian propolis and Hank's balanced salt solution groups.


Brazilian propolis, Hank's balanced salt solution, and milk maintained the viability of human periodontal ligament cells and preserved their osteogenic differentiation ability similarly. However, Brazilian propolis showed a better anti‐inflammatory effect.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Royal Jelly May Help Control Cancer Cells

Scientists probe 'magical' royal jelly for clues to control cancer

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Royal jelly, or milky-white "bee milk," has long been known for its mysterious growth effects on future queen honey bees, while also hailed by some as an anti-aging, cholesterol-lowering super supplement. But how this "queen magic" actually happens, and its potential benefit to humans, has remained a mystery to scientists.

Tapping into a fresh source from neighboring beehives at Yale's West Campus, researchers at the Yale Cancer Biology Institute are now exploring how royal jelly might affect cell signaling and growth in cancer cells.

"The exact structure of the key protein in royal jelly remains unknown. But it is expected to act through the epidermal growth factor (or EGF) receptor – the main pathway targeted by cancer therapeutics today," explained Daryl Klein, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at Yale School of Medicine.

Klein's lab studies cell signaling, and how these signals can be "tuned" in different ways.
Previous studies of royal jelly have isolated the dominant protein thought to be responsible for the rapid growth spurt in honey bee larvae, while other experiments in fruit flies and round worms have noted a wide range of characteristics including anatomical and physiological differences, longevity and reproductive capacity.

Using commercial jelly shipped from China, initial studies from Klein's lab have started to resolve the oligomer structure of MRJP-1 (major royal jelly protein 1). However, the scientists found that resolution stalled around 11 Angstroms – not enough to reveal the potential secrets hidden in the jelly...

Friday, August 10, 2018

Honey is a Natural Treatment for H. pylori (Stomach Ulcers)

Researchers have conducted a range of studies on natural approaches to treating H. pylori infections.

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Eight potential natural treatments include:

1. Honey

People with H. pylori infections may find some natural treatments beneficial.

Honey is known for its antibacterial properties, and people have used it as a medicine since ancient times.

One study showed that Manuka honey suppressed the growth of H. pylori in gastric epithelial cells.
Other studies have demonstrated that honey has other anti-H. pylori properties, but more animal studies and clinical trials are needed to assess honey's efficiency as a complementary or alternative treatment...

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Propolis Component May help Treat Throat Cancer

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Induces N-myc Downstream Regulated Gene 1 to Inhibit Cell Proliferation and Invasion of Human Nasopharyngeal Cancer Cells

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1397

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Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a bioactive component extracted from propolis, is widely studied due to its anti-cancer effect. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is distinct from other head and neck carcinomas and has a high risk of distant metastases. N-myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) is demonstrated as a tumor suppressor gene in several cancers.

Our result showed that CAPE treatment could repress NPC cell growth, through induction of S phase cell cycle arrest, and invasion. CAPE treatment stimulated NDRG1 expression in NPC cells. NDRG1 knockdown increased NPC cell proliferation and invasion and rendered NPC cells less responsive to CAPE growth-inhibiting effect, indicating CAPE repressed NPC cell growth partly through NDRG1indcution.

CAPE treatment increased phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, and p38 in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Pre-treatments by inhibitors of ERK (PD0325901), JNK (SP600125), or p38 (SB201290), respectively, all could partly inhibit the CAPE effect on NDRG1 induction in NPC cells. Further, STAT3 activity was also repressed by CAPE in NPC cells.

In summary, CAPE attenuates NPC cell proliferation and invasion by upregulating NDRG1 expression via MAPK pathway and by inhibiting phosphorylation of STAT3. Considering the poor prognosis of NPC patients with metastasis, CAPE could be a promising agent against NPC

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Bioprofiling of Egyptian Profiling

Bioprofiling for the quality control of Egyptian propolis using an integrated NIR-HPTLC-image analysis strategy

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2018 Jul 23;1095:75-86

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Quality control of propolis being a complex mixture of compounds that are very difficult to analyze and standardize is certainly challenging.

Shown on the example of 35 Egyptian propolis samples, a strategy for an improved quality control was demonstrated in which efficacy-directed fingerprint analysis of high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) fingerprints were evaluated in combination with Near Infra-Red spectrometry (NIRS) to realize precise discrimination and high quality assessment of chemical and effective consistency of propolis samples that are collected from various geographical locations in Egypt.

The fingerprints obtained after derivatization and fluorescence detection (FLD) at λ 366 nm were analyzed by using multivariate data analysis and data were used to identify nine marker ingredients of the different propolis samples. These markers were then quantified by a new validated HPTLC method and an attempt to classify the samples by using a targeted approach was implemented. All investigated propolis samples were initially divided into two types in the untargeted and targeted HPTLC image multivariate analysis. The antimicrobial activities of propolis samples were then evaluated and the results showed that there was significant variation in the biological activities of the different samples.

The quantitative data of marker compounds as well as the samples bioactivity results were then subjected to partial least squares regression (PLS-R) analysis which revealed that chrysin, galangin‑5‑O‑methylether, pinostrobin, and islapinin were the main bioactive markers. Based on the efficacy-associated marker ingredients, pretreated spectral patterns of NIRS were selected as a complementary evaluation technique directed to the comprehensive efficacy-directed discrimination of the different Egyptian propolis samples which could successfully classify the propolis samples tested into three different types. Hierarchical cluster analysis and orthogonal projection to latent structures discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) were applied to the quantitative results from the efficacy-associated markers only.

From this systematic method, the 35 samples were subsequently divided into three types; orange, green and blue, displaying a more intricate division than OPLS-DA which is based only on the untargeted HPTLC analysis or the full NIR spectral data. This study initiated the research on the Egyptian propolis and confirmed the existence of three different types of Egyptian propolis, the blue, green and orange types.

The study also emphasizes how it is critical to implement the fingerprint- efficacy relationship analysis in finding out the main health-relevant biomarkers for the quality assessment especially for samples displaying delicate differences in their chemical composition and bioactivity.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Propolis Can Help Preserve Knocked-Out Teeth

Inhibitory effect of Thai propolis on human osteoclastogenesis

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Avulsed teeth should be immediately replanted into the socket or otherwise kept in a physiologic storage medium to maintain periodontal ligament cell viability. A previous study has demonstrated that Thai propolis extract can maintain viability of human periodontal ligament cells. However, root resorption by osteoclasts often occurs when the avulsed teeth are replanted. The aim of this study was to determine the inhibitory effect of Thai propolis extract on human osteoclastogenesis in vitro.

Materials and methods

Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated for osteoclast precursors and cultured in the presence or absence of various non‐toxic concentrations of propolis extract, as determined by the alamarBlue® assay, during in vitro induction of osteoclastogenesis. Osteoclast formation was examined by tartrate‐resistant acid phosphatase staining, actin ring formation, and real‐time polymerase chain reaction. The resorption pit assay was performed to determine osteoclast function.


Non‐toxic concentrations of propolis extract suppressed osteoclast formation by significantly decreasing the percentages of tartrate‐resistant acid phosphatase‐positive multinuclear cells and the ratios of cells with F‐actin ring formation (P < .01) in a dose‐dependent fashion. Expression of several osteoclast‐specific genes was significantly downregulated by propolis in a dose‐dependent manner (P < .05). The percentages of resorption areas on dentin slices were significantly decreased by propolis (P < .05).


Thai propolis can inhibit human osteoclast formation and function, which may be beneficial for prevention of root resorption following replantation of avulsed teeth.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Astragalus Honey Helps Treat Cognitive Disorders, Depression

Efficacy of herbal combination of sedge, saffron, and Astragalus honey on major neurocognitive disorder

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J Res Med Sci. 2018 Jun 6;23:58


Major neurocognitive disorder (MCD) is an acquired progressive decline in cognitive abilities that causes a drop in specific acquired performance compared to former performances. We tried to investigate the efficacy of herbal combination of sedge, saffron, and Astragalus honey on cognitive and depression score of patients with MCD.

Materials and Methods:

It was a randomized double-blind clinical trial conducted on sixty patients with MCD, who referred to the geriatric psychiatry clinic of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran. All the study participants had been using anti-MCD medications. Participants were randomized to receive a combination of sedge, saffron, and Astragalus honey in case group (n = 30) or placebo group for 8 weeks other than anti-MCD medications. Cognitive and depression scores were assessed using Addenbrook's Cognitive Scale and Geriatric Depression Scale, respectively, before intervention and at the 1st and 2nd months after intervention. The ANCOVA repeated-measure test was used to analyze the data using SPSS 20 software.


The Addenbrook's Cognitive Test score was 32.2 ± 26.5 in intervention and 22.1 ± 15.1 in control group before intervention (P = 0.074) and 38.8 ± 27.7 in intervention group and 22.6 ± 14.1 in control group in control group 1 month after intervention (P = 0.007). In addition, Geriatric Depression Scale score was 14.6 ± 7.9 in intervention group and 14.5 ± 6.9 in control group before intervention (P = 0.945) and 12.9 ± 6.9 in intervention and 14.3 ± 7.1 in control group 1 month after intervention (P = 0.465) and 12.2 ± 6.5 in intervention group and 14.4 ± 7.1 in control group 2 month after intervention (P = 0.224).


Our findings suggest that adding the herbal combination of sedge, saffron, and Astragalus honey to the current protocols of treatment of MCD patients could be useful in the improvement of cognitive and depression score of these patients.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Honey May Help Treat Metabolic Syndrome

A Review on the Protective Effects of Honey against Metabolic Syndrome

Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1009

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Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of diseases comprising of obesity, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. There are numerous pre-clinical as well as human studies reporting the protective effects of honey against MetS.

Honey is a nutritional food low in glycemic index. Honey intake reduces blood sugar levels and prevents excessive weight gain. It also improves lipid metabolism by reducing total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which leads to decreased risk of atherogenesis. In addition, honey enhances insulin sensitivity that further stabilizes blood glucose levels and protects the pancreas from overstimulation brought on by insulin resistance. Furthermore, antioxidative properties of honey help in reducing oxidative stress, which is one of the central mechanisms in MetS. Lastly, honey protects the vasculature from endothelial dysfunction and remodelling.

Therefore, there is a strong potential for honey supplementation to be integrated into the management of MetS, both as preventive as well as adjunct therapeutic agents.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Propolis Can Block Fungus that Leads to Meningitis

A potential of propolis on major virulence factors of Cryptococcus neoformans

Microbial Pathogenesis
Volume 123, October 2018, Pages 296-303

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• Propolis represents a promising interfere molecule in the main virulence of C. neoformans.
• Suppression of phenotypes and genes associated with main virulence factors was noticed in propolis-treated C. neoformans.
• Anti-virulence approaches as an alternative way for cryptococcosis treatment.

The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of a natural product from honeybees, named propolis, against Cryptococcus neoformans and its effect in the expression of putative virulence factors, such as capsular polysaccharides, melanin production and urease enzyme.

Ethanol extract propolis (EEP) was first tested for its anti-cryptococcal activity and explored its impact on virulence factors in both phenotypes and enzyme activities. Moreover, the cryptococcal virulence genes were investigated using real time RT-PCR. The MIC value of EEP, 1 mg ml−1, displayed potent inhibition of C. neoformans cell viability. Of note is the high efficacy of sub-MIC concentrations (ranging from 0.5 to 0.125 mg ml−1) in decreasing the production of capsule, melanin, as well as laccase and urease enzyme activities. Importantly, EEP exhibited statistically decrease in the expression of gene-encoded virulence factors. In conclusion, EEP mediates C. neoformans growth inhibition and virulence factors by reducing the gene-encoding virulence-associated proteins and, thereby, disrupting the morphologic presence and attenuating their virulence.

This study introduced EEP as regards anti-cryptococcal virulence factors activities; therefore, EEP would provide alternative ways of controlling the pathogenicity.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Propolis Mouthwash Treatment Effectively Eases Severe Oral Mucositis

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Oncology Nursing Advisor

Patients in the intervention group who received propolis had a significantly lower risk for severe oral mucositis, researchers found.

Patients in the intervention group who received propolis had a significantly lower risk for severe oral mucositis, researchers found.

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...