Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Writer Critical of Life Mel Honey Cancer Claims

Honey Treatment Amounts to Sweet Nothing
James Randerson, The Guardian (UK), 8/12/2008

A "new hope" for cancer sufferers or a jar of exorbitantly expensive honey? How the makers of Life Mel prey on the fear and desperation of patients

Sex sells. But fear, pain and desperation sell even more effectively...

What does Life Mel do? The honey - which is produced by Holywell Health - supposedly targets neutropenia, a side-effect of chemotherapy in which the level of a particular class of white blood cells drops, leaving the patient open to infection. But this dangerous side-effect of chemotherapy could disappear, the company claims, if you purchase a pot of special honey - a bargain at £37.50.

Of course, no quack remedy would be complete without a celebrity endorsement. In this case, it is the actress Rebekah Gibbs who plays hospital technician Nina Farr in the BBC drama Casualty. Gibbs was diagnosed as having breast cancer in January and since April has been writing a diary about her treatment for the Mirror.

After seeing her newspaper column, the PR folks for Life Mel kindly sent her agent some sample pots of their honey to try, and in a subsequent column and video on the Mirror's website she told her reader about it.

This week I've started taking a special honey. It's called Life Mel and at more than £37.50 a pop it isn't cheap, but it's supposed to work wonders ... I'm taking two teaspoons per day and so far so good, I figure there's no harm done as it's so natural.

Her agent said that Gibbs is not being paid to promote the product.

Natural it might be, but does Life Mel actually work? The company's PR people claim that they have received hundreds of positive accounts from patients. "Life Mel constantly receives letters and phone calls from people who have tried the product and felt the benefits," said Carolanne Bamford. Hollywell Health claims to have sold more than 20,000 jars.

But anecdotes are meaningless as evidence. That is why we don't allow companies to sell drug treatments based on the say-so of a handful of patients who claim to have got better…

5 comments:

John B said...

I tried to find out more about the way in which Life Mel is produced, but the company never gave any answer. Searching indicated that the product probably originates from Israel, supported by some very dubious clinical trials. The production process involves feeding honey with various plant extracts back to bees for reprocessing. It is questionable if the product meets the legal definition of honey in the UK.

Anonymous said...

I found a single published paper, "Prevention of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia by special honey intake" in Medical Oncology, 2006.

While that research has not been replicated, it appears to be more than mere testimonials from patients as the newspaper writer suggested.

Alex said...

The authors of this dubious publication have recently denounced their own article. This was done publicly on Israeli TV. It was also emerged that this "clinical study" was done without proper Helsinki Committee of Human Rights approval.

Vyacheslav said...

Comparative analysis:LifeMel-Bashkir Bee Honey.
Life Mel honey-An Israeli manufactured high quality honey. The average price on the European market is 45.95EUR. per 125g. The technology of honey production originated in Russia. The history of LifeMel begins in the 1970s with the research of doctor Alexander Goroshit. He lived in a small town in the Soviet Union where apiarists and their families stayed healthy despite the local cholera epidemic. These apiaries surrounded fields of wild growing medicinal plants. Further research showed that food consumed by these bees affected the properties of honey they made. Later on, Alexander Goroshit continued his research in a university and developed technology to artificially derive extracts of medicinal plants so that these beneficial essences could be used to feed bees. Bees, feeding on these extracts, produce honey that has high therapeutic properties. Read more...
Scientific research conducted in Israel confirm positive effects in using Life Mel:
1. Supports the level of leukocytes.
2. Supports the level of erythrocytes.
3. Supports the level of hemoglobin in the blood.
4. Supports the level of thrombocytes.
5. Substantial improvement of health.
6. Improvement to quality of life.
7. Supports the immune system.
Similar excerpts are not used in the production of Bashkir Bee Honey. Bashkir bee collects nectar for our honey from the pollen of medicinal plants a natural way. Alexander Goroshit's experience shows us that during the cholera epidemic, local apiarists used natural honey and this was enough to sustain a strong immune system. Most important is the botanical origin of honey and the presence of pollen from medicinal plants.
Certainly, research of many scientists confirms that the root of a plant contains a higher concentration of beneficial micro-elements. This exact process of deriving extracts from plant roots is the technology of Life Mel. However, we must take in consideration the loss of beneficial micro-elements during the production of extracts as well as the biological tolerances of bees adapted for the collection of nectar. We conducted a comparative test of Bashkir Bee Honey and Life Mel in the independent laboratories of the United States and Germany.
To exclude different scientific discussions we decided to research the resulting effect; antioxidant and antibacterial properties of honey. Read more... http://info-bashkirbeehoney.com/meinhonig/D080301J.html This completely proves the excellent quality of our honey.
In the table, http://info-bashkirbeehoney.com/analyse/analyse3.html you can review comparisons of medicinal plants used in the production of Bashkir Bee Honey and Life Mel, as well as their therapeutic properties. In the medicinal plants category therapeutic properties are important and not the names. You can see that the therapeutic properties of plants which are used during natural collection of Bashkir Bee Honey are identical to the therapeutic properties of plants used in Life Mel honey. Some medicinal herbs that are part of the composition in Life Mel are present in Bashkir Bee Honey (these types of medicinal herbs are marked red in the table).
At the present time, the company Vital products, manufacture & trade s.r.o is conducting a study on Bashkir Bee Honey at one of the research centers of oncology on the effects of honey. This research includes studying these effects on leukocytes, erythrocytes, hemoglobin and thrombocytes in the blood. http://info-bashkirbeehoney.com
Incredible! The honey that exceeded the famous Manuka Honey UMF brand in its antibacterial action! This honey is equal to the famous Life Mel honey in its antioxidant properties! http://info-bashkirbeehoney.com/meinhonig/D080301J.html

Patricia W. said...

I personally have lost a mother, brother, grandmother, aunt as well as cousins to Cancer. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Cancer I ordered her 3 bottles to take as directed on the label. Initially she started taking the honey and felt good, however after weeks of chem-radiation treatment she decided to cut back on the honey as she was feeling so good that logic told her it was not the honey, but rather "chemo-radiation just wasn't that bad'. After a week of reducing her honey intakeone to a bare minimum her mouth started to hurt and food intake became difficult. Now days off the regular dosage she is feeling the effects of the chemo-radiation treatment and has such ordered more honey! There seems to always be a critic who feels the need to save the world by disclosing some hidden agenda or dishonesty in a product. However this honey works and if I had it 6 years ago my mother, who refused chemo or radiation for fear of the quality of her life afterwards, could possibly still be here. Ignorance kills not honey!