Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Medicinal Honey Discovered in Ghana

Boost for Tourism: Special Honey Discovered at Kakum
Ghana News, 3/31/2009

Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Minister of Tourism, on Monday announced the discovery of a special medicinal honey at Kakum National Park and said this would add another activity for tourists who visited the park.

The honey which was extracted from a kind of bees which did not sting, was said to be used to cure several ailments, she said.

The Minister said the University of Cape Coast had an on-going project to make the production of the special honey commercial and accessible to everybody, especially tourists who visited the site…

Honey, Royal Jelly Useful for Eye Disorders

Apitherapy in Ophthalmology
Jurate Jankauskiene, Dalia Jarusaitiene, Apitherapy Center, Lithuania

[Presented at 7th German Apitherapy, Apipuncture and Bee Products Congress, Expo and Workshops with International Participation in Passau, Germany, March 26-31, 2009.]

Honey drops have good anti-inflammatory action, regenerative and anti-toxic features and we recommend using them to treat eye disorders such as dry eye syndrome, keratopathy, keratitis, corneal ulcers, corneal opacities, and conjunctivitis.

Positive effect of 20 percent honey eye drops on the state of ocular microsoft tissue and the cornea in patients with Graves’ ophthalmopathy was noted. An improvement of visual functions (visual acuity, contrast sensitivity) and dilatation of retinal arteries was noted in patients with myopia who used royal jelly.

In patients with Graves’ ophthalmopathy who used royal jelly, an improvement of visual functions and reduction of retinal blind spot was found.

In patients with age-related macula degeneration who used royal jelly, an improvement of visual functions (visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, mean threshold sensitivity of central visual field) was found.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Honey May Supplement Anti-Typhoid Drugs

Manuka Honey and Its Antimicrobial Potential Against Multi-Drug Resistant Strains of Typhoidal Salmonellae
Prof. Abdul Hannan, Muhammad Barkaat, Sidrah Saleem, Muhammad Usman, Waseem Ahmed Gilani, Department of Microbiology, University of Health Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan

[Presented at 7th German Apitherapy, Apipuncture and Bee Products Congress, Expo and Workshops with International Participation in Passau, Germany, March 26-31, 2009.]

Problem: Typhoid Fever

• A global as well as local problem
• 16-33 million cases occur worldwide
• With over 500,000 to 600,000 deaths
• 93% cases occur only in Asia
• Endemic in Pakistan

Chloramphenicol was introduced in 1948 for the treatment of typhoid fever, which dramatically reduced the incidence of typhoid fever and converted a distressing, and often lethal disease into a readily manageable condition.

However, this optimism did no last very long and resistance to chloramphenicol emerged in 1950. By the 1972, widespread resistance to this drug reported, which posed a serious threat to health community.

Ampicillin and co-trimoxazole replaced chloramphenicol and became the treatment of choice at that time. However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, S. typhi strains also developed simultaneous plasmid mediated resistance to all three first line antibiotics.

These strains disseminated globally and were designated MDR.

The situation has further aggravated with the recent emergence of fluoroquinolone resistance as well as ceftriaxone resistance. Consequently, it had become very difficult and expensive for health community to treat typhoid fever, especially in developing countries like Pakistan, where the burden of typhoid fever is already quite high.

Honey has been used as a healing agent throughout the human history besides its widespread usage as a popular food (White, 1966). Its miraculous healing properties are also mentioned in almost all Holy Scriptures.

Recently the medical profession has rediscovered its therapeutic role and has approved honey as a medicine for chronic skin infections and burns (George et al., 2007). Honey has also been successfully used for some ailments of gastrointestinal tract, including periodontal and other oral diseases (Molan, 2001).

A clinical trial indicated that honey at concentration of 5% (v/v) shortens the duration of bacterial diarrhea caused by Shigella, salmonella and Escherichia coli in infants and children (Haffejee et al., 1985). It has also been found to be effective in the treatment of dyspepsia, gastric and duodenal ulcers, caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori (Sato et al., 2000).

Honey has diverse and multiple strategies to overcome pathogenic organisms. It directly inhibits the microorganism by acidic Ph, high osmolarity, and the release of hydrogen peroxide and plant derived non-peroxide antibacterial substances.

Honey also inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms by stimulating the growth of beneficial GIT flora (bacterial interference). More recently a study revealed that certain varieties of honey can promote the growth of normal microbial flora like lactobacilli and bifidobacterium species. This is not the case with antibiotics, which affect not only the pathogenic microorganisms but also inhibit the growth of normal flora.

Thus, treatment with antibiotics can create an imbalance, which itself may lead to serious drug-resistant infections. Honey also prevents the adherence of salmonella to intestinal epithelium and recently identified MGO protects the intestinal mucosa from injurious stimuli and stimulates the immune system as well. Above all honey does not allow micro-organism to develop resistance unlike the conventional antibiotics.

Hypothesis:

• Honey contains potent antibacterial substances against multi-drug resistant Typhoid salmonellae.
• There is variation in the level of antibacterial activity of honey samples collected from different geographical locations.

Objectives:

• In vitro evaluation of honey for antibacterial activity by “Agar Well Diffusion Assay”
• Determination of minimum inhibitory concentration of honey by “Agar Dilution Assay”

Results:

Three beri honey samples (BE-8, BE-10, and BE-19) out of seven showed antibacterial activity against S. typhi at 50% (w/v) dilution. No honey sample produced zone of inhibition at 25% (w/v) dilution in sterile distilled water or in catalase solution except manuka honey which demonstrated 12.07+0.1 (mm) zone size against S. typhi.

The inhibition zone of tested organism was observed to increase with the increasing honey concentration. Four honey samples (BE-2, BE-5, BE-6 and BE-12) did not show any antibacterial activity at any concentration tested in this experiment. There was variation in the zone of inhibition of different honey samples. BH-19 also showed maximum zone of inhibition against S. typhi as compared to other honey samples. Regarding controls, diluent (sterile distilled water), catalase solution and simulated honey did not produce any zone of inhibition, whereas 6% phenol (w/v) exhibited 25.4 + 0.5 mm zone against S. typhi.

Conclusion:

• Natural honey is not linked with high osmolarity alone.
• Though Beri honey (BH-19) showed higher level of hydrogen peroxide related antibacterial activity.
• However, only Manuka honey displayed both type of antibacterial activity.

Future Work:

• Manuka honey, warrants further evaluation in mice typhoid model for its future therapeutic role in typhoid fever.
• Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to suggest oral use of honey supplementing other anti-typhoid drugs.

History of Apitherapy Dates Back to Ancient World

The Birds and the Bees - Part 2: 'Bees'
By Dan Brett, OnMedica, 3/30/2009

…The history of apitherapy dates back to the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese - Hippocrates mentioned the use of bee venom for treating arthritis and other joint problems. Honey, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom are some of the bee products used in apitherapy for their medicinal properties. Honey is purported to be good for the digestive system - having a warming effect on the body, relieving constipation. Honey may also have anti-bacterial properties and can be used for dressing wounds and burns to help keep them sterile and promote healing. It doesn’t stop there – being said to promote ‘brisk mental efficiency’, heal fractured bones, anaemia and even cure the common cold! We then move on to ‘royal jelly’, which is produced in the salivary glands of worker bees. The queen bees are fed royal jelly throughout their larval period and worker bees are fed it for the first three days of the larval period. Royal jelly is also sold as having anti bacterial properties. It is supposed to be highly beneficial in lowering cholesterol, curing infertility, asthma, lack of appetite and continuous fatigue. It is also used as a product in anti-wrinkle and age-defying cosmetics.

"Propolis" is also known as bee glue. Worker bees collect propolis – a sticky tree resin, add their saliva and enzymes to it and then use it to coat the inside of the hive. It acts as an antiseptic layer of the honeycomb cells. It is often used as a part of tinctures, creams, cosmetics and tablets for its antiseptic and anaesthetic properties. It is also said to have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Beeswax is secreted by the worker bees from glands on the underside of the body. It is a highly priced ingredient in cosmetics, hand and face creams, ointments, lipsticks and lip salves. Finally, bee venom is the factor that causes the stinging sensation when a bee stings. Bee venom therapy is administered by injection or an actual bee sting. The venom contains powerful anti-inflammatory substances and can be used for conditions like bursitis, rheumatoid, multiple sclerosis and osteoarthritis. Now the sting in this tale…

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Honey Contains Four Substances That Prevent Colon Cancer

Honey Offers Many Benefits
By Sheryl Walters, 3/25/2009

(NaturalNews) …Since ancient times, people have used honey as a food and medicine. A combination of honey and goat's milk has been known to help heal bronchial infections. Honey also contains several anti-oxidants, which makes it important to humans. In addition, it has an anti-infective component and has been used to heal coughs, intestinal ailments and skin wounds.

Historically, honey has gone from a medicine and sweetener that only the wealthy could afford to a common item in stores and farmers' markets nearly everywhere. As it has become easy to obtain, it has also been processed more and more, which reduces the beneficial effects. For example, honey contains four substances that prevent colon cancer, each a type of caffeic. They act specifically on two substances in the colon that are involved in cancer development: phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C and lipoxygenase. These caffeics, or phytonutrients, are literally destroyed by processing. Pure raw honey is best if you are hoping for health benefits from eating honey. One tablespoon daily will make a difference in your body.

The first International Symposium on Honey and Human Health was held in Sacramento, California, in January 2008. Many significant findings were presented, including but not limited to:

*Buckwheat honey has been found to be a more effective cough remedy than dextromethorphan for children from two to eighteen years.

*Compared to other substances used as sweeteners, honey is much better tolerated by the body, leading to better blood sugar control and sensitivity to insulin.

*Honey promotes immunity, as demonstrated by findings that 32 percent of cancer patients in an immunity study reported improvement in their quality of life as a result of fewer infections.

*Honey promotes wound healing, its most useful application in medicine and has been proven to heal burns quicker…

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Iranian Honeys Show Anti-Fungal Properties

Fungicidal Potential of Different Iranian Honeys Against Some Pathogenic Candida Species
Journal of Apicultural Research, Vol. 47 (4) pp. 256 – 260, December 2008

Honey is well known to possess a broad spectrum of activity against medically important organisms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anti-candidal activity of 28 locally produced honeys from two floral sources, 14 from southern and 14 from northern Iran, against some pathogenic Candida species such as Candida albicans, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, C. kefyr, C. glabrata, and C. dubliniensis…

The honeys were tested at 40 concentrations ranging from 20 to 60 % (v/v). Both northern and southern honeys possessed in vitro antifungal activity against the six Candida species tested. Little or no anti-candidal activity was seen at concentrations lower than 24 %. Increased honey concentrations resulted in reduced growth of Candida species.

The highest inhibitory effect of different honeys was demonstrated in C. tropicalis, C. glabrata and C. dubliniensis. Candida kefyr and C. albicans showed more resistance to fungicidal activity of honeys, whereas C. glabrata was least affected.

All honeys were able to produce complete inhibition of candidal growth with minimum fungicidal concentrations ranging from 29 to 56 %. Overall, varying sensitivities to the anti-candidal properties of different honeys were observed with six species of Candida emphasizing the variability in the antifungal effect of honey samples.

Further research is needed to assess the efficacy of honey as an inhibitor of candidal growth in clinical trials, especially in treatment of patients with candidiasis.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Healing Properties of Honey Mentioned in the Quran

Consider the Bees...
Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), 26 March - 1 April 2009, Issue No. 940

One day five-year-old Shahd asked her mother what the meaning of her name was. "It means the purest kind of honey," her mother replied. Shahd didn't understand. "But bees sting!" she exclaimed. "Bees are the source of that marvellous honey I keep telling you about," her mother said. And not only that: honey is also a term of endearment, and bees are mentioned in almost all the holy books and are cited as an example of organisation and team work the world over.

The Quran, for example, has the following to say about bees in Surat Al-Nahl : "And thy Lord inspired the bee, saying: Choose thou habitations in the hills and in the trees and in that which they thatch; (68) Then eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of thy Lord, made smooth [for thee]. There cometh forth from their bellies a drink divers of hues, wherein is healing for mankind. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect; (69) And Allah createth you, then causeth you to die, and among you is he who is brought back to the most abject stage of life, so that he knoweth nothing after [having had] knowledge (70)."

Aside from their place in religious texts, according to Mahmoud Nour, professor of apiculture at Cairo University's Faculty of Agriculture, even bees' stings can be valuable. Although bee honey is the product humans most obviously prize, when used therapeutically bee stings can also have human uses, notably in treating certain kinds of immune conditions. Many people associate bees only with honey, Nour told Al-Ahram Weekly, but there are many other benefits, such as royal jelly, well-known for its medical uses and vital for the body, and propolis, a natural antibiotic and antiviral product…

How should honey be kept, in order that it can retain all its goodness and optimum quality?

Nour replies methodically by enumerating four main points: "first, honey should always be kept in a dark jar because putting honey in transparent packs affects its antibiotic characteristics," he says.

"Second, granulated honey should not be placed in hot water because this can result in the formation of harmful chemicals known as hydroxyl methylfurfurals (HMF), and these, if they exceed certain limits, can make honey unsuitable for human consumption. Third, honey should not be stored for long periods at high temperatures because this destroys the enzymes that are important for the human body; and finally, a spoonful of honey every day can increase the body's natural immunity," Nour says.

Study Looks at Antibacterial Contaminants in Royal Jelly

Simultaneous Determination of Seven Fluoroquinolones in Royal Jelly by Ultrasonic-Assisted Extraction and Liquid Chromatography with Fluorescence Detection
Source J Sep Sci, 2009 Mar 20; 32(7):955-964

A method for the quantitative determination of seven fluoroquinolone antibacterial agents (FQs) used in beekeeping, viz. ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin, pefloxacin, danofloxacin, enrofloxacin, and difloxacin, in royal jelly samples was developed on the basis of high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection.

A total of 57 real royal jelly samples collected from beekeepers and supermarkets were analyzed. The three most abundant honeybee-use FQs, i. e. ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and norfloxacin, were determined in some royal jelly samples in concentrations ranging from 11.9 to 55.6 ng/g.

Unexpectedly, however, difloxacin was found at concentrations of about 46.8 ng/g in one sample although it is rarely used in beekeeping. The presented method was successfully applied to quantify FQs in real royal jelly samples.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Honey May Help Heal Massive Bowel Resections

Small Bowel Responses to Enteral Honey and Glutamine Administration Following Massive Small Bowel Resection in Rabbit
African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences, 2008 Dec; 37(4):309-14

The trophic effects of honey and glutamine in the healing and adaptation of the small bowel following intestinal resection were studied in some Nigerian non-descript breeds of rabbits…

Honey showed a better effect than control with a significant increase in villi width (18.2%), crypts depth (66.7%) and cellular mass (33.9%) and a non significant increase in gross residual bowel length (24.6%), and villus height (30.5%).

Our result shows that honey and glutamine have trophic effects on bowel mucosa healing and hyperplasia and have potential therapeutic effects on massive bowel resection in humans.

Bees Prefer Shortest Distance Between Two Flowers

ScienceDaily (Mar. 26, 2009) — Insects such as honeybees and bumble bees are predictable in the way they move among flowers, typically moving directly from one flower to an adjacent cluster of flowers in the same row of plants. The bees' flight paths have a direct affect on their ability to hunt for pollen and generate "gene flow", fertilization and seed production that results when pollen moves from one plant to another.

The study of gene flow has experienced more attention in part due to the recent introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

White House Inspires Beekeepers Across the U.S.

Obama family joins the growing ranks of Americans engaged in the emerging backyard beekeeping movement, an extension of the local food movement.

New York, NY, March 25, 2009 --(PR.com)-- When Michelle Obama gave her thumbs up to an organic garden at the White House, complete with two bee hives, amateur beekeepers around America took notice…

Beeswax Candles Recommended for Asthma, Allergies

Do Beeswax Candles Clean the Air?
By Valerie Reiss, Beliefnet.com, 3/23/2009

There's something so soothing about a nice flickering candle--in the tub, at dinner, before bed, or on your altar if you have one. But for years now I've been careful to avoid burning anything but soy wax and beeswax because of the polluting nature of regular paraffin candles--both in the larger environmental sense and the home/body toxin sense.

According to an article in the M.D.-written "Nutrition and Healing" newsletter, "paraffin is made from the sludge at the bottom of barrels of crude oil, which is then treated and bleached with benzene and other chemical solvents to 'clean it up' for use in candles" and "the soot, smoke, and chemical residue from 'regular' candles can stick to walls, ceilings, and ventilation ducts and gets re-circulated whenever the heating/cooling system is in action, exposing you to these pollutants even when the paraffin candles aren't burning." Eww.

Not the greenest. But what I learned this weekend when I went to the awesome store Candlestock in Woodstock, New York, is that beeswax candles not only don't pollute, they may actually clean the air by emitting negative ions. I hit the Googlebrary when I got home and found some info to back this up. One article on Care2.com says, "Beeswax candle fuel is the only fuel that actually produces negative ions, which not only helps remove pollution from the air but increases the ratio of negative ions to positive ions, the ideal and necessary scenario for clean air." In laywoman's terms, this means they cause charged gunk (dust, pollen, odors, toxins, etc.) to fall from the air onto the floor via static electricity.

Another site that sells beeswax candles (so take with a grain of wax), says, "a pure beeswax candle burns the dust and toxic fumes from the air as they are convected through the halo'd flame, much like a catalytic converter. The dustier your house, the more 'black debris' will be deposited in the wax around the wick." So interesting! Now I must test for soot on my sweet little beeswax votives.

Beeswax candles also don't drip, don't smoke, and because of their high melting point, burn a whole lot slower. They also smell nice, naturally. The "Nutrition and Healing" article even says that "people with allergies, sinus problems, and asthma have reported significant improvement in their symptoms, breathing better and sleeping better after burning the 100 percent beeswax candles in their bedrooms for three to four hours before bedtime. One person who burned a beeswax candle all day when she was home reported that her asthma gradually went away completely."…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Details on the White House Bee Hives

An Addition To Michelle Obama's White House Garden: Honey Bees
The organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn will also feature two bee hives. See the garden plan!
By Kim Flottum, The DailyGreen.com, 3/23/2009

From the perspective of probably every beekeeper in the U.S., the first day of spring, 2009, should be one of the most memorable in decades. It was on that day that Michelle Obama announced that not only would there be a garden on the White House lawn, the first since FDR was in office, but there would be, yes BEE HIVES! ..

To complete the garden, two bee hives will be moved in early this week. They belong to a White House employee who is a beekeeper and lives nearby. The hives belong to the beekeeper.

We found out that the beekeeper was a subscriber to our magazine, so we had a contact and were fortunate to have a phone conversation late last week. But, of course, there has to be some preparation for all this, so everything we discussed had to remain off the record. He is, however, a three year veteran beekeeper and had a strong desire to keep bees and beekeeping in front of the folks who live here, and to keep reminding them of the importance of the pollination efforts their bees will be performing.

As far as we can tell, there’s never been a bee hive at the White House, so this first-ever apiary event is something that beekeepers everywhere are excited about. The calls and contacts received in our office once this broke exceeded any event in the past 23 years…

Honey Bees Happy to Die for Greater Good

Bees and Ants are 'Model Citizens'
The Telegraph (UK), 3/23/2009

Bees and ants have long been recognised as tireless workers, but new research today suggests they can also behave like selfless model citizens.

A study has found that some bees and ants do operate in the best interests of the group to which they belong – creating a "superorganism" – and can even sacrifice their lives for the greater good of their community.

But scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford found the same could not be said for other animal groupings, such as herds of bison or shoals of fish…

The researchers studied the way in which co-operative groups of animals evolve, using mathematical models.

They found that some insects, such as honey bees and leafcutter ants, do seem to put the interests of their group above their own selfish interests.

"Looking at a honey bee hive, it does strike you as being like an organism," he said…

"What we've done is show formal mathematical backing for that idea."

Dr Gardner believes that the honey bee's behaviour is controlled by an efficient form of "policing", which suppresses conflict between individuals within the group.

This means that the bees are united in a common purpose – ensuring the survival of the queen bee's offspring.

Dr Gardner said: "If you look at honey bee workers, they don't have much opportunity for mating, but they can still lay eggs that can develop into males.

"But when other workers encounter those eggs, they eat them.

"It means if you're a worker, you cannot get ahead by pursuing your own reproduction, so you might as well help the queen with her reproduction.

"In a beehive, the workers are happy to help the community, even to die, because the queen carries and passes on their genes."…

Monday, March 23, 2009

Manuka Honey Boosts New Zealand Health Tonic

'Divine' Local Tonic Going Global
By Marianne Gillingham, The Gisborne Herald (New Zealand), 3/23/2009

One woman’s quest to give her family better health has resulted in a new tonic that is being exported from Gisborne to countries as far afield as Malta, the United States and England…

The inspiration for Lottie Ratapu’s health drink “Divine” was her own poor health five years ago, when she had a number of problems that could be traced back to poor nutrition and lifestyle.

Having lost two of her five children to cancer, Mrs Ratapu had long before turned her attention to traditional remedies that might have helped…

“But the taste was still not quite right,” said Mrs Ratapu.

It was about then that she found out about the power of manuka honey, which has been found to have natural antibiotic actions as well as being high in energy.

“I changed my recipe. I took out one ingredient and added the honey.”

The result was fantastic.

“The taste was awesome and the energy was awesome,” she said...

Mrs Ratapu plays her cards close to the chest about this marketing deal and the recipe of her potion.

Suffice to say it is already exported and it contains kawakawa, one of the most important healing herbs in Rongoa Maori (traditional Maori medicine).

Kawakawa is used as a healing herb or tonic and has been found to be good for the digestive system, as well as being used to help combat colds, flu and coughs.

Divine also includes ginger, which among other properties aids digestion, and aloe vera, known to have detoxifying and antibacterial effects.

The couple grow their own aloe vera and ginger, and harvest kawakawa from bush.

Thanks to the addition of manuka honey, the drink has the aroma of honeycomb and a fresh, thirst-quenching taste which has gone down well with a growing number of regular customers.

“The results have been awesome,” said Mrs Ratapu.

She has a swag of testimonials from people who say that drinking Divine has helped with all manner of conditions, including hard-to-treat ones like psoriasis.

“My own diabetic score has gone from 19 down to five since I started making it,” she said...

Video: Propolis..The Natural Antibiotic

video

Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6.35 millimeters [0.3 in] or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at and above room temperature. At lower temperatures it becomes hard and very brittle.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Not All Royal Jellies are the Same

Human Bee-ings
By Suzanne Wangmann, Sunday Telegraph Magazine (Australia), 3/22/2009

Greek beauty brand Apivita has exposed the secret life of bees and bottled the wondrous benefits of honey. Now we can all feel like the queen bee

Telling the story of his bees in broken English is 62-year-old Nikos Koutsianas. I wish you could see him grinning away as he stumbles over the foreign words, a wide smile stretching across his friendly face. It's as if he knows something the rest of us don't about how to live in this world with respect for nature, free of industrial guilt. And so he should, because Koutsianas started his working life with the dream of helping people with creams and medicines based on the nature around him. He's watched his 'hobby' spread to the far corners of the Earth - without desecrating it. "We believe we did well," he says warmly.

Koutsianas' company Apivita (from the Latin 'apis' meaning bees, and 'vita' meaning life) has been a phenomenal success. Even in these troubled times, the 30-year-old brand continues to thrive because, just like his bees, it has been well-cared for…

"I didn't like giving drugs to people," he says. "They'd come in with a little cough and we'd give them cough syrup and I thought, why? In our village, we would have used herbs. My mother was still there, so I asked her to collect some herbs and we began to make extracts and tinctures. Little by little we developed phytotherapy.

"We had the usual medicines on the back wall but, in the rest of the pharmacy, we had herbs, honey, royal jelly, and tisanes to treat coughs, constipation, psoriasis. We were the first pharmacy in Greece to do that."

Koutsianas continued learning, completing a post-graduate economics degree and studying law. Then along came Niki, now his wife of 36 years. She, too, was studying to be a pharmacist and asked if she could do her mandatory three months of work experience at the family's store.

By that stage, in addition to formulating and dispensing pharmaceuticals, Koutsianas was making creams. He learnt how to emulsify oil and water at university and had a good lab set-up for formulating drugs. People would ask him to make face and body creams and shampoos using his herbs and honey, and would sometimes bring in their own active ingredients. One client, he remembers, brought in a homemade concoction of her own blood and bone, which she wanted him to blend into a cream. "They came with unbelievable things, but Niki said, 'Stop all this - we must make the pharmacy a business.' She's clever and business-minded."

That was officially the start of Apivita. "We began with soaps, then shampoos, and later we had creams, but we didn't sell a lot. It was a time when few people asked for new herbs or products. They wanted the 'plastic' products from multinational corporations. When we produced a black soap with propolis [a plant resin used by bees to line and disinfect the hive's breeding cells], or I recommended a cream with royal jelly, which you had to keep in the fridge, they said, 'What's this?' These things were difficult to sell."

But the brand began to blossom following an introduction to one of Greece's best-known cartoonists, Spiros Ornerakis, who developed the logo and packaging, combined with Niki's work in marketing and distributing the products through other pharmacies. Since then, Apivita has grown into a multi-million dollar international business and is the best-selling skincare brand in Greek pharmacies. It has collected numerous awards worldwide for its use of natural ingredients, its work in maintaining sustainable work practices and its innovative product packaging…

The majority of the honey used in making Apivita cosmetics comes from the Peloponnese area in southern mainland Greece. The honey and propolis work well in cosmetics due to their waxes, proteins, enzymes, anti-microbial properties, trace elements and polysaccharides (natural sugars), but it's the royal jelly that Koutsianas thinks is the most amazing bee product.

"If you see the hives, you'll see why," he says. "Until the third day, new bees eat only royal jelly. After that, the normal bees eat honey and pollen, but the bees that are going to be queens - the difference is clear; they're the large ones and can reproduce a lot - continue to eat the royal jelly. When I've worked hard in the pharmacy all day and night, and the next day I must continue, I'll take royal jelly; for me, the results are fantastic."

But not all royal jellies are the same. The sugars and other additives that are fed to some bees increase their royal jelly production, but can reduce its quality and can be harmful to humans.

"It's important to know who's making royal jelly," he explains. "It's easy to feed bees with sugar and antibiotics and produce a lot more royal jelly, but there's one antibiotic - chloramphenical - which is especially bad for humans. Because of this, we have special beekeepers in Greece. I've known them for years - they trust me and I trust them. We have a good collaboration with a fair price and were working like this before fair trade became fashionable. When you have good partners, you have good products."…

Honey Reduces Anxiety, Improves Memory in Middle Age

The Effects of Long-Term Honey, Sucrose or Sugar-Free Diets on Memory and Anxiety in Rats
Physiology & Behavior, Article in Press

Sucrose is considered by many to be detrimental to health, giving rise to deterioration of the body associated with ageing. This study was undertaken to determine whether replacing sucrose in the diet long-term with honey that has a high antioxidant content could decrease deterioration in brain function during ageing.

Forty-five 2-month old Sprague Dawley rats were fed ad libitum for 52 weeks on a powdered diet that was either sugar-free or contained 7.9% sucrose or 10% honey (which is the equivalent amount of sugar).

Anxiety levels were assessed using an Elevated Plus Maze, whilst a Y maze and an Object Recognition task were used to assess memory. Locomotor activity was also measured using an Open Field task to ensure that differences in activity levels did not bias results in the other tasks.

Anxiety generally decreased overall from 3 to 12 months, but the honey-fed rats showed significantly less anxiety at all stages of ageing compared with those fed sucrose. Honey-fed animals also displayed better spatial memory throughout the 12-month period: at 9 and 12 months a significantly greater proportion of honey-fed rats recognised the novel arm as the unvisited arm of the maze compared to rats on a sugar-free or sucrose-based diet…

In conclusion, it appears that consumption of honey may reduce anxiety and improve spatial memory in middle age.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Propolis Component May Help Treat Bone Diseases

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Inhibits Osteoclastogenesis by Suppressing NFkappaB and Downregulating NFATc1 and c-Fos
Int Immunopharmacol, 2009 Mar 11

Osteoclasts are multinuclear cells of myeloid lineage responsible for bone resorption. The anti-inflammatory property of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), an active component of the propolis of honeybee hives, has been revealed.

Since the regulatory mechanism of differentiation and activation of osteoclasts shares many well-known signaling pathways with that of inflammation, we investigated whether CAPE has any effect on osteoclastogenesis.

CAPE potently suppressed osteoclastogenesis in cultures of bone marrow-derived precursor cells with the osteoclast differentiation factor, receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB ligand (RANKL)…

We propose that CAPE might be useful as a therapeutic agent for treatment of bone destructive diseases.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama White House to Produce Honey with Two Bee Hives

Obamas to Plant White House Vegetable Garden
By Marian Burros, The New York Times, 3/19/2009

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II.

There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut…

A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey

Major Royal Jelly Allergens Identified

Characterization of Major Allergens of Royal Jelly Apis mellifera
Trop Biomed, 2008, Dec;25(3):243-51

Royal jelly is widely consumed in the community and has perceived benefits ranging from promoting growth in children and improvement of general health status to enhancement of longevity for the elderly. However, royal jelly consumption has been linked to contact dermatitis, acute asthma, anaphylaxis and death.

High prevalence of positive skin tests to royal jelly have been reported among atopic populations in countries with a high rate of royal jelly consumption. The present study is aimed to identify the major allergens of royal jelly…

In conclusion, the major allergens of royal jelly are MRJ1 and MRJ2 in our patients' population.

Healing Power of Honey

By Tracy Madden, WOWT-TV, 3/19/2009

Check medicine cabinets these days, and there's a greater chance you'll find honey inside.

A lot of it stems from a medical study in 2007. Researchers found giving honey to children was more effective than a common cough syrup.

Anne Monahan of Omaha uses it on her four children. Monahan said "It was just something they liked, it was easy, and it really did calm their throat and suppress it."'

Doctor John Andresen with Children's Physicians is a believer. While honey is not an option for anyone under one due to the increased risk of Botulism, Doctor Andresen recommends other patients give it a try.

He says honey has a lower pH, making it more of an acid which inhibits bacterial growth. It causes water to be released, drawing out bacteria. Honey has plant compounds in it, with antibacterial properties. Certain honey compounds produce Hydrogen Peroxide, which kills bacteria. Doctor John Andresen said "Honey has been used for two to three thousand years. There's evidence it was used in ancient Egyptian times. The texts were translated and it was used for cough and upper respiratory issues but also for skin infections and wound infections."

Customers at "It's All About Bees" in Ralston have heard the buzz. More people are sweetening food with honey, looking for a natural way to boost their health. The owners say claims are backed up one jar of honey at a time. Wendy Fletcher said "Usually they'll try it, buy a small jar and they try it and allergies aren't near as bad so then they usually come back."

It's not just about taking honey when we're sick. There are plenty of people who take it as a preventative measure, like a daily multi-vitamin. At "It's All About Bees" they recommend a tablespoon every day for adults, a teaspoon every day for kids…

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Video: 'Armed' Chimps Go Wild for Honey

By Rebecca Morelle, BBC News, 3/18/2009

Cameras have revealed how "armed" chimpanzees raid beehives to gorge on sweet honey.

Scientists in the Republic of Congo found that the wild primates crafted large clubs from branches to pound the nests until they broke open.

The team said some chimps would also use a "toolkit" of different wooden implements in a bid to access the honey and satisfy their sweet tooth.

The study is published in the International Journal of Primatology.

Crickette Sanz, from the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said: "The nutritional returns don't seem to be that great.

"But their excitement when they've succeeded is incredible, you can see how much they are enjoying tasting the honey."…

Perhaps for obvious reasons, the chimps avoided bee species that sting, targeting the hives of stingless bees instead…

Water Extract of Brazilian Green Propolis Protects Brain Cells

Neuroprotective Effects of Brazilian Green Propolis and Its Main Constituents Against Oxygen-Glucose Deprivation Stress, with a Gene-Expression Analysis
Phytother Res, 2009, Mar 10

Our purpose was to investigate the neuroprotective effects (and the underlying mechanism) exerted by water extract of Brazilian green propolis (WEP) and its main constituents against the neuronal damage induced by oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD)/reoxygenation in retinal ganglion cells (RGC-5, a rat ganglion cell-line transformed using E1A virus).

Cell damage was induced by OGD 4 h plus reoxygenation 18 h exposure. In RGC-5, and also in PC12 (rat pheochromocytoma, neuronal cells), WEP and some of its main constituents attenuated the cell damage.

At the end of the period of OGD/reoxygenation, RNA was extracted and DNA microarray analysis was performed to examine the gene-expression profile in RGC-5. Expression of casein kinase 2 (CK2) was down-regulated and that of Bcl-2-related ovarian killer protein (Bok) was up-regulated following OGD stress, results that were confirmed by quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR (qRT-PCR). These effects were normalized by WEP.

Our findings indicate that WEP has neuroprotective effects against OGD/reoxygenation-induced cell damage and that certain constituents of WEP (caffeoylquinic acid derivatives, artepillin C, and p-coumaric acid) may be partly responsible for its neuroprotective effects. Furthermore, the protective mechanism may involve normalization of the expressions of antioxidant- and apoptosis-related genes (such as CK2 and Bok, respectively).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Manuka, Sidr Honey Kill Bacteria that Cause Sinusitis

Honey May Relieve Sinusitis
China Daily, 3/18/2009

USC University Hospital reports that honey could help reduce chronic sinusitis. An in-vitro lab study conducted at the University of Ottawa found that the “natural germ fighters” in honey can kill off bacteria that cause sinusitis. Researchers tested honey on biofilm substances that contain the sinusitis bacteria, and found that honey was actually more effective at killing the bacteria than traditionally-used antibiotics.

The Director of Pediatric Clinical Research at Penn State, Dr. Ian Paul, commented on this new study: “Bacteria do not grow very well in honey…There is data that honey works well for wounds, in smothering the bacteria that that grow in wounds. So it’s not altogether surprising that honey would be effective in killing these bacteria.”…

If you’re interested in specific types of honey, here are two varieties that the Canadian researchers found to be most powerful against sinusitis: Manuka honey from New Zealand and Sidr honey from Yemen.

First Ukrainian Scientific Conference on Apitherapy 2009

When: April 22-24, 2009, Kyiv, Ukraine
Arrival and registration of the participants of the conference April 21, 2009, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The program of the conference includes:

* the plenary meeting
* scientific reports and lectures delivered by the leading doctors and beekeepers of Ukraine
* master-class training
* excursion to the National Museum of Beekeeping and to the apiary (bee-garden)

Registration payment is 30Euro for foreign participants

E-mail: apiconference2009@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Video: Bee Venom Therapy in Peru

video

Honey Recommended for Minor Skin Abrasions

Honey: Ease a Hangover, Treat Minor Skin Abrasions
McClatchy Tribune, 3/17/2009

Some plain, unassuming household objects have hidden superpowers. And most of these items cost less than a couple of bucks. There are cult followings of vinegar and duct tape. Entire tomes have been written about the virtues of baking soda.

Throughout March in Living, you will find 102 extraordinary uses for 26 ordinary household items. These double-duty ideas will help you go green while you save some green.

Three uses

1. Soak in a milk and honey bath. Add about 1/3 cup of honey to 2 1/4 cups of milk. Mix thoroughly. You can even add a few drops of essential oil to give your honey milk bath additional scent.

2. Treat minor skin abrasions and wounds with honey’s antibacterial and antifungal properties. Apply a small amount twice daily to a wound or burn to speed up the healing process…

Monday, March 16, 2009

Video: California Beekeeper Describes Colony Collapse Disorder

BBC, 3/4/2009

Thyme Honey May Help Prevent Breast, Prostate, Endometrial Cancer

Bioactivity of Greek Honey Extracts on Breast Cancer (MCF-7), Prostate Cancer (PC-3) and Endometrial Cancer (Ishikawa) Cells: Profile Analysis of Extracts
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

Historically, honey has been important in Greek culture. The chemical composition and the potential of Greek honey extracts (thyme, pine and fir honey) to influence the estrogenic activity and the cell viability of breast (MCF-7), endometrial (Ishikawa) and prostate (PC-3) cancer cells were investigated. All honeys contained total phenolics, phenolic acids, and hydroxymethylfurfural, the levels being highest in thyme honey.

Sugars and volatile compounds, but not fatty acids, were detected in all honey extracts. Thyme, pine and fir honey showed both antiestrogenic and a weak estrogenic effect at low and high concentration, respectively, in MCF-7 cells. Thyme honey reduced the viability of Ishikawa and PC-3 cells, whereas fir honey stimulated the viability of MCF-7 cells.

In conclusion, Greek honeys are rich in phenolic compounds, they modulate estrogenic activity whereas a thyme honey-enriched diet may prevent cancer related processes in breast, prostate and endometrial cancer cells.

Bee Products Recommended for Health, Skin Care

Make Wealth From Bee Keeping
By Don Abraham, Business Daily (Nigeria), 3/16/2009

In addition to honey, there are other by– products from the business such as royal jelly, propolis, beeswax, bee venom and pollen (bee–bread). Each of these has many food, medicinal and industrial uses. Pure natural sweet honey and its above-mentioned by-products, have over 27 medicinal, 8 industrial and other agricultural uses. Some of these include the use of honey in dealing with the menace caused by boils, rashes and pimples, stomach ulcers, excess weight management, beauty and fertility enhancement, general nutrition etc.

The secret of Princess Cleopatra of the Pharaonic Egypt’s ravishing beauty, stunning elegance and long–lasting youthfulness lay in her regular use of honey and royal jelly. And for pretty women and handsome men who want to look prettier and radiate that kind of beauty that gets instant attention in a crowd, regular facial treatment using honey-based preparations is a must.

And to do it best and at least cost, the use of the mixture of honey with fresh egg yolk and olive oil comes handy. This mixture can also be used to arrest dandruff. Cosmetologists use a mixture of honey and clay as an anti-wrinkle agent for skin and scalp. There are also a lot of cleansing agents that have generous doses of honey as a major constituent. Such preparations include cosmetics, aloe vera creams, toilet soaps etc.

Honey has many uses in herbal and orthodox preparations and as a whole food because of its nutritive values. A review of the biochemical composition of honey reveals that it is loaded with vitamins A, B, B2, C, proteins, complex sugars, essential minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium etc. It is a tonic that gives instant energy and stamina and that’s why athletes, sportsmen and sports women use it regularly and generously…

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Video: Bee Venom Therapy in China

video

Propolis Components Active Against Cervical Cancer Cells

Cytotoxic Constituents of Chinese Propolis
J. Nat. Prod, March 11, 2009

A pair of new flavanol racemates (1a and 1b) and a new flavanol racemic mixture (2) were isolated from crude propolis from Henan Province, People’s Republic of China. Also obtained were nine known compounds, including two flavones, four flavonols, two flavanols, and isoferulic acid.

Spectroscopic analysis was employed to assign the structures of these new compounds and the absolute configurations of 1a and 1b. Cytotoxicity of the isolated compounds against the HeLa human cervical carcinoma cancer cell line was evaluated, with only compounds 1a, 1b, 2, and rhamnetin (3) being active.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Apitherapy Growing in Cuba

Cuba Excels in the Therapeutic Use of Honey Derivatives

HAVANA, Cuba , Mar 12 (ACN) The use of honey derivatives for the benefit of human health constitutes one of the achievements at world level of Cuban specialists in this field, pointed out experts in this capital.

The vice-president of the commission of apitherapy from APIMUNDIA, Roch Domerego, a participant in the 2nd Cuban Congress on Beekeeping, told ACN that Cuban professionals have been working in this field of health for several years now, with very good results.

Domerego highlighted the formulation and certification of several medicines of the archipelago to combat different ailments, taking the use of pollen, propoleo, and bee poison as a starting point

Each product- he added- has its own specificity within therapy. Honey, for example, is used for cicatrisation and it's useful to prepare other drugs, while propoleo is an excellent disinfectant and natural antibiotic.

Havana's Calixto García and Frank País hospitals and Finlay Institute have carried out studies on 2,600 patients, which supported the identification and registry of six new medicaments.

These products are mainly used as antibacterial, to cure digestive problems, diarrhoea, broncho-pulmonary infections, herpes, chicken pox, and as a skin cicatrizant...

New Compound Isolated from Royal Jelly

Isolation of (E)-9,10-Dihydroxy-2-Decenoic Acid from Royal Jelly and Determination of the Absolute Configuration by Chemical Synthesis
Tetrahedron: Asymmetry, Article in Press

(E)-9,10-Dihydroxy-2-decenoic acid 1 was isolated as a new compound from royal jelly. The planar structure was deduced by spectroscopic analyses, whereas the absolute configuration was established by chemical synthesis of both enantiomers of 1.

The natural product was revealed to be ca. 3.5:1 mixture of (R)- and (S)-acids by comparison of 1 with authentic samples.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Up to 70% of Allergy Sufferers See Positive Results with Bee Pollen

If You Sneeze, Have Itchy, Watery Eyes or Allergies, Try Some Bee Pollen
By Heidi Rice, Citizen Telegram (USA), 3/12/2009

RIFLE, COLO. - Everybody likes it when the flowers begin to bloom and the grass begins to get green again. But those with allergies are often miserable when spring rolls around.

There may be some possible relief through bee pollen, according to Blane Colton, owner of Epicurean Honey in Rulison, which collects and sells local bee pollen and honey.

"Commonly among allergies there are two types: Wind-born pollen, which is distributed by air-flow, and insect-gathered," Colton said.

Pollen is the male germ of the plant world and the microscopic grains are capable of fertilizing a plant of its own species. Pollen is the protein, vitamin and mineral source in a bee's diet. Bee pollen differs from the pollen on the anther of a flower in that the bee, in order to carry pollen back to the hive, packs the pollen into small pellets by adding a tiny bit of honey so it will stick together.

Bee pollen contains small quantities of a wind-born pollen which act as inoculants, allowing the allergy sufferer to build up a tolerance. And for allergy sufferers, local pollen is often best in order to address the pollen in the area in which you live.

"Physicians often recommend using local pollen or local honey containing bee pollen to deal with pollen allergies," Colton said. "It builds up a tolerance, but we are no way suggesting that it's a medicine.”

There are a number of ways to ingest bee pollen.

"A lot of people don't like the flavor very much, so I recommend putting (the pollen) in smoothies or sprinkle it on a salad," Colton said.

It's not cheap at $8 per pound. The recommended dosage is about one or two teaspoons a day or less.

But does it work?

"Half of our customers eat the pollen for allergies and about 60 to 70 percent get positive results," Colton said. "It does work for some people and even though it's expensive, it's worth a try."…

Royal Jelly Peptide May Help Reduce Blood Pressure

A Peptide YY Inhibits the Human Renin Activity in a pH Dependent Manner
Frontiers in Bioscience, 14, 3286-3291, January 1, 2009

Royal jelly (RJ) is known to possess several physiological and pharmacological properties. A dipeptide YY derived from RJ proteins is known to inhibit angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity.

Our previous study showed that the dipeptide YY inhibited the human renin activity at physiological pH. In this study, we investigated the pH dependency of the inhibitory effect of the dipeptide YY to the renin reaction with angiotensinogen.

The renin activity was expressed at a wide pH range with two peaks around at 6.0 and 8.0. The dipeptide YY was found to inhibit the renin activity only at the acidic pH range lower than 8.0. The Ki was estimated 4.6 mM at pH 6.0 when the Km of human renin was determined 0.07 mM using sheep angiotensinogen as the substrate. The Km was 0.25 mM at pH 8.5.

A stereo structure of the complex of human renin with the dipeptide YY was modeled to discuss its non inhibitory effect on the renin activity at the basic pH. It possibly owes to a local sift of YY space from the center of renin cleft into the N-domain side of renin molecule at basic pH range higher than 8.0.

The Secret Lives of NY City Beekeepers

The New Republic, 3/11/2009

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-February, a small group of New Yorkers—beekeepers, environmentalists, and a handful of honey aficionados—huddled together in an empty SoHo office building for a local honey-tasting session. If this had been Portland or San Francisco, it wouldn't have been a notable event—just a harmless gathering of honey connoisseurs. But in New York, bees are classified under section 161.01 of the health code as "wild animals," and are just as illegal to own in the city as lions, cougars, alligators, or polar bears. So a local honey-tasting event is, in many ways, an act of political defiance…

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Study Looks at Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Bee Venom

Bee Venom Suppresses LPS-Mediated NO/iNOS Induction Through Inhibition of PKC-α Expression
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Article in Press

Bee venom (BV) is a traditional Korean medicine that has been widely used with satisfactory results in the treatment of some immune-related diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis.

The purpose of this study is to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the anti-inflammatory effects of BV, which is used in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases in traditional Korean medicine. We evaluated the anti-inflammatory effect of BV on NO generation and iNOS expression by LPS in rat C6 glioma cells…

BV suppressed the LPS-induced NO generation and iNOS expression, and it also inhibited the expressions of LPS-induced pro-inflammatory molecules including Cox-2 and IL-1β in rat C6 glioma cells. Then, BV inhibited LPS-induced expression of PKC-α and MEK/ERK, not p38 and JNK. Moreover, inhibition of LPS-induced iNOS expression by BV was dependent on transcriptional activites of AP-1/NF-κB through MEK/ERK pathway.

These results indicate that BV suppresses LPS-induced iNOS activation through regulation of PKC-α. Accordingly, BV exerts a potent suppressive effect on pro-inflammatory responses in rat C6 glioma cells.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Apitherapy Lecture in Missouri

Kansas City Star, 3/11/2009

BEE AWARE-NESS: Learn about apitherapy, the use of bee products to prevent, heal or recover from a disease or condition. 7 p.m. March 12, Mid-Continent Public Library, Parkville Branch, 8815 Tom Watson Parkway, Parkville. Registration required. Adults. (816-741-4721)

Methods to Extract Adenosine Phosphates from Royal Jelly Studied

Extraction and Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatographic Analysis of Adenosine Phosphates in Royal Jelly
Se Pu (Chinese Journal of Chromatography), 2008 Nov;26(6):736-9

Several different extraction procedures including perchloric acid extraction, boiling water extraction and boiling magnesium sulfate solution extraction were studied for the extraction of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) from the royal jelly.

Among these methods, the extraction with 5% perchloric acid at below 4 degrees C was the optimum extraction method. A simple, fast and sensitive ultra-performance liquid chromatographic (UPLC) method was developed for the determination of ATP, ADP and AMP in royal jelly…

This method was successfully applied to the analysis of some royal jelly samples from beekeepers and markets for the investigation of distribution of ATP, ADP and AMP in royal jelly samples.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

UK Government Launches Plan to Protect Honey Bees

Plan to Protect Bees Before the Buzz Dies Out
By Catherine Jacob, Sky News, 3/9/2009

The government has launched a new Healthy Bees plan to protect and improve the health of the beleaguered honey bee in England and Wales.

The last two years have seen recorded losses of between 10 to 15% in bee numbers, according to the environment department, Defra.

The 10-year plan aims to sustain honey bee populations by helping beekeepers to try to minimise risk from pests and disease.

It comes after the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, announced an extra £4.3m of investment in bee health.

The first stage of the plan will attempt to make contact with around 20,000 amateur beekeepers.

They will be told to make sure they are aware of the need to alert the National Bee Unit (NBU) to bee health problems and encourage them to register on BeeBase, its beekeepers database…

Encapsulation Used to Increase Propolis Solubility in Water

Encapsulation of Complex Extracts in β-cyclodextrin: An Application to Propolis Ethanolic Extract
Journal of Microencapsulation, 6 March 2009

Propolis ethanolic extracts (PE) are rather complicated mixtures of bioactive compounds belonging to several chemical classes. The potential use of β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) cavity for the incorporation of specific PE components, aiming to increase their solubility in water, was studied in a Greek propolis, which was rich in polyphenols and terpenes.

The PE/β-CD inclusion complexes were prepared by sonication of PE suspensions in aqueous solutions of β-CD, followed by filtration and freeze-drying. The aqueous solubility of PE in the presence of β-CD was studied by the construction of solubility diagrams and by determining the fraction of PE constituents that was dissolved in water.

Encapsulation efficiencies were found to be higher (9.4-23.3%) for relatively small aromatic molecules like cinnamic and benzoic acid derivatives and lower for terpenic acids (5.0-6.7%), anthraquinones (3.6-8.4%) and flavonoids (4.0-10.7%). The respective in vitro solubilities in simulated gastric fluid followed an opposite trend, being lower for the relatively small aromatic molecules.

It is concluded that the encapsulation in β-CD may increase the solubility of PE constituents in a manner related to their structure, while the amount of substances released will depend both on their chemical properties and on their relative abundance in the matrix.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Indian Women Taught to Collect Bee Venom

Young Girls Trying to Make a Difference!
Aarti Aggarwal, Times of India, 3/7/2009

ALLAHABAD: These young girls are out to make a difference in the lives of rural people by taking science to their doorstep. They are advocating biotechnological alternative income resources by introducing technological breakthroughs like integrated prawn-fish culture, rearing African duck, honey-bee venom extraction and mushroom cultivation in villages here…

With an aim to make farmers economically stronger by ensuring the optimum use of their farm land and available water bodies, girls of the zoology department of Allahabad University have taken up various sites to showcase the possibility of adopting these techniques…

Dr Neeshma Jaiswal, who has recently been awarded the DST Young Scientist Award, is offering some alternatives to village women. She is teaching village women the technique of honey-bee venom extraction. In fact, the young girl has created a honey-bee venom extractor device using indigenous material and applied for its patent too. Village women can use their land to raise honey-bee colonies and sell honey as also their venom. Honey-bee venom, used in many medicines, is priced even higher than gold, between Rs 5,000-6,000 per gram.

The venom extractor device uses a light current of 8-10 volts which annoys honey-bees and they bite at the framed glass panel. They are shooed away and the glass panel is scratched to collect the venom. This venom is immediately stored at freezing temperature and then marketed, informs Neeshma. Keeping in mind limited expenditure for villagers, Neeshma has also taught village women to build honey-bee boxes using wood from Lantana weed. It costs merely Rs 150 and the extractor device costs only Rs 250…

Honey and Bee Pollen Credited for Health, Long Life

Clintonville Market Boasts the Best in Home-Grown Goods
Claire Racine, The Lantern, 3/9/2009

Dale Benedict takes a teaspoon of bee pollen with his juice every morning. He says it prevents allergies, gives him energy and offers a daily supply of vitamins and minerals. He's 71 years old and still going strong, all because of the honey and bee pollen, he says.

"We're pretty thrilled about honey bees," said Benedict, the owner of Honey Health Farms. Although he first started selling honey simply for its taste, he now promotes his bee products for their health benefits…

Dark Honey Shows Highest Antioxidant Activity

Antioxidant Activity of Portuguese Honey Samples: Different Contributions of the Entire Honey and Phenolic Extract
Food Chemistry, Volume 114, Issue 4, 15 June 2009, Pages 1438-1443

The antioxidant activity of Portuguese honeys was evaluated considering the different contribution of entire samples and phenolic extracts. Several chemical and biochemical assays were used to screen the antioxidant properties of entire honeys with different colour intensity and phenolic extracts: reducing power, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical-scavenging capacity, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation using the β-carotene linoleate model system and the thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay. The amounts of phenols, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, β-carotene, lycopene and sugars present in the samples were also determined.

The highest antioxidant contents and the lowest EC50 values for antioxidant activity were obtained in the dark honey. An analysis of variance was carried out to evaluate the influence of the colour intensity and extraction method in the antioxidant properties and phenolic contents. A discriminant analysis was also performed, giving satisfactory results once the six samples were clustered in six individual groups obtained through the definition of two discriminant analysis dimensions.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Propolis Best in Treating Leishmaniasis

Comparison of Thymus vulgaris (Thyme), Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) and Propolis Hydroalcoholic Extracts Versus Systemic Glucantime in the Treatment of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Balb/c Mice
J Vector Borne Dis, 2008 Dec;45(4):301-6

Background & Objectives: Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by sand flies. Many investigations are performed to find an effective and safe treatment for leishmaniasis. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of herbal extracts of Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) and Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), propolis hydroalcoholic extract and systemic glucantime against cutaneous leishmaniasis in Balb/c mice…

The results of present study showed that hydroalcoholic extracts of Thymus vulgaris, Achillea millefolium and propolis were significantly more effective than systemic glucantime or alcohol for the treatment of leishmaniais in Balb/c mice. The highest efficacy was observed for propolis, followed by Achillea millefolium and then Thymus vulgaris…

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Stingless Bee Honey Shows High Antibacterial Activity

Ecuadorian Stingless Bee (Meliponinae) Honey: A Chemical and Functional Profile of an Ancient Health Product
Food Chemistry, Volume 114, Issue 4, 15 June 2009, Pages 1413-1420

Stingless bee honey samples from west Amazonian Ecuador were studied for their physiochemical, chemical and functional properties…

All these results were compared with those acquired for two multifloral Apis mellifera honeys. DPPH and β-carotene bleaching tests were performed, showing interesting values for Ecuadorian honey samples, higher than those shown by multifloral A. mellifera honeys (88.1 ± 11.1 DPPH inhibition%; 70.8 ± 8.90 β-carotene inhibition%).

Antibacterial activity, against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, revealed MIC values (10–50 μg/ml) always lower than those of A. mellifera honeys. Ecuadorian Meliponinae honey samples also showed anti-mutagenic activity assayed with Saccharomyces cerevisiae D7 strain, inhibiting back mutation over the entire range of concentrations.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Video: Russians Use Honey to Treat Eyes, Heart, Libido

Russians and Their Love of Honey
AFP, 3/5/2009

Origin Sought for Free Radical Activity in Propolis

Main Flavonoids, DPPH Activity, and Metal Content Allow Determination of the Geographical Origin of Propolis from the Province of San Juan (Argentina)
J. Agric. Food Chem, Publication Date (Web): March 2, 2009

The chemical characterization as well as the assessment of geographical origin of propolis from several areas of the Provincia de San Juan (Argentina) is reported. Chemical characterization of propolis was performed by measuring total phenolic (TP), total flavonoids (FL), free radical scavenging capacity (DPPH bleaching), and metal content in samples of six different districts.

Methanolic propolis extracts (MEP) showed TP ranging from 25.7 to 39.3 g of gallic acid equivalents per 100 g of MEP, whereas flavonoids ranged from 6.6 to 13.3 g of quercetin equivalents per 100 g of MEP.

Six main flavonoids were isolated and identified from the propolis samples, comprising the flavanones 7-hydroxy-8-methoxyflavanone (1), pinocembrin (2), and pinobanksin (3), the flavones chrysin (4) and tectochrysin (5), and the flavonol galangin (6). Compounds 1−6 were quantified by HPLC-PDA.

Free radical scavenging activity, measured as percent DPPH bleaching, ranged from 46.6 to 89.5 at 10 μg/mL. Moreover, propolis samples presented high contents of Ca, K, Fe, Na, and Mg, but low amounts of Mn and Zn.

Linear discriminant analysis affords eight descriptors, galangin, pinocembrin, pinobanksin, chrysin, tectochrysin, DPPH, K, and Na, allowing a clear distinction with 100% accuracy among different origins within the Provincia de San Juan.

A direct relationship of DPPH free radical scavenging activity with TP or with compounds 1−6 was not found, showing the need of further evaluation on the origin of free radical activity in propolis samples.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Propolis Recommended for Halitosis and Gingivitis

Buzzing to a Different Beat
By Rebecca Aldous, Victoria News (Canada), 3/4/2009

…Defayette moves over to a workbench by the door, seeking to prove me wrong. On it lies a rectangular box with frames slotted into it. Each one is covered in wax honeycombs and although empty, the smell of honey haunts them.

Picking out one frame, Defayette scratches a reddish goo from the wooden surface with his finger nail. The substance folds on itself like fudge scraped off a spoon.

“Propolis,” he says, before putting his finger in his mouth.

Bees collect propolis from tree buds and sap flows, he explains. It holds anti-fungal and antibiotic qualities and the bees spread it around the entrance to their hives, sparing them from infections.

While talking Defayette digs a small blue bottle out of a cardboard box, untwists the top and fills an eyedropper with a dark brown liquid.

“This is propolis with alcohol,” he says, placing the open bottle under my nose.

A strong scent races up my nostrils, kicking me back to the moment I first smelled vodka. Defayette places the eyedropper on his tongue.

“I love it,” he says. “It kills halitosis and gingivitis.”…

MGO Responsible for Anti-Bacterial Activity of Manuka Honey

Buzzing with Health
Galway Advertiser, 3/5/2009

If you are battling a cold or flu or just feeling below par generally check out Manuka Health’s MGO Manuka honey.

This dark cream honey is made by bees which collect nectar from the manuka plant which grows in New Zealand and is renowned for its anti bacterial qualities.

It is used to treat stomach ulcers, digestive disorders, including irritable bowel, infected wounds, sores and leg ulcers, bacterial and viral infections, eg, colds and flu, especially chest/throat infections and is believed to boost the immune system during illness and convalescence.

The level of MGO (a compound naturally formed in the nectar of the Manuka flower ready for collection by the bee) is responsible for the anti-bacterial activity of Manuka honey, according to the makers. The more MGO that is present the higher the kill rate of bacteria, it claims…

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Video: New Zealand Honeys High in Antioxidants

video
UK Buyers Paying $35 a Jar for South Island Honey
3News, 3/2/2009

The antioxidant properties of South Island honey are helping a Dunedin company create a buzz in the UK. Consumers there are willing to pay $35 a jar for the health benefits of the premium honey…

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New Zealand Beekeeper Admits Selling Poisoned Honey

Wellington, March 3 NZPA - A Whangamata beekeeper who today admitted selling honeycomb which inadvertently poisoned people will be sentenced in three weeks' time.

The honey, which was sold in Whangamata on the Coromandel last Easter by Projen Apiaries, continued a poison, tutin, which made 22 people sick…

FSA tests found the honey, marketed as "A Taste of Whangamata Pure Honey", contained high levels of the toxic substances tutin and its derivative hyenanchin.

The toxins ended up in the honey after bees fed on tutu bushes.

Royal Jelly May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Antihypertensive Activities of Royal Jelly Protein Hydrolysate and Its Fractions in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
Acta Med Okayama, 2009 Feb;63(1):57-64

Angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory and hypotensive effects of 7 peptide fractions (Frs) of royal jelly protein hydrolysate (RJPH) were studied in comparison with those of RJPH alone. Fr 4 and Fr 5 were the highest in ACE inhibitory activity and yield, respectively. Molecular weights (MWs) of RJPH and Fr 1-Fr 7 were distributed from 100 to 5,000 and those of Fr 1-Fr 7 increased in order from Fr 1 to Fr 7…

RJPH caused a long-lasting hypotensive effect in proportion to the magnitude of the MWs of RJPH fractions. The hypotensive pattern of RJPH was similar to the combined pattern of Fr 3-Fr 6. From these results, it can be concluded that the long-lasting hypotensive effect of oral administration of RJPH is dependent on the MWs of its ACE inhibitory peptides and the time required to digest them.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Skin Lesions Treated with Daily Honey Wound Dressings

Pyoderma Gangrenosum and Ulcerative Colitis in the Tropics
Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical, vol.41 no.6 Uberaba Nov./Dec. 2008

Pyoderma gangrenosum is a rare inflammatory skin condition, characterized by progressive and recurrent skin ulceration. There may be rapidly enlarging, painful ulcers with undermined edges and a necrotic, hemorrhagic base. Disorders classically associated with pyoderma gangrenosum include rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, paraproteinemia and myeloproliferative disorders.

There have been some reports of the occurrence of pyoderma gangrenosum in Africa, and in Nigeria, but only one specifically reported pyoderma gangrenosum in association with ulcerative colitis.

We report on a 45-year-old man who presented with pyoderma gangrenosum associated with ulcerative colitis; the second report in Nigeria. The skin lesions were managed with daily honey wound dressings. Oral dapsone and prednisolone were started. The frequency of the bloody diarrhea decreased, and was completely resolved by the second week after admission. The ulcers also showed accelerated healing. The goal of therapy is directed towards the associated systemic disorder, if present.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Haagen-Dazs Invests $500K to Save Honey Bees

Haagen-Dazs (Hearts) Honeybees
By Lisa Baertlein, Reuters, 2/27/2009

Ice cream seller Haagen-Dazs is investing a half-million dollars to save the honeybees – and to save us from a future of feeding on gruel.

Honeybees, which 60 Minutes called the “unsung heroes of the food chain,” are threatened in many parts of the world, putting food supplies in danger.

Bees pollenate one-third of all of the natural foods we eat. Just imagine a world without nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers and even meat and milk from cattle that eat bee-pollenated alfalfa…