Monday, December 19, 2005

Bee Products as Anti-Cancer Agents

Bee products tell cancer to buzz off!
Foodinfo Online FSTA Reports, November 2005

Naturally occurring anticancer agents are becoming increasingly sought after as a result of epidemiological studies into diet and cancer. Plant-based diets rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes are known to reduce the risk of various types of cancer, including breast cancer. However, the protective mechanisms are not fully understood.

It has been suggested that carotenes, antioxidant vitamins and other components such as flavonoids could act as anticancer agents. Flavonoids are present in fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, tea, wine and in propolis and honey. There is increasing interest in the medicinal properties of honey-bee products because they are thought to possess a range of activities including antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cytostatic, wound-healing and antitumour effects. Bees are also used in health treatment, with their products being consumed as health supplements. . .

A study by Orsolic et al., therefore investigated the effects of a water-soluble derivative of propolis, caffeic acid, honey, royal jelly and bee venom on tumour development and metastasis in murine tumour models. Honey, propolis and caffeic acid all exhibited strong antimetastatic effects, although royal jelly did not when given intraperitoneally or subcutaneously. However, the synchronous application of tumour cells and royal jelly intravenously significantly inhibited the formation of metastases. The results showed that honey-bee products given orally or systemically could be potentially useful in the control of tumour growth and metastasis.

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