Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Food Tank, 9/25/2016
Hugo Fearnley of Whitby, England is studying the potential of bee-produced medicines for the treatment of human diseases. Fearnley, CEO of BeeVital and Director of the Apiceutical Research Centre (ARC), recently earned a Churchill Travelling Fellowship to fund his research and coalition-building in four African countries.
One potentially promising compound for Fearnley is propolis, sometimes called bee glue: a mixture of plant resins and wax used for structural purposes in hives. Researchers are studying the roles of propolis in insect disease resistance and the evolutionary benefits of propolis for bees. But Fearnley aims his studies on propolis for treatment of malaria, leishmania, and sleeping sickness, diseases among the most prevalent in Africa.
According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, several studies have evidenced that “propolis has strong hepatoprotective, antitumor, antioxidative, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.” Scientists are working to find out if propolis can discourage infections in humans or act as an antibiotic. Fearnley’s BeeVital specifically focuses on propolis for periodontal issues, skin problems, wound healing, ulcers, immune deficiency diseases, and herpes simplex virus.
The pharmacological benefits of propolis for human health are most widely recognized in Eastern Europe, Asia, and South America.
The interest in propolis runs in the Fearnley family. Fearnley’s father has researched the medicinal nature of propolis for decades. Fearnley’s company BeeVital won a government research award to study future licensable bee-based medicines. Fearnley spoke recently at The First International Conference on Apiceutical Research, which focused on the potential of propolis.
Other bee products the pair cite as harboring medicinal properties include honey, royal jelly, pollen, and bee venom. Fearnley calls the beehive a “flying pharmacy.”...