Monday, August 31, 2009

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Honey a Potential Anti-Cancer Agent

Involvement of Non-Protein Thiols, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Reactive Oxygen Species and p53 in Honey-Induced Apoptosis
Investigational New Drugs, August 24, 2009

Honey is a complex mixture of different biologically active constituents. Honey possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor properties. Our chief investigation was to assess the honey induced apoptosis and its molecular mechanism in colon cancer cell growth inhibition.

Honey exerted antiproliferative potential against the HCT-15 and HT-29 colon cancer cells as assessed by 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Flow cytometric analysis showed the increasing accumulation of hypodiploid nuclei in the sub-G1 phase of cell cycle indicating apoptosis.

Honey transduced the apoptotic signal via initial depletion of intracellular non protein thiols, consequently reducing the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and increasing the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. An increasing earlier lipid layer break was observed in the treated cells compared to the control.

Honey induced apoptosis was accompanied by up-regulating the p53 and modulating the expression of pro and anti-apoptotic proteins. Further apoptosis induction was substantiated using DNA fragmentation assay and YO-PRO-1 staining.

Results showed honey as a plausible candidate for induction of apoptosis through ROS and mitochondria-dependent mechanisms in colon cancer cells. This will promote honey as a potential chemotherapeutic agent against colon cancer.

Cell Phone Towers Cripple Honey Bee Navigational Ability

Mobile Phone Towers a Threat to Honey Bees: Study
AFP, 8/31/2009

NEW DELHI: The electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phone towers and cellphones can pose a threat to honey bees, a study published in India has concluded.

An experiment conducted in the southern state of Kerala found that a sudden fall in the bee population was caused by towers installed across the state by cellphone companies to increase their network.

The electromagnetic waves emitted by the towers crippled the ‘navigational skills’ of the worker bees that go out to collect nectar from flowers to sustain bee colonies, said Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy, who conducted the study, the Press Trust of India news agency reported…

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bee Venom-Induced Kidney Failure Examined

Mechanisms of Bee Venom-Induced Acute Renal Failure
Toxicon, Volume 48, Issue 1, July 2006, Pages 44-54

The spread of Africanized bees in the American continent has increased the number of severe envenomation after swarm attacks. Acute renal failure (ARF) is one of the major hazards in surviving patients.

To assess the mechanisms of bee venom-induced ARF, rats were evaluated before, up to 70 min and 24 h after 0.5 mg/kg of venom injection. Control rats received saline. Bee venom caused an early and significant reduction in glomerular filtration rate (GFR, inulin clearance, 0.84±0.05 to 0.40±0.08 ml/min/100 g, p<0.0001) and renal blood flow (RBF, laser Doppler flowmetry), which was more severe in the cortical (−72%) than in the medullary area (−48%), without systemic blood pressure decrease. Creatine phosphokinase, lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) and serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase increased significantly, pointing to rhabdomyolysis, whereas serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase and hematocrit remained stable.

Twenty-four hours after venom, RBF recovered but GFR remained significantly impaired. Renal histology showed acute tubular injury and a massive tubular deposition of myoglobin. Venom was added to isolated rat proximal tubules (PT) suspension subjected to normoxia and hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) for direct nephrotoxicity evaluation. After 60 min of incubation, 0.1, 2 and 10 μg of venom induced significant increases in LDH release: 47%, 64% and 86%, respectively, vs. 21% in control PT while 2 μg of venom enhanced H/R injury (85% vs. 55%, p<0.01).

These results indicate that vasoconstriction, direct nephrotoxicity and rhabdomyolysis are important mechanisms in the installation of bee venom-induced ARF that may occur even without hemolysis or hypotension.

Heated High-Fructose Corn Syrup Can Kill Bees

Heat Forms Potentially Harmful Substance in High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Medical News Today, 8/27/2009

Researchers have established the conditions that foster formation of potentially dangerous levels of a toxic substance in the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) often fed to honey bees. Their study, which appears in the current issue of ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could also help keep the substance out of soft drinks and dozens of other human foods that contain HFCS. The substance, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), forms mainly from heating fructose.

In the new study, Blaise LeBlanc and Gillian Eggleston and colleagues note HFCS's ubiquitous usage as a sweetener in beverages and processed foods. Some commercial beekeepers also feed it to bees to increase reproduction and honey production. When exposed to warm temperatures, HFCS can form HMF and kill honeybees. Some researchers believe that HMF may be a factor in Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious disease that has killed at least one-third of the honeybee population in the United States…

"The data are important for commercial beekeepers, for manufacturers of HFCS, and for purposes of food storage. Because HFCS is incorporated as a sweetener in many processed foods, the data from this study are important for human health as well," the report states. It adds that studies have linked HMF to DNA damage in humans…

Saturday, August 29, 2009

UK Firm to Sell Propolis Product for Women in UAE

Meldex Signs Distribution Agreement with Delta Medical for Menoflavon and Melprotect

Aug 28, 2009 (Datamonitor Financial Deals Tracker via COMTEX) -- Meldex International Plc, a UK-based specialty pharmaceutical and healthcare company, has signed a sales and distribution agreement with Delta Medical Establishment for Meldex's Menoflavon(R) range of products and Melprotect(R) in the United Arab Emirates…

Menoflavon is a natural supplement for women who suffer from disorders in general well-being during the menopause and Melprotect Propolis is a natural substance and has a soothing effect on skin and mucous membranes.

Propolis Shows Immunorestorative Activity

Propolis Effect on Th1/Th2 Cytokines Production by Acutely Stressed Mice
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 125, Issue 2, 7 September 2009, Pages 230-233

Aim of the study: Propolis has gained special attention due to its biological properties, however, little is known about its immunomodulatory effects in stress conditions. The purpose of this study was to investigate propolis effect on Th1/Th2 cytokines production by spleen cells of acutely stressed mice. Serum corticosterone concentration was determined as a stress indicator...

Results: Regarding Th1 cytokines production, no alterations were seen in IL-2 production; however, IFN-γ production was inhibited in stressed mice, even when treated with propolis. As to Th2 cytokines, IL-4 was inhibited in stressed mice, but normal levels were seen when these animals were treated with propolis. No significant differences were found in IL-10 production between the experimental groups. Stressed groups (treated or not with propolis) showed higher corticosterone concentrations in comparison to control group.

Conclusions: Data suggest that propolis treatment was not able to counteract the stress-induced immunosuppressive effect on IFN-γ production; however, propolis showed an immunorestorative role, increasing IL-4 production in stressed mice, favoring humoral immune response during stress. Since the exact mechanisms of this natural product on immune system are still unclear, further studies are still required for a better comprehension of propolis use as a therapeutic alternative against the stress-induced negative effects that could lead to the development of various diseases.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Video: Rap Video Aims to Save Honey Bees

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By J.H. Freeman, Medill Reports, 8/29/2009

In preparation for the first-ever National Honey Bee Awareness Day that took place on Aug. 22, big bee backer Häagen-Dazs used the creative efforts of five brothers from Los Altos, Calif., to make a short video raising awareness.

Max Lanman, a 21-year-old senior at Yale majoring in film studies (and the third-oldest Lanman brother), directed, edited and photographed the result of the request, a viral video entitled “Do the Honey Bee.”…

New Way to Evaluate Propolis Component’s Anti-Bacterial Efficiency

The Use of FTIR Microscopy for the Evaluation of Anti-Bacterial Agents Activity
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, Volume 96, Issue 1, 17 July 2009, Pages 17-23

FTIR spectroscopy has been used by chemists as a powerful tool to characterize inorganic and organic compounds. In this study we examined the potential of FTIR microspectroscopy for early evaluation of the efficiency of anti-bacterial therapy. For this purpose, the effect of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) and ampicillin on the development of bacterial infection in cell culture was examined.

CAPE is one of the most active components of propolis which is a natural honeybee product with a potent anti-bacterial activity. Our results show early (2 h post-treatment), unique and significant spectral indicators for successful treatment with CAPE although some of these biomarkers showed different trends in Gram (−) compared with Gram (+) bacteria. For instance, the intensity of bands at 682 and 1316 cm−1 decreases in all examined Gram (−) bacterial strains while significantly increases in all examined Gram (+) bacterial strains. On the other hand, both Gram (+) and Gram (−) bacteria treated with ampicillin did not show any spectral differences compared with the control untreated bacteria.

It seems that FTIR spectroscopy can be used as an effective tool for an early evaluation of the efficiency of the anti-bacterial effect of CAPE and probably other used drugs.

Celebrity Doctor Goofs on Origin of Honey

Bee Advocates Miffed With Dr. Oz's Misdiagnosis
By Paul Bedard, U.S.News & World Report, 8/27/2009

With all the problems honey bees are facing, the last thing the busy bugs need is a bad diagnosis from a celebrity TV doctor. But that's exactly what Oprah's Mehmet Oz and colleague Mike Roizen issued in their newspaper column this week in mischaracterizing how honey is made.

"When doctors make claims so wildly false, so absolutely wrong in commonly understood aspects of biology, can there be trust in anything they say?" asks Kim Flottum, editor of the industry journal Bee Culture.

What has Flottum, the Agriculture Department-governed National Honey Board, and bee advocates throughout Washington and the nation buzzing is the docs' answer to a question about the benefits of honey. In their You Docs column carried nationally, the duo wrote: "Lighter honey is made from pollen, while darker honeys are made when bees make use of the sugary substances that other insects leave on trees and plants. That makes them richer in amino acids and compounds that protect your cells."

Wrong.

Bruce Boynton, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board, provided a matter-of-fact explanation to Whispers in response to what Dr. Oz's researchers at RealAge called an editing error. "Honey is the substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants are gathered, modified, and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees. Pollen is not a raw material for honey. While pollen is brought back to the hive by the bees, it serves as a source of protein for young bees."

Flottum, who also pens a bee blog at the dailygreen.com, wasn't as sweet. "Lighter honey is made from pollen? Good grief. And dark honeys are made from honey dew, by your definition completely made from insect droppings, and nothing else?" he says. Dark honey, he adds, supplies antioxidants…

RealAge, which researches and fact-checks the column, said: "Due to an editing error, a recent Q&A column called "The truth about honey, fats, and white tea" inadvertently stated that honey is made from pollen. In fact, most honey comes from plant nectar (although bees make some dark honeys from a substance called 'honeydew,' a residue from insects that feed on sweet tree sap). We regret the mistake and any confusion it caused."…

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Honey Effective Against Flu and Colds

Correio do Brasil, 8/17/2009

In addition to sweetening, honey can help treat many diseases such as influenza, asthma, tonsillitis and bronchitis. Delicious, honey also helps in circulation problems and muscle…

Rich in nutrients, honey is required in the diet of all, especially in those who are suffering from stress and fatigue. It contains water, glucose, sucrose, potassium, iron, sodium, sulfur, chlorine, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, vitamins A, E, C and substances that act as natural antibiotics.

Honey helps to detoxify and aids digestion, without overloading the body and can be used in combination with fruits, milk, yoghurt, breads and biscuits. It is one of the best and most effective against the effects of flu and colds…

Benefits:

With Watercress Extract

It is decongestant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic. It also helps to cleanse the blood and improves circulation.

Eucalyptus

Has expectorant and bactericidal action in the airways, works for the treatment of cases of cough and bronchitis...

New Zealand Firm Markets Single-Flower Honey

The Honey Lover's Friend
By ROSEMARY NORTH, The Press (New Zealand), 8/27/2009

Jeremy Friend has a mission - to introduce New Zealanders to single-flower, single-vintage, organic honey.

Kiwis love honey. But most of the time we just scoop anonymous blends out of a huge tub to smear on toast. That's all going to change if Jeremy Friend has his way.

Soon, says the owner of New Zealand Artisan Honey, which is based in Christchurch, we'll be used to hunting down a beechwood honeydew, vintage 2009, from north Canterbury, as the perfect match for a dessert of mascarpone and figs.

It's Friend's mission to introduce New Zealanders to the delights of single-flower, single-vintage, organic honey. Each jar of honey, gently filtered and stirred (slowly, for five days) at his Worcester St workshop, boasts a label stating the specific floral varietal source, the vintage and where the bees lived. Honey lovers can look up more details on the company's website

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thai Bee Pollen Soap Used to Treat Asthma

From Honey to Frangrant Soap
MCOT English News, 8/26/2009

Once flooded with a honey oversupply, local beekeepers in Thailand’s northern province of Phitsanulok have come up with innovative way to turn the amber nectar into new value-added consumer products to generate extra income…

The apiarists have succeeded in developing natural honey soap bars with a special formula using pure honey as a 30 per cent of the total soap substance. To make a different product, they add bee pollen and powdered turmeric so the soap becomes a skin moisturiser as well.

Liquid honey soap using a formula of 40 per cent honey was also created with a delicate texture and a pure honey aroma. This product alone triples the value of the sweet liquid, a value-added plus.

"Pure honey can be sold to a wholesale company at around 70 baht per kilo. So that means, you’ll be getting 70,000 baht from a tonne of honey. But If you bottle it and process it yourself, then your value-added goods, made out of a tonne of honey, will be worth around 200,000 baht.”

"A bottle of honey can produce up to around 200 honey soap bars. A solid soap bar is sold at 25 baht to wholesalers and 35 baht to retailers”, said Dao Ganget, chairperson of the Beekeepers at Baan Naam Ab Community Enterprise Group.

The honey farmers here are determined to keep developing their commodities. They believe there are still a lot of marketing channels out there for their goods, as bee products, namely honey, royal jelly, and bee pollen, have long been well-known and accepted for their medicinal, nutritional and moisturising properties.

Local residents are currently experimenting with bee pollen soap, as its main property is to help cure asthma…

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Video: Manuka Honey From Your Own Beehive

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Partnerships Offered in Medicinal Honey Hives

Care From Some Exclusive Manuka Honey - From Your Own Beehive?
By FoodWeek Online, 8/25/2009

Active Manuka Honey has come up with a novel idea, allowing consumers the opportunity to become partners in beehive ownership.

Foodies who sign up with Your Pure Honey will, for one year, become partners in their own beehive – they collect the proceeds, while Your Pure Honey does the work.

The honey they receive in May will be collected solely from that one hive, with no blending allowed.

Your Pure Honey is the brainchild of beekeeper Darcy Beehre and his business partner Luke Foster.

“We’re trying to provide a luxury experience that’s totally unique and personal,” said Beehre.

“Normal honey is blended to provide a flavour that’s consistent, but a bit bland. However, each beehive has its own unique flavour, and because they receive the product of just one hive, each of our clients will get a rich, healthy honey that nobody else has.”

Honey lovers from all over the world can sign up at http://www.yourpurehoney.com/ where they can buy a one-year stake in a beehive – ranging from exclusive rights to a 10 per cent share – which will produce honey for them from September to May.

They will also be able to follow the progress of their bees through a personal website and will receive a DVD showing their beehive in its natural surroundings…

Monday, August 24, 2009

Video: Bee Venom Therapy Used to Treat Arthritis, MS, Shingles

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MyFOXPhoenix.com, 8/23/09

Have you heard the buzz about bee sting therapy? Honeybee venom contains an anti-inflammatory that can relieve anything from an ankle sprain to arthritis.

It's not a new idea -- in fact, the venom has been available in a dietary supplement for years. The fastest way to relief is to have the bee sting you right where it already hurts.

FOX's Rob Olson has more.

‘The Book of Honey’ Now Online

By Stefan Bogdanov

1. Short History of Honey
2. Honey Elaboration and Harvest
3. Honey Technology
4. Physical Properties of Honey
5. Honey Compostion
6. Honey Types
7. Honey and Health
8. External Application of Honey
9. Honey Control
10. Honey Trade

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Renewed Interest in Honey for Wound Healing

Cosmeceuticals and Natural Products: Wound Healing
Clin Dermatol, 2009 Sep-Oct; 27(5):502-6.

Despite several technologic and strategic advances in the field, wound care has returned to the roots of medicine and embraced some of the remedies used millennia ago.

Some of the many potentially beneficial natural products include the beta-glucans, honey, aloe, cocoa, and oak bark extracts. There has recently been a surge of interest for their possible roles in wound healing.

Propolis Boosts Wound Healing

Aqueous Extract of Brazilian Green Propolis: Primary Components, Evaluation of Inflammation and Wound Healing by Using Subcutaneous Implanted Sponges
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2009 Aug 18

Propolis is a chemically complex resinous bee product which has gained worldwide popularity as a means to improve health condition and prevent diseases. The main constituents of an aqueous extract of a sample of green propolis from Southeast Brazil were shown by high performance liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy/mass spectroscopy to be mono- and di-O-caffeoylquinic acids; phenylpropanoids known as important constituents of alcohol extracts of green propolis, such as artepillin C and drupanin were also detected in low amounts in the aqueous extract.

The anti-inflammatory activity of this extract was evaluated by determination of wound healing parameters. Female Swiss mice were implanted subcutaneously with polyesther-polyurethane sponge discs to induce wound healing responses, and administered orally with green propolis (500 mg kg–1). At 4, 7 and 14 days post-implantation, the fibrovascular stroma and deposition of extracellular matrix were evaluated by histopathologic and morphometric analyses.

In the propolis-treated group at Days 4 and 7 the inflammatory process in the sponge was reduced in comparison with control. A progressive increase in cell influx and collagen deposition was observed in control and propolis-treated groups during the whole period. However, these effects were attenuated in the propolis-treated group at Days 4 and 7, indicating that key factors of the wound healing process are modulated by propolis constituents…

…our study suggests that aqueous extract of Brazilian green propolis might be used to control the inflammatory response without compromising the repair process…

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Video: Alaskan Restaurant Turns Rooftop Hive Into Honey Source

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KTUU-TV, 8/21/2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The weather these last few months has had tourists and locals buzzing about the summer here in Anchorage.

But there's a different kind of buzz going on in the Downtown area thanks to a local restaurant and its army of workers.

Anchorage has been fortunate -- the weather has been unbelievable and the sun always draws residents and tourists alike to Downtown.

Hanging baskets full of flowers adorn the streets as folks leisurely stroll by, but, unbeknownst to the people, there are thousands of workers just above their heads.

Orso restaurant imported a flying army to Alaska this spring -- 6,000 bees. John Howard tends the hive, which he says at its peak had some 80,000 bees…

Brooklyn Beekeepers Recommend Local Honey for Allergies

Jon, Brandon, and Eddie; Beekeepers
Gothamist, 8/20/2009

…Jon Feldman (general manager at Frankies Spuntino), Brandon Hoy and Eddie Diaz (co-owner and manager of Roberta’s, respectively) have been keeping bees on their roofs in Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens in an attempt to boost their population and beautify the city’s flowerboxes. There’s just one problem: it’s illegal.

…We're using a lot of the products that come out of here: the wax, the honey, and the propolis, which is great for the immune system. And it's fun. It's a lot of fun. We're having a really good time doing this.

So is that myth true that local honey has immune boosters?

B: I mean, if you think of allergies, absolutely. When I came to New York I had awful allergies, but it was just a reaction to things my body wasn't used to.

E: And the way we treat these things usually is with antihistamines, which just suppress the reactions instead of acclimating you to the thing that's causing it.

J: So honey and pollen are the most concentrated source of what you could potentially be reacting to, so if you take a spoonful of honey a day, your body is acclimating to what's most concentrated in and around this area. So your body becomes used to it.

B: Since we started on the local honey stuff, I haven't had allergies in two years…

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beeswax Candles Don’t Release Harmful Pollutants

Are Candles Making You Sick?

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Paraffin wax candles, used mainly for romantic ambiance, fragrance and light, may also contribute to air pollution inside your home.

The candles, which are made from petroleum, are a source of known human carcinogens and indoor pollution, researchers said in a study to be presented Wednesday at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in Washington, D.C.

In the study, R. Massoudi and Amid Hamidi found that candles made from beeswax or soy, although more expensive, apparently are safer because they do not release potentially harmful pollutants…

Propolis Suppresses Herpes Virus

Mechanism of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Suppression by Propolis Extracts
Phytomedicine, 2009 Aug 12

Genital herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a chronic, persistent infection spreading efficiently and silently as sexually transmitted disease through the population. Antiviral agents currently applied for the treatment of herpesvirus infections include acyclovir and derivatives.

Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of propolis were phytochemically analysed, different polyphenols, flavonoids and phenylcarboxylic acids were identified as major constituents. The aqueous propolis extract revealed a relatively high amount of phenylcarboxylic acids and low concentrations flavonoids when compared to the ethanolic special extract GH 2002.

The cytotoxic and antiherpetic effect of propolis extracts against HSV-2 was analysed in cell culture, and revealed a moderate cytotoxicity on RC-37 cells. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of aqueous and ethanolic GH 2002 propolis extracts for HSV-2 plaque formation was determined at 0.0005% and 0.0004%, respectively.

Both propolis extracts exhibited high levels of antiviral activity against HSV-2 in viral suspension tests, infectivity was significantly reduced by >99% and a direct concentration- and time-dependent antiherpetic activity could be demonstrated for both extracts.

In order to determine the mode of virus suppression by propolis, the extracts were added at different times during the viral infection cycle. Addition of these drugs to uninfected cells prior to infection or to herpesvirus-infected cells during intracellular replication had no effect on virus multiplication. However both propolis extracts exhibited high anti-herpetic activity when viruses were pretreated with these drugs prior to infection.

Selectivity indices were determined at 80 and 42.5 for the aqueous and ethanolic extract, respectively, thus propolis extracts might be suitable for topical therapy in recurrent herpetic infection.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mad Honey Used to Enhance Sexual Performance

Mad Honey Sex: Therapeutic Misadventures from an Ancient Biological Weapon
Ann Emerg Med, 2009 Aug 17

Study objective

“Mad honey” poisoning occurs from ingestion of honey produced from grayanotoxin-containing nectar, often in the setting of use as an alternative medicine. This study is designed to assess the clinical effects, demographics, and rationale behind self-induced mad honey poisoning.

Methods

The study consisted of 2 components: a standardized chart review of the signs, symptoms, and treatment of patients with mad honey ingestion, treated in our emergency department between December 2002 and January 2008; and a cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of beekeepers specializing in the production and distribution of mad honey.

Results

We identified 21 cases. Patients were overwhelmingly men (18/21) and older (mean [SD]), 55 [11] years. Local beekeepers (N=10) ranked sexual performance enhancement as the most common reason for therapeutic mad honey consumption in men aged 41 through 60 years. Symptoms began 1.0 hour (SD 0.6 hour) after ingestion and included dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and syncope. Abnormal vital signs included hypotension (mean arterial pressure 58 mm Hg [SD 13 mm Hg]) and bradycardia (mean 45 beats/min [SD 9 beats/min]). Seventeen patients had sinus bradycardia and 2 had junctional rhythm. Nine patients were treated with atropine; 1 patient received dopamine. All patients were discharged 18 to 48 hours after admission.

Conclusion

A dietary and travel history should be included in the assessment of middle-aged men presenting with bradycardia and hypotension. A mad honey therapeutic misadventure may be the cause rather than a primary cardiac, neurologic, or metabolic disorder.

Video: Nanobees Target Tumors with Synthesized Venom

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Ultra-Tiny 'Bees' Target Tumors
CNN, 8/18/2009

They’re ready to sting, and they know where they’re going.

They’re called “nanobees,“ and they’re not insects—they’re tiny particles designed to destroy cancer cells by delivering a synthesized version of a toxin called melittin that is found in bees.

“Melittin, which would otherwise result in substantial destruction of your red blood cells and other normal tissues if it were delivered intravenously alone, is completely safe when it’s on a nanoparticle,“ said Dr. Samuel Wickline, director of the Siteman Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Nanobees are one of the latest examples of how nanotechnology may change the way diseases are treated…

Seattle Defendant Pleads Guilty to Importing Tainted Chinese Honey

By Levi Pulkkinen, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/19/2009

A Chinese citizen accused of illegally importing honey to the United States -- including one shipment tainted with antibiotics -- pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court at Seattle.

Boa Zhong Zhang was accused of rerouting shipments of Chinese honey through the Philippines to avoid importation taxes, a U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman said in a statement. In doing so, Zhang avoided paying about $3.3 million in tariffs.

Federal prosecutors assert that Zhang, a 20-year employee of a Chinese bee products company, conspired with Bellevue honey importer Chung Po Liu to import 21 honey shipments. The honey was first shipped from China to the Philippines or Thailand, where it was re-labeled and sent on to the United States…

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Zealand Apitherapy Pioneer Turns 99

Comvita Founder Turns 99
Voxy News, 8/18/2009

If anyone knows the true value of bee pollen products, it is 99 year old Claude Stratford.

The Bay of Plenty man, the founder of iconic New Zealand natural products company Comvita, celebrates his 99th birthday this week. He is still passionate about maintaining his own health - he continues to take bee pollen and Manuka honey - and Comvita is a huge part of that passion.

In 1921, aged 11, Claude owned his first beehive, which sparked a lifelong affinity for bees (when working with bees he would often forego any protective gear). As he was born during the Depression - when nutritious food was scarce - Claude suffered from ill-health as a child and was often very sickly. His childhood was spent in and out of hospital but his life and his health changed dramatically for the better when he discovered the benefits of taking products from the hive. This inspired in him a desire to create natural remedies from bee-related products.

In 1974, Claude started selling his products from the basement of his house and in time for Christmas 1976, opened the first Comvita shop in Paengaroa, selling Manuka honey, propolis, bee pollen, royal jelly and Claude's own recipe, Herbal Elixir, which is still a best seller today (now known as Fortacold Herbal Elixir)…

Canadian Beekeepers Offer Apitherapy Cocktail


Muskoka's Magnificent Menu
The Toronto Star, 8/19/2009

…The Boards are also great believers in the healing power of bee products. Their "apitherapy cocktail" is made with raw honey, pollen (caught in a sieve the bees must squeeze through to get into the hive), propolis (bee glue) and royal jelly (scooped from the cocoons of queens).

"We're like three A's with bees," Ann says. "I'm an artisan, Stefan is an apitherapist, the farm is an attraction."…

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clinical Use of Antibacterial Bee Products Expected to Increase

Rediscovering the Antibiotics of the Hive
Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov, 2009 Nov 1

Honey and other bee products were subjected to laboratory and clinical investigations during the past few decades and the most remarkable discovery was their antibacterial activity.

Honey has been used since ancient times for the treatment of some diseases and for the healing of wounds but its use as an anti-infective agent was superseded by modern dressings and antibiotic therapy. However, the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria has confounded the current use of antibiotic therapy leading to the re-examination of former remedies.

Honey, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom have a strong antibacterial activity. Even antibiotic-resistant strains such as epidemic strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycine resistant Enterococcus (VRE) have been found to be as sensitive to honey as the antibiotic-sensitive strains of the same species.

Sensitivity of bacteria to bee products varies considerably within the product and the varieties of the same product. Botanical origin plays a major role in its antibacterial activity.

Propolis has been found to have the strongest action against bacteria. This is probably due to its richness in flavonoids. The most challenging problems of using hive products for medical purposes are dosage and safety.
Honey and royal jelly produced as a food often are not well filtered, and may contain various particles. Processed for use in wound care, they are passed through fine filters which remove most of the pollen and other impurities to prevent allergies. Also, although honey does not allow vegetative bacteria to survive, it does contain viable spores, including clostridia.

With the increased availability of licensed medical stuffs containing bee products, clinical use is expected to increase and further evidence will become available. Their use in professional care centres should be limited to those which are safe and with certified antibacterial activities. The present article is a short review of recent patents on antibiotics of hives.

Paris Rooftops Swarm with Bees as Urban Honey Industry Takes Off

By Charles Bremner, The Times (UK), 8/18/2009

Tourists are not the only species swarming on the Champs Élysées this August. Also enjoying the sunshine are squadrons of bees, part of a fast-multiplying population that is making honey a new Parisian industry.

The Tuileries, Luxembourg and other lesser gardens of Paris are now home to hundreds of thousands of bees that are far more productive than their country cousins.

“There are a huge quantity of flowers in Paris,” said Yves Védrenne, the general secretary of the National Apiculture Union. As well as the city’s lush parks and gardens, the boulevards and edges of motorways offer pollen well suited to bees, such as acacias, limes and chestnuts.

Not only is the city largely free from the pesticides and fertilisers that are killing the countryside bees, the warmth of the urban area promotes earlier breeding…

The honey flavour is described by experts as sweet and subtle, lacking any trace of exhaust fumes or the Métro underground smell that has become a Paris signature.

The national bee-keeping body has recently reported high mortality in the country near corn, sunflower and rapeseed fields. Bee deaths across Europe have been 30 to 35 per cent higher than average since the 1980s. French figures show that bees in urban areas produce about twice the amount of honey as rural ones. Similar figures are reported from New York…

Monday, August 17, 2009

Video: New Company Develops Honey Products for Clinical Setting

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Medical Manuka

In the last ten years there has been a significant movement towards the study of biomimicry as scientists leave the lab for the field, looking to nature to inspire and provide answers to the problems we face. ManukaMed is founded on the belief that Manuka honey provides answers to many of the challenges faced by the medical community today. We are dedicated to delivering this unique resource to relieve unnecessary pain and suffering around the world.

Chinese Immigrant Builds Australian Propolis Industry

Exporting the Very Best
The Young Witness (Australia), 8/17/2009

The truth is the man affectionately known to the town as ‘Jim’ is already an ambassador for Young, his product won first prize at the Ninth Asian Apiculture Conference Fair 2008 and he produces a product called Propolis, which is an antibiotic made by bees.

It is a resinous substance obtained by the insect from the tree buds and from some vegetables and used to coat the walls of the beehive to keep it free from bacteria. In the health industry it is purported to be a fungicide, anaesthetic and have healing properties and be used as a complement of antibiotics.

The current market value for Propolis in China alone is $40 million per annum and Mr Zou said that has the potential to be 10 times larger in five years time and there is a very strong global market for the product.

“It has the potential to be a very lucrative industry for all bee-keepers in Australia,” said Mr Zou…

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Video: Muscovites Offer Advice on Honey and Its Medicinal Properties

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RIA Novosti, 8/13/2009

Muscovites are stocking up on honey for the Savior of the Honey feast day, August 14, the date when honey is traditionally blessed by the Orthodox Church. RIA Novosti learns from honey lovers and beekeepers alike how to distinguish good honey.

Learn Why You Should Eat Raw Honey

By Elizabeth Walling, 8/15/2009

(NaturalNews) - Long before what we refer to as civilization was born, honey was a food prized above all others in many traditional cultures. Ancient peoples in Spain, India, Egypt and all over the world knew that honey supplied a unique richness of nutrients. But far from squeezing honey out of cute little plastic containers shaped like bears, these people were eating their honey freshly harvested from local bee hives - untouched and untainted by civilized man. They worshiped pure, raw honey - and for good reason.

In times before commercial processing overtook our food supply, the remarkable medical benefits of raw honey were understood by primitive man. Today, when we pause to take a closer look at the composition of raw honey, we can clearly see why it is so invaluable:

- Raw honey contains bee pollen, which many leading nutritional experts refer to as a potent superfood. Among bee pollen's many benefits are allergy relief, detoxification, anti-cancer properties, increased energy, amino acids, vitamins and thousands of beneficial enzymes.

- Raw honey is one of the richest natural sources of amylase, an enzyme which facilitates the proper digestion of carbohydrates. This makes raw honey an excellent companion for toast or oatmeal. This essential enzyme is lost the moment honey is heated, since amylase converts to starch when exposed to heat.

- Propolis, a material bees use for constructing their hives, is another beneficial part of raw honey. Propolis is believed to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and even anti-cancer properties. It is said to boost the immune system and improve the health of the liver as well.

- Raw honey is an excellent source of flavonoids (particularly flavanones, flavones and flavonols). These have powerful antioxidant properties that protect us from illness and disease…

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Local Raw Honey Builds Immunity

By Justin J. McCoy, Las Vegas Diet and Exercise Examiner, 8/13/2009

Raw wild honey has been viewed as a natural health panacea for over 3,000 years. The ancient Egyptians held the honeybee as sacred, and used the sweet nectar from the hives for a myriad of purposes including the healing of wounds and it's potent anti-bacterial properties made it a staple in the diet.

Organic, raw honey is densely nutrient rich, supplying our bodies with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and phytonutrients. Raw honey means it is not processed or heated and it is unpasteurized.

The health benefits of consuming raw honey regularly are numerous and getting it locally produced in your area makes it even more powerful as an immune system stimulant. Allergy sufferers are also aware that by digesting local pollen products like raw honey from flowering plants in the region, their allergen caused ailments are greatly diminished. Propolis is another compound present in raw honey, which is capable of killing various viruses and bacteria. These benefits are only applicable to consuming RAW honey. The majority of commercial honeys you'll find jarred in your local "chain" grocer have been heated, treated, pasteurized,and is basically the equivalent of purchasing white, granulated, sugar rather than the organic, raw, turbinado cane sugar that has become quite popular…

Friday, August 14, 2009

Propolis Component Protects Against Cell Phone Radiation

The Protective Effect of Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE) on Oxidative Stress in Rat Liver Exposed to the 900 MHz Electromagnetic Field
Toxicology and Industrial Health, Vol. 25, No. 6, 429-434 (2009)

In this study, we aimed to investigate the possible protective effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on lipid peroxidation (LPO) and the activities of antioxidant enzymes in the liver of rats exposed to the 900 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF).

EMF of cellular phones may affect biological systems by increasing free radical, which appear mainly to enhance LPO, and by changing the antioxidative activities of liver, thus leading to oxidative damage. CAPE, an active component of propolis extract, exhibits antioxidant properties and several studies suggest that supplementation with antioxidant can influence EMF exposure induced hepatotoxicity…

CAPE was injected intraperitoneally for 30 days before exposure to EMF. Liver tissue was removed to study the activities of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), xanthine oxidase (XO) and the levels of LPO. The activities of XO, CAT and level of LPO increased in the 900 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF) group compared with the control group, although XO, CAT activities and LPO levels were decreased by 900 MHz EMF + CAPE administration. The activities of SOD and GSH-Px decreased in the 900 MHz EMF group compared with the control group, although their levels were increased by EMF + CAPE administration.

It can be concluded that CAPE may prevent the 900 MHz EMF-induced oxidative changes in liver by strengthening the antioxidant defense system by reducing reactive oxygen species and increasing antioxidant enzyme activities.

UK Charity Recommends Energy Drinks for Bees

Help Bees to Top Up Their Energy Levels
This is Hampshire, 8/13/2009

WILDLIFE charity the RSPB is urging Hampshire residents to help get exhausted bees buzzing again by making them “energy drinks”.

Gardeners have been encouraged to give exhausted bees a drink of sugar and water to boost their energy levels during the poor summer…

“Many people keep seeing bees lying on the ground and assume they are dead but chances are they are having a rest.

“Much like us, a sugary drink could boost their energy levels and a simple sugar and water combination will be a welcome treat.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Video: Using Honey One of New Ways to Heal Wounds

New Generation of Bandages
WFTV, 8/10/2009

HEALING HONEY: The Medihoney bandage is made from a seaweed-based material full of manuka honey, a potent type of honey that is helpful in killing germs and speeding up the healing process. The dressing speeds up healing because bacteria find it hard to live and replicate within the honey due to honey's ability to suck up water and its high concentration of enzymes. Manuka honey can be found in Australia and New Zealand in the hives of certain bees that collect nectar from manuka. The Medihoney bandage was created in 2007 and has been shown to be effective in healing leg ulcers, second-degree burns, diabetic foot ulcers as well as wounds from diabetes, metastasis disease and cancer…

Orchids Lure Hornets with Honeybee Pheromones

Orchid Lures in Hornets with the Smell of Bee Fear
Discover, 8/10/2009

Orchids have a clever way of attracting pollinators: By releasing the same pheromones honeybees give off to communicate with other hive-members in times of emergency.

[T]he bees are the favorite food of the larvae of Vespa hornets…[so] when the orchid Dendrobium sinense sends out these false alarms, the hornets pounce on the petals, thinking they’ll bring a bee dinner home to the kids [Scientific American]. The hornets leave hungry, but they help out the orchids in the process.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Honey May Be Better Than Antibiotics

By Jean Vasicek, Orlando Beekeeping Examiner, 8/9/2009

Honey has been used to heal wounds since ancient times. When bees make honey they mix in glucose-oxidase, an enzyme that mixes with the sugars in honey to create small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. In large doses, hydrogen peroxide can damage tissue, but the small doses continuously created in honey induce rapid healing. Using honey to heal wounds can significantly reduce scarring.

I've had many customers tell me about the miraculous healing qualities of honey. One customer related a story of a wound from a dog bite. The dog had shredded her forearm. The emergency room physician cleaned and dressed the wound, but a terrible infection set in quickly.After trying multiple ointments prescribed by her physician, she tried raw, unfiltered honey. Within a few days the wound healed. Today, the scars are barely visible.

Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of slicing off a piece of my index finger. I raced to the emergency to see if they could sew my finger back on. The emergency room staff was not hopeful and said all they could do was apply antibiotics and wrap the wound. I returned home without treatment and decided to try honey instead. I dipped my bloody nub in a small cup filled with raw, unfiltered honey. I felt a bit of stinging, but after a few minutes the pain dissipated. I soaked my finger for about 10 minutes, rinsed it with water and wrapped it in a band-aid. I did this twice a day for the next 3 days until the wound formed a good scab. I kept it bandaged for another week. Two weeks later, there was barely evidence of damage…

Australia’s Only Propolis Producer Faces Deportation

Community Fights to Stop Honey Producer Being Deported
ABC Rural, 12/8/2009

The community of Young in Central West NSW is rallying to save a local honey producer who's facing deportation.

Jim Zou, who's in his early 60s, came to Australia on a temporary skilled 457 visa about six years ago.

He's invested about half a million dollars setting up a honey factory, which now exports propolis, a by-product from beehives, to China.

The mayor of Young, Stuart Freudenstein, says Mr Zou and his wife should be allowed to stay.

"We're pretty determined to keep him here," he says.

"We think he's a valuable asset to the community and to Australia in general.

"No one else in Australia produces propolis, it's a unique product…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

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Video Simulation: Cancer-Fighting Nanobee

video

Bee Venom Destroys Cancer Cells in Tests on Mice

Hannah Devlin, The Times (UK), 8/11/2009

Bee venom can be engineered to target tumours and could prove an effective future treatment for cancer, a study has found.

During a trial, the poisonous chemical in a bee’s sting, melittin, was attached to tiny molecules or “nanoparticles” that then attack and destroy cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact. The carrier particles, dubbed “nanobees”, were also effective in targeting pre-cancerous cells.

Nanobees could eventually replace conventional therapy for certain types of cancer, according to scientists behind the study, which is published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. They said that the treatment would have fewer side-effects than chemotherapy.

“The nanobees fly in, land on the surface of cells and deposit their poisonous cargo,” said Professor Samuel Wickline, a specialist in nanomedicine at Washington University in St Louis, who led the research.

The treatment was tested on two groups of mice with cancerous tumours. One group had melanoma skin cancer, the other had been implanted with human breast-cancer cells. After four to five injections of the nanobees, the breast-cancer tumours were 25 per cent smaller, and the melanoma tumours were 88 per cent smaller, compared with untreated mice.

The carrier particles used in the study have already been approved for clinical use in various other medical applications. The team plans to begin human trials with the nanobees next year.

They predict that the treatment could be effective in treating a wide range of cancers and that it would have fewer side-effects than chemotherapy. They say the treatment could also be more effective than chemotherapy, because it is more targeted. With chemotherapy, patients are given the largest tolerable dose of medication, but because nanobees specifically attack tumours, doses could be much lower.

Melittin works by attaching itself to the surface of cells and ripping holes in the membrane. “In high enough concentration it can destroy any cell it comes into contact with,” said Professor Paul Schlesinger, a cell biologist at Washington University and a co-author of the paper.

Most cancer treatments target DNA, but cancer cells are frequently able to adapt and develop resistance to DNA damage. It is much harder for cells to defend against damage to the membrane, however, making melittin an attractive treatment.

Despite the high toxicity of the bee venom, the mice suffered few side-effects and there appeared to be little damage to non-cancerous cells…

The Benefits of Manuka Honey

Can Zealand's much-hyped 'superfood' really heal, both inside and out?
By Alice Hart-Davis, The Telegraph (UK), 8/10/2009

…A recent survey of people who bought the stuff showed that 58 per cent of them believed Manuka honey to be better than ordinary honey, but they didn't know why. In addition, 70 per cent of them didn't know what the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) number on the front of the pots meant.

Manuka honey has long had a reputation as a "healing" honey and, because it comes from bees that have been busy pollinating the Manuka trees that grow almost exclusively in the East Cape region of New Zealand, it has rarity value. This makes it expensive.

Honey has long been seen as one of health's "superfoods" (I use the inverted commas as no food is "super" in isolation), offering a number of benefits. Local honey containing local pollen can help reduce the symptoms of hay fever.

Most honeys contain a naturally occurring active agent, which is thought to support good health but is easily destroyed when exposed to heat and light. Manuka honey contains an extra, naturally occurring active ingredient, which makes it distinct from other honeys. This additional component is stable and doesn't lose its potency when exposed to heat, light or dilution. Its special quality is known as UMF and the higher the UMF, the more potent the honey and its powers (aficionados reckon that you need a UMF of 10 or higher for the honey to be properly effective). It has antiviral and antibacterial actions, which is a good excuse for scoffing the stuff neat at the first sign of a cold or sore throat.

Most people who buy Manuka honey simply put it on their toast or in their tea, but where it really comes into its own is in treating wounds. In New Zealand, it has long been used in this way and studied extensively. Now, the NHS is doing the same…

Monday, August 10, 2009

25 Years of Experience in Healing Wounds with Honey

Journal Phytothérapie, Issue Volume 7, Number 2

Cicatrisation par le miel, l’expérience de 25 années

Le miel est reconnu comme un produit efficient dans la cicatrisation des plaies, principalement du fait de son rôle antibactérien, résultat du peroxyde d’hydrogène produit sous l’effet de la glucose-oxydase. De 1984 à 2009, nous avons traité 3 012 lésions infectées ou non, essentiellement au niveau de la paroi abdominale. Pour 33 kystes sacrococcygiens et 102 fermetures de stomie, l’application du miel est de principe, dès la fin de l’acte opératoire. La vitesse moyenne de cicatrisation variait de 21 jours, pour les plaies inférieures à 10 cm2, à 75 jours, pour les nécroses pariétales supérieures à 30 cm2. La cicatrisation a toujours été obtenue de façon esthétique. Les échecs ont été le fait de tissus radiothérapés (sein, rectum).

Twenty-five years of experience in healing wounds with honey

Honey is known as a successful product for healing wounds, mainly by the antibacterial effect of hydrogen peroxide produced by the enzyme glucose-oxidase. Between 1984 and 2009, we treated 3 012 lesions, both infected and uninfected mainly on the abdominal wall. For 33 sacral cysts and 102 stoma closures, honey was systematically applied immediately after the end of the operation. Wound healing varied from 21 days, for a lesion under 10 cm2, to 75 days, for necrotizing abdominal wall lesions of over 30 cm2. Wound healing was always aesthetically satisfactory except in cases where skin had been affected by radiotherapy.

Using Honey for Local Disinfection and Healing of Wounds

Journal Phytothérapie, Issue Volume 7, Number 2 / April, 2009

Le miel comme traitement local désinfectant et cicatrisant des plaies

Depuis la nuit des temps, le miel a servi dans la cicatrisation de plaies plus ou moins infectées. Depuis la démonstration des effets thérapeutique du miel de Manuka obtenu à partir de Leptospermum scoparium, notre intérêt doit se porter sur cet élément thérapeutique naturel. Le miel, substance complexe, agit par des effets physicochimiques et permet de soigner les plaies surinfectées par du staphylocoque résistant aux antibiotiques.

Using honey for local disinfection and healing of wounds

Honey has been used since time immemorial by man to treat wounds or burns which may be infected. The discovery of the therapeutic effect of Manuka honey, produced from Leptospermum scoparium, means we must take a serious interest in this natural therapy. Honey is a complex substance whose physiochemical action can treat wounds infected by antibiotic resistant staphylococci.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Propolis, Royal Jelly Popular in Japan

Interview with Japanese Apitherapist Dr. Mitsuo Matsuka
Apitherapy Review, 7/30/2009

Q. Did Japanese healing in the past included Apitherapy? Which is the earliest date we have references in the Japanese medical texts about honey bee products or bee stings? When did research first start in Japan on Apitherapy?

A. Traditional beekeeping using Japanese honey bees, Apis cerana was not industrialized. Modern beekeeping with Apis mellifera developed at the end of the19 th century. Studies on bee venom were found around 1940 and effects by bee stung were experienced by beekeepers on the one hand. Several beekeepers developed a technique using sting apparatus with forceps to treat wounds, boils, joint inconveniences, etc. and in 1979, Japan Bee Sting Therapy Association was founded with 150 beekeepers. They have held workshops on the techniques of apipuncture and published magazines in Japanese. You can visit a website at http://www.npoapi.net/english/index.htm , though limited access. It was reorganized as Japan Apitherapy Association (authorized as a non-profit organization) in 2001…

Q.Propolis has become a very successful product in Japan . Could you tell us why propolis has managed to become so well known and favorable to the consumers?

A. Apimondia in 1985 was a lucky and clear start line as described before. Japanese people awakened to the healthy bee product world, which have been, since then, supported by health-oriented, long-lived, and wealthy Japanese people. These are not only for propolis, but also for royal jelly…

Saturday, August 08, 2009

New Energy Drink Contains Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly

Nitrous Monster First Energy Drink With Nitrous Oxide

CHICAGO, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Monster Energy - the volume leader in the energy drink category - is launching a new, innovative product called Nitrous Monster. Nitrous Monster is the first and only energy drink to feature nitrous oxide gas technology. The revolutionary new drink boasts a rich creamy texture and a smooth drinkable flavor. Nitrous Monster is packaged in the re-sealable 12 oz. Rexam SLEEK(TM) Cap Can(R) with closure technology from Dayton Systems Group (DSG).

Nitrous Monster is available in three varieties: Killer-B, Super Dry and Anti-Gravity. Killer-B contains honey and provides the drinker with a mega-shot of B vitamins as well as an exotic dose of bee pollen and royal jelly. Super Dry offers a lighter, dry texture similar to fine Champagne. Anti-Gravity is so potent that drinkers will feel like they can defy gravity...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Manuka Honey Producer Upset Over TV Portrayal of Industry

Honey Producer has Bee in Bonnet Over TV Show
By Jamie Morton, Wairarapa Times-Age, 8/7/2009

Wairarapa manuka honey producer Peter Ferris is angry at how a Close Up report this week portrayed the industry. A Close Up report that labelled the New Zealand Manuka honey industry as "rife with false claims and deceit" and "in need of a clean-up" has put a bee in the bonnet of a Wairarapa producer and advocate.

The Wednesday evening segment reported that jars of Manuka honey were being sold overseas for up to $200 a pop, "but the claims on the packaging often failed to match what's inside, meaning huge profits for unscrupulous producers".

Active Manuka honey is well known for its anti-bacterial and healing properties, and is often used to combat digestive problems.

Peter Ferris, managing director of Wairarapa Manuka Limited, believes the story vilified the entire industry instead of the small number of packing companies he said were responsible for misrepresenting the product in labels.

Mr Ferris, who is also president of the National Beekeepers Association Southern North Island Branch, said the programme constantly indicated "producers" were misrepresenting the contents.

However, producers did not receive "anything close" to $200 a jar and were instead paid according to the tests carried out by the packers who buy the honey. It was at the packing stage that the true content of the jars were hopefully labelled correctly, he said.

Mr Ferris was especially angry that John Rawcliffe, of the "Honey Association" - which he said was in fact a "very small group of people" - publicly called for a review that he knew was already under way…

Video: Florida's Youngest Beekeeper

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A 12-year-old Florida boy has his own bee business. WEAR's Kathryn Daniel reports.

Propolis Component a Potential Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester, a Component of Beehive Propolis, is a Novel Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator
Phytotherapy Research, Early View (Articles online in advance of print)

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is an active ingredient of beehive propolis with a structure similar to phenolic acid. The estrogenic effects of propolis were previously demonstrated through the activation of an estrogen receptor. To identify the estrogenic properties of propolis, CAPE was evaluated using in vitro and in vivo methods.

CAPE showed selective binding affinity to human estrogen receptor (hER) rather than hER. CAPE also reduced ER expression in MCF-7 and MDA 231 cells. In the yeast estrogen receptor transcription assay, CAPE produced the transcriptional activity of estrogen-responsive element with EC50 values of 3.72 × 10-6 M. CAPE did not increase the growth of MCF-7 estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells in doses ranging from 10-7 to 10-5 M.

In order to understand how CAPE acts in animals, CAPE was tested by a uterotrophic bioassay. Treatment with CAPE (100, 500 mg/kg) did not increase the uterine weight relative to 3 g/kg 17-estradiol treatment.

The results indicate that CAPE, which is a selective agonist to hER, but does not show any estrogenic effect on estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells and in immature rat uterine tissue, is a potential selective estrogen receptor modulator.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Video: Beehaus Brings Beekeeping to Urban Areas

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Beehaus - The New Hive That's Creating a Buzz
The Guardian (UK), 8/5/2009

The founder of Beehaus, Johannes Paul, introduces the plastic hive that is helping to bring the traditionally rural art of beekeeping to the city dweller.

Propolis a Promising Anti-Cavity Agent

The Potential Use of Propolis as a Cariostatic Agent and Its Actions on Mutans Group Streptococci
J Ethnopharmacol, 2009 Aug 17;125(1):1-9. Epub 2009 May 5. Links

Propolis is a resinous substance made by bees. It possesses many biological activities, and many studies have reported its potential application in the control of dental caries. However, variability in the chemical composition of propolis is a potential problem in its quality control, especially since propolis has already been incorporated into products for oral use. Therefore, a critical analysis of the available data on propolis is warranted.

The present review discusses the in vitro and in vivo studies published in the period between 1978 and 2008 regarding the effects of propolis on Streptococcus mutans growth, bacterial adherence, glucosyltransferase activity, and caries indicators.

Several investigations carried out with crude propolis extracts, isolated fractions, and purified compounds showed reductions in Streptococcus mutans counts and interference with their adhesion capacity and glucosyltransferase activity, which are considered major properties in the establishment of the cariogenic process.

Data from in vivo studies have demonstrated reductions in Streptococcus mutans counts in saliva, the plaque index, and insoluble polysaccharide formation. These findings indicate that propolis and/or its compounds are promising cariostatic agents.

However, the variation in the chemical composition of propolis due to its geographical distribution is a significant drawback to its routine clinical use. Thus, further studies are needed to establish the quality and safety control criteria for propolis in order for it to be used in accordance with its proposed activity.

New Zealand Manuka Honey Industry Responds to Exposé

TV1 Close Up’s story on the Manuka Honey Industry
Natural Products NZ, 8/6/2009

In response to Close Up’s story on Manuka Honey that aired tonight Natural Products New Zealand wants to assure consumers that New Zealand’s main Manuka honey manufacturers are selling quality Manuka honey, true to label.

Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of Natural Products New Zealand said “As long as people are buying Manuka Honey from a respected grocery or health food store there is little chance of them not getting what they’re paying for.”

Unique Manuka Factor UMF® Manuka Honey is an existing standard for ensuring quality and the level of active Manuka developed by the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA). Active Manuka is known to have outstanding anti-bacterial applications and healing properties.

Close Up has reported that not all jars of Manuka honey have the level of activity stated on the label.

Ms Palmer says the fact that there is any doubt as to what is in the jar points to the need for robust and well supported industry-wide standards and an appropriate independent regulatory auditing and certification system, not just for honey but across all natural products.

“Most responsible manufacturers of Manuka Honey have quality assurance procedures to ensure the highest quality products are delivered to their domestic and export customers. It is a shame that less responsible companies are able to operate as an implied part of ‘Brand New Zealand’ this illustrates the need for the independent regulatory system the natural products industry has asked for,” says Mrs Palmer.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

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Video: Manuka Honey Industry Rife with False Claims, Deceit

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Manuka Honey: Liquid Gold or Not?

TVNZ, 8/5/2009 - They call it liquid gold - it's one of our fastest growing export success stories but Close up rips the lid off an industry rife with false claims and deceit.

Jars of active Manuka honey are being sold overseas for up to $200 a pop.

The honey is prized for its unique antibacterial activity and is used in wound healing, as well as against digestive problems.

But the claims on the packaging often fail to match what's inside, meaning huge profits for unscrupulous producers.

Gill Higgins investigates a murky industry in need of a clean up and Mark Sainsbury talks to John Rawcliffe from the Honey Association.

Propolis Reduces Fat Accumulation, Cholesterol Levels

The Beneficial Effect of Propolis on Fat Accumulation and Lipid Metabolism in Rats Fed a High-Fat Diet
Journal of Food Science, Volume 74, Number 5, June/July 2009 , pp. H127-H131(1)

This study examined whether propolis, which had many biological activities, affected body fat and lipid metabolism.

Four-week-old Wistar rats were fed a control or propolis diet for 8 wk. The control group was fed a high-fat diet, the low and the high group were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with 0.5% (w/w) and 0.05% (w/w) propolis, respectively.

The weight of total white adipose tissue of the high group was lower than that of the control group. The level of PPARγ protein in the adipose tissues of the high group was significantly lower than that of the control group. In plasma and the liver, the high group showed a significantly reduced level of cholesterol and triglyceride compared to the control group. The liver PPARα protein level of the high group was significantly higher than that of the control group. The liver HMG-CoA reductase protein in the high group was also significantly lower than that in the control group.

Results from rats on an olive oil loading test were used to investigate whether propolis inhibited triglyceride absorption. The serum triglyceride level of the group, which received propolis corresponding to the daily dose of the high group, was significantly lower than that of the control group.

It is possible that the administration of propolis improves the accumulation of body fat and dyslipidemia via the change of the expression of proteins involved in adipose depot and lipid metabolism.