Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Honey Bee Contributions Not Limited to Honey, Propolis, Royal Jelly

Perspectives of Multi-Modal Contribution of Honeybee Resources to Our Life
Entomological Research, Volume 38 Issue s1, Pages S15 - S21

The European honeybee, Apis mellifera, has been introduced to all continents and their products like honey, propolis, royal jelly and beeswax are well known. However, its contribution is not restricted to such direct products but extends into a much wider area.

For example, the economic value of seed production by pollination exceeds the above-mentioned bee products. The application of F1 hybrid is increased to as much as 70% of commercial crops and flowers in Japan and honeybees are important pollinators in the F1 seed production. Incorporation into the large-scale biodiesel fuel production system by culturing rape and sunflower seeds etc. is relied on because it is good to construct possible zero-emission systems that reduce carbon dioxide and increase the rich by-products like honey and royal jelly.

Bees' higher brain function and sophisticated social system of the colony opens new perspectives as a model system. Their individual ability to recognize even abstract concepts is comparable to that of higher primates. Rats or mice have no such ability. High performance learning ability of bees associated with proboscis extension reflex can be used to detect drugs at the airport. Function of the colony, on the other hand, is an excellent model for social physiology or a self-organization system.

After the whole genome of A. mellifera was read in 2006 by the world consortium, consisting of more than 90 institutions from all over the world, many molecular biologists are coming into bee world. Nobody has yet succeeded in the challenge to make transgenic honeybee, so far, because of the difficulty in controlling the reproductive system headed by the queen. However, if someone succeeded in a breakthrough we will have stingless honeybees and a disease-resistant strain in the future.

Consumers Need to Understand Honey Better

Honey Isn't All Sweetness, Experts Warn
By Andrew Schneider, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (USA), 12/30/2008

Apiculturists, those who study or raise bees and collect honey, worry that the public is sweetly ignorant when it comes to the buzzing insects and their product.

Michael Burgett, a leading international bee wizard from Oregon State University, says the first thing that Americans need to understand is the role that honeybees play in pollinating this country's agriculture.

"You can thank the bee industry for about one-third of all the food you eat and nationally that's between $15 billion and $18 billion worth of food products," the professor emeritus says. "That's the prime reason we want a healthy bee population."

But Burgett, considered a talented curmudgeon by many in the field, doesn't completely agree with others that the total agricultural world as we know it will disappear without bees…

As for honey, Jack White, the USDA's first real expert on the subject, defined the sweet brew in his 1980 book as "essentially a highly concentrated water solution of two sugars, dextrose and levulose, with small amounts of at least 22 other more complex sugars."

He added, "The principal physical characteristics and behavior of honey are due to its sugars, but the minor constituents -- such as flavoring materials, pigments, acids, and minerals -- are largely responsible for the differences among individual honey types."

The flavors of honey are varied and to the purists, as complex and individual as wine. But do consumers looking at the score or more of amber-filled bears, jars, bottle and jugs crowded on the store shelf understand what they're looking at?

Many of those who produce or sell honey don't believe consumers really understand what they're buying.

Bruce Wolk, director of marketing for the National Honey Board, said he's concerned that more than a third of "people who use honey every single day believe that something is added to a bottle of honey, beside honey, and a large percentage . . . have no idea what's inside the bottle."

Gary Grigg, the president of Silverbow Honey in Moses Lake, provides honey for many large grocery and chain stores. He also said he doesn't believe most of the consumers know what they're buying…

Colony Collapse May Cause 60% of U.S. Bee Losses, Study Says

By Alan Bjerga

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Three-fifths of U.S. honeybee deaths may be the result of Colony Collapse Disorder, the malady of unknown cause that’s devastated hives since at least 2006, according to a study.

U.S. beekeepers lost about 36 percent of their hives between September 2007 and March, and in 60 percent of those cases, the hives were found without any bees inside, according to the study being released today by PLoS One, an online publisher of scientific research papers. Bee disappearance is a telltale sign of CCD, which may disorient bees and cause them to flee their hives before dropping dead.

The findings show how the disease is devastating U.S. beekeepers, forcing them into expensive hive replenishment, said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an author of the study and president of the Apiary Inspectors of America, which tracks honeybee health. Left unchecked, CCD may force some beekeepers out of business and harm production of crops from almonds to zucchini, he said…

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Antibiotic Use May Harm Honey's Reputation as Miracle Drug

Honey Laundering: Antibiotic Use Could Taint Reputation as a Miracle Drug
By Andrew Schneider, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (USA), 12/29/2008

The United States imports most of its honey and for years China was the biggest supplier.

But in 1997, a contagious bacterial epidemic raced through hundreds of thousands of Chinese hives, infecting bee larvae and slashing the country's honey production by two-thirds.

Chinese beekeepers had two choices: They could destroy infected hives or apply antibiotics. They chose to do the latter.

That was a mistake, said Michael Burkett, a professor emeritus at Oregon State University and an internationally known authority on bees and honey.

"You hear about people shooting themselves in the foot? Well, the Chinese honey-sellers shot themselves in the head," he said.

The Chinese opted to use chloramphenicol, an inexpensive, broad-spectrum antibiotic that's so toxic it's used to treat only life-threatening infections in humans -- and then only when other alternatives have been exhausted.

"That's on the big no-no list," Burkett said. "In the U.S., Canada and the European Union, chloramphenicol is on everyone's zero-tolerance list."

Now, 11 years later, some of the honey buyers who take the trouble to test for it still find the banned antibiotic in some of their imported honey…

As the world's oldest sweetener, the amber syrup has been heralded by grandmothers, nannies, nurses, tribal medicine men and physicians around the globe.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed honey for its nutritional and pharmaceutical value.

The index of medical and scientific journals at the National Medical Library in Bethesda, Md., lists hundreds of studies exploring honey's value in treating, controlling or preventing diabetes, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, stress, skin conditions, sexual problems and scores of other maladies.

Honey makes a natural antibacterial agent, in part because of its high sugar content and acidity, and many Third World countries still use it to treat burns and wounds.

See: Honey laundering: A Sticky Trail of Intrigue and Crime

New Method Used to Extract Propolis Components

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Selectivity to Fractionate Phenolic Compounds from the Dry Ethanolic Extract of Propolis
Journal of Food Process Engineering, Published Online: 24 Dec 2008

Abstract: The global yield and composition of extracts obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) extraction from a dry ethanolic extract of propolis were measured in order to determine the possibility of using SC-CO2 to fractionate components of interest present in these extracts…

Practical Applications: Supercritical fluid extraction is an interesting process for the production of natural extracts because it is a clean process, and extractions using carbon dioxide (CO2) as the solvent have been gaining attention in recent years. This study presented important aspects with respect to the fractionation of a dry ethanolic extract of propolis using supercritical carbon dioxide, and it is important to explore the potential applications of propolis extracts and the biological properties of its fractions in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, such as in dental hygiene products, wound healing creams and antibacterial soaps.

See: Extraction of Pollen Lipids by SFE-CO2

Monday, December 29, 2008

Portuguese Apitherapist to Live on Diet of Bee Products

Beginning in January, Portuguese apitherapist Antonio Couto will seek to live exclusively on a diet of bee hive products. Apitherapy News asked Mr. Couto about his experiment. He will track the progress of his dietary experiment online.

Q: Could you tell us a little about yourself?
A: My name is Antonio Couto, I am 46-years-old, Portuguese, live in Lisbon, where I have an apitherapy office.

Q: Why did you choose to undertake this experiment?
A: First of all because I know that way is possible to keep our body in balance (nutritionally and physically) and also because I want to know in my case how far I can go.

Q: What bee products will you consume and in what form?
A: I will take the most types of bee products possible, like honey, fresh frozen pollen, bee bread, fresh royal jelly, raw propolis, wax comb with honey, bee larvae, drone larvae and dead bees mix with honey (this way I will take some bee venom too).

Q: What about water?
A: Of course I will take water if my body asks for it. Honey already has a lot of water.

Q: What are the risks involved, if any?
A: I think that if the person is healthy there are no risk.

Q: How long will the experiment last?
A: I will start in the beginning of January 2009 and it will last for an undetermined time.

Q: Will you be under a doctor's supervision?
A: Yes, my family doctor will supervise me all the time with blood and other tests.

Q: Will scientific data be collected throughout the experiment?
A: I really hope so. All this data will be available on my web site later.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this experiment?
A
: I hope this experiment can help others to understand and be more confident about taking bee products. Some of my patients, when I tell them to take bee products, ask me if will be not too much or if it's safe to take so many bee products at the same time.

Q: When will you start and how may readers monitor your progress?
A
: I will start on January and I will try to put as much recent data as I can on my web site (www.beefine.com)

Note: Bee product producers who wish to add their products to Mr. Couto’s diet may send them to him at:

Antonio Couto
Calcada Ribeiro Santos, 37 - 1
1200-789 Lisbon
Portugal

E-Mail: beefine@netcabo.pt

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Traces of Tetracycline Found in 2 of 30 Chinese Propolis Samples

Multiresidue Determination of Tetracycline Antibiotics in Propolis by Using HPLC-UV Detection with Ultrasonic-Assisted Extraction and Two-Step Solid Phase Extraction
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

An analytical method in propolis was developed and validated for the determination of four tetracyclines (TCs) by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for the first time…

The recoveries of the 4 TCs for propolis samples spiked with 100-500 ng·g-1 were in the range of 61.9-88.5 % and the R.S.Ds were between 4.80 and 13.2 %. Traces of tetracycline were found in two out of thirty analyzed real samples.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

200+ Compounds Identified in Bee Bread

Gas Chromatographic-Mass Spectrometric Investigation of the Chemical Composition of Beebread
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

Beebread consumption has a very long tradition; however, its composition and bioactive properties have not been studied thoroughly up to now. This study is expected to expand the knowledge of chemical composition of this bee product as a natural remedy and functional food ingredient.

With the help of successive extraction with organic solvents of different polarity, more than 200 compounds were extracted from five samples of beebread and then identified by GC-MS method. The content of some phenol compounds (p-coumaric acid, kaempherol, isorhamnetin) with antioxidant properties has been determined quantitatively. Different content of free aminoacids have been detected in the analyzed samples, which is assumed to be caused by Maillard reaction between aminoacids and carbohydrates.

Vietnamese Bees Believed to Have Medicinal Qualities

Bee – Have!

VietNamNet Bridge - The highly poisonous earth bees in Thanh Hoa province are believed by many to have strong medicinal qualities.

On my way to Sam Son beach in Thanh Hoa province, we make an unscheduled stop at a roadside restaurant. My travelling companion is intrigued by a sign that reads “ruou ong dat”, a kind of rice liquor that is made from some kind of bee. On shelves inside we can see the insects in glass bottles with no labels. Nguyen Hoa, the restaurant owner, appears to tell us that this alcohol is very good for one’s health, most especially your libido.

According to Hoa this kind of bee is considered to be a cure-all by some. You can use bee-products to treat a fever, clear up pimples, clean a wound and even “placate a fit of epilepsy”. Whether the bees’ medicinal power is retained after soaking in a jar of alcohol is not known but Hoa is more interested in sales. “Tourists like this alcohol and often buy a few bottles,” says Hoa happily.

This species of bee is called ong dat (Earth bees) as each colony lives in a large hive made from mud…

Friday, December 26, 2008

Rhododendron Honey Intoxication Causes Heart Block

The Honey Man — Second Degree Heart Block after Honey Intoxication
International Journal of Cardiology, Published Online 19 December 2008

In October 2007, a 70-year-old Turkish patient presented to the emergency department of a Viennese state hospital with syncope. The electrocardiogram showed a second degree heart block type Wenckebach with intermittent 2:1 conduction and preterminal negative T waves. There was no biochemical evidence of an acute ischemic cardiac event or any electrolyte imbalance. A coronary angiogram showed no evidence for coronary artery disease.

During the first day of hospital admission, a jar of homemade honey from the Black Sea region of Turkey is brought to the hospital by relatives of the patient. A commonly used household remedy in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey, “bitter honey” or “mad honey” contains grayanotoxin from the nectar of Rhododendron luteum and Rhododendron ponticum.

This is the first documented case of honey poisoning in the European Union where structural and ischemic causes have been excluded as possible reasons for the temporary AV-block. This case serves as a poignant reminder that physicians must demonstrate awareness of the cultural, social, and in this case toxicological, particularities of patients within immigrant populations.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Honey Shows Higher Antioxidant Activity Than Refined Sugar

Total Antioxidant Content of Alternatives to Refined Sugar
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 1, Pages 64-71 (January 2009)

Background: Oxidative damage is implicated in the etiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other degenerative disorders. Recent nutritional research has focused on the antioxidant potential of foods, while current dietary recommendations are to increase the intake of antioxidant-rich foods rather than supplement specific nutrients. Many alternatives to refined sugar are available, including raw cane sugar, plant saps/syrups (eg, maple syrup, agave nectar), molasses, honey, and fruit sugars (eg, date sugar). Unrefined sweeteners were hypothesized to contain higher levels of antioxidants, similar to the contrast between whole and refined grain products.

Objective: To compare the total antioxidant content of natural sweeteners as alternatives to refined sugar.

Design: The ferric-reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) assay was used to estimate total antioxidant capacity. Major brands of 12 types of sweeteners as well as refined white sugar and corn syrup were sampled from retail outlets in the United States.

Results: Substantial differences in total antioxidant content of different sweeteners were found. Refined sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar contained minimal antioxidant activity (<0.01 mmol FRAP/100 g); raw cane sugar had a higher FRAP (0.1 mmol/100 g). Dark and blackstrap molasses had the highest FRAP (4.6 to 4.9 mmol/100 g), while maple syrup, brown sugar, and honey showed intermediate antioxidant capacity (0.2 to 0.7 mmol FRAP/100 g). Based on an average intake of 130 g/day refined sugars and the antioxidant activity measured in typical diets, substituting alternative sweeteners could increase antioxidant intake an average of 2.6 mmol/day, similar to the amount found in a serving of berries or nuts.

Conclusion: Many readily available alternatives to refined sugar offer the potential benefit of antioxidant activity.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Honey Bees On Cocaine Dance More

Science Daily, 12/23/2008

In a study that challenges current ideas about the insect brain, researchers have found that honey bees on cocaine tend to exaggerate.

Normally, foraging honey bees alert their comrades to potential food sources only when they've found high quality nectar or pollen, and only when the hive is in need. They do this by performing a dance, called a "round" or "waggle" dance, on a specialized "dance floor" in the hive. The dance gives specific instructions that help the other bees find the food.

Foraging honey bees on cocaine are more likely to dance, regardless of the quality of the food they've found or the status of the hive, the authors of the study report.

The findings, detailed this month in the Journal of Experimental Biology, shed new light on the famous honey bee dance language, said University of Illinois entomology and neuroscience professor Gene Robinson, who led the study. The research also supports the idea that in certain circumstances, honey bees, like humans, are motivated by feelings of reward.

Flying Honeybees Reduce Destruction By Caterpillars

Honeybee Buzz Attenuates Plant Damage By Caterpillars
Current Biology, Volume 18, Issue 24, R1125-R1126, 23 December 2008

In recent years, it has become evident that indirect interactions between members of food webs can significantly influence ecosystem functions. For example, predators affect prey populations through either consumption (density-mediated interactions) or, equally important, by changing prey behavior or phenotype (trait-mediated interactions).

Nonconsumptive effects of predators on prey may alter plant species diversity and plant performance. Pollination and herbivory are the most important ecological and evolutionary relationships between plants and insects. Honeybees are dominant as pollinators while caterpillars are very efficient plant despoilers. Despite the long and intense study of honeybees, however, indirect effects of this pollinator on other food web members have hardly been assessed.

Here we report on a newly discovered link that connects these two ecological functions: honeybees merely flying around vegetation significantly reduce plant destruction by caterpillars.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Alternative Anti-Bacterial Measurement of Manuka Almost Completed

Legal Action Looms in Honey Dispute
Radio New Zealand, 12/22/2008

The honey company Watson & Son will press ahead with legal action against the Active Manuka Honey Association, despite losing an appeal for an interim injunction.

The association has threatened to terminate the company's licence to use Unique Manuka Factor or UMF trademarks on its products and to order a product recall.

The dispute arose when tests done on some of Watson & Son's manuka honey products in the UK showed they did not have the anti-bacterial strength claimed on the label…

In the meantime, Watson & Son says it's resigned from the association. It has almost completed developing an alternative standard for anti-bacterial measurement in manuka honey, which it expects to be recognised internationally.

Propolis Component Protects Against Oxidative Stress

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Modulates Methotrexate-Induced Oxidative Stress in Testes of Rat
Human & Experimental Toxicology, Vol. 27, No. 7, 547-552 (2008)

The aim of this study was to investigate the possible protective role of caffeic acid phenethyl ester on testicular toxicity of methotrexate in rats…

In the tissue, the level of lipid peroxidation as malondialdehyde and activities of superoxide dismutase were higher in the methotrexate group than in the control group. Lipid peroxidation levels and superoxide dismutase activities were decreased in caffeic acid phenethyl ester + methotrexate group compared with methotrexate group. The activities of catalase in the methotrexate group decreased insignificantly although its activities were significantly increased by caffeic acid phenethyl ester administration. The activity of glutathione peroxidase did not change in the groups. There was significant difference in body weight between control and methotrexate-induced groups.

In conclusion, the administration of methotrexate causes elevation of oxidative stress although treatment with caffeic acid phenethyl ester has protective effects on the oxidative stress in testes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Indonesian Article on Bee Venom Therapy

Terapi Sengat Lebah, Mengobati Rematik Hingga Stroke
By Republika (Indonesia), 12/22/2008

JAKARTA-- Disebutkan dalam Al quran surat An Nahl ayat 68-69, di dalam madu lebah terdapat obat yang menyembuhkan bagi manusia. Ayat tersebut menjabarkan pada manusia, lebah memiliki khasiat yang dapat menyembuhkan bermacam-macam penyakit.

Produk turunan yang dihasilkan lebah ada 13, di antaranya madu, propolis, royal jelly, pollen, bee venom, lilin lebah, madu sarang, roti lebah, larva lebah, dan phedra.

Pengobatan dengan menggunakan lebah biasa disebut Apitherapy (apiterapi), yang berasal dari perpaduan bahasa Latin, aphis berarti lebah dan therapy, pengobatan…

Translate this article.

Propolis Boosts Growth of Farm-Raised Fish

Brown Propolis Extract in Feed as a Growth Promoter of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus, Linnaeus 1758) Fingerlings
Aquaculture Research, Published Online: 18 Dec 2008

This study assessed the use of increasing levels of brown propolis extract (BPE) as a growth promoter in Nile tilapia fingerling feeds…

Propolis from Serra do Araripe, Cariri Region, South Ceará State – Brazil was used to produce the BPE. The treatments involved the addition of BPE to feed samples (0.91, 1.83, 2.74 and 3.65 g kg−1) and feed control (without BPE). The final mean weight and the percentage of weight gain varied quadratically with the increase in BPE…

These results indicate the potential to use the brown propolis extract as a growth promoter to Nile tilapia fingerlings.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Propolis and Honey Psoriasis Cream Approved in Kuwait

Kuwait Approves New Medicine Treatment for Psoriasis Disease

KUWAIT, Dec 19 (KUNA) -- The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health has approved and listed on Friday for the first time an Egyptian medicine for patients suffering from the psoriasis disease.

The medicine consists of natural materials put together by extracting propolis, honey and Aloe.

Dr. Agarrid Al-Jamal, who works as a consultant in Skin Diseases Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ain Shams is also the one who discovered the medicine drug.

In an interview with KUNA Al-Jamal said that the drug has been certified after an eight year scientific study noting that its effectiveness and success rate measured at 86 percent.

Al-Jamal said the new drug (Alalorid) available in the form of a cream-paint and works as peeling and breaking the outer layer of the skin affected by psoriasis into making seem normal also helps to speed growth and renewal of the production of normal cells that lead to healing the wounds associated with psoriasis…

MS Patient Facing Charges Used Bee Venom

Somerset Man Pleads Not Guilty to Growing Marijuana
By Jennifer Golson, The Star-Ledger (USA), 12/19/2008

A Somerset County man pleaded not guilty today to drug production charges for allegedly growing 17 marijuana plants outside his home.

John Ray Wilson, 36, of Franklin Township, suffers from multiple sclerosis. His lawyer said Wilson uses the drug to help alleviate his symptoms.

Wilson is charged with maintaining or operating a drug production facility and with drug manufacturing. The plants were discovered on Aug. 18.

During an arraignment and status conference in Somerville, Wilson's attorney, James Wronko rejected the state's plea offer of six years in prison, three of them mandatory.

A helicopter pilot noticed the plants and contacted State Police, according to court papers. Members of the New Jersey State Police Marijuana Eradication Squad, Somerset County Prosecutor's Office and Franklin met with Wilson, authorities said.

Wilson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in February 2002 and has no health insurance. He uses the marijuana and venom from bee stings to alleviate his symptoms, Wronko said.

"I can't conceive of any circumstances in which I would ever plead Mr .Wilson, or anyone for that matter, to three years in state prison because they were growing marijuana for personal use to treat multiple sclerosis," Wronko said after court…

Friday, December 19, 2008

Medicinal Honey Producer Loses Court Battle

Honey Exporter Loses Battle with Regulator
NZPA, 12/19/2008

A fast-growing Manuka honey export company has lost its appeal with an industry regulator to be allowed to continue using a quality assurance label on its products.

Watson and Son Ltd exported the majority of its product to Britain.

Certain strains of Manuka honey have higher medicinal use than others displayed as a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), a trademark owned by the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA).

Testing of Watson's products last year raised concerns the honey did not reach the UMF levels claimed on the packaging.

Propolis Boosts Antimicrobial Action of Mouthwash

Determination of the Maximum Inhibitory Dilution of Cetylpyridinium Chloride-Based Mouthwashes Against Staphylococcus Aureus: An in vitro Study
J Appl Oral Sci, 2008 Aug;16(4):275-9

The aim of this in vitro study was to determine the maximum inhibitory dilution (MID) of four cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC)-based mouthwashes: CPC+Propolis, CPC+Malva, CPC+Eucaliptol+Juá+Romã+Propolis (Natural Honey(R) and CPC (Cepacol(R), against 28 Staphylococcus aureus field strains, using the agar dilution method…

Data were submitted to Kruskal-Wallis test, showing that the MID of Cepacol(R) was lower than that determined for the other products.

In conclusion, CPC-mouthwashes showed antimicrobial activity against S. aureus and the addition of other substances to CPC improved its antimicrobial effect.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bee Venom Component Helps Kill Cancer Cells

Melittin, a Major Component of Bee Venom, Sensitizes Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells to TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis By Activating CaMKII-TAK1-JNK/p38 and Inhibiting IKK-NFB
J. Biol. Chem, December 12, 2008

Promoting apoptosis is a strategy for cancer drug discovery. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis in a wide range of malignant cells. However, several cancers, including human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), exhibit a major resistance to TRAIL-induced cell death.

Melittin, a water-soluble 26 aa peptide derived from bee venom of Apis mellifera, can exert toxic or inhibitory effects on many types of tumor cells. Here we report that melittin can induce apoptosis of HCC cells by activating Ca2+/calmodulin (CaM)-dependent protein kinase (CaMK), transforming growth factor-ß (TGF-ß)-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase). We show that melittin-induced apoptosis can be inhibited by calcium chelator, inhibitors for CaMK, JNK and p38, and dominant negative TAK1.

In the presence of melittin, TRAIL-induced apoptosis is significantly increased in TRAIL-resistant HCC cells, which may be attributed to melittin-induced TAK1-JNK/p38 activation and melittin-mediated inhibition of IBa kinase (IKK)-NFB.

Our data suggest that melittin can synergize with TRAIL in the induction of HCC cell apoptosis by activating CaMK-TAK1-JNK/p38 pathway but inhibiting IKK-NFB pathway.

Therefore, the combination of melittin with TRAIL may be a promising therapeutic approach in the treatment of TRAIL-resistant human cancer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Propolis May Help Prevent Liver Damage

Hepatic Endogenous Defense Potential of Propolis After Mercury Intoxication
Integrative Zoology, Volume 3 Issue 4, Pages 311 - 321

Exposure to mercuric chloride (HgCl2; 5 mg kg−1 body weight; i.p.) induced oxidative stress in mice and substantially increased lipid peroxidation (LPO) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) levels, decreased the level of reduced glutathione (GSH) and various antioxidant enzymes in liver and also increased the activities of liver marker enzymes in serum.

Therapy with propolis extract, a resinous wax-like beehive product (200 mg kg−1 orally, after mercury administration), for 3 days inhibited LPO and the formation of GSSG and increased the level of GSH in the liver. Release of serum transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were significantly restored after propolis treatment. The activities of antioxidant enzymes, that is, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione-S-transferase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, were also concomitantly restored towards normal levels after propolis administration.

These observations clearly demonstrate that propolis treatment augments antioxidant defense against mercury-induced toxicity and provide evidence that propolis has therapeutic potential as a hepatoprotective agent.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Royal Jelly Delays Onset of Lupus

Honeybee Royal Jelly Inhibits Autoimmunity in SLE-Prone NZB x NZW F1 Mice
Lupus, Vol. 18, No. 1, 44-52 (2009)

Royal jelly (RJ) is a gelatinous secretion from young nurse worker bees (Apis mellifera), which serves as the sole food for the queen bee. Because of its pleiotropic functions for queen bees, RJ has also been used as a dietary supplement with various health benefits for humans.

Because RJ is being indicated to have immunomodulatory potential for humans, we undertook the study to determine whether the oral administration of RJ could alter the development of systemic autoimmunity in New Zealand Black (NZB) x New Zealand White (NZW) F1 mice that genetically exhibit many manifestations similar to human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

We herein reported that mice administered with RJ showed a significant delay in the onset of the disease, as manifested by decreased proteinuria and a prolongation of lifespan. In addition, RJ administration after the onset of the disease significantly improved the renal symptoms, leading to an extended lifespan…

In conclusion, our data suggest that the use of RJ may be beneficial in the prevention of the early onset of SLE and in the control of the active progression of the manifestations of SLE.

Beeswax Used for Shoe Polish, Psoriasis and Eczema

The Shoeshine Man's Polished Patter
By Phoebe Falconer, New Zealand Herald, 12/15/2008

There's no longer any excuse for dirty or leaky footwear in Auckland. The Shoeshine Man is in town.

Larry Woods has set up his stall in Albert St, outside a barber shop. He'll polish, or at least wax, your shoes for free, and, also for free, give you his line of patter.

His product, he says, will protect and waterproof not only your shoes, but your furniture, your boat, your car. It will help your psoriasis, eczema and cracked heels. You can even use it to put twirly bits in your hair.

The man from San Francisco with the blond hair has lived in New Zealand for 27 years. He has run businesses, including fashion shops in High St and Kingsland, and a meat company supplying bacon beef to Watties.

But now he sells a mix of beeswax and jojoba, made in St Heliers using beeswax from Taihape...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Honey, Is Apitherapy an Emergency?

Advances in Skin & Wound Care: The Journal for Prevention and Healing, December 2008, Volume 21 Number 12, Pages 552 - 552

…In fact, apitherapy (the use of products produced by honeybees, such as pollen, honey, royal jelly, propolis, and bee venom, for therapeutic and pharmacologic purposes) has been practiced since time in memoriam documented by the Egyptians and in the Bible. Recently, particular regions of the world, New Zealand and Australia, have been enthusiastically embraced by their association with wound care, bees, and honey.

Scientists performed 22 trials involving 2062 patients treated with honey. Moreover, an additional 16 trials were performed on experimental animals. According to these researchers, honey was found to be beneficial as a wound dressing through multiple mechanisms, such as an antibacterial agent, a debriding agent, and an anti-inflammatory agent. Honey is also presumed to work by reducing edema and scarring in the wound. Honey potentially stimulates growth of granulation and facilitates epithelial tissues to accelerate healing as well. Today, given the advanced technologies of therapeutic delivery (smart dressings) systems, honey is now packaged and formulated by way of Food and Drug Administration-approved wound care products and dressings that have appeared in both evidenced-based and peer-reviewed manuscripts.

I always learn from the posters, presentations, exhibitors, and personal communication at our annual symposium. One evening during the conference, I had the great pleasure of discussing this editorial with a very erudite and prominent physician in our field, and she told me about a great love story related to surgery and the use of honey as an adjunct to heal wounds.

The story occurred before the age of antibiotics, and my colleague's grandmother underwent abdominal surgery. Her grandfather was persistent in shadowing the surgeon because of his overwhelming and undying love for his wife. Infection was a great possibility in those days; the attending surgeon conceded that he should do something extra for the sake of preventing infection and this compelling love. As part of his treatment, he actually bathed the abdomen in honey and closed the wound, and in the age of high mortality and morbidity, the grandmother not only survived this major surgery, but lived well into her nineties.

As more evidence on the use of honey appears in the literature, including this journal, this age-old therapy may increase in popularity today.

U.S. Couple Builds Business on Hive Products

The Naked Bee: Bees Make Products Perfect for Gift-Giving
By Laurie Savage, News-Post (USA), 12/15/2008

Chet and Andrea Langworthy's bees busy themselves turning out honey and other products in their hives across Frederick, Montgomery and Howard counties. Their secret lives are the stuff of books and movies.

The beekeepers say the benefits of bee products should not be kept secret. They make and market raw honey, flavored honey, soaps, lotions, candles and apitherapy products, all perfect for holiday gift-giving…

While Chet Langworthy says his wife enjoys being out in the field with the bees, she is usually making products in small batches in her kitchen and filling orders, especially at the holidays…

In addition to online sales, they offer their products under the name The Naked Bee at farmers markets, wine festivals, various events and green retailers such as health food stores and garden centers…

Naked Bee products are natural with the exception of a few ingredients necessary to keep lotions shelf-stable. A line of apitherapy products is also growing in popularity.

Pollen is collected with pollen traps placed on hive fronts to knock off some pollen from the pollen baskets on the bees' legs. Pollen is often taken as a supplement.

The biggest seller among the bath and body products is Helping Hand propolis salve for small cuts and cracked hands.

Propolis has natural antibiotic properties and helps the immune system, Andrea Langworthy said. Bees use it to seal cracks in the hive. If something gets into the hive that is too large for the bees to remove, like a mouse, they encase it in propolis.

"The hive is nature's most sterile environment," Chet Langworthy said.

Even raw honey is helpful for small cuts, he said. The reaction between blood and honey produces peroxide, an antiseptic. Honey is usually kept handy in the kitchen anyway.

Propolis is sold in bottled form or it can be kept in the freezer and small bits chipped off to ingest for its medicinal qualities.

A mix of raw honey with royal jelly, pollen and propolis is available that can be taken during cold season with lemon juice or tea.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

3-D Model of Bee Venom Allergen Reveals Possible Enzyme Action

3-D Model of the Bee Venom Acid Phosphatase: Insights Into Allergenicity
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Article in Press

The acid phosphatase Api m 3 is the major allergen of the honeybee venom. Except for the amino acid sequence, no other structural information for the enzyme is available.

We applied homology modeling to assign the three-dimensional structure of Api m 3. The structure of the homodimeric human prostatic acid phosphatase was used to model the Api m 3 tertiary structure. IgE epitopes and antigenic sites were predicted using programs based on the structure of known epitopes and analysis of the x3-D model.

The model of Api m 3 revealed an active site similar to those of the histidine—type acid phosphatases with conservation of the catalytically important residues. The observed substitutions in the phosphate ion binding site suggest differences in the substrate specificity in comparison to other acid phosphatases.

The analysis of the Api m 3 three-dimensional model revealed a very likely mechanism of enzyme action.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

U.S. Firm to Produce Synthetic Form of Honey’s Curative Component

College Puts Bee in Business with Its 'Miracle' Honey Cure
By John Walshe and Anita Guidera, Independent (Ireland), 12/13/2008

An Irish college has discovered there's money in honey.

Sligo Institute of Technology has just signed a licensing agreement with a leading American company following research it conducted into manuka honey -- believed to have unique healing powers.

The institute research team isolated the curative properties of the honey and showed how they could be produced synthetically. Now HemCon plans to use the discovery for wound care, control of hospital-acquired infections and oral hygiene applications. It's also looking at other uses such as teeth whitening…

The manuka discovery was made by a three-member research at the institute -- Drs James Brennan, John Barrett and Tom Patton.

"During their research into the curative properties of manuka honey they almost by accident discovered a particular synthetic way to produce the same effect and they were able to isolate this" said Niall McEvoy, innovation manager at the Institute…

Propolis May Help Restore Corneal Clarity

Inhibition of Corneal Neovascularization with Propolis Extract
Archives of Medical Research, Volume 40, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 59-61

Neovascularization of the normally avascular cornea is seen in many pathological conditions including trauma, corneal transplantation, inflammation and eye diseases. Various growth factors and proteinases are involved in corneal neovascularization. Data supporting a causal role for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extensive.

Inhibition of angiogenesis is a main strategy for treating corneal neovascularization. Several findings have shown that corneal neovascularization can be reduced by using anti-VEGF and anti-MMPs agents.
Efficacy of a propolis extract has been demonstrated for reducing angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Propolis extracts containing artepillin C and caffeic acid phenyl ester significantly reduced the number of newly formed vessels and expression of MMPs and VEGF production from various cells.

So far, propolis extract is a potential candidate as an anti-angiogenic agent and can inhibit cell proliferation, migration and capillary tube formation. We hypothesize that topical application of propolis is potentially useful for inhibiting corneal neovascularization and restoration of corneal clarity.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Canadian Apitherapist: ‘Everything Bees Produce is Healthy to Humans’

Beekeepers Descend on Falls for Annual Convention
By Marc Kilchling, Niagara Falls Review (Canada), 12/11/2008

There's a buzz by the Falls this week.

And it's not from the slot machines at Fallsview but rather from the Hilton across the street where beekeepers from across the country have swarmed for their annual convention.

Over 250 people have gathered to spend the next few days reviewing the latest research on hive health along with new uses for bees and their by-products…

Some beekeepers are seeking out uses for bees beyond the traditional honey.

Ann Board from Restoule, just a short hop southwest of North Bay, use bees and their products medicinally. The field is called apitherapy and it's growing fast, Board says.

"Everything bees produce is healthy to humans," Board explains.

From royal jelly – the food of the queen bee – to pollen and even bee venom, they all can be used to treat a variety of illnesses.

"For those suffering from allergies, a spoonful of local honey each day helps raise the immune system," she said.

The reason is simple: bees

Even plain old beeswax works as a wonderful healer for cuts and bruises, according to Board…

Propolis Components Kill Leukemia Cells

Cytotoxicity of Polyphenolic/Flavonoid Compounds in a Leukaemia Cell Culture
Arh Hig Rada Toksikol, 2008 Dec 1; 59(4):299-308

Flavonoid components of propolis are biologically active substances with antioxidative, immunostimulative, immunomodulative, and anti-inflamatory properties. The aim of the study was to investigate their cytotoxic effect on different leukaemia cell lines…

The results show different dose- and cell-type-dependent cytotoxicity. Among the flavonoids, quercetin showed the strongest cytotoxic effect in all cell lines. Caffeic acid and chrisyn also expressed a high level of cytotoxicty. Treatment of U937 and HL-60 cell lines with low concentrations of chrisyn or naringenin stimulated cell proliferation.

These results suggest a biphase effect of the tested compounds on monocyte cell lines. Cytotoxicity and growth stimulation mechanisms caused directly by flavonoids should further be investigated on the molecular level.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Study to Determine if Honey Prevents Radiation Therapy Mouth Sores

Research on Manuka Honey Effect on Ulcers
Aim to Reduce Oral Problems in Cancer Patients
By Elspeth Mclean, Otago Daily Times (New Zealand), 12/11/2008

"A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," so the song goes, but for some Dunedin cancer patients next year, three spoonfuls of honey a day will be part of the medicine.

They will be taking part in research to determine if Manuka honey can ease the effects of radiation therapy.

The study, based on a two-year randomised trial, will involve 120 patients in Dunedin, Wellington and Palmerston North who are receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancers.

Principal investigator, University of Otago senior lecturer in the department of radiation therapy (Wellington) Dr Patries Herst said mouth ulcers were a common side-effect from radiation treatment.

She knew of cases where patients could not speak or eat because their mouths were so painful. Patients could lose much weight in a six-week treatment and the ulcers could lead to infection and gum disease. Cancer patients already had enough grief in their lives and "they don't need this".

It was hoped that by swirling 20ml of honey around to coat the inside of patients' mouths three times a day _ before treatment, immediately after and six hours later _ ulceration might be avoided.

Small overseas trials in Malaysia, Iran and Egypt had pointed to the benefits of such treatment.

For the larger New Zealand trial, Dr Herst had chosen to use Manuka honey because it had been shown to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Special, medical-grade sterilised Comvita Manuka honey would be used to ensure the honey was toxin-free…

Propolis Antioxidants May Help Prevent Tumor Growth

Correlation Between Antiangiogenic Activity and Antioxidant Activity of Various Components from Propolis
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Published Online: 8 Dec 2008

Propolis possesses various physiological activities. In this study, we examined the antiangiogenic and antioxidant activities of various components from propolis: acacetin, apigenin, artepillin C, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, chrysin, p-coumaric acid, galangin, kaempferol, pinocembrin, and quercetin.

The effects of these components were tested on in vitro models of angiogenesis, tube formation and growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Furthermore, these components were evaluated for their antioxidant activities by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical-scavenging and ferric reducing/antioxidant power (FRAP) assays.

Two propolis components, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, and quercetin, possessed strong inhibitory effects on tube formation and on endothelial cell proliferation and, coincidentally, showed strong antioxidant activity.

Artepillin C, galangin, and kaempferol also possessed strong antiangiogenic and antioxidant activities to a slightly less degree. In contrast, acacetin, apigenin, and pinocembrin possessed a considerable degree of antiangiogenic activities, although they showed very low antioxidant activities.

From these results, we propose that components from propolis such as artepillin C, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, galangin, kaempferol, and quercetin might represent a new class of dietary-derived antioxidative compounds with antiangiogenic activities. These propolis components may have the potential to be developed into pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of angiogenesis-dependent human diseases such as tumors.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Healing Honey for Wounds

By Casey Taylor, WCTV-TV (USA), 12/9/2008

Josh Pennington has mowed the lawn more times in his 63 years than he can count, but the routine chore nearly killed him when he hit a stone that wounded his leg. That wound just wouldn't heal.

"I do a lot of hunting and fishing outdoors where I could possibly get it infected, so that was always on my mind," said Pennington.

His wound was so deep it exposed his bone and nothing he tried for three years would fix it. Then, doctors at Georgetown University tried a new bandage infused with honey.

"As long as it's clean and it's healthy and it's showing progress, I'm with the program."

Medi-honey is a highly-absorbent, seaweed-based bandage soaked with a special kind of honey produced only in Australia and New Zealand. The honey is concentrated and provides an ideal environment for wound healing.

"It kills bacteria with some of the enzymes it has in it," said Christopher Attinger, M.D. with Georgetown University Hospital.

The acid in the bandage also helps lower the P-H level in chronic wounds for better healing. Unlike antibiotics, the honey poses no toxic effects or risks of resistance.

"We're starting to use manuka honey as a first-line drug as opposed to waiting to see whether other dressings work because we've had excellent success with it."

In just months, Josh's wound shrunk 95-percent…

Antioxidant-Rich Honey a Healthy Alternative to Chemical Additives

Honey Adds Health Benefits, is Natural Preservative and Sweetener in Salad Dressings
Eureka Alert, 12/9/2008

Antioxidant-rich honey is a healthy alternative to chemical additives and refined sweeteners in commercial salad dressings, said a new University of Illinois study.

"To capitalize on the positive health effects of honey, we experimented with using honey in salad dressings," said Nicki Engeseth, a U of I associate professor of food chemistry. "We found that the antioxidants in honey protected the quality of the salad dressings for up to nine months while sweetening them naturally."

Engeseth's study substituted honey for EDTA, an additive used to keep the oils in salad dressings from oxidizing, and high-fructose corn syrup, used by many commercial salad-dressing producers to sweeten their salad dressing recipes.

"We chose clover and blueberry honeys for the study after an analysis of the sweetening potential, antioxidant activity, and phenolic profiles of 19 honeys with varying characteristics," said the scientist…

The article was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Co-authors are Carolyn Rasmussen of Kraft Foods, Sophia Leung of Newlywed Foods, Lia M. Andrae-Nightingale, a former U of I graduate student, and Xiao-Hong Wang and Shelly J. Schmidt of the University of Illinois.

Honey Recommended for Colds, Burns, Bedwetting, Hyperactivity, Stress

The Healing Power of Honey
Stella Gray, Jamaica Observer, 12/8/2008

Natural raw honey which has not been filtered or pasteurised is one of nature's natural medicines.

Honey contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which makes it a powerful healing gift from nature. It also contains both internal and external healing properties.

There are many different types of honey that are created as a result of the flower chosen by the bee to provide its nectar. In Jamaica we are famous for our fragrant Logwood honey...

Most of us when we feel a cold coming on will run for the bottle of honey (our favourite remedy) as honey is known for both its antiseptic and antibiotic qualities, which shows that this is not just an old wives' tale.

Honey has been used in the past to heal infected wounds and surgical incisions. Additionally, for gangrene it helps to draw out the poison from bites and stings; it's especially good for stings as it is a natural antidote.

When used internally, honey increases the absorption of calcium and helps to treat and prevent anaemia; combined with apple cider vinegar it helps to relieve arthritic joints and aids digestion. Honey is good for colds and other respiratory infections and gastrointestinal ulcers.

Whereas sugar shuts down our immune system, honey stimulates it. It works also as a gentle, natural laxative and is very good for constipation…

Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, hence it helps to prevent dry skin and dull, lifeless hair, making it an excellent choice to use topically in beauty treatments. Its antiseptic healing benefits make honey great for all types of skin, as bacteria cannot live in honey.

Here are a few other uses of honey:

1. Burns - apply to soothe and heal without scarring

2. Bedwetting - try a teaspoon of honey before bed as honey helps aid fluid retention and calms fears in children.

3. Hyperactivity - replace all sugar with honey as honey gives us energy without the "spike" of sugar.

4. Conjunctivitis - dissolve honey equally with water and use as eyebath. It can also be used directly to heal sties on the eyelids.

5. Stress - mix 25% in water. Honey is a natural stabiliser for both emotional highs and lows.

6. Hair conditioning - mix honey equally with either cold pressed coconut or virgin olive oil. Leave on your hair for - an hour, then shampoo. This will nourish both your hair and scalp.

7. Facial cleanser - Mix honey with oats and use as a face mask. Leave on for - an hour and rinse. This is excellent for acne and blemishes.

We can also make our own simple natural medicines by infusing honey. Thyme infused with honey is good for coughs and sore throats. Infusing ginger can strengthen our immune system and can help to relieve chills and fevers.

Instructions:

To make infused honey, first have a clean jar. Wash and dry thyme and put in a bottle and completely cover with honey to avoid mould. Leave for a few weeks before using.

For ginger honey, first clean, peel, chop and crush ginger then cover with honey. Put in the refrigerator and leave for four days before using…

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Honey Increased Probiotic, Decreased Pathogenic Gut Bacteria

High-Throughput Microbial Bioassays to Screen Potential New Zealand Functional Food Ingredients Intended to Manage the Growth of Probiotic and Pathogenic Gut Bacteria
International Journal of Food Science & Technology, Volume 43 Issue 12, Pages 2257 - 2267

A spectrophotometric bioassay was used to screen selected food ingredients intended for development of functional foods designed to influence the growth of gut bacteria.

Dose–response profiles displaying Δgrowth, the magnitude of deviation from growth of controls, were generated for probiotics Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis and pathogens Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus.

Ingredients were manuka honey UMF™20+ (dose-dependently increased probiotics and decreased pathogens); bee pollen (biphasic growth effects against all); Rosehips and BroccoSprouts® (increased all dose-dependently); blackcurrant oil (little effect) and propolis (inhibited all strains).

Ingredients were also bioassayed in pairs to assess desirable or undesirable synergistic interactions. Observed synergies included manuka honey (predominantly desirable); rosehips or BroccoSprouts® (desirable and undesirable); blackcurrant oil (desirable) and propolis (tended towards synergies reinforcing its antimicrobial effects), collectively revealing a complex web of interactions which varied by ingredient and bacterial strain.

Manuka honey was particularly effective at influencing gut bacteria. The surprising frequency of undesirable synergistic interactions illustrates the importance of pre-testing potential ingredient combinations intended for use in functional foods.

Bees Responsible for 35 Percent of Human Calories

Bee Epidemic Threatens Chunk of Menu as Science Debates Cause
By Robert Hilferty

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Honey isn’t the only thing we’d miss if bees completely disappeared.

“Bees are a profound part of the ecosystem, much more than we ever thought,” said Rowan Jacobsen, whose chilling new book, “The Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis” (Bloomsbury), gives us a taste of a world without honey, not to mention other goodies bees make possible. The tall, lanky 40-year-old author talked with me at a new East Village restaurant fittingly called Apiary while promoting his book in New York.

“Fruitless Fall” details the recent rise of Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees, around for the past 100 million years, have been mysteriously dying in droves -- about 30 billion worldwide last year alone.

“Bees are responsible for 35 percent of our calories, but it’s not just any 35 percent,” Jacobsen said. “It’s the 35 percent with the most antioxidants and vitamins -- all the fruits and vegetables. All these super foods that lower cholesterol and blood pressure go way down without bees.” We perused Apiary’s menu to see what might not be there in the worst-case scenario.

“Squash soup,” he intoned as if pronouncing a death sentence. “You’re going to have to cross that off for sure. It’s one of the crops completely pollinated by bees, along with other members of that family, pumpkins and cucumbers.”

My hopes for greens were also dashed. “Lettuce will grow on its own without honeybees but it won’t set seed unless it’s pollinated.” Orange was a featured ingredient in another appetizer. “It will self-pollinate when needed -- if you’re not with the one you love, love the one you’re with. But their yields are much higher with bees.”…

Haagen-Dazs Brand Launches Bee-friendly Garden Design Competition at UC Davis

UC Davis, 12/8/2008

Honey bees will soon find a pollinator paradise at the University of California, Davis, thanks to Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream.

Haagen-Dazs has announced that it is making a $125,000 donation to the UC Davis Department of Entomology to launch a nationwide design competition to create a one-half acre Honey Bee Haven garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.

From that gift, $65,000 will be used to establish the garden. Häagen-Dazs and UC Davis will determine how the balance of the gift can best be used to benefit the health of honey bee populations.

"The Honey Bee Haven will be a pollinator paradise," said Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. "It will provide a much needed, year-round food source for our bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. We anticipate it also will be a gathering place to inform and educate the public about bees. We are grateful to Haagen-Dazs for its continued efforts to ensure bee health."

The garden will include a seasonal variety of blooming plants that will provide a year-round food source for honey bees. It is intended to be a living laboratory supporting research into the nutritional needs and natural feeding behaviors of honey bees and other insect pollinators…

Monday, December 08, 2008

Honey Boosts Sperm Production

Effect of Palestinian Honey on Spermatogenesis in Rats
Journal of Medicinal Food, December 1, 2008, 11(4): 799-802.

Treatment of male albino rats with 5% honey for 20 days had no significant effect on total body weight or on the relative weight of other organs like the testis, seminal vesicles, spleen, kidneys, liver, heart, or brain.

The only significant change was a 17% increase in the relative weight of the epididymis. The relative weight of all the other organs was similar to those in control animals treated for the same period with drinking water.

Treatment of rats for the same period with the same concentration of 5% sucrose produced no significant changes in absolute or relative weight of tested organs compared to control animals.

The same treatment with Palestinian honey increased significantly the epididymal sperm count by 37%. The activity of testicular marker enzymes for spermatogenesis such as sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH) was increased by 31%, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) was reduced by 48%, which indicates that treatment with honey induces spermatogenesis. Similar treatment with sucrose had no significant effect on any of the key enzymes or epididymal sperm count.

In conclusion, our results show that ingestion of honey induces spermatogenesis in rats by increasing epididymal sperm count, increasing selectively the relative weight of the epididymis, and increasing SDH activity and reducing LDH activity.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Virus Could Explain One Symptom of Colony Collapse Disorder

By Susan Milius, Science News, December 20, 2008

There’s bad news for diehards still arguing that honeybees are getting abducted by aliens.

Beehives across North America continue to lose their workers for reasons not yet understood, a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. But new tests suggest how a virus nicknamed IAPV might be to blame for one of the more puzzling aspects of the disorder—the impression that substantial numbers of bees vanish into thin air.

In tests on hives in a greenhouse, bees infected with IAPV (short for Israeli acute paralytic virus) rarely died in the hive. Sick bees expired throughout the greenhouse, including near the greenhouse wall, Diana Cox-Foster of Pennsylvania State University in University Park reported November 18 in Reno, Nev., at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America.

Outdoors, the bees could scatter across the landscape where the occasional dead insect wouldn’t be easily noticed before scavengers found it…

Honey Has Antifungal Activity at High Concentrations

Antifungal Activity of Turkish Honey Against Candida spp. and Trichosporon spp: An in vitro Evaluation
Med Mycol, 2008 Dec 2.:1-6

Honey samples from different floral sources were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the growth of 40 yeast strains (Candida albicans, C. krusei, C. glabrata and Trichosoporon spp.).

Broth microdilution method (CLSI, M27-A2) was used to assess the activity of the honeys against yeasts at different concentrations ranging from 1.25-80% (v/v). All of the yeast strains tested were inhibited by honeys in this study.

Broth microdilution assay revealed that inhibition of growth depends on the type and concentration of honey as well as the test pathogen. Little or no antifungal activity was seen at honey concentrations.
This study demonstrated that, in vitro, these honeys had antifungal activity at the high concentration of 80% (v/v) in these fluconazole-resistant strains. Further studies are now required to demonstrate if this antifungal activity has any clinical application.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Royal Jelly Repels Varroa Mites

Octanoic Acid Confers To Royal Jelly Varroa-Repellent Properties
Naturwissenschaften, 2008 Dec 3

The mite Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman is a parasite of the honeybee Apis mellifera L. and represents a major threat for apiculture in the Western world.

Reproduction takes place only inside bee brood cells that are invaded just before sealing; drone cells are preferred over worker cells, whereas queen cells are not normally invaded. Lower incidence of mites in queen cells is at least partly due to the deterrent activity of royal jelly.

In this study, the repellent properties of royal jelly were investigated using a lab bioassay. Chemical analysis showed that octanoic acid is a major volatile component of royal jelly; by contrast, the concentration is much lower in drone and worker larval food.

Bioassays, carried out under lab conditions, demonstrated that octanoic acid is repellent to the mite. Field studies in bee colonies confirmed that the compound may interfere with the process of cell invasion by the mite.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Honey Keeps the Brain Happy

Daily Hit of Honey Good for You, Beekeepers Hear
By Cassandra Kyle, The StarPhoenix (Canada), 12/5/2008

A spoonful of honey brings metabolic stressors down and with it the chances of developing diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis, says a leading honey researcher.

Ron Fessenden, a retired physician and author from Denver, Colo., says the health benefits of honey are real and can be used to improve the health of the general public. Speaking on Tuesday at the Saskatchewan Beekeepers' Association convention in Saskatoon, Fessenden said honey lowers blood sugar levels, which reduces metabolic stress.

"Honey actually has a very significant stabilizing affect on blood sugar, that's counter-intuitive to most individuals who think it's sort of like saying, 'Well, I'm going to eat some bacon to help control my cholesterol,' and that's not true about honey," he said.

Honey, which is made of two sugars, facilitates the production of liver glycogen, Fessenden said. Liver glycogen fuels the brain but only has enough stores for about eight hours, he continued. The human body produces cortisol when the brain runs out of glycogen and when cortisol is released, he said, it triggers metabolic stress.

"Obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, polycystic ovarian disease in young women, hyperthyroid conditions, osteoporosis, about 10 per cent of all cancers, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, neurodegenerative conditions which are impacted by high blood-sugar levels over several decades -- all of these things are reduced or eliminated by the elimination of metabolic stress by the reduction of cortisol levels," he said.

In short, Fessenden says honey keeps the brain happy…

Make Sure You Buy Your Honey Raw

By Sheryl Walters, 12/2/2008

(NaturalNews) What if you could find a magic potion that would sweeten your tea, create mind blowing delicious cakes and dramatically improve your health? You may be surprised to find that bees create this amazing elixir in the form of honey. That's right, raw, unadulterated honey is nature's oldest sweetener and it also promotes true, radiant health. Thousands of years before the invention of white sugar, people used honey to enhance their food and support their bodies.

But don't be fooled by the sticky jar that is sitting in your cupboard. Most honey is highly processed, over heated and chemically refined, leaving it lifeless and free of any benefits. Excessive heating destroys the valuable enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, as well as the unique phytonutrients that make honey the super food that it is.

Raw Honey is Filled with Health Promoting Goodness

Raw honey is loaded with vitamins and is particularly high in minerals which are vital for maintaining health including calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese and selenium. Amino acids are contained in honey, which are nature's building blocks. Incredible plant compounds are found in honey that gives the immune system a giant boost. This magic potion is also highly alkalizing and helps the body maintain a balanced PH.

Raw honey is full of enzymes. Enzymes are essential for absorbing food, rebuilding the body, cellular health, and nearly all other biological processes. Once a food is heated, there are absolutely no enzymes left…

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Honey Helps Prevent Postoperative Adhesions

Administration of Honey to Prevent Peritoneal Adhesions in a Rat Peritonitis Model
International Journal of Surgery, Article in Press

Aim: We investigated the effects of intraperitoneal honey on the development of postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions and oxidative stress in a model of bacterial peritonitis…

Conclusions: Intraperitoneal honey decreased the formation of postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions without compromising wound healing in this bacterial peritonitis rat model. Honey also decreased the oxidative stress during peritonitis.

Medicinal Honey Rating Row Heats Up in New Zealand

Manuka Honey Company Awaits Ratings Decision
By Nathan Crombie, Wairarapa Times-Age (New Zealand), 12/4/2008

A court decision over ratings for Masterton-based manuka honey company Watson and Son will not halt their potentially multimillion charge into global medical markets.

The company, one of the largest manuka honey exporters in the country that was this year named the fastest-growing firm in New Zealand, is now awaiting a judgment from the High Court in Hamilton after seeking to stay actions by the Active Manuka Honey Association preventing their use of a UMF (unique manuka factor) rating system.

The association operates the UMF testing and branding scheme for manuka honey, which under the system is compared against different concentrations of a standard laboratory disinfectant, phenol.

Manuka Health New Zealand chief executive Kerry Paul said the association is seeking to revoke the Watson and Son licence to use the UMF system on the basis its honey was below label claim.

Watson and Son owner and scientist Denis Watson said yesterday the outcome of the court case would have no bearing on the company development of medical applications for active manuka honey. He said the firm is "investing heavily into medical applications for its honey" and that active manuka honey is widely recognised around the world as having unique antibacterial properties.

"Irrespective of this judgment, Watson and Son are emerging as a major developer of medical applications for active manuka honey. The medical applications of the honey that we are developing will establish new standards related to its use in advanced wound care. These are exciting developments and have the potential to be worth millions of dollars to New Zealand. The UMF licence is not relevant to these."…

See: Row Over Manuka Honey Ratings

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Medicinal Honey Researcher Cuts Ties to UMF Ratings Group

Manuka Honey Researcher Breaks with Industry's UMF Body
NZPA, 12/1/2008

Industry infighting over how biologically active manuka honey should be measured and ranked are far from being resolved, with the tiff likely to get even more sticky.

Ratings of the unique manuka factor (UMF) underpin domestic and export manuka honey markets worth more than $100 million a year, but have been caught up in a series of disputes.

UMF ratings are based on measurement of the antibacterial activity of samples of honey to indicate how well it fights a wide range of very resistant bacteria.

Manuka honey has proven effective against major wound-infecting bacteria and the bacteria which causes stomach ulcers.

One company, Manuka Health NZ Ltd, has said objective measurement of the active ingredient methylglyoxal might be the best way to measure anti-bacterial strength.

Now the industry's leading researcher, Dr Peter Molan -- who has said methylglyoxal is not a reliable indicator of anti-microbial activity -- has cut his ties to the body which holds the trademark for UMF ratings.

Dr Molan last Thursday told honey companies in a personal email that he will no longer have anything to do with the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA).

The association has 48 members, with 32 licensed to use its trademarked UMF ratings.

"I hold the executive of AMHA responsible for my reaching this personal decision," Dr Molan said.

AMHA chairwoman Moira Haddrell said she could not comment for legal reasons. Her chief executive John Rawcliffe also said he could not comment.

Dr Molan, who has spent decades on the research underpinning the industry's sale of high-value biologically-active manuka honey to combat infections, said his employer Waikato University did not want to get involved in litigation, so he could only make personal comments.

"Regrettably, I cannot specify why I am unhappy with the executive of AMHA," said Dr Molan.

The AMHA was created only after Dr Molan was asked by Government trade officials to help set up an industry group for producers of active manuka honey.

And the UMF testing on which it relies uses a method described by Dr Molan and other honey researchers at Waikato University in 1991.

Dr Molan said in the NZ Beekeeper magazine in August that though researchers had developed further improvements to increase the reliability of the method , AMHA had not adopted these…

See: UMF Professor Splits from Manuka Honey Association

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Brazilian Firm Produces Apitherapy Products

For this Brazilian Urban Couple Beekeeping Became a Honey of a Business
By Cláudia M. Abreu, Brazzil Magazine, 12/2/2008

Our story starts like this: Once upon a time there was a couple, a therapist and a psychologist. They lived in a large city, Rio de Janeiro, in the Brazilian Southeast. They had a son and decided, from then on, to live a different life, better, more healthy and attuned to the ideals of ecology and sustainability.

They packed their bags and, literally, climbed the mountain range, moving to Teresópolis. They sold their apartment in Rio and bought a nice piece of land. The couple became beekeepers, had one more son and now own brand Mel de Teresópolis...

Apart from honey, Mel de Teresópolis works with propolis, royal jelly, mixed honey (with therapeutic herbs, for example) and pollen. The latter, explained Azevedo, has characteristics that help in the treatment of anemia. "Each bee product has a beneficial application for animal health," he explained. He tells, for example, that honey is adding benefits to properties due to being produced in different trees.

"The honey produced from eucalyptus adds to the end product the active element of that plant, due to its nectar, so it is good against flu and has decongesting characteristics, for example," said Azevedo…

Nursing Journal: Honey Should Be Wound Dressing Option

Leg Ulcer Management with Topical Medical Honey
British Journal of Community Nursing, Vol. 13, Iss. 9 Suppl, 05 Sep 2008, pp S22 - S32

Three case studies of patients with leg ulceration are used to illustrate the effectiveness of Medihoney antibacterial wound gel (Medical honey) in wound healing via wound bed preparation. The aim was to improve the patient's quality of life, during the healing process, through provision of comfort, reduction in pain and protection from infection.

Three patients with chronic leg ulceration were assessed as potentially benefiting from the action of medical honey to achieve wound healing. Patient selection was based on structured leg ulcer assessment. The aetiology of ulceration in patient 1 was mixed arterial and venous, and in patient 2 and 3, venous. All had several years' history of reoccurrence.

Promotion of healing occurred in all instances with a reduction in the incidence of infection, reduction in pain and the provision of comfort. Antibacterial medical honey should therefore be considered as a dressing option when assessing and managing chronic wounds.

India to Produce Royal Jelly, Bee Venom

UP Could Become Largest Producer of Honey

Lucknow (IANS): The buzz is Uttar Pradesh could become the largest producer of honey in India in the next 10 years with some encouragement. Apiculture and horticulture experts say conditions in the state augur well for beekeeping.

"As the state has a variety of flora and crops, honey could be produced here throughout the year. States like Bihar and Jharkhand tribals are doing exceptionally good," said R.K. Lakra of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

He was among the experts from across the country assembled at the Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology (NDUAT) in Kumarganj, 110 km from here, Saturday…

Basant Ram, vice chancellor of NDUAT, told IANS: "At present Uttar Pradesh is producing 3,000 tonnes of honey per year and this could exceed 30,000 tonnes in the next 10 years."

"Besides honey, we are also planning to produce wax, royal jelly and bee venom in the coming years," he added…

Monday, December 01, 2008

Researcher Promotes Healing Properties of Bee Products

Buzzing About the Health Benefits of Bee Products
Surprisingly, bee venom, which comes from its sting, can be used to treat arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
AsiaOne, 12/1/2008

What is useful for bees can be good for humans too.

Apitherapy - a word with Greek origins - is the use of products produced by honeybees, such as honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis and even bee venom, for therapeutic and pharmacological purposes.

Dr Andreas Daugsch, 33, a German with a PhD in food chemistry, calls himself an apitherapist. He has studied propolis in Brazil for 11 years. This is a resinous substance which bees collect from the buds and sap of certain trees to use as a kind of cement in the construction of their hives.

He was in Singapore earlier this month to promote the use of apitherapy as a form of natural healing in a talk at Pharmaplus at Camden Medical Centre.

He said that bees line their hives with propolis to keep out disease causing organisms such as the botulinum toxin (produced by a bacteria) which causes botulism in humans. Botulism causes paralysis.

Brazilian green propolis, which is harvested from the leaves of the alecrim plant, is superior to other types of propolis as it is abundant in the active ingredient Artepillin-C, an antioxidant which has been found to have potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity.

Recent research has also shown that propolis is effective against the influenza virus.

"Propolis is a good antioxidant and can also cause the cell death of cancer cells," he said.

Talking about other bee products, he said that honey has a wealth of anti-bacterial properties too. Most micro-organisms do not grow in honey because of its low water content and studies have shown that wounds treated with honey heal more quickly.

Dr Daugsch added: "Honey is also much healthier than refined sugar as it contains the vitamins that our body needs to metabolise the carbohydrates in honey."

Another popular by-product from bees is royal jelly, which is the food of the queen bee. It contains amino acids that are needed to boost our immune systems.

Dr Daugsch said that royal jelly could also be helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep as it contains the chemical acetylcholine, which can help promote REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Bee pollen, like royal jelly, is used by bees for nourishment because of its high protein content. There has not been much research into bee pollen although there are claims that it is effective in lowering cholesterol levels.

Perhaps the most surprising of all uses of bee products is bee venom which comes from its sting. Bee venom can be used to treat arthritis and multiple sclerosis…