Friday, December 31, 2010

Propolis Coating Contributes to Health Characteristics of Product

Quality and Safety of Table Grapes Coated with Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose Edible Coatings Containing Propolis Extract
Postharvest Biology and Technology, Article in Press

Edible coatings based on hydroxypropylmethylcellulose containing an ethanolic extract of propolis, were developed and applied to table grapes, cv. Muscatel, in order to improve quality and shelf life during storage, while taking advantage of the beneficial health properties of propolis.

Weight loss, changes in soluble solids, phenol contents, antioxidant capacity, respiration rates and the microbial counts of uncoated and coated samples were determined throughout cold storage. The sensory quality of samples was also analysed.

Throughout storage, soluble solid contents sharply increased from 7 storage days onwards and phenol contents decreased, especially during the first 5 days. No effect of coatings was observed on the development of these variables. A decrease of luminosity and hue values was observed during storage; the samples coated with the greatest amount of propolis being the lightest. The hue decrease was related with the a* colour coordinate increase, which was significantly stronger for uncoated samples. Regardless of their composition, coatings slowed down weight losses and controlled the oxygen consumption of the samples.

At 10 days of storage, coated samples had a better microbial safety than uncoated samples. Although no significant effect of the propolis incorporation was observed on the preservation of grape quality during storage, its incorporation in the HPMC coatings contributes to enrichment of health characteristics of the coated product.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Manuka Honey May Help Fight Multi-Antibiotic Resistant Microorganisms

The Controlled in vitro Susceptibility of Gastrointestinal Pathogens to the Antibacterial Effect of Manuka Honey
Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis, 2010 Dec 17

The susceptibility of common gastrointestinal bacteria against manuka honey with median level non-peroxide antibacterial activity (equivalent to that of 16.5% phenol) was investigated by determining the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) using a standardized manuka honey with the broth microdilution method.

The measured sensitivity of bacteria showed that manuka honey is significantly more effective than artificial honey (a mixture of sugars as in honey), indicating that osmolarity is not the only factor that is responsible for the antibacterial activity of the honey.

Most tested gastrointestinal pathogens have MIC and MBC values in the range of 5-10% of honey, other than Enterobacter spp. which was in the range of 10-17%.

The difference in efficacy between the honey with and without hydrogen peroxide removed was also studied, and it was found that both hydrogen peroxide and the non-peroxide components contribute to the bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity of the honey.

It was also found that treatment against multi-antibiotic resistant microorganisms such as Salmonella typhimurium DT104 and ESBL-producing organisms with manuka honey may be promising.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Royal Jelly Key Ingredient in New Energy Drink

Sato Produces a More Natural Energy “Pick-Me-Up”
Food and Drink Digital, 12/29/2010

Sato, one of the world’s largest makers of liquid nutritional supplements, raises the bar with its tasty shot-size Yunker Energy, combining vital herbs and vitamins to fight fatigue -- without caffeine.

Deciding it was high time that someone needed to develop a liquid nutritional supplement that was not bombarded with sugar and caffeine, Sato has introduced shot-size Yunker Energy…

Instead of relying on added caffeine as a stimulant, the enjoyable and convenient shot-size Yunker Energy liquid supplement contains a proven assortment of vitamins and eastern and western herbal ingredients, such as Oriental Ginseng, Royal Jelly, English Hawthorn Extract, Epimedium (Leaf) Fluid Extract and Cnidium (Fruit) Fluid Extract.

Oriental Ginseng is noted for its effect on fatigue and stress, as well as for strengthening the body’s immune system Produced by bees, Royal Jelly contains a complex of minerals, enzymes, amino acids and other beneficial factors, along with anti-aging and beauty-enhancing properties…

Ask Dr. H: Medicinal Honey Can Inhibit Bacteria

By Mitchell Hecht, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/27/2010
Question: What is your take on manuka honey?

Answer: Manuka is a type of honey from New Zealand made by bees that pollinate the flowers of the manuka bush.

Honey has naturally occurring antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and it's able to avoid bacterial resistance. Honey can inhibit bacterial growth and kill topically when applied directly to an infected area. Manuka honey has far greater antibacterial potency than other types of honey.

The practice of using honey to heal wounds goes back thousands of years. The renewed interest in medicinal honey has come about because of the growing problem of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.

The Waikato Honey Research Unit in New Zealand is actively researching manuka honey.
Honey from the grocery store is not medicinal grade and should not be used for wound care. Medihoney is the first FDA-approved honey-infused dressing approved for burns and wounds.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bee Venom Used in Mexico as a Remedy for Arthritis, Migraines

By Analia Manriquez, Prense Latina Las Vegas, 12/23/2010

Bees usually generate fear among those who found in high concentrations and still fear the effects the individual picket is known to be painful, but Chihuahua beekeepers use of this insect venom as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and immune system stimulant to treat diseases as a novel way, easy and inexpensive to relieve ailments.

Balcorta said Martin, a pioneer in this kind of treatment through the bee sting can treat various diseases. First is a reaction test to verify that the person is not allergic to poison, it is estimated that about 5% of the population is and in this case cannot be treated…

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Propolis Would Care Film Uses Bacterial Cellulose

Agency FAPESP, 12/23/2010

One of the challenges of professionals involved with the recovery of burn patients is to shorten the length of hospitalization to prevent infectious complications. The use of Biocure produced from bacterial cellulose - which enables faster regeneration of skin - is one promising alternative.

Researchers at the Institute of Chemistry, Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp) in Araraquara, in partnership with Apis Flora of Ribeirao Preto, developed a healing and antimicrobial Biocure based on bacterial cellulose and propolis extract.

The product was tested in vitro with excellent results. "The goal of Biocure, made in the form of film is to alleviate the pain and duration of treatment of patients who suffered burns from the first and second degrees or who have chronic wounds," said Hernane Barud, research coordinator at the Agency FAPESP .

The results so far show a high degree of efficiency of the product, especially in the prevention of microbial growth and sustained release of propolis.

Research Development and evaluation of Biocure obtained from bacterial cellulose and standardized extract of propolis (EPP-AF) for treatment of burns and skin lesions "had the support of FAPESP Program Small Business Innovative Research (PIPE).

The results correspond to the first phase of the project already completed testing in vitro. According Barud, the novelty of the product is the improvement of bacterial cellulose with the addition of propolis extract, pharmaceutical ingredient that had been evaluated for efficacy preclinical and clinical burned by Andresa Berretta , a researcher in charge of Apis Flora.

"Propolis is a resinous material and balsamic obtained by bees associated with the membrane, producing a healing and antimicrobial action. In addition to regenerate the skin, Biocure can kill bacteria that come along with injuries," said the researcher, who recently completed his doctorate at the Chemistry Institute of Unesp in Araraquara Multifunctional Materials Based on Bacterial Cellulose.

Apis Flora holds a patent for the standardized extract of propolis and currently the group prepares for the new request Biocure with propolis. "Not any propolis extract which shows the results, but the company has developed, evaluated, and deposited the patent application," said Barud.

According to Andres, when working with natural derivatives reproducibility from batch to batch it is necessary to obtain drugs. "Our group has evaluated these characteristics and is able to obtain industrially reproducible batches in order to enroll in a drug regulators," she said.

The cellulose membrane is produced by the bacterium Acetobacter xylinum, found primarily in decaying fruit. "The advantage of bacterial cellulose, mainly produced by A. xylinum, is their high mechanical strength afforded by three-dimensional network composed of cellulose nanofibers," he said.

With the new Biocure the patient in treatment could play everyday tasks like bathing or being exposed to the sun. "Because the product is waterproof, it works as a bacteriological barrier while still allowing the wound to breathe," he said.

Controlled release

Barud also says that transparency and adhere easily to the wound bed, the film will allow the constant monitoring of healing. One of the problems in the treatment of burns is that the conventional dressing can damage every time it is removed.

"The new Biocure can be placed directly on the wound without the need to change. Moreover, we develop it with sustained release, ie, it releases slowly propolis, "he said…

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Propolis Component Protects Cardiac Tissue

Effects of Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester on Endotoxin-Induced Cardiac Stress in Rats: A Possible Mechanism of Protection
Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology, Early View (Articles online in advance of print)

Endotoxins (lipopolysaccharides; LPS) are known to cause multiple organ failure, including myocardial dysfunction. The present study aimed to investigate the mechanism of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) protection against LPS-induced cardiac stress.

Rats were allocated into three groups; group 1 served as a normal control group, group 2 (LPS) received a single intraperitoneal injection of LPS (10 mg/kg), group 3 (LPS + CAPE) was injected intraperitoneally with CAPE (10 mg/kg/day; solubilized in saline containing 20% tween 20) throughout a period of 10 days prior to LPS injection. Rats were maintained 4 h before sacrifice.

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester pretreatment normalized LPS-enhanced activities of serum creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as well as glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and myeloperoxidase (MPO) in cardiac tissue. A significant reduction of the elevated levels of serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) as well as serum and cardiac nitrite/nitrate (NOx) was achieved after CAPE pretreatment. CAPE also restored malondialdelyde (MDA), reduced glutathione (GSH), and cytosolic calcium (Ca2+) levels in the heart. A marked induction of cardiac heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protein level was detected in CAPE-pretreated group. Whereas, LPS-induced reduction of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and phosphocreatine (PCr) levels was insignificantly changed.

Conclusively, the early treatment with CAPE maintained antioxidant defences, reduced oxidative injury, cytokine damage, and inflammation but did not markedly improve energy status in cardiac tissue. The beneficial effect of CAPE might be mediated, at least in part, by the superinduction of HO-1.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Honey and Black Seed Extract Induce Live Cancer Cell Death

Antineoplastic Effects of Bee Honey and Nigella sativa on Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells
Integr Cancer Ther, 2010 Dec 8

Objectives: To evaluate in vitro antitumor effects of bee honey (BH) and Nigella sativa (NS) on HepG2 through their antioxidant and apoptotic activities.

Methods: HepG2 cell line was treated with different concentrations of diluted unfractionated BH and different concentrations of alcohol extract of NS. Exposure lasted for different time durations (6-72 hours), both dose-response and time course-response were conducted. Cell viability was tested by trypan blue exclusion test. Total antioxidant status and caspase-3 activity were estimated in the cell lysate. Nitric oxide levels were measured in culture supernatants of both treated and untreated HepG2 at all indicated times.

Results: Treatment of HepG2 cells with BH and NS leads to a significant decrease in both the number of viable HepG2 cells and the levels of nitric oxide on one hand, but improvement of the total antioxidant status and caspase-3 activity on the other, especially in HepG2 cells treated with higher doses of BH and NS (20% and 5000 g/mL, respectively) and for longer duration (72 hours).

Conclusions: BH and NS are effective in reducing the viability of HepG2 cells, improving their antioxidant status and inducing their apoptotic death.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Propolis Kills Cancer Cells, Boosts Radiotherapy

Human Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cell Lines are Differentially Radiosensitised by the Honeybee Product Propolis
Int J Radiat Biol, 2010 Dec 10

Purpose: Propolis, a product of honeybees, has anti-tumoural, cytotoxic, anti-metastatic and anti-inflammatory properties. The aim of this study was the evaluation of the radiosensitising capacity of Propolis in human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells.

Materials and methods: HNSCC cell lines (FaDu, UT-SCC15, UT-SCC45), fibroblasts (HSF2) and keratinocytes (HaCaT) were treated with Propolis (0-250 μg/ml; 1, 4, 24 h) without and in combination with X-rays (0-6 Gy, single dose). Clonogenic survival, proliferation, apoptosis, expression and phosphorylation of different signalling proteins were determined. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was performed on Propolis.

Results: Propolis significantly (P < 0.01) reduced cell growth and clonogenic survival in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Propolis-induced apoptosis and Caspase 3 cleavage, increased phosphorylation of Extracellular signal Regulated Kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), protein kinase B/Akt1 (Akt1) and Focal adhesion kinase (FAK). While a 1-h Propolis pretreatment was ineffective, a 3-h pretreatment significantly (P < 0.05) radiosensitised FaDu cells. LC-MS analysis identified 14 compounds of Propolis.

Conclusions: Our data show that Propolis exerts cytotoxicity in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. In one out of three HNSCC cell lines, Propolis also caused an enhancement of radiosensitivity. Future studies on Propolis will shed further light on its potential as an adjuvant to radiotherapy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Propolis Alcohol and Oil Extracts Equally Effective at Inhibiting Tumor Growth

In vivo Antitumoral Activity and Composition of an Oil Extract of Brazilian Propolis
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

The present study aimed to evaluate in vivo and in vitro the antitumoral activity of a propolis extract obtained with edible vegetable oil and its fractions and also to investigate its chemical composition by LC-MS and LC-MS/MS.

To evaluate the toxicological aspects related to the propolis extract treatment, hematological, biochemical, histopathological and morphological analyses of treated animals were performed.

All propolis extracts showed an in vivo antitumor activity in the experimental model with a moderate toxicity effect at experimental exposure levels. The oil extract was as effective as the ethanolic extract at inhibiting tumor growth.

In vitro assays showed that the whole oil extract produced better inhibition of tumor cells than its fractions. LC-MS and LC-MS/MS identified 4 phenolic acids and 3 flavonoids.

The anticancer potential of the oil extract of propolis has been demonstrated and the edible vegetable oil was shown as an attractive alternative solvent to extract bioactive natural propolis components.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Propolis Natural Alternative for Control of Plant Pathogen

Bioassay-Guided Isolation and Identification of Antifungal Components from Chinese Propolis against Penicillium italicumFood Chemistry, Article in Press

The present study was aimed at identification of antifungal components against P. italicum from Chinese propolis with bioassay-guided fractionation technique.

Propolis ethanolic extract (PEE) was separated and purified by liquid-liquid extraction and thin layer chromatography (TLC) and the most active band was subjected to HPLC-MS/MS to identify the antifungal compounds.

The results showed PEE and its fractions had strong antifungal activity against P. italicum.

Among the fractions of PEE partitioned by petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, n-butanol and water, ethyl acetate fraction (E-Fr) exhibited the most effective activity against P. italicum. Further bioautographic TLC assay showed Band I, with Rf value of 0.70, had an inhibitive zone, which showed the strongest antifungal activity and completely inhibited the growth of P. italicum at 200 mg/L. Bioactive components found in Band I were further identified as pinobanksin, pinocembrine, chrysin and galangin.

This study exhibited Chinese propolis and its main flavonoids as potential natural alternatives for the control of citrus blue mold caused by P. italicum.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Propolis Component Protects Lung Tissue

An Investigation on Lung Tissue Damage and Morphological Changes in Newborns of Pregnant Rats Exposed to Methidathion
Saudi Med J, 2010 Oct;31(10):1095-100

OBJECTIVE: To investigate histopathological changes in the lungs and morphological changes of newborn rats whose mothers are exposed to methidathion (MD) during their pregnancy, and also the effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on these changes.

METHODS: The study was conducted in the Faculty of Medicine, Suleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey between May and June 2007. Fifty female Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into 5 groups, as follows: Group I (n=10): control group, Group II (n=10): 5mg/kg/day MD treated group in the first 7 days of pregnancy, Group III (n=10): 5 mg/kg/day MD + 10 umol/kg/day CAPE treated group in the first 7 days of pregnancy, Group IV (n=10): 5mg/kg/day MD treated group in the last 7 days of pregnancy, and Group V (n=10): 5 mg/kg/day MD + 10 umol/kg/day CAPE treated group in the last 7 days of pregnancy. The MD was administrated by oral gavage in corn oil, and the CAPE was administrated intraperitoneally.

RESULTS: Tremors, agitation, and spasm of extremities were observed in pregnant rats after administration of MD. Histopathological examination of lung tissues revealed peribronchial inflammation, alveolar and bronchoalveolar hemorrhage, intraparenchymal vascular congestion and thrombosis, alveolar destruction, and intraparenchymal infiltration.

CONCLUSION: Methidathion causes low weight gain and deaths among pregnant rats, increases intrauterine fetus deaths, causes low birth weights in the newborns, and histopathological changes in the lung tissues of newborn rats. The CAPE has an ameliorating effect on these histopathological alterations.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bee Venom Therapy Used in India to Treat Arthritis, Asthma, Infertility, MS

Bee Venom Therapy (Apitherapy) at NER Agri-Expo
By Susan Waten, Morung Express, 12/18/2010

The most unusual stall at the Nagaland Honey & Bee Mission (NHBM) pavilion at the NER Agri Expo is the bee venom therapy or apitherapy stall. The NHBM discovered a group of people in Terogvunyu village, in Tseminyu block, Kohima, who were not only active bee keepers but also apitherapists. This very group has been invited to set up a stall and administer free treatment to visitors willing to avail themselves of the services.

Apitherapy or bee venom therapy is the use of products of the common honeybee for therapeutic purposes which involve the medicinal use of bee sting venom which reduces inflammation and boosts the body’s immune system. Bee venom is a complex composition of enzymes, proteins and amino acids. It is a colorless clear liquid with a sweet taste and is a little bitter. Bee venom is applied to specific points on the surface of the body. After its sting, the bee immediately dies.

Patients are tested for sensitivity which involves a minute dose of the venom on the skin portion between the thumb and index finger. Within 20 minutes, if allergic reaction happens, spirit is applied as an antidote. With every sting, a patient feels a pin-prick pressure on the skin portion it is administered on. These bee stings are effective against a wide range of ailments such as arthritis, jaundice, goiter, infertility, gastritis, kidney problems, asthma, sinus, cough, eye allergy, toothache, corm, reptile bites, blood clots, lesions and even multiple sclerosis and cancer.

For common ailments like toothache and eye infection, bee acupuncture is done in the gum and on the periphery of the eye. For stomach pain it is done at the nape. Diabetes treatment takes about 8 months of rigorous acupuncture sessions while skin diseases such as ringworms takes 40 to 50 stings at a time. The number of bee stings depends on the severity of the disease. Normally children below 8 years and old people are not treated…

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Enzyme Activity Could Measure Freshness of Propolis

Extraction, Partial Characterization, and Storage Stability of β-Glucosidase from Propolis
Journal of Food Science, 8 DEC 2010

Extraction and assay conditions for β-glucosidase from propolis were optimized. Highest enzyme activity was obtained in a citric acid-disodium hydrogen phosphate buffer at pH 6.0 with 2.5% insoluble polyvinylpyrrolidone at incubation temperature of 57 °C. β-Glucosidase activities were found in all freshly harvested propolis while β-glucosidase activities were scarcely present in the randomly bought propolis. Propolis was stored at –20 °C and 4 °C for 3 mo with almost no loss of β-glucosidase activity, but at room temperature the activity decreased exponentially with the increase of storage time.

These results indicated that the activity of β-glucosidase could be a candidate for propolis-freshness index. β-Glucosidase from propolis was capable of hydrolyzing p-nitrophenyl-β-D-glucoside and p-nitrophenyl-β-D-galactoside, but lacked activity toward p-nitrophenyl-β-D-glucuronide, p-nitrophenyl-β-D-cellobioside, amygdalin, cellobiose, and gentiobiose. These results were consistent with the hypothesis that flavonoid glucosides were hydrolyzed by β-glucosidase during propolis collection and processing and provided a possible explanation for why some flavonoid biosides (that is, rutin and isorhamnetin-3-O-rutinoside) exist in propolis.

Practical Application: β-Glucosidase activity was detected and partial characterization of the enzyme was determined in propolis. The enzyme activity decreased exponentially with the increase of storage time at room temperature, which suggested that the activity of β-glucosidase could be regarded as a freshness index of propolis. The research will be useful for studying the chemical constituents of propolis.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

HMF Insufficient as Sole Indicator of Honey Quality

Hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde and Amylase Contents in Australian Honey
Food Chemistry, Volume 119, Issue 3, 1 April 2010, Pages 1000-1005

The quality of Australian honey samples (processed and unprocessed) was assessed using HPLC techniques. 5-Hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde (HMF) was used as the main quality indicator.

Sampling included four commercially-processed honeys (Australian rainforest, Beechworth, Homebrand and Leabrook) and three unprocessed (Banksia, Grey box and Mallee).

All honey samples, except Leabrook and Beechworth, showed an initial HMF content less than the Codex Alimentarius and International Honey Commission standard (40 mg/kg). HMF contents in Leabrook and Beechworth were 50.8 ± 1.34 and 74.9 ± 2.34 mg/kg, respectively. Heating unprocessed honey at 85 °C for 2 min caused significant (p 0.05) increment in HMF contents. The amounts of HMF in Mallee samples increased from 34.0 ± 0.31 to 42.3 ± 0.37 mg/kg after 2 min at 85 °C.

All honey samples showed amylase activity above the minimum limit (8 Gothes). The physiochemical properties of honey showed significant variations among samples. The results revealed also that heating was not the only factor influencing HMF formation in honey, but also honey composition, pH value and floral source can contribute to these variations.

Consequently, the amount of HMF may be an insufficient sole indicator of honey quality.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Honey a Marginal Source of Selenium

Selenium Content of Portuguese Unifloral Honeys
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Article in Press

The selenium contents of a total of 62 unifloral honeys from Erica spp., Castanea sativa, Eucalyptus spp., Lavandula stoechas, Citrus spp. and Echium plantagineum honeys collected in Portugal were determined by fluorometry after reaction with 2,3-diaminonaphthalene.

The selenium levels of the honey samples studied were low, ranging from <1.0 to 2.91 μg/100 g fresh weight.

The honeys from Erica spp., Castanea sativa and Echium plantagineum presented the highest selenium values from all the honeys studied (median values 1.69, 1.51 and 1.51 μg/100 g fresh weight), and the honeys from Eucalyptus spp, Lavandula stoechas and Citrus spp presented the lowest values (median values 1.33, 1.28 and 1.20 μg/100 g fresh weight). The selenium content of Erica spp., was significantly higher than that observed for the Eucalyptus spp, Lavandula stoechas and Citrus spp. and the selenium level of the Eucalyptus spp, was also significantly lower than that observed Castanea sativa and Echium plantagineum honeys.

From these results it can be concluded that honey is a marginal source of Se for the Portuguese population.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Royal Jelly Component Could Boost Anti-Tumor and Anti-Viral Immune Responses

3,10-dihydroxy-decanoic Acid, Isolated from Royal Jelly, Stimulates Th1 Polarizing Capability of Human Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

Different pharmacologically active components have been isolated from royal jelly. Some of them possess imunomodulatory activity, but the mechanisms of their effect on the immune system have not been elucidated yet.

In this study we tested the effect of 3,10-dihydroxy-decanoic acid (3,10-DDA), a fatty acid isolated from royal jelly, on maturation and functions of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs).

We showed that 3,10-DDA stimulated maturation of MoDCs by up-regulating the expression of CD40, CD54, CD86 and CD1a, and increased their allostimulatory potential in co-culture with allogeneic CD4+T cells. 3,10-DDA-treated MoDCs enhanced the production of IL-12 and IL-18, and stimulated the production of interferon-γ in co-culture with allogeneic CD4+T cells, compared to control MoDCs. In contrast, the production of IL-10 was down-regulated.

In conclusion, our results suggest that 3,10-DDA stimulates maturation and Th1 polarizing capability of human MoDCs in vitro, which could be beneficial for anti-tumour and anti-viral immune responses.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dr. Weil Says Honey Has Health Benefits Over Sugar

Is Honey Healthy?
Ask Dr. Weil, 12/14/2010

If you are trying to reduce your intake of refined sugar, honey is one alternative - but not necessarily a healthier one. However, honey does have some health benefits over sugar, as it:

•Is sweeter than refined sugar, so you can use less.
•Has a higher proportion of fructose, which doesn't stress the pancreas as much as sucrose.
•Has a slightly lower glycemic load than table sugar.
•Contains trace enzymes; minerals, including calcium, magnesium and potassium; amino acids; and vitamins, including a wide range of B vitamins such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine.

Raw honey may even help promote wound healing - research indicates it can be an excellent first aid measure for burns, even very severe ones. (Don't treat a serious wound with the honey you get at the supermarket or health food store - you need a medicinal honey and someone with expertise to treat you.)…

New Method to Measure Antioxidant Capacity of Propolis

Rapid and Effective Evaluation of the Antioxidant Capacity of Propolis Extracts Using DPPH Bleaching Kinetic Profiles; FT-IR and UV-vis Spectroscopic Data
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Article in Press

An informative and effective measure of antioxidant capacity based on DPPH (2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) bleaching kinetic profiles has been developed using principal component analysis (PCA).

The activity score and a related parameter, called quercetin factor (QF), were used to estimate antioxidant capacity for 39 propolis extracts based on the first principal component (which explains 98% of the total variance). Determination of the QF parameter requires less time and reagents than previous DPPH-based antioxidant capacity parameters, but does require additional equipment. Additionally, UV-vis and FT-IR spectroscopic features of propolis extracts have been identified, which have been correlated to antioxidant capacity, and offer a spectroscopic and reagent-less rapid evaluation method of the antioxidant activity of biological samples.

Together the QF scores based on DPPH bleaching and FT-IR and UV-vis spectra are analyzed in terms of antioxidant capacity, floral origin, and geographic location.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Article on Apitherapy in Arabic - العكبر «شمع العسل».. فوائد صحية وعلاج للأمراض


الرياض: د. حسن محمد صندقجي
استفاضت الأبحاث الطبية في إثبات وجود أنواع مختلفة من الفوائد الصحية لتناول العسل في معالجة الكثير من الأمراض، خاصة المرتبطة بالميكروبات. واستحوذت حبوب اللقاح (pollen) والهلام الملكي (royal jelly) وسم النحل (bee venom) وشمع النحل (beeswax) كذلك على جانب متنوع من الدراسات الطبية التي حاولت البحث في مدى الجدوى الصحية لكل مادة من تلك المواد التي يقدمها النحل، في علاج حالات مرضية مختلفة. وأصبح بالتالي لدينا طبيا ما يطلق عليه «العلاج بالنحل» (Apitherapy)، أي الاستخدامات الطبية لمنتجات النحل.
لكن هل القصة تنتهي عند العسل وحبوب اللقاح والهلام الملكي وسم النحل، أم أن ثمة مواد أخرى في أقراص شمع عسل النحل لا تزال «ماكينات» البحث العلمي تحاول، بشكل مثير للدهشة، دراستها ومعرفة تأثيراتها الصحية؟
قبل الإجابة علينا تذكر أن النحل مخلوق مفطور على القيام بأعمال غاية في الحكمة والدقة، ولذا لا بد أن تكون نتائج عمله تقديم أشياء مفيدة لمجتمعات النحل على وجه الخصوص، وللبشر بالعموم. وهناك الكثير من المواد الموجودة في أقراص شمع عسل النحل، التي يضعها النحل فيه لغايات حكيمة، وربما يمكن الاستفادة منها طبيا إذا ما تم البحث فيها وفق أسس علمية سليمة.





How to Harvest Propolis

By Emma Gin, eHow, 12/10/2010

Bees manufacture propolis to protect and insulate their hives. Human beings also use propolis for a number of purposes, and it is a marketable commodity. In order to harvest the bees' propolis, you must have a propolis trap. This simple mesh covering goes on top of the hive in place of its wooden cover. To insulate their hive, the bees will seal the slots in the mesh with propolis. Once a year, in fall when propolis production is at its peak, you can easily harvest it.

Instructions

1. Place the flat mesh propolis trap on top of the hive in place of the cover. According to the Virtual Beekeeping Gallery, the best time to do this is in late summer after the bees' last summer harvest. As temperatures fall, they will hurry to seal the gaps and insulate their hive.

2. Remove the propolis trap in late fall/early winter. Wait until outdoor temperatures reach or fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the propolis changes from a sticky tar-like substance to a hard resin that is much easier to harvest…

Monday, December 13, 2010

Awareness of Bee Product Health Benefits Spreads in France

Honey Health Benefits Touted as Bees Face ExtinctionFrench bee keepers spread the word, and the hives, to save critical creature
By Laura Krantz, GlobalPost, 12/10/10

...Dominique Girard, a third-generation French beekeeper, sells honey, pollen, royal jelly and propolis, a resin that bees use to seal the honeycomb.

And he swears by the health benefits of all four products.

Girard said propolis heals ulcers, inflammations and burns. Pollen, a spoonful of which can be sprinkled over your morning yogurt, contains amino acids, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and over 14 vitamins, including B12, C, D, E and A, Girard said.

His leaflet also lists the human benefits of royal jelly, the special food for the queen bee and her babies. First on the list? Increased sexual ability.

It is also believed to be good for the immune system and boost self confidence.

Are the French cognizant of the benefits of bee-related products?

“The goal is to make them aware of the advantages,” Girard said…

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Video: Bee Venom Therapy for MS and Arthritis in Taiwan

National Geographic, 12/8/2010

Can bee stings cure arthritis or MS? Meet some people in Taiwan willing to endure hundreds of bee stings to cure what ails them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

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Propolis Possible Active Ingredient in Sunscreens

Propolis as Potential Cosmeceutical Sunscreen Agent for Its Combined Photoprotective and Antioxidant Properties
Int J Pharm, 2010 Dec 3

Propolis, bee glue, and its main polyphenolic components, show high antioxidant activity as found measuring their inhibitory action on lipid peroxidation of linoleic acid (LA) in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) micelles.

Furthermore, these substances evidence effectiveness as broad spectrum UVB and UVA photoprotection sunscreens, as it results by measurements of sun protection factor (SPF), the universal indicator related primarily to UVB radiations, and of the two parameters giving an indication of the UVA absorbance properties, i.e. UVA/UVB ratio and critical wavelength.

The combination of these characteristics move up propolis and its main polyphenolic components to the class of cosmeceuticals, as possible active ingredient of sunscreen commercial formulations for their protective and preventive properties.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Propolis and Pollen Can Help Control Fluconazole-Resistant Fungal Strains

Antifungal Activity of the Honeybee Products Against Candida spp. and Trichosporon spp.
J Med Food, 2010 Dec 4

Honeybee products (honey, royal jelly, pollen, and propolis) were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the growth of 40 yeast strains of Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida krusei, and Trichosporon spp.

The broth microdilution method was used to assess the antifungal activity of honeybee products against yeasts. Fluconazole was selected as the antifungal control agent. Using the broth microdilution method, minimal inhibitory concentration ranges with regard to all isolates were 5-80% (vol/vol), 0.06-1 μg/mL, 0.002-0.25 μg/mL, 0.006-0.1 μg/mL, and 0.02-96 μg/mL for honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, and fluconazole, respectively.

The antifungal activities of each product decreased in the following order: propolis >pollen > royal jelly > > honey.

This study demonstrated that honeybee products, particularly propolis and pollen, can help to control some fluconazole-resistant fungal strains.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Propolis Protects Red Blood Cells

Propolis Influence on Erythrocyte Membrane Disorder (Hereditary Spherocytosis): A First Approach
Food and Chemical Toxicology, Article in Press

Propolis is a resinous substance collected from plants by bees. Its composition depends on the vegetation, the season, and the source area. It usually contains many chemical compounds such as polyphenols, steroids and amino acids.

The hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is a type of anaemia characterized by microcytic and hyperchromic red cells, spherical in shape and without central pallor. Clinically, subjects present from asymptomatic conditions to severe haemolytic anaemia.

In this study it was evaluated the effect of two propolis extracts in the osmotic fragility of HS patient red blood cell (RBC) membrane. It was found that propolis decreases the erythrocytes membrane fragility, being the effect of Bornes propolis more pronounced than Fundão propolis’. This effect was related with the higher phenolic content of the former propolis.

The results obtained in vitro suggest that the membrane fragility increases under oxidative stress conditions for the patient RBC’s and the protection effect of propolis is due to its antioxidant properties.

These results open doors for future investigations in order to elucidate the mechanisms, identify the main compounds involved in this fragility protection of the erythrocyte membrane. This is the first work reporting an evaluation of the propolis effect in a blood disease.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Anti-Bacterial Activity of Stored Honey Decreases Over Time

Storage-Induced Chemical Changes in Active Components of Honey De-Regulate Its Antibacterial Activity
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

To elucidate reasons for the observed variability in the antibacterial activity of honeys, we analyzed a causal relationship between (a) honey floral sources and the activity and (b) the effect of honey storage on stability of compounds conferring this activity.

Honeys from diverse floral sources were screened against Escherichia coli (ATCC 14948) and Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 6633) using the broth microdilution method. Among “active” honeys, 37% originated from buckwheat, 18% from clover and 12% from blueberry, indicating that these floral sources produced phytochemical(s) that inhibited bacterial growth.

The stability of the putative phytochemical(s) was analyzed in ”active” honeys (MIC 90 6.25% v/v) by measuring the activity every 3 to 6 months for a period of 1 to 3 years. A sharp decline in activity against both bacteria was observed in the first 3 to 6 months of storage. The decline coincided with major changes in chemical composition of honeys which included a significant change in colour (p< 0.0025), extremely significant change in concentration of UV-absorbing compounds (p < 0. 0001) and appearance of melanoidins.

While these changes reduced E. coli sensitivity to honey, it rendered B. subtilis completely insensitive. Thus, the data indicates that the presence of phytochemical(s) conferring the antibacterial activity is sensitive to storage.

The de-regulation of the antibacterial activity with the concomitant appearance of melanoidins suggests that the active phytochemical components might be sequestered into melanoidin aggregates, losing their function.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mexican Propolis Component Stronger than Anti-Cancer Drug

Cytotoxicity of Constituents from Mexican Propolis Against a Panel of Six Different Cancer Cell Lines Nat Prod Commun, 2010 Oct;5(10):1601-6

The cytotoxicity of 39 compounds, including eighteen flavonoids (flavanones, 1-10; flavones, 11-17; flavanol, 18), sixteen phenolic acid derivatives (aromatic acids, 19-24; aldehyde, 25; esters, 26-34) and five glycerides (35-39), isolated from Mexican propolis, were evaluated against a panel of six different cancer cell lines; murine colon 26-L5 carcinoma, murine B16-BL6 melanoma, murine Lewis lung carcinoma, human lung A549 adenocarcinoma, human cervix HeLa adenocarcinoma and human HT-1080 fibrosarcoma.

A phenylpropanoid-substituted flavanol, (2R,3S)-8-[4-phenylprop-2-en-1-one]-4',7-dihydroxy-3',5-dimethoxyflavan-3-ol (18), showed the most potent cytotoxicity against A549 cells (IC50, 6.2 microM) and HT-1080 cells (IC50, 3.9 microM), stronger than those of the clinically used anticancer drug, 5-fluorouracil (IC50, 7.5 microM and 5.4 microM, respectively).

Based on the observed results, the structure-activity relationships are discussed.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Bee Pollen - Eat to Prolong Longevity and Reverse Nutritional Deficiencies

(NaturalNews) Bee pollen can be described as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It has been referred to as a "Nature`s fountain of youth" because it provides so many health benefits. It may even be a cure for certain health problems.
Bee pollen has been used for thousands of years. It was used by the early Egyptian and Chinese civilizations. It was also used by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, 2500 years ago.

Bee pollen is made from plant pollen, a dust sized seed found on the stamen or male reproductive organ, of all flowers. As bees collect nectar from flowers, the pollen sticks to their legs. Bee pollen looks like tiny yellow, tan, orange, and brown balls. The taste can vary depending on what type of plant it comes from. It can be bitter or can have a sweet, nutty flavor.

One of the most amazing things about bee pollen is that it contains all of the nutrients that you need to live. Some studies have shown that mice only fed bee pollen showed no signs of malnourishment. Bee pollen consists of 55% carbohydrates, 35% protein, 3% vitamins and minerals, 2% fatty acids, and 5% other substances. It also contains 14.2% fiber. Bee pollen contains 5 to 7 times the amino acids found in equal weights of beef, milk, eggs or cheese. It is also very high in Vitamin B-complex, which is needed in order to help the body function correctly, and several antioxidants including lycopene, selenium, beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It also contains lecithin, which has been shown to normalize cholesterol and triglycerides, and it decreases LDL cholesterol, the "bad cholesterol," and increases HDL cholesterol, the "good cholesterol."

Bee pollen offers many benefits:

1. It increases energy levels, most likely due to its high concentration of B vitamins, protein, and amino acids. You may feel a significant increase in your energy levels right away, and it will also improve your stamina and endurance.

2. It may help with weight loss. It contains lecithin, which helps to remove fat from the body and also increases metabolism (or the rate that your body burns fat). Bee pollen also has some diuretic capabilities, which help to decrease food cravings and hunger pangs. This also helps with weight loss.

3. It may help decrease allergy symptoms, and the frequency and severity of asthma attacks may also be reduced. By reducing the amount of histamine the body releases, the body`s allergic response may be stopped before it begins...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Propolis, Vitamin C Recommended for Chicken Feed

The Effects of Propolis on Biochemical Parameters and Activity of Antioxidant Enzymes in Broilers Exposed to Lead-Induced Oxidative Stress
Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci, Vol. 23 No. 11 : 1482, November 2010

This study aimed to determine the effects of vitamin C and propolis-supplemented feeds on some blood parameters, lipid peroxidation, and activities of some antioxidant enzymes in broilers exposed to oxidative stress.

360 three-day-old broiler chicks (Ross 308) were randomly divided into four treatment groups each containing 90 animals, including six replicate groups for each treatment. The experimental groups were designated for a 3-42 days period as follows: no supplement to basal ration (Control-Group I); supplement of 500 ppm vitamin C and 200 ppm lead (as lead acetate) to basal ration (Group II); supplement of 1 g/kg propolis and 200 ppm lead (as lead acetate) to basal ration (Group III); and supplement of 200 ppm lead (as lead acetate) to basal ration (Group IV).

The highest TG level (86.83 mg/dl) was observed in the lead supplemented group; however, the lowest aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT) level (90.71 IU/L) was observed in the control group (p<0.05). The addition of lead increased the plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) level (p<0.01) compared to other treatments. However, the addition of vitamin C and propolis decreased the plasma MDA level close to control levels.

The highest erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was observed in the lead addition group (p<0.01) while no significant differences were observed for SOD activities of the control, vitamin C +lead, and propolis+lead groups.

The plasma reduced glutathione (GSH) activity of the control (2.30 mol/ml) was significantly lower than the lead administered group (6.20 mol/ml) (p<0.01); while this parameter was determined to be similar to other groups. No significant differences were observed between groups for liver GSH activity, but heart GSH activity of the control was significantly higher in comparison to other treatments (p<0.05).

To obtain similar antioxidant effects, it is recommend that using propolis (1 g/kg) and vitamin C (500 mg/kg) supplementation in broiler diets may overcome the adverse effects of oxidative stress originating from dietary lead.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Propolis Components Boost Immune Response to Vaccine

Green Propolis Phenolic Compounds Act as Vaccine Adjuvants, Improving Humoral and Cellular Responses in Mice Inoculated with Inactivated Vaccines
Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, 2010 Nov;105(7):908-13

Adjuvants play an important role in vaccine formulations by increasing their immunogenicity. In this study, the phenolic compound-rich J fraction (JFR) of a Brazilian green propolis methanolic extract stimulated cellular and humoral immune responses when co-administered with an inactivated vaccine against swine herpesvirus type 1 (SuHV-1).

When compared to control vaccines that used aluminium hydroxide as an adjuvant, the use of 10 mg/dose of JFR significantly increased (p < 0.05) neutralizing antibody titres against SuHV-1, as well as the percentage of protected animals following SuHV-1 challenge (p < 0.01).

Furthermore, addition of phenolic compounds potentiated the performance of the control vaccine, leading to increased cellular and humoral immune responses and enhanced protection of animals after SuHV-1 challenge (p < 0.05)…

The data presented in this paper clearly demonstrate the adjuvant activity of phenolic compounds obtained from Brazilian green propolis when co-administered in mice with an inactivated vaccine against SuHV-1. This adjuvant activity was evident in the increase in both cellular and humoral immune responses. Prenylated phenolic compounds such as Artepillin C that act at the cell signaling level are likely the main substances with adjuvant activity.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Saffron Extract and Honey Syrup Protect Against Neurotoxicity

Biochemical and Molecular Aspects of Aluminium Chloride-Induced Neurotoxicity in Mice and the Protective Role of Crocus sativus L.Extraction and Honey Syrup
Neuroscience, 2010 Nov 26

Aluminium has been proposed as an environmental factor that may affect several enzymes and other biomolecules related to neurotoxicity and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The promising protective effect of aqueous saffron extract and honey syrup on neurotoxicity induced by aluminuim chloride (AlCl(3)) may be derived from their own antioxidant properties.

Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice (35-40g) were injected with AlCl(3), 40 mg/kg/day for 45 days. Each mice strain was divided into four groups: AlCl(3) treated group, AlCl(3) plus water saffron extract group (administered with saffron extract at 200mg/kg b.w. once a day for the experimental period), AlCl(3) plus honey syrup group (administered with honey syrup at 500 mg/kg b.w. for 45 days). The control group received no treatment.

Oxidative stress and antioxidant status were estimated in the brain and differential display was performed for both mice strains to scan the mRNA in the treated and non treated groups. In addition, the up and down regulated genes were isolated, cloned and sequenced. The sequence analysis was performed and compared with the other genes cited on GenBank.

The results show that there was a decrease in the activity of the antioxidant enzymes (p≤ 0.001) such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) in the AlCl(3) groups of both mice strains. The level of brain thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) showed a significant increase (p≤ 0.001) of lipid peroxidation (LPO) in the AlCl(3) groups. There was an indication of carcinogenicity in the AlCl(3) treated group representing an increase in serum tumor markers such as arginase and a-l-fucosidase.

More than 350 band patterns were obtained and about 22 different up-down regulated genes were observed. The sequence analysis of the three selected up-regulated genes revealed that they are similar to BCL-2, R-spondin and the Inositol Polyphosphate 4-Phosphatase genes, respectively. The R-spondin gene was up-regulated in all examined animals except the control ones but the other two genes were only induced in the animals treated with AlCl(3) & honey syrup.

We conclude that the biochemical and molecular studies showed the neurotoxicity of AlCl(3) in the brains of mice. In addition, there was an ameliorative change with saffron extract and honey syrup against AlCl(3) neurotoxicity.

The obtained molecular results suggest that AlCl(3) made induction for BCL-W gene, which is an anticancer gene or belongs to the DNA repair system in the brain cells, as well as for R-spondin and Inositol Polyphosphate 4-Phosphataseas genes, which help in cell proliferation.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Maltese Propolis Shows Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal Properties

The Specific Chemical Profile of Mediterranean Propolis from Malta
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

Seventeen Maltese propolis samples were studied by GC-MS after silylation.

They exhibited the typical Mediterranean chemical profile, rich in diterpene compounds (18 – 92% of TIC, GC-MS): 32 individual diterpenes were identified; 22 of them were present in each specimen. The other abundant compound group was that of sugars and sugar derivatives.

In some samples, however, another compound group was observed (0 – 12% of TIC, GC-MS); the corresponding mass spectra were consistent with mono- and sesquiterpenyl esters of substituted benzoic acids. Two new propolis constituents of this group, daucane diterpene esters of hydroxybenzoic acids, were isolated. Their origin is suggested to be Ferula communis, as they are taxonomic markers for this species.

All propolis samples were active against Staphylococcus aureus but only those with high concentrations of terpenyl esters showed antifungal activity against Candida albicans. The present results confirm that Mediterranean propolis is a valuable natural product with potential to improve human health.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bee Sting of the Cornea and Conjunctiva: Management and Outcomes

Cornea, 2010 Nov 17
Purpose: To present the clinical features, management, and outcomes of 4 cases of bee sting injury to the cornea and conjunctiva.

Methods: Clinical features, external photographs, treatment, and outcomes of 4 cases of ocular bee stings are presented.

Results: In 3 cases, the stinger of the bee was retained on the cornea, and in 1 case, it was retained on the conjunctiva. One of the 3 corneal sting patients was stung on the laser in situ keratomileusis flap margin, which resulted in a partial tear of the flap. Retained bee stings were removed immediately in all 4 cases, and topical antibiotics were applied with adjuvant treatment. All patients had good visual outcomes without severe complications at follow-up.

Conclusions: Ocular surface bee stings with retained stingers are rarely reported. A potential triad of penetrating, immunologic, and toxic injury must be taken into consideration. Vision can be restored by early removal of the sting and topical medication.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Report of Interaction Between Blood Thinner and Bee-Collected Pollen

Probable Interaction Between Warfarin and Bee Pollen Am J Health Syst Pharm, 2010 Dec 1;67(23):2034-7

Problem: A probable interaction between warfarin and honeybee-collected pollen is reported.

Summary: A 71-year-old Caucasian man arrived at an anticoagulation clinic for routine warfarin monitoring with an International Normalized Ratio (INR) value of 7.1 (therapeutic range, 2.0-3.0). His medical history included atrial flutter, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, erectile dysfunction, obesity, and hypothyroidism.

His medication regimen included warfarin, hydrochlorothiazide, lisinopril, levothyroxine, simvastatin, glyburide, metformin, vardenafil, aspirin, a multivitamin, and the herbal products Cataplex E2, Cataplex B, and Cyruta. The dosages of all medications and herbal products had been stable for the previous nine months, including warfarin (INR, 1.9-3.3).

The patient began taking bee pollen granules (one teaspoon orally twice daily) for a perceived general health benefit one month before this clinic visit. He denied use of alcohol and tobacco, changes in dietary phytonadione intake, missed or extra doses of warfarin, any other medication changes, and acute illness and diarrhea.

Warfarin was withheld, and the patient was seen at the anticoagulation clinic three days later with an INR of 3.7. Warfarin was held for a fourth day and then restarted with the weekly dose decreased by 11%. The patient continued to take bee pollen, and all INR values during the next seven months were within or near the therapeutic range. Use of the Drug Interaction Probability Scale indicated that there was a probable interaction between bee pollen and warfarin.

Conclusion: Consumption of bee pollen led to increased INR values in a patient taking warfarin.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Technique for Honey Quality Control

α-Relaxation in Honey Study Versus Moisture Content: High frequency Ultrasonic Investigation Around Room Temperature
Journal of Food Engineering, Volume 103, Issue 2, March 2011, Pages 165-169

Ultrasonic longitudinal attenuation and velocity have been measured for various frequencies between 0.5 and 13.5 MHz versus temperature, in honeys with moisture contents between 15% and 19%.

With the help of attenuation measurements, the temperature of the alpha transition Tα (associated with the glass transition) has been deduced versus moisture content and ultrasonic frequency. Regarding the high sensitivity of Tα towards moisture content, one can distinguish two honeys with moisture contents difference less than 0.1%.

Considering the fact that the experiments are not difficult to perform and are carried out at around room temperature, this technique could be useful for honey quality control or more generally for aqueous polymers study.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

China Starts to Scrutinize Food Firms Against Propolis Adulteration

BEIJING, Nov. 25, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- China's food and drug authority has ordered meticulous checks of health food firms to prevent the use of tree gum to make propolis-based food.
The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) issued a circular Thursday and asked its local agencies to scrutinize the health food producers, which shall be "severely dealt with" for any illegal activities, especially the fraudulent use of tree gum as bee resin.

This move came after local media recently reported that some bee propolis products in China's market are actually tree gum that had been adulterated in order to save on production costs.

According to the circular, all health food firms should work to keep a record of information concerning the purchase of raw materials including propolis, ensure the suppliers of raw materials are traceable, and take measures to guarantee the quality of raw materials...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Honey Products Heading for Revival

By Kate Shapland, The Telegraph (UK), 11/23/2010

Although honey-based products have been part of the beauty firmament for years, honey's reparative qualities have taken a back seat to other natural properties recently. But this week, with the opening of a London shop (see below) for Melvita - an organic beauty line founded by the French biologist and beekeeper Bernard Chevilliat - honey brands such as Burt's Bees, Perlier and Apicare, and the nutritious qualities of pollen and royal jelly, are heading for a revival. The inspiration for Melvita came from Chevilliat's passion for bees and concerns about the decline of their colonies owing to increased use of insecticides, urbanisation and pollution. He wanted Melvita (from the Latin words for honey and life) to respect and nurture our skin and the environment. So instead of merely slapping the overused 'natural' tag on his products and waiting for them to work, he used only organically and responsibly sourced ingredients in his formulas, excluding properties not clinically proven safe. Chevilliat also ensures that each is traceable - a criterion of France's Ecocert standard, which Melvita holds...

System Melvita Organic Flower Pollen (£14) - the bees' protein-rich 'daily bread' with excellent restorative and revitalising qualities. Melvita, 19 Slingsby Place, St Martin's Courtyard, London WC2 (0800-138 7045; melvita.co.uk)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bee Products Enhance Healing Properties of Skin Cream

If it’s good enough for Cleopatra...The ancient Egyptian beauty formulas that still work today
By Liz Stout, The Daily Mail (UK), 11/25/2010

Beauty-conscious consumers will be surprised that the latest skin cream is based on a formula that’s 2,500 years old.

Egyptian Magic (£32.99, revital.co.uk) has A-list devotees who include Kate Hudson, Madonna and Emily Blunt…

Olive oil gives skin a healthy sheen, while beeswax and honey bathe it in age-fighting antioxidants. Other key ingredients are bee pollen, royal jelly and bee propolis.

Scientific research on its healing benefits suggests it could help to minimise scars, burns, stretch marks and insect bites, too…

Health Benefits of Bee Products Praised

Giving Thanks for Gifts from the Bees
By Dr. Reese Halter, Santa Monica Daily Press, 11/23/2010

...Honey contains over 200 substances. Bees secrete a glucose oxidase enzyme that assists in converting nectar into honey. Along with oxygen the glucose enzyme splits the glucose molecule into water and hydrogen peroxide. Due to its hydrogen peroxide and glucose oxidase content, honey is a powerful antiseptic.

High amounts of malic, citric, tartaric, oxalic and other organic acids combined with the enzymes catalase and peroxidase give honey its renowned antibacterial properties.

With over 80 percent sugar content and its natural acidity honey creates an inhospitable environment for the single-celled microbes that form infections. The low water content of honey keeps bacteria, which thrives in water, from flourishing. The ancient Mayan shamans realized this and successfully used honey-based medicines to treat cataracts, conjunctivitis, chills, fevers and open wounds. Today, some modern bandage companies line their products with diluted traces of honey.

Honey is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It contains water soluble B1, B2, B6, panothenic and nicotinic acids, vitamin C — as well as high amounts of fat soluble vitamins E, K and A. Honey also provides us with essential minerals: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and sulfur.

Some of these minerals in the specific concentrations found in honey mimic the concentrations of blood serum. Therefore honey metabolizes easily and can be an important source of essential nutrients. In addition, the combination of glucose and fructose and some maltose, melezitose and dextrin makes honey an excellent source of caloric energy.

Some researchers suggest that a teaspoon or two of honey before bed ensures a restorative sleep. Floridian tupelo and New Zealand manuka honeys are low on the glycemic index and therefore best for diabetics.

Beeswax is a somewhat silent partner in the daily lives of people around the world. From cosmetics, stick colognes, antiperspirants, candies and dental impressions to the mouth-pieces of didgeridoos, beeswax is often an important component.

Did you know that your pool table has beeswax filling its screw holes and seams between slates? Beeswax thread is still preferred by shoemakers — and sailors — because of its durability and resistance to weathering. Furniture and automobile polish, industrial lubricants, paint removers and even the frets on a two-stringed Philippine Kutiyapi boat-lute, they all rely on the wax of the bees.

Did you know that the Roman Catholic Church uses about 3.1 million pounds of beeswax in their candles each year, which are 49 percent beeswax?

Beehives can tell scientists a lot about the health and well-being of local environments. In fact, beeswax is a sponge for toxic chemicals. This past springtime researchers examined beehives from 23 states and Canadian provinces and found 121 different insecticides in 887 samples of bees, wax, pollen and hives.

Of even more concern was that three out of five pollen and wax samples from 23 states had at least one systemic insecticide — a poison designated to spread throughout all parts of the plant including its pollen and nectar. One group of these chemicals, neonictinoids, are lethal to bees, moths, beneficial soil insects and known to contaminate fresh waterways.

Since 1957, the former USSR has used extracts of bee stings — bee venom, known as apis — to treat rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating autoimmune diseases. The powerful anti-inflammatory effects of melittin and adolapin in bee venom — along with apamin, improve nerve transmission and are being used to effectively treat fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Twelve European countries have officially recognized bee venom solution as a drug...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Propolis Protects Cartilage in Arthritic Joints

The Influence of Irradiation on the Potential Chondroprotective Effect of Aqueous Extract of Propolis in Rats
Int J Radiat Biol, 2010 Nov 19

Purpose: Cartilage degradation usually results as a consequence of inflammatory processes in the joints. To study this phenomenon experimentally, adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) was used as a model of chronic inflammation under the influence of irradiation. The potential chondroprotective effect of 13% aqueous extract of propolis (AEP) in arthritic rats was investigated.

Materials and methods: The influence of whole body irradiation on the arthritic inflammatory response was investigated by subjecting rats to a Gamma source before the induction of arthritis. 13% AEP was injected intraperitoneally in a dose of 5 ml/kg and diclofenac was used as reference non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in a dose of 3 mg/kg. The chosen parameters for cartilage integrity were glycosaminoglycan (GAG), hydroxyproline contents in cartilage and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) in serum. The serum levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), nitric oxide (NO) and the oxidative stress biomarkers such as blood glutathione (GSH) and plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) levels.

Results: Induction of arthritis led to a reduction in GAG and hydroxyproline content of femoral cartilage and a corresponding rise in COMP in serum. Previous exposure to irradiation resulted in a milder reduction of GAG and hydroxyproline and a lesser rise in COMP. Treatment of arthritic irradiated and non-irradiated rats with 13% AEP markedly prevented the breakdown of cartilage in a much more effective manner than diclofenac. Both AEP and diclofenac were equipotent in reducing the level of TNF-α and were able to normalize NO and the oxidative stress biomarkers in non-irradiated and irradiated arthritic rats.

Conclusion: The ability of propolis to protect cartilage degradation could therefore prove of value in the treatment of chronic arthritic diseases, offering an advantage over some NSAID, particularly those with a potential detrimental effect on cartilage integrity.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Collecting Bee Venom

The bee venom manufacturing process has a few steps:
Source: ApiHealth

1. Bee venom collection from bees on the apiary.

All the existing types of electrical devices for bee venom collection have a common working element - bee venom collection frame. It comprises a bee venom collection frame with wire electrodes installed in parallel to each other. Electrical current goes through them in the form of impulses

Bee venom frames are mounted on the top of honey frames in every hive and then are connected to an electro-stimulator. The electro-stimulator is switched on and the time of the treatment is recorded. In the course of stimulation the behavior of bees in the electrical field between the wires of bee venom frame is watched.

Bees that come into contact with the wires received a mild electrical shock and stung onto the glass sheet . The alarm odor, which evaporated from the venom, mobilized and irritated the other bees and they also started to sting. At completion of the collection, the electrical stimulator is switched off and the bees are shaken off from the bee venom frames.

The bee venom collected dries on the glass. The frames with the fresh dried bee venom on them are carefully packed into a special container for transportation to the laboratory…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bee Venom Inhibits Prostate Cancer

Anti-Cancer Effect of Bee Venom in Prostate Cancer Cells Through Activation of Caspase Pathway Via Inactivation of NF-κB†
The Prostate, Early View (Articles online in advance of print)

Bee venom has been used as a traditional medicine to treat arthritis, rheumatism, back pain, cancerous tumors, and skin diseases. However, the effects of bee venom on the prostate cancer and their action mechanisms have not been reported yet.

Methods

To determine the effect of bee venom and its major component, melittin on the prostate cancer cells, apoptosis is analyzed by tunnel assay and apoptotic gene expression. For xenograft studies, bee venom was administrated intraperitoneally twice per week for 4 weeks, and the tumor growth was measured and the tumor were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. To investigate whether bee venom and melittin can inactivate nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), we assessed NF-κB activity in vitro and in vivo.

Results and Conclusions

Bee venom (1–10 µg/ml) and melittin (0.5–2.5 µg/ml) inhibited cancer cell growth through induction of apoptotic cell death in LNCaP, DU145, and PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. These effects were mediated by the suppression of constitutively activated NF-κB. Bee venom and melittin decreased anti-apoptotic proteins but induced pro-apoptotic proteins. However, pan caspase inhibitor abolished bee venom and melittin-induced apoptotic cell death and NF-κB inactivation. Bee venom (3–6 mg/kg) administration to nude mice implanted with PC-3 cells resulted in inhibition of tumor growth and activity of NF-κB accompanied with apoptotic cell death.

Therefore, these results indicated that bee venom and melittin could inhibit prostate cancer in in vitro and in vivo, and these effects may be related to NF-κB/caspase signal mediated induction of apoptotic cell death.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Propolis Component Protects Kidneys

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Protects Against Oxidative Stress-Related Renal Dysfunction in Rats Treated with Cyclosporin A
Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, Early View (Articles online in advance of print)

The therapeutic index of cyclosporin A (CsA), an immunosuppressive drug, is limited by its nephrotoxic effect. Oxidative stress is suggested to play a crucial role as pathogenic factors.

The present study aimed at investigating the effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a phenolic antioxidant, on renal function, morphology, and oxidative stress following CsA treatment.

Rats were treated with vehicle, CsA (50 mg/kg), and CsA plus CAPE (10 and 30 μmol/kg) for 10 days. Renal function, histopathology, and tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were evaluated 24 h after the last treatment.

CsA produced nephrotoxicity as indicated by a significant increase in serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen, but decrease creatinine and urea clearance compared to those treated with vehicle. Severe vacuolations and tubular necrosis were evident in the kidney of CsA-treated rats. CsA also increased renal MDA and decreased GSH content significantly. Administration of CAPE along with CsA restored all the changes caused by CsA.

These results clearly demonstrate the pivotal role of oxidative stress and its relation to renal dysfunction and also point to the protective potential of CAPE against CsA nephrotoxicity. The protection afforded by CAPE is mediated, at least in part, through inhibiting renal lipid peroxidation and enhancing or maintaining the antioxidant glutathione content.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Royal Jelly Fatty Acids Studied

The Absolute Configurations of Hydroxy Fatty Acids from the Royal Jelly of Honeybees (Apis mellifera)
Lipids, 2010 Nov 17

9-Hydroxy-2E-decenoic acid (9-HDA) is a precursor of the queen-produced substance, 9-oxo-2E-decenoic acid (9-ODA), which has various important functions and roles for caste maintenance in honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera).

9-HDA in royal jelly is considered to be a metabolite of 9-ODA produced by worker bees, and it is fed back to the queen who then transforms it into 9-ODA.

Recently we found that 9-HDA is present in royal jelly as a mixture of optical isomers (R:S, 2:1). The finding leads us to suspect that chiral fatty acids in royal jelly are precursors of semiochemicals.

Rather than looking for semiochemicals in the mandibular glands of the queen bee, this study involves the search for precursors of pheromones from large quantities of royal jelly.

Seven chiral hydroxy fatty acids, 9,10-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 4,10-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 4,9-dihydroxy-2E-decenoic, 3-hydroxydecanoic, 3,9-dihydroxydecanoic, 3,11-dihydroxydodecanoic, and 3,10-dihydroxydecanoic acids were isolated.

The absolute configurations of these acids were determined using the modified Mosher's method, and it was revealed that, similar to 9-HDA, five acids are present in royal jelly as mixtures of optical isomers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Study Examines Anti-Inflammatory Action of Chinese Propolis

Inhibitory Effect of Chinese Propolis on Phosphatidylcholine-Specific Phospholipase C Activity in Vascular Endothelial Cells
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011)

To understand the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory action of Chinese propolis, we investigated its effect on the activity of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC) that plays critical roles in control of vascular endothelial cell (VEC) function and inflammatory responses. Furthermore, p53 and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) were investigated.

Our data indicated that treatment of Chinese propolis 6.25 and 12.5 μg/ml for 12 hours increased VEC viability obviously. Exposure to Chinese propolis 6.25, 12.5, and 25 μg/ml for 6 and 12 hours significantly decreased PC-PLC activity and p53 level, and ROS levels were depressed by Chinese propolis 12.5 μg/ml and 25 μg/ml dramatically.

The Δψm of VECs was not affected by Chinese propolis at low concentration but disrupted by the propolis at 25 μg/ml significantly, which indicated that Chinese propolis depressed PC-PLC activity and the levels of p53 and ROS in VECs but disrupted Δψm at a high concentration.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Purification Method Creates Water-Soluble Propolis

New Method to Purify Propolis for Mouth Ulcer Gel Source: University of Bradford

The healing properties of propolis - a mixture of resin and wax made by honey bees to seal and sterilise their hives - have been known for many years. But its use in medicine and food supplements has been limited because the sticky substance is not water soluble and has a strong, off-putting smell.

Now researchers at the University of Bradford's Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science have developed a way of purifying propolis that retains its medicinal properties, but makes it dissolve in water and eliminates its pungent smell. The technique has already led to the development of a new mouth ulcer gel and opens the door to a huge range of other pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications for the substance.

"Propolis is a complex chemical mix and a very useful natural product," explains Centre Director, Professor Anant Paradkar, who led the research. "Propolis has been shown to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal, a strong anti-oxidant, non-allergenic and can boost the immune system. It also promotes wound healing and has anaesthetic properties…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Honey Can Help Manage Wound Odor

Managing Wound Odor #218
Journal of Palliative Medicine, October 2010: 1286-1287

Honey can be bacteriocidal, and has been increasingly studied for wound healing.

There is some evidence that it decreases odor.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Honey Bees Show That Diet May Alter DNA

Bees Prove a Good Diet Can Set Our Path in Life
By Bridie Smith, Sydney Morning Herald, 11/16/2010

YOU are what you eat. Grow up eating a nutrition-rich diet of royal jelly and you will become, well, royalty. Stick to honey and you are destined for life as a worker.

That is the way it is for honey bees, research published in the journal PLoS Biology shows.

But the research, led by Ryszard Maleszka, of the Australian National University's college of medicine, biology and environment, has implications for humans, too. The findings suggest environmental factors such as diet could modify the ''genetic hardware'' of the human brain, as was the case with the research that found diet not only influenced bee behaviour but its DNA.

Advertisement: Story continues below Two groups of genetically identical female bees developed from differentially fed larvae were studied at the ANU and the German Cancer Institute researchers. One group was fed highly nutritious royal jelly; the others honey. The results showed the honey-fed bees became the workers while those fed royal jelly became queen bees. But most significantly, a difference emerged in the two groups' DNA.

The implications for human health emerge because the enzymes that mark the DNA in the bee are the same ones that mark DNA in human brains...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Propolis Component Blocks Tumor Growth

Antitumor Progression Potential of Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Involving p75(NTR) in C6 Glioma Cells
Chem Biol Interact, 2010 Dec 5;188(3):607-15

The previous data showed that caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a component of propolis, possesses inducing cell cycle arrest and antiproliferation effect on C6 glioma cells in vitro and in vivo.

In the present study, C6 glioma cells treated with CAPE resulted in morphological changes to an astrocytic phenotype and increased the expression of glial differentiation marker proteins including glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and S-100β.

In addition, with scratch assay and Boyden chamber assay, CAPE exhibited inhibitory effects on the motility and invasion of C6 glioma cells. Furthermore, CAPE induced the expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) and p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)), which were involved in neural cell differentiation.

CAPE could also inhibit the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and induce the expression of RhoB, a tumor suppressor. To examine the involvement of p75(NTR) in the anti-invasive property of CAPE, Western blotting and Boyden Chamber assay were performed by addition of an anti-p75(NTR) antibody in C6 cells.

The results showed that blocking p75(NTR) could decrease the CAPE-induced expression of RhoB and the inactivation of MMP-2, -9 as well as the anti-invasion effect in C6 glioma cells. Furthermore, CAPE suppressed IκB-α phosphorylation which was down stream of p75(NTR).

Finally, the effect of CAPE on metastasis by lung colonization of the tumor cell in nude mice was also evaluated. It was found that the groups of nude mice injected with CAPE-pretreated cells could decrease both lung size and weight as compared to the positive control group which did not receive CAPE treatment. In addition, histological examination of the mouse lung sections showed that the CAPE-treated group inhibited the metastasis of C6 glioma cells.

These data suggest CAPE possesses antitumor progression potential.