Monday, April 30, 2007

Canadian Teen Wins Awards for Medicinal Honey Science Project

Bright Young Minds Are On Science
By Alexandra Paul, Winnipeg Free Press (Canada), 4/30/2007

FIVE hundred of the country's top science buffs are headed for Nova Scotia May 12 for a week of talking science, eating lobster, kicking back at Gaelic Ceilidhs (folk dances) and making connections through the Canada Wide Science Fair 2007 in Truro. ..

Alexandra Kuzyk, 17, figured she had a honey of a project. The grade 12 senior at Kelvin High tested the medicinal properties in different kinds of honey in Manitoba...

Her project, Just Add Honey, showed every spoonful packs more or less of a compound known as phenolics, a natural anti-microbial agent responsible for honey's near infinite shelf life.

"Most honey doesn't expire," Kuzyk said, adding the amount of phenolic compounds in honey varies according to the kind of flowers that honey bees pollinate. Clover honey, for instance, is the most common honey on supermarket shelves because of its bland taste. But it also has the least amount of medicinal phenolic compounds.

Buckwheat honey has the most. Its strong flavour may have something to do with it's medicinal powers.

The finding fascinates Kuzyk because she wonders if honey has an indefinite shelf life. If so, it may be possible to extract the compound to use as medicine. Such a medicine could add years of vitality to the human life span -- like a kind of sticky fountain of youth.

"I'm very interested in organic medicine and in natural medicines," said Kuzyk. Kuzyk's findings are supported by thousands of years of experience with honey in traditional Chinese medicine. Doctors of the discipline know that honey is a tonic to build up energy known as qi and it strengthens the digestive system…

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