Monday, January 31, 2011

Apitherapy Journal Looks at Health Benefits of Malaysian Tualang Honey

Special Issue: Tualang Honey
Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2011

Original Research Articles

• Evaluation of Radical Scavenging Activity and Colour Intensity of Nine Malaysian Honeys of Different Origin
• Effect of Honey on Testicular Functions in Rats Exposed to Cigarette
• A Randomized Control Trial Comparing the Effects of Manuka Honey and Tualang Honey on Wound Granulation of Post Debridement Diabetic Foot Wounds
• Effect of a Combination of Jumping Exercise and Honey Supplementation on the Mass, Strength and Physical Dimensions of Bones in Young Female Rats
• Tualang Honey Hydrogel in the Treatment of Split-Skin Graft Donor Sites
• The Benefit of Tualang Honey in Reducing Acute Respiratory Symptoms Among Malaysian Hajj Pilgrims: A Preliminary Study
• The Efficacy of Tualang Honey in Comparison to Silver in Dressing Wounds in Rats
• Treatment of Partial Thickness Burn Wounds Using Tualang Honey, Hydrofibre and Silver Dressings: A Pilot Study
• Different Solid Phase Extraction Fractions of Tualang (Koompassia excelsa) Honey Demonstrated Diverse Antibacterial Properties Against Wound and Enteric Bacteria

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bee Venom May Help Treat Parkinson's Disease

Bee Venom Reduces Neuroinflammation in the MPTP-Induced Model of Parkinson's Disease
Int J Neurosci, 2011 Jan 26

Aim: This study was designed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of bee venom (BV) in a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Method: MPTP was administered by intraperitoneal (IP) injection at 2-hr intervals over an 8-hr period. Mice were then subjected to BV subcutaneous injection and sacrificed on days 1 and 3 following the final MPTP injection. The loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) was assessed by tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry. Microglial activation was measured by immunohistochemistry for macrophage antigen complex-1 (MAC-1) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). The staining intensities of MAC-1 and iNOS were quantified with respect to optical density.

Result: In animals treated with MPTP, the survival percentages of TH+ cells in the SNpc were 32% on day 1 and 46% on day 3 compared with normal mice. In BV-treated mice, the survival percentages of TH+ cells improved to 70% on day 1 and 78% on day 3 compared with normal mice. BV treatment also resulted in reduced expression of the inflammation markers MAC-1 and iNOS in the SNpc.

Conclusion: These data suggest that BV injection may have a neuroprotective effect that attenuates the activation of the microglial response, which has implications for the treatment of PD.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Extracts Show Higher Antifungal Activity Than Raw Propolis

In vitro Antifungal Activity of Propolis Samples of Czech and Slovak Origin
Central European Journal of Biology, Online First

Propolis has been used in traditional folk medicine for ages owing to a number of biological effects.

Four propolis samples of Czech and one of Slovak origin were extracted using Soxhlet apparatus and analysed by thin-layer chromatography. Raw propolis samples and their extracts were tested by microdilution broth method to determine minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) in eight strains of human pathogenic fungi.

Raw propolis samples showed a lower in vitro antifungal activity than their extracts. In general, the petroleum ether extracts exhibited the highest in vitro antifungal activity (MIC range of 16–64 µg/ml).

The content of flavonoids in the samples varied according to region. The highest amount of flavonoids was found in sample A that originated from Broumov (4%). The most susceptible to the propolis extracts were Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Candida albicans. The propolis samples of Czech and Slovak origin and their extracts showed a considerable in vitro antifungal effect which was associated especially with nonpolar petroleum ether and toluene extracts.

There was only a partial correlation between flavonoids content and in vitro antifungal activity.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Propolis Solution May Help Prevent Post-Harvest Fruit Diseases

Potential Application of Northern Argentine Propolis to Control Some Phytopathogenic Bacteria
Microbiol Res, 2011 Jan 13

The antimicrobial activity of samples of Northern Argentine propolis (Tucumán, Santiago del Estero and Chaco) against phytopathogenic bacteria was assessed and the most active samples were identified.

Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were determined by agar macrodilution and broth microdilution assays.

Strong antibacterial activity was detected against Erwinia carotovora spp carotovora CECT 225, Pseudomonas syringae pvar tomato CECT 126, Pseudomonas corrugata CECT 124 and Xanthomonas campestris pvar vesicatoria CECT 792. The most active propolis extract (Tucumán, T1) was selected to bioguide isolation and identified for antimicrobial compound (2',4'-dihydroxychalcone).

The antibacterial chalcone was more active than the propolis ethanolic extract (MIC values of 0.5-1μgml(-1) and 9.5-15μgml(-1), respectively). Phytotoxicity assays were realized and the propolis extracts did not retard germination of lettuce seeds or the growth of onion roots.

Propolis solutions applied as sprays on tomato fruits infected with P. syringae reduced the severity of disease. Application of the Argentine propolis extracts diluted with water may be promising for the management of post harvest diseases of fruits.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Royal Jelly Peptides Show Antibacterial Properties

Peptides From Royal Jelly: Studies on the Antimicrobial Activity of Jelleins, Jelleins Analogs and Synergy with Temporins
Journal of Peptide Science, Early View

Peptides isolated from natural fonts are the object of several studies aimed at finding new molecules possessing antibacterial activity.

We focused our studies on peptides originally isolated from the Royal Jelly, the jelleins and on some analogs having a UV reporter at the N- or C-terminus. We found that jelleins are mainly active against gram-positive bacteria; interestingly, they act in synergy with peptides belonging to the family of temporins such as temporin A and temporin B against Staphylococcus aureus A170 and Listeria monocytogenes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Honey May Help Prevent Drug Resistance in Cancer Chemotherapy

Can Flavonoids From Honey Alter Multidrug Resistance?
Medical Hypotheses, Article in Press

Cancer is one of the deadly diseases that burdens the society since long-time. Although design of chemotherapy is well-advanced, still it could not prevent the cancer death by hundred percent. One of the major stumbling blocks for cancer chemotherapy is multidrug resistance (MDR) developed by cancer cells.

Role of ABC family of transporter proteins is well recognized in MDR. P-glycoprotein (P-gp), member of ABC transporter family, has been described for drug resistance and a low bioavailability of drugs by pumping structurally unrelated drugs out of the cells at the cost of ATP hydrolysis.

Recently various P-gp inhibitors (chemosensitizers) are studied extensively to reverse MDR. In this scenario, we propose honey with multitude of polyphenolic flavonoids as a plausible candidate for inhibiting the P-gp proteins.

Common flavonoids of honey like chrysin, genistein, biochanin, quercetin, kaempferol, and naringenin have found to interact with P-gp transporters. Generally chemosensitizers bind with transmembrane domain (TMD) in the P-gp transporter but flavonoids are bi-functional in reversing the MDR.

Flavonoids can inhibit the ATPases activity involved in drug efflux and also it may serve as substrates for P-gp transporters, thereby causing competitive inhibition towards other substrates. This dual-mode of flavonoids interaction with P-gp transporter enhances the therapeutic index.

Hence we promulgate honey with rich flavonoid content as a potential candidate for reversing MDR. If our hypothesis is true, honey a novel chemosensitizer will reduce the huge amount invested in developing new chemosensitizers to overcome the burden of chemo-resistance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Propolis Component Helps Reduce Risks Type 2 Diabetes

Artepillin C, as a PPARγ Ligand, Enhances Adipocyte Differentiation and Glucose Uptake in 3T3-L1 Cells
Chem Pharmacol, 2011 Jan 8

The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ plays an important role in adipocyte differentiation. Its ligands, including thiazolidinediones, improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes.

We investigated the effects of artepillin C, an ingredient of Baccharis dracunculifolia, on adipogenesis and glucose uptake using 3T3-L1 cells. In PPARγ ligand-binding assays, artepillin C exhibited binding affinity toward PPARγ. Artepillin C dose-dependently enhanced adipocyte differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells. As a result of the artepillin C-induced adipocyte differentiation, the gene expression of PPARγ and its target genes, such as aP2, adiponectin and glucose transporter (GLUT) 4, was increased. These increases were abolished by cotreatment with GW9662, a PPARγ antagonist. In mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes, artepillin C significantly enhanced the basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. These effects were decreased by cotreatment with a PI3K inhibitor.

Although artepillin C had no effects on the insulin signaling cascade, artepillin C enhanced the expression and plasma membrane translocation of GLUT1 and GLUT4 in mature adipocytes.

In conclusion, these findings suggest that artepillin C promotes adipocyte differentiation and glucose uptake in part by direct binding to PPARγ, which could be the basis of the pharmacological benefits of green propolis intake in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Propolis Could Prevent Spread of Food-Borne Pathogens

The Effects of Korean Propolis against Foodborne Pathogens and Transmission Electron Microscopic Examination
N Biotechnol, 2011 Jan 10

This study was performed to evaluate the effects of Korean propolis against foodborne pathogens and spores of Bacillus cereus and to investigate the antimicrobial activity against B. cereus structure by TEM.

The antimicrobial effects of the Korean propolis was tested against foodborne pathogens including Gram-positive (Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative (Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fluorescence) bacteria by agar diffusion assay.

Gram-positive bacteria were more sensitive than were Gram-negative bacteria. The vegetative cells of B. cereus were the most sensitive among the pathogens tested with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 0.036mg/μl of propolis on agar medium. Based on MIC, sensitivity of vegetative cells of B. cereus and its spores were tested in a nutrient broth with different concentrations of propolis at 37°C. In liquid broth, treatment with 1.8mg/ml propolis showed bactericidal effect against B. cereus. Bacillus cereus vegetative cells exposed to 7.2mg/ml of propolis lost their viability within 20min.

Against spores of B. cereus, propolis inhibited germination of spores up to 30hours, compared to control at higher concentration than vegetative cells yet acted sporostatically. The bactericidal and sporostatic action of propolis were dependent on the concentration of propolis used and treatment time. Electron microscopic investigation of propolis treated B. cereus revealed substantial structural damage at the cellular level and irreversible cell membrane rupture at a number of locations with the apparent leakage of intracellular contents.

The antimicrobial effect of propolis in this study suggests potential use of propolis in foods.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe: Honey Pack for Dry Winter Hair

StyleList, 1/21/11

Honey and molasses are both natural humectants, meaning they attract and hold on to moisture. They are also excellent ingredients to use in creating your own conditioning hair pack to help combat dry winter hair. (Yield: 4.5 ounces)


1/2 cup honey or molasses
1 tablespoon almond oil


Stir the honey and oil together until well mixed. Then apply the entire mixture to clean, damp hair and massage into your strands and scalp. Put on a shower cap or cover your hair with plastic wrap and leave the treatment on for 20 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Propolis Flavone Boosts Protection Against Newcastle Disease

Epimedium Polysaccharide and Propolis Flavone Can Synergistically Inhibit the Cellular Infectivity of NDV and Improve the Curative Effect of ND in Chicken
Int J Biol Macromol, 2011 Jan 13

Four prescriptions, epimedium flavone plus propolis flavone (EF-PF), epimedium flavone plus propolis extracts (EF-PE), epimedium polysaccharide plus propolis flavone (EP-PF) and epimedium polysaccharide plus propolis extracts (EP-PE), were prepared and their antiviral effects were compared.

In test in vitro, the four prescriptions within safety concentration scope and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) were added into cultured chick embryo fibroblast (CEF) in three modes, pre-, post-adding drug and simultaneous-adding drug and virus after being mixed, the cellular A(570) values were determined by MTT method and the highest virus inhibitory rates were calculated to compare the antiviral activity of four prescriptions.

In test in vivo, three hundred 21-day-old chickens were randomly divided into 6 groups and challenged with NDV except for blank control group. After 24hours the chickens in four prescription groups were injected with corresponding drugs respectively, in virus control and blank control groups, with physiological saline, once a day for three successive days. On days 3, 7 and 14 after challenge, the serum antibody titer was determined. On day15 after challenge, the mortality, morbidity and cure rate in every group were counted.

The results showed that the most of A(570) values in EP-PF group were numberly or significantly larger than those of the corresponding virus control group and the highest virus inhibitory rates of EP-PF at optimal concentration group were the highest among four prescription groups in three drug-adding modes, which confirmed that EP-PF could significantly inhibit the infectivity of NDV to CEF, its action was stronger than those of other three prescriptions; in EP-PF group, the antibody titers and cure rate were the highest and the mortality and morbidity were lowest presenting numberly or significantly differences in comparison with other three prescription groups.

These results indicated that epimedium polysaccharide and propolis flavone possessed synergistical action, EP-PF prescription could significantly inhibit the cellular infectivity of NDV, improve the curative effect of ND in chicken and would be expected to exploit into a new-type antiviral drug.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thyme Honey Best in Antiradical Activity

Antiradical Activity of Natural Honeys and Antifungal Effect Against Penicillium genera
J Environ Sci Health B, 2011 Jan;46(1):92-6

The purpose of the study was to examine the antiradical activity of 11 natural honeys and to evaluate the antifungal properties of honey.

Honey samples (10) were collected from different locations of Slovak Republic. Honeys were native to different plant species of Robinia pseudoacaccia, Brassica napus subs. napus, Castanea sativa Mill. Thymus serpyllum vulgaris and the other samples had multifloral origin. The low antiradical activitity in honey samples was determined.

The best results were found in thyme honey from Rhodos (11.84 %) and Castanea honey from Nitra (10.61 %). The lowest antiradical activity was found in Acacia honey and determined to be 7.62 %. Statistically significant differences (P< 0.001) were found among thyme/Rhodos and Castanea/Nitra.

The antifungal activities of honey samples were tested by 10 %, 25 % and 50 % (by mass per volume) concentration against fungi Penicillium crustosum, P. expansum, P. griseofulvum, P. raistrickii and P. verrucosum and by the agar well diffusion method.

The solutions containing 10 % (by mass per volume) of honey did not have any effect on the growth of fungi. The strongest antifungal effect was shown by 50 % honey concentration against P. raistrickii.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Honey Flavonoids Analyzed

Analysis of Flavonoids in Honey by HPLC Coupled with Coulometric Electrode Array Detection and Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry
Anal Bioanal Chem, 2011 Jan 13

The analysis of flavonoids in unifloral honeys by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with coulometric electrode array detection (CEAD) is described.

The compounds were extracted by a nonionic polymeric resin (Amberlite XAD-2) and then separated on a reversed phase column using gradient elution. Quercetin, naringenin, hesperetin, luteolin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, and galangin were detected in a coulometric electrode array detection system between +300 and +800 mV against palladium reference electrodes, and their presence was additionally confirmed by HPLC coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry.

The method was applied to analysis of 19 honeys of different varieties and origin. The limits of detection and quantitation ranged between 1.6 and 8.3 μg/kg and 3.9 and 27.4 μg/kg, respectively. The recoveries were above 96% in fluid and above 89% in creamy honeys. Some of these honeys (melon, pumpkin, cherry blossom, dandelion, maple, and pine tree honey) were investigated for their flavonoid content and profile for the first time.

Differences between honeys were observed both in flavonoid concentrations and in the flavonoid profiles. The flavonoid concentrations ranged from 0.015 to 3.4 mg/kg honey. Galangin, kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and luteolin were detected in all investigated honeys, whereas hesperetin occurred only in lemon and orange honeys and naringenin in lemon, orange, rhododendron, rosemary, and cherry blossom honeys.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Honey, Propolis Component Induces Cancer Cell death

Chrysin Promotes Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) Induced Apoptosis in Human Cancer Cell Lines
Toxicol In Vitro, 2010 Dec 30

Chrysin exists widely in plants, honey and propolis. The anti-cancer property of chrysin has been demonstrated though the molecular mechanism is not clear.

In this study, we found that pre-treatment with chrysin could promote the cell death induced by TRAIL according to the morphological changes and appearance of sub-G1 peak in four human cancer cell lines.

…The differences between the combination and the untreated or TRAIL alone group were all significant (P<0.05) and dose-dependent effect was obvious. Similar results were obtained in CNE1 cells.

In the search of molecular mechanisms, we found that pre-treatment with chrysin could increase TRAIL-induced degradation of caspase 3, caspase 8, PARP proteins. Z-VAD-fmk, which is a pan-caspase inhibitor, could inhibit the apoptosis enhanced by the combination of chrysin and TRAIL.

All data indicate that chrysin can enhance the apoptosis induced by TRAIL, and the apoptosis is caspase-dependent and related to the activation of caspase 8.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Way to Analyze, Standardize Bee Venom

New CZE-DAD Method for Honeybee Venom Analysis and Standardization of the Product
Anal Bioanal Chem, 2011 Jan 8

The aim of this study was to develop a new precise and accurate CZE-DAD method for honeybee venom analysis using cytochrome c as an internal standard.

…All steps of the validation procedure proved that the developed analytical procedure was suitable for its intended purpose. Possibly this was the first study in which several honeybee venom components were separated and five of them were identified by capillary zone electrophoresis.

In addition, the developed method was applied for quantitative analysis of 38 honeybee venom samples. The content (relative to the dry venom mass) of analyzed peptides in honeybee venom samples collected in 2002-2007 was as follows: apamine from 0.93% to 4.34% (mean, 2.85 ± 0.79%); mast cell degranulating peptide (MCDP) from 1.46% to 4.37% (mean, 2.82 ± 0.64%); phospholipase A(2) from 7.41% to 20.25% (mean, 12.95 ± 3.09%); melittin from 25.40% to 60.27%, (mean, 45.91 ± 9.78%).

The results were compared with the experimental data obtained for the same venom samples analyzed earlier by the HPLC method. It was stated that HPCE and HPLC data did not differ significantly and that the HPCE method was the alternative for the HPLC method.

Moreover, using the results obtained principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to clarify the general distribution patterns or similarities of four major honeybee venom constituents collected from two different bee strains in various months and years.

PCA has shown that the strain of bee appears to be the only criteria for bee venom sample classification. Strong correlations between apamine, MCDP, phospholipase A(2), and melittin were confirmed. These correlations have to be taken into account in the honeybee venom standardization.

The developed method due to its simplicity can be easily automated and incorporated into routine operations both in the bee venom identification, quality control, and standardization of the product.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Honey Radical Scavenging Activity Related to Phenolic Content

The Relationships Between Phenolic Content, Pollen Diversity, Physicochemical Information and Radical Scavenging Activity in Honey
Molecules, 2011 Jan 7;16(1):336-47

Honey is rich in different secondary plant metabolites acting as natural antioxidants and contributing to human health. Radical scavenging activity (RSA) is related to antioxidant activity, while the correlation between the phenolic content and RSA is often weak. Consequently, exclusive information on phenolics is often insufficient to qualify the RSA and the health promoting effects of honey.

The paper deals with a case study of honey samples originating from the alpine areas of Italy's Lombardia and Veneto regions and realized by standard physicochemical and statistical analytical methods.

In pure honey, the total phenolic content and the RSA were measured in spectrophotometric tests with the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH•) free radical and Folin-Ciocalteu assays, respectively. Melissopalynological data was used to qualify pollen diversity through rank-frequency curves separating the samples into two groups. On the basis of physicochemical data, the samples were analyzed through multivariate classification and ranking procedures resulting in the identification of an outlier. Elimination of the outlier produced a high correlation between the total phenolic content and RSA in the two pollen diversity groups.

The case study suggests that, after disregarding outliers, the RSA activity can be satisfactorily qualified on the basis of phenolics with pollen diversity as a covariate.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Could Bee Propolis Be an Answer to Superbug MRSA?

Carrie Wachsmann, Vancouver Healthy Living Examiner, 1/11/2010

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ) is a bacterium responsible for tens of thousands of infections and deaths annually. It is also known as a super bug because it has developed resistance to many antibiotics. Doctors and scientists everywhere are looking for answers on how to combat this particularly virulent disease.

According to, research led by the University of Strathclyde, indicates that bee propolis could have a key role to play in new treatments to fight the virulent MRSA bug.

Could bee propolis be an answer to the superbug MRSA?

Bee propolis is the sticky resin-like substance found in every beehive. The bees gather resin from trees and plants and use it to stick the hive together and seal it. It also protects them from bacteria and disease. Propolis is rich in a variety of flavonoids, which research has shown is the component that gives propolis its antibacterial effect.

How does bee propolis fight MRSA?

Bee propolis has antibiotic, anti-microbial, and antibacterial properties, which kill harmful bacteria.

Bacteria and viruses are unable to develop a resistance to propolis…

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tasmanian Honey Producers Seek to Tap Medicinal Honey Market

Beyond Toast and Tea
By Eliza Wood, ABC, 1/13/2011

Tasmanian honey producers are hoping to tap the overseas medicinal honey market with the formation of an 'active honey' group.

Science continues to back up the argument that honey can be used for more things than just toast and tea.

The Tasmanian Active Honey Group initially includes six businesses, and they'll have to adhere to certain standards if they're to market under the organisation.

Manuka or tea tree honey has antibacterial qualities, and it's also been found recently that leatherwood is one of the highest antioxidant honeys in the world.

Nicola Charles from Blue Hills Honey at Mawbanna in the state's north west says these honeys have long been sold for food, but not often for medicine.

"[In south east Asian markets] they actually look at honey as a medicinal product, they don't see it as a food…

Friday, January 14, 2011

Honey May be Used as a Sugar Substitute by Diabetes Patients

The Glycemic and Peak Incremental Indices of Honey, Sucrose and Glucose in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Effects on C-peptide Level—A Pilot Study Acta Diabetologica, Online First

Our study was a case–control cross-sectional study that was conducted on 20 children and adolescents suffering from type 1 diabetes mellitus and ten healthy non-diabetic children and adolescents serving as controls.

The mean age of patients was 10.95 years. Oral sugar tolerance tests using glucose, sucrose and honey and measurement of fasting and postprandial serum C-peptide levels were done for all subjects in three separate sittings. The glycemic index (GI) and the peak incremental index (PII) were then calculated for each subject.

Honey, compared to sucrose, had lower GI and PII in both patients (P < 0.001) and control (P < 0.05) groups. In the patients group, the increase in the level of C-peptide after using honey was not significant when compared with using either glucose or sucrose. However, in the control group, honey produced a significant higher C-peptide level, when compared with either glucose or sucrose.

In conclusion, honey, because of its lower GI and PII when compared with sucrose, may be used as a sugar substitute in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Video: Honey Inspired Bandage Heals 'More Quickly'

BBC, 1/7/2011

He was part of the team which invented the pregnancy test but now Professor Paul Davis has designed a new bandage based in part on the chemistry of honey.

Professor Davis claims it heals wounds more quickly than standard dressings.

Graham Satchell reports.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pollen-Honey Mixture Helps Control Allergy Symptoms

Birch Pollen Honey for Birch Pollen Allergy - A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study
Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 2010 Dec 23;155(2):160-166

Background: Only a few randomized controlled trials have been carried out to evaluate various complementary treatments for allergic disorders. This study assessed the effects of the preseasonal use of birch pollen honey (BPH; birch pollen added to honey) or regular honey (RH) on symptoms and medication during birch pollen season.

Methods: Forty-four patients (59% female, mean age 33 years) with physician-diagnosed birch pollen allergy consumed either BPH or RH daily in incremental amounts from November 2008 to March 2009. Seventeen patients (53% female, mean age 36 years) on their usual allergy medication served as the control group. From April to May, patients recorded daily rhinoconjunctival and other symptoms and their use of medication. Fifty patients completed the study.

Results: During birch pollen season in 2009, BPH patients reported a 60% lower total symptom score (p < 0.01), twice as many asymptomatic days (p < 0.01), and 70% fewer days with severe symptoms (p < 0.001), and they used 50% less antihistamines (p < 0.001) compared to the control group. The differences between the BPH and RH groups were not significant. However, the BPH patients used less antihistamines than did the RH patients (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Patients who preseasonally used BPH had significantly better control of their symptoms than did those on conventional medication only, and they had marginally better control compared to those on RH. The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that BPH could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Malaysian Tualang Honey Could Help Treat Symptoms of Menopause

The Effects of Tualang Honey on Female Reproductive Organs, Tibia Bone and Hormonal Profile in Ovariectomised Rats - Animal Model for Menopause
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 31 December 2010

Background: Honey is a highly nutritional natural product that has been widely used in folk medicine for a number of therapeutic purposes. We evaluated whether Malaysian Tualang honey (AgroMas, Malaysia) was effective in reducing menopausal syndrome in ovariectomised female rats; an animal model for menopause.

Methods: The rats were divided into two control groups and three test groups. The control groups were sham-operated (SH) and ovariectomised (OVX) rats. The SH and OVX control rats were fed on 0.5 ml of distill water. The rats in the test groups were fed with low dose 0.2 g/kg (THL), medium dose, 1.0 g/kg (THM) and high dose 2.0 g/kg (THH) of Tualang honey in 0.5 ml of distill water. The administration was given by oral gavage once daily for 2 weeks. The reproductive organs (uterus and vagina), tibia bone and aorta were taken for histopathological examination while serum for hormonal assays.

Results: Administration of Tualang honey for 2 weeks to ovariectomised rats significantly increased the weight of the uterus and the thickness of vaginal epithelium, restore the tibia bones and reduced the body weight compared to rats in the ovariectomised group. The levels of estradiol and progesterone, in honey treated groups were markedly lower than that in the OVX group. At low doses (0.2 g/kg; THL group) of Tualang honey there was an increased in serum free testosterone levels compared to OVX group (P<0.01). Progesterone concentrations was significantly decreased in the OVX group as compared to SHAM group (P<0.05).

Conclusions: Tualang honey was shown to have beneficial effects on menopausal (ovariectomised) rats by preventing uterine atrophy, increased bone density and suppression of increased body weight. Honey could be an alternative to HRT.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Manuka Honeys May Reduce Oral Pathogens Within Dental Plaque

The in vitro Effect of Manuka Honeys on Growth and Adherence of Oral Bacteria
Anaerobe, Article in Press

Honey has been used since ancient times and more recently, for the healing of wounds and against infectious diseases.The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of two manuka honeys showing different potencies of their antibacterial activity, on potentially pathogenic oral bacteria.

The antimicrobial activity was examined by determining the MIC and MBC using the macro dilution broth technique. The effect on the adherence was tested on growing cells of Streptococcus mutans on a glass surface and on a multi-species biofilm grown on saliva-coated hydroxyapatite discs.

As expected, the antibacterial activity of manuka (with higher potency of antibacterial activity) was the most important. The two tested honeys weakly inhibited the adherence of S.mutans cells to a glass surface at sub-MIC concentration.

Manuka showed a total inhibition of multi species biofilm at the concentration of 200 μg/ml. manuka inhibited biofilm formation weakly at the concentration of 200 μg/ml but firmly at the concentration of 500 μg/ml.

Our findings suggest that manuka honeys might be able to reduce oral pathogens within dental plaque. These two honeys appear to be able to control dental biofilm deposit.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Medicinal Honey Used to Treat MSRA-Infected Titanium Mesh

Salvage of an Infected Titanium Mesh in a Large Incisional Ventral Hernia Using Medicinal Honey and Vacuum-Assisted Closure: A Case Report and Literature Review
Hernia, Online First

The overall reported percentage of mesh infections is 1.3%. Infections after incisional ventral hernia repair depend on many factors. Salvaging an infected mesh should be the priority, because serious complications are reported following mesh removal.

In this case report, a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-infected titanium mesh was salvaged by a novel technique, not requiring removal.

The combination of vacuum-assisted closure (VAC™ therapy) of the wound and medical honey (L-Mesitran™) proved to be successful in leaving the mesh in situ. We report the successful management of this infected titanium mesh and review the literature regarding the possible pathogenetic mechanisms and treatment options.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Ethiopian Honey Effective Against Oral Fungus in AIDS Patients

Effect of Ethiopian Multiflora Honey on Fluconazole-Resistant Candida Species Isolated from the Oral Cavity of AIDS Patients
International Journal of STD & AIDS, Volume 21, Number 11, Pp. 741-745

This study aimed to determine the antifungal effect of Ethiopian multiflora honey against Candida species isolated from the oral cavity of AIDS patients.

Oral rinses were obtained from 13 AIDS patients and cultured on CHROMagar plates at 37°C for 48 hours. Candida species were identified by microbiological and molecular techniques. The antifungal effect of the honey sample on Candida was investigated by an agar dilution technique. Susceptibility of the Candida species to fluconazole was tested following a semi-modified microdilution method.

Growth of both fluconazole-susceptible and -resistant Candida species was inhibited with a minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) of 35–40% (v/v) honey. The MFC of different Candida species was not significantly different (P > 0.05). From the total of 25 Candida isolates tested for susceptibility, 11 (44%), eight (32%) and six (24%) of the isolates were sensitive (minimum inhibitory concentrations [MICs] < 8 µg/mL), susceptible (dose-dependent: MICs 16–32 µg/mL) and resistant (MICs > 64 µg/mL) to fluconazole, respectively.

Ethiopian multiflora honey has antifungal activity against fluconazole-resistant Candida species isolated from the oral cavity of AIDS patients. This supports the existing folkloric practice of using honey to treat oral lesions. Nevertheless, identification of the bioactive agents in honey, their clinical evaluation and pharmacological standardization are crucial.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Propolis Component May Help Treat Breast Cancer

Cytotoxic Activity of Nemorosone in Human MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells
Can J Physiol Pharmacol, 2011 Jan;89(1):50-7

Estrogen receptor (ER) antagonists have been widely used for breast cancer treatment; however, patients have increasingly shown resistance and sensitivity to the high toxicity of these drugs, and identification of novel targeted therapies is therefore required.

To determine whether nemorosone, a polycyclic polyisoprenylated benzophenone isolated from floral resins of Clusia rosea Jacq. and Cuban propolis samples, exerts anticancer effects on human breast cancer cells, estrogen receptor positive (ERα+) MCF-7 and estrogen receptor negative (ERα-) MDA-MB-231 and LNCaP cells were used.

Cells were treated with nemorosone alone or in association with 17β-estradiol (E2) or an ER antagonist, ICI 182,780, a selective ER downregulator that completely abrogates estrogen-sensitive gene transcription. Nemorosone inhibited the cell viability of ERα+ but not of ERα- cells. In MCF-7, nemorosone induced inhibition of cell growth by blocking the cell cycle in the G0/G1 phase.

Moreover, the expression of pERK1/2 and pAkt, considered to be hallmarks of the nongenomic estrogen signalling pathway, were reduced in MCF-7 cells treated with nemorosone. All these effects were enhanced by ICI 182,780. However, nemorosone was not able to interfere with E2-induced Ca2+ release.

These findings suggest that nemorosone may have therapeutic application in the treatment of breast cancer because of its activity on ERα.

Les antagonistes des récepteurs des œstrogènes sont largement utilisés pour le traitement du cancer du sein; toutefois, les patients montrent de plus en plus de résistance à ces médicaments et de sensibilité leur toxicité, d’où la nécessité de mettre au point de nouvelles thérapies ciblées. Pour déterminer si le némorosone, un benzophénone polyisoprénylé polycyclique isolé des résines des fleurs de Clusia rosea et d’échantillons de propolis de Cuba, a un effet anticancéreux sur les cellules de cancer du sein, on a utilisé les cellules MCF-7 positives aux récepteurs des œstrogènes (REα+) et les cellules MDA-MB-231 et LNCaP négatives à ces récepteurs (REα–). On a traité les cellules avec le némorosone seul ou en association avec le 17β-estradiol (E2) ou l’antagoniste des RE, ICI 182,780, un régulateur négatif sélectif de RE qui supprime totalement la transcription des gènes sensibles aux œstrogènes. Le némorosone a inhibé la viabilité des cellules des REα+, mais pas des celles REα–. Dans les cellules MCF-7, le némorosone a inhibé la croissance cellulaires en bloquant le cycle des cellules dans la phase G0/G1. De plus, l’expression de pERK1/2 et de pAkt, considérée comme caractéristique dans la voie de signalisation des œstrogènes non génomiques, a été diminuée dans les cellules MCF-7 traitées avec le némorosone. Tous ces effets ont été stimulés par ICI 182,780. Toutefois, le némorosone n’a pu interférer avec la libération de Ca2+ induite par E2. Ces résultats donnent à penser que le némorosone pourrait avoir une application thérapeutique dans le traitement du cancer du sein en raison de son activité sur les REα.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Recommendation for Standardization of Bee Pollen Analysis

Evaluation of the Botanical Origin of Commercial Dry Bee Pollen Load Batches Using Pollen Analysis: A Proposal for Technical Standardization
An Acad Bras Cienc, 2010 Dec;82(4):893-902.

High quality of bee pollen for commercial purpose is required. In order to attend the consumer with the best identification of the botanical and floral origin of the product, 25 bee pollen batches were investigated using two techniques of pollen grain preparation.

The first started to identify pollen loads of different colors in two grams of each well mixed batch, and the second to identify pollen grains in a pool made of all the pollen loads comprised in two grams.

The best result was obtained by this last technique, when a pollen grain suspension was dropped on a microscope slide and circa 500 pollen grains were counted per sample. This analysis resulted in the recognition of monofloral and bifloral pollen batches, while the use of the first technique resulted in all samples receiving a heterofloral diagnosis.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Malaysian Honey Kills Breast, Cervical Cancer Cells

Tualang Honey Induces Apoptosis and Disrupts the Mitochondrial Membrane Potential of Human Breast and Cervical Cancer Cell Lines
Food and Chemical Toxicology, Article in Press

Honey is reported to contain various compounds such as phenols, vitamins and antioxidants.

The present study investigates the anticancer potential of Tualang honey (Agromas) (TH) in human breast (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) and cervical (HeLa) cancer cell lines; as well as in the normal breast epithelial cell line, MCF-10A.

The cells were treated with increasing doses of TH (1-10%) for up to 72 h. Increase in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage from the cell membranes indicates that TH is cytotoxic to all three cancer cells with effective concentrations (EC50) of 2.4 – 2.8%. TH is however, not cytotoxic to the MCF-10A cells.

Reactivity with annexin V fluorescence antibody and propidium iodide as analysed by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy shows that apoptosis occurred in these cancer cells. TH also reduced the mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) in the cancer cell lines after 24 h of treatment. The activation of caspase-3/7 and -9 was observed in all TH-treated cancer cells indicating the involvement of mitochondrial apoptotic pathway.

This study shows that TH has significant anticancer activity against human breast and cervical cancer cell lines.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Honey, Propolis Component Protects Liver

Chrysin Abrogates Early Hepatocarcinogenesis and Induces Apoptosis in N-Nitrosodiethylamine-Induced Preneoplastic Nodules in Rats
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Article in Press

Flavonoids possess strong anti-oxidant and cancer chemopreventive activities.

Chrysin (5,7-dihydroxyflavone) occurs naturally in many plants, honey, and propolis. In vitro, chrysin acts as a general anti-oxidant, causes cell cycle arrest and promotes cell death. However, the mechanism by which chrysin inhibits cancer cell growth and the subcellular pathways activated remains poorly understood.

Effect of dietary supplementation with chrysin on proliferation and apoptosis during diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced early hepatocarcinogenesis was investigated in male Wistar rats.

To induce hepatocarcinogenesis, rats were given DEN injections (i.p, 200 mg/kg) three times at 15 day interval. An oral dose of chrysin (250 mg/kg bodyweight) was given three times weekly for 3 weeks, commencing 1 week after the last dose of DEN. Changes in the mRNA expression of COX-2, NFkB p65, p53, Bcl-xL and β-arrestin-2 were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR. Changes in the protein levels were measured by western blotting.

Chrysin administration significantly (P < 0.001) reduced the number and size of nodules formed. Also, a significant (P < 0.01) reduction in serum activities of AST, ALT, ALP, LDH and γGT were noticed. Expression of COX-2 and NFkB p65 were significantly reduced whereas that of p53, Bax and caspase3 increased at the mRNA and protein levels.

Likewise, a decrease in levels of β-arrestin and the anti-apoptotic marker Bcl-xL was also noted.

These findings suggest that chrysin exerts global hepato-protective effect and its chemopreventive activity is associated with p53-mediated apoptosis during early hepatocarcinogenesis.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Possible Mechanism for Royal Jelly’s Estrogen-Like Effects

Fatty Acids Derived from Royal Jelly Are Modulators of Estrogen Receptor Functions
PLoS ONE, 5(12), December 22, 2010

Royal jelly (RJ) excreted by honeybees and used as a nutritional and medicinal agent has estrogen-like effects, yet the compounds mediating these effects remain unidentified.

The possible effects of three RJ fatty acids (FAs) (10-hydroxy-2-decenoic-10H2DA, 3,10-dihydroxydecanoic-3,10DDA, sebacic acid-SA) on estrogen signaling was investigated in various cellular systems.

In MCF-7 cells, FAs, in absence of estradiol (E2), modulated the estrogen receptor (ER) recruitment to the pS2 promoter and pS2 mRNA levels via only ERβ but not ERα, while in presence of E2 FAs modulated both ERβ and ERα. Moreover, in presence of FAs, the E2-induced recruitment of the EAB1 co-activator peptide to ERα is masked and the E2-induced estrogen response element (ERE)-mediated transactivation is inhibited.

In HeLa cells, in absence of E2, FAs inhibited the ERE-mediated transactivation by ERβ but not ERα, while in presence of E2, FAs inhibited ERE-activity by both ERβ and ERα. Molecular modeling revealed favorable binding of FAs to ERα at the co-activator-binding site, while binding assays showed that FAs did not bind to the ligand-binding pocket of ERα or ERβ.

In KS483 osteoblasts, FAs, like E2, induced mineralization via an ER-dependent way.

Our data propose a possible molecular mechanism for the estrogenic activities of RJ's components which, although structurally entirely different from E2, mediate estrogen signaling, at least in part, by modulating the recruitment of ERα, ERβ and co-activators to target genes…

In this study, we determined the possible estrogenic/antiestrogenic properties of 10H2DA, 3,10DDA and SA, isolated from RJ and identified by spectroscopic methods [6]. In choosing the concentrations we considered 1) the commonly used RJ dietary supplementation (1–3 g daily), 2) the concentration of 10H2DA and the concentration of sebacic acid in RJ (3–6% and 0.5% respectively) [34], [35], 3) the concentration of 10H2DA, sebacic acid and 3,10 DDA as well as 10HDA acid in marketed RJ samples in Greece (40–50%, 5%, 4% and 20% respectively), 4) the human blood volume and bioavailability. Based on the above information, we decided to examine the biological effects of FAs in a concentration range of 10−10 M–10−5 M, which are physiologically achievable concentrations.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Recent Patents on Topical Application of Honey in Wound and Burn Management

Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov, 2010 Dec 21

Topical application of honey to burn and wounds has been found to be effective in controlling infection and producing a clean granulating bed. It is suggested that the wound healing effect of honey may in part be related to the release of inflammatory cytokines from surrounding tissue cells, mainly monocytes and macrophages.

It has been reported that honey hastens wound healing by accelerating wound contractions. Microscopic evaluation demonstrated that there was a significant acceleration of dermal repair in wound treated with honey.

Macroscopic and microscopic observations under in vivo assessment suggested that the topical application of honey might have favourable influences on the various phases of burn and wound healing hence accelerating the healing process.

The regulatory effects of honey are related to components other than the sugars. However, the mechanisms by which honey affects the release of anti inflammatory agents and growth factors from monocytic cells are as yet unclear. Whether honey affects other cell types, particularly endothelial cells and fibroblasts, involved in wound healing also needs to be clarified.

The present article is a short review of recent patents on the healing effect of honey in wound and burn management.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Honey, Propolis Component a Possible Anti-Cancer Agent

Chrysin-Induced Apoptosis is Mediated Through p38 and Bax Activation in B16-F1 and A375 Melanoma Cells
Int J Oncol, 2010 Dec 17
Chrysin (5,7-dihydroxyflavone) is a natural and biologically active compound extracted from honey, plants and propolis. It possesses anti-inflammatory activity, anti-oxidant properties and promotes cell death by perturbing cell cycle progression.

In this study, our attention focused on the possible role that chrysin may have as a potential anti-cancer agent, and we tested its biological activity in murine and human melanoma cell lines (B16-F1 and A375).

This study demonstrated that chrysin reduced melanoma cell proliferation and induced cell differentiation in both human and murine melanoma cells through synthesis increase and intracellular accumulation of protoporphirin IX (PpIX).

Furthermore, following treatments with chrysin an increase in the expression of porphobilinogen deaminase (PBG-D) was noted. This study demontrated also that chrysin induces cell death in human and murine melanoma cells through caspase-dependent mechanisms, involving down-regulation of ERK 1/2, and activation of p38 MAP kinases.

Induction of cell death may be a promising therapeutic approach in cancer therapy. Our results suggest that chrysin may be considered a potential candidate for both cancer prevention and treatment.