Friday, August 31, 2007

Only 15 Percent of Infant Botulism Cases Attributed to Honey

A Sickening Situation
By Martha Bonnie, Emergency Medical Services, September 2007

Foodborne illnesses in the United States are quite common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne microorganisms cause 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and over 5,000 deaths each year...

Common culprits have been tracked and researched by the American Medical Association, as well as governmental agencies…


Botulism, a bacterial infection, can be fatal for infants and adults. Botulism is sometimes associated with infants who have consumed honey, which can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum even after processing; however, according to recent research, only 15% of infant botulism cases can be attributed to honey. The remaining 85% have unknown causes. Botulism spores are widespread but are not seen in fresh foods. Most botulism comes from home-canned foods produced in an anaerobic environment (without oxygen), where the contaminated spores can reproduce…

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Zealand Firm Reduces Reliance on Apitherapy Products

Comvita's Olive Buy Cuts Reliance on Bees
By Andrew Janes, The Dominion Post (New Zealand), 8/30/2007

Comvita is reducing its reliance on bee-derived health products with a $30 million-plus acquisition of an Australian company that produces an olive extract to fight coughs and colds.

The Bay of Plenty company will pay $A20 million ($NZ23.3 million) for Olive Products Australia, and will pay up to $A6 million more if Olive Products meets growth targets in the next two years.

The purchase is subject to shareholder approval, final due diligence and finance.

Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said the purchase would cut Comvita's dependence on bee-based products.

Olive Products owns a grove of 500,000 olive trees in southeast Queensland and produces a liquid olive leaf extract, most of which is sold directly to consumers.

The extract is also used by arthritis and asthma sufferers and Mr Hewlett said there was scientific evidence, verified by Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration, that the extract lowered cholesterol and thinned the blood…

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pollen Extract Effective in Treating Prostatitis

Cernilton Efficacy in Prostatic Adenoma and Chronic Prostatitis
Urologiia, 2007 May-Jun;(3):35-7, 39.

Cernilton is a phytodrug containing pollen extract. It has antiandrogenic and anti-inflammatory effects influencing alpha1-adrenoblockers located in the zone of the detrusor and urethra. A conservative therapy with cernilton was given to 72 patients with chronic prostatitis and prostatic adenoma of stage I-II. Detailed urologic examination before the treatment and after it demonstrates that cernilton is effective, safe and well tolerated medicine for prostatic adenoma and chronic prostatitis. Cernilton is recommended for wider use in the treatment of patients with prostatic adenoma and chronic prostatitis.

Use Honey, Not Cold Medicine to Treat Infants’ Coughs

Risky Medicine
By Katherine Lee, Working Mother, August 2007 - September 2007

The next time your 5-or-under child has a cold, skip the kids' cold medicine and call your pediatrician instead.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other children's health professionals have expressed concern about possible risks (such as cardiac arrhythmia and increased blood pressure) of common over-the-counter remedies.

More than 1,500 children under age 2 were treated in emergency rooms in 2004 and 2005 for problems related to taking cold and cough medicines. As well, three infants died from medications containing the common ingredient pseudoephedrine, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Some drug-free ways to ease your child's symptoms, from Dan Levy, MD, president of the Maryland chapter of the AAP: Provide plenty of fluids, including chicken soup, which is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Offer a teaspoon honey and two drops of lemon juice in warm water to relieve a cough in a child over age 1

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Honey 'New Cure' for Hospital Superbug

Evening Herald (Ireland), 8/27/2007

Honey may be the new cure for MRSA, according to a study which has examined the healing benefits of the substance.

The hospital superbug may be targeted with Active Manuka Honey, which comes from New Zealand and is believed to have anti-bacterial properties. The new study examined the healing properties of the honey, testing it on over 100 patients suffering from chronic leg ulceration.

The effects of the honey were compared to standard hydrogel, for the effective cleansing and healing rates of wounds.

After the 12 week treatment period it was discovered that the group treated with honey experienced a higher rate of debridement, that is the removal of dead, damaged and infected tissue. They also experienced faster healing and reduced infection than the group treated with the standard gel.

The study also discovered "striking" results about the effectiveness of honey against MRSA. "Of ten wounds that were infected with MRSA at the start of the study, seven of the wounds showed no presence of the bacteria after just four weeks of treatment with Manuka Honey," the study's primary investigator and a clinical nurse from Sligo, Georgina Gethin said…

MRSA is a bacteria strain resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics available.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Comvita Wraps Up Acquisition of Medihoney

Comvita Acquires Australian Company in a Strategy to Secure the Global Medical Honey Business
AAP MediaNet, 8/23/2007

Comvita has wrapped up the acquisition of Australian based wound care specialist Medihoney and received FDA approval for its honey wound dressing.

These two major events represent the culmination of a sustained strategy to secure a leadership position internationally in the honey-based wound care market.

Comvita CEO Brett Hewlett says Medihoney will add to Comvitas medical capability through its specialised team bringing considerable technical and regulatory expertise, existing networks and distribution channels. For example, Medihoney has an exceptional UK sales team which has successfully launched their leading wound care lines into the NZ$100 million UK antimicrobial market.

The majority of the worlds advanced wound care sales are attributed to the US and Europe. The acquisition of Medihoney with its coverage in UK and Europe - plus the partnership with Derma Sciences in the US - gives Comvita the ability to penetrate the worlds two largest wound care markets.

Comvita will be able to accelerate its reach into lucrative new markets such as the UK and Germany through Medihoneys existing distribution network. Furthermore, Medihoney is licensed as a Medical Device Manufacturer, audited to ISO 13485:2003 and complies with European MDD 93/42/EEC, enabling a faster product development pipeline…

Visit these websites for more background on the companies referred to in this release:

Apitherapy and Development in South Africa

Honey of a Project for Poor Communities of Baviaanskloof
By Guy Rogers, The Herald (South Africa), 8/27/2007

Two subsistence communities will be reaping the benefits of an export honey production project which has been launched in the Baviaanskloof wilderness area.

Nine apprentice beekeepers received initial training from the Makana Meadery in Grahamstown, and meadery owner Garth Cambray would help to market the honey from the Baviaanskloof to his established contacts in Japan and elsewhere, Baviaanskloof Project Management Unit stakeholder engagement manager Eleanor McGregor said at the weekend…

In time, the aim is that the dependents could start a candle-making business from the wax. There is also a demand for propolis, a by-product from the hive generated during the honey-making process and used in toothpaste…

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Flavonoid Isolated from Japanese Propolis

Antioxidant Prenylated Flavonoids from Propolis Collected in Okinawa, Japan
J Agric Food Chem, August 22, 2007

Abstract: Propolis is a resinous substance collected by honeybees from various plant sources. The composition of propolis depends upon the vegetation at the site of collection. We previously isolated four prenylated flavonoids from propolis collected in Okinawa, Japan.
In this study, further fractionation of the extracts of Okinawan propolis resulted in the isolation of a new prenylated flavonoid, prokinawan, and four known compounds. The structure of prokinawan was determined by MS and NMR spectroscopic methods.

Furthermore, the antioxidant activity using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl radical scavenging and β-carotene bleaching systems was investigated. The present study proved that the position of the geranyl or prenyl groups on the flavonoid skeleton plays an important role in exhibiting antioxidant activity.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

‘Interesting’ Evidence for Use of Honey to Treat Neonate, Infant Wounds

The Therapeutic Use of Honey
Neonatal Network, 2007 Jul-Aug;26(4):247-51

Honey has been shown to have antibacterial activity against a variety of species of bacteria in vitro. Although the evidence regarding the use of honey for wound treatment in neonates and infants is interesting, it is not strong. The sample sizes in the cited clinical studies are small; there were no comparison groups and no randomization.

It appears that honey may be safe and useful in treating difficult-to-heal infected wounds, but double-blinded randomized controlled clinical trials with sufficient power are needed to determine the efficacy of honey in both initial wound management and secondary treatment of infected and poorly healing wounds.

A comparison of different types of honey would be an important component of these trials. Currently, there is not enough evidence to recommend one type of honey over another type; however, honey and wound care experts do recommend honey for wound care, not for consumption.

Previous Article: German Hospital Uses Honey to Treat Infant's Wounds

Friday, August 24, 2007

Honey-Based Dressing: ‘Possible MRSA Breakthrough’

By Gary Culliton, Irish Medical News, 8/24/2007

An Irish study examining the use of honey in the dressing of wounds points to a possibly significant breakthrough in the battle against the hospital superbug, MRSA. Preliminary results of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) using Active Manuka honey in the treatment of chronic wounds, were presented at the European Wound Management Association’s annual conference held in Glasgow by the study’s primary investigator, Ms Georgina Gethin, recently. Ms Gethin is a clinical nurse specialist in Sligo General Hospital and a Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland Research Fellow…

The effects of Active Manuka honey in the cleansing (debridement) and healing rates of wounds, as well as in antimicrobial activity, were compared to the effects of a standard hydrogel, both under compression, over a 12-week period. After the treatment period, it was determined that the group treated with honey experienced a higher rate of debridement (removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue), significantly faster healing and reduced infection than in the group treated with the standard gel. Particularly striking in the study, was the information about effectiveness of Active Manuka Honey on wounds with a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

“Of 10 wounds that were affected with MRSA at the start of the study, seven of the wounds showed no presence of the bacteria after just four weeks of treatment with Manuka honey,” said Ms Gethin…

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New York City Rooftop Honey Recommended for Allergies

Man Puts Beehives on NYC Rooftops
By Evan Mantyk, Epoch Times (USA), 8/22/2007

NEW YORK—At the Union Square Greenmarket on any given Sunday, the fresh produce and various fresh food products almost all come from somewhere, usually a farm, outside of New York City limits—David Graves' New York City Rooftop Honey is a different story. As its name suggests, Graves' raw honey is made from beehives kept on 12 New York City rooftops, from the Bronx to the Upper East Side to Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn…

According to a study done last year by the French Beekeepers' Association, bees raised in cities are actually healthier and more productive than those raised in rural areas. Researchers believe the reason for the difference is because in cities there are fewer pesticides, higher temperatures and a wider variety of plants for pollination…

Taking bee pollen has been cited as a way to fight off allergies and hay fever, and some researchers believe eating local raw honey that contains bee pollen is a good way to fight off local allergens.

"People want local honey. That is initially why I put hives on rooftops, so that they can build up immunities to pollen allergies. If you take a tea spoon a day you can build up your immunity to pollen allergies," says Graves…

Comvita Loss Not as Large as Forecast

NZPA, 8/23/2007

Honey products company Comvita today reported a $1.1 million June year loss, slightly down on the $1.2m it forecast on July 2.

Last year over the period it made a $944,000 profit.

It said it expected sales in the second half to be significantly above the same period last year and was expecting a "positive" result…

Comvita said FDA approval in the US and Canada for its advanced honey-based wound dressings had opened up the $US2.3 billion ($NZ3.33 billion) North American market via its strategic partner, Derma Sciences.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Honey More Effective, Less Painful Than Sugar in Wound Healing

Effects of Honey and Sugar Dressings on Wound Healing
Journal of Wound Care, 2007 Jul;16(7):317-9

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether there is a difference between the efficacy of honey and sugar as wound dressings.

METHOD: Patients with open or infected wounds were randomised to receive either honey or sugar dressings. Bacterial colonisation, wound size, wound ASEPSIS score and pain were assessed at the start of treatment and at weekly intervals until full healing occurred.

RESULTS: Forty patients were enrolled; 18 received sugar dressings and 22 honey dressings. In the honey group, 55% of patients had positive wound cultures at the start of treatment and 23% at one week, compared with 52% and 39% respectively in the sugar group.The median rate of healing in the first two weeks of treatment was 3.8cm2/week for the honey group and 2.2cm2/week for the sugar group.After three weeks of treatment 86% of patients treated with honey had no pain during dressing changes, compared with 72% treated with sugar.

CONCLUSION: Honey appears to be more effective than sugar in reducing bacterial contamination and promoting wound healing, and slightly less painful than sugar during dressing changes and motion.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Study: Measure Groups of Bioactive Propolis Compounds to Determine Quality

Chemical Characteristics of Poplar Type Propolis of Different Geographic Origin
Apidologie, 38 (2007) 306-306

Abstract - Validated spectrophotometric procedures were used to quantify three main groups of bioactive substances (phenolics, flavones/flavonols, flavanones/dihydroflavonols) in 114 samples of poplar-type propolis from different geographic origins.

From the results, we characterized raw poplar propolis in terms of minimum content of its bioactive components (antimicrobial and antioxidant) as follows: 45% resin, 21% total phenolics, 4% total flavones/flavonols; 4% total flavanones/dihydroflavonols, and a maximum Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) against S. aureus of 250 g/mL.

A significant negative correlation was observed between the amount of total phenolics and MIC.

The results indicate that measuring the concentrations of groups of active compounds, rather than individual components, is an appropriate approach in developing quality standards for propolis.

Honey Recommended for Injury Recovery

Speed Healing: The Road to Rapid Recovery
By Sarah Mahoney, New York Times Syndicate, 8/20/2007

…To move even faster down the road to recovery, though, add these more-surprising, but equally effective, strategies. Whether you're scheduled for surgery or trying to recover from a muscle strain, these six speed healers can shave days -- even weeks -- off your downtime.

1. Honey

The proof: On superficial wounds, such as cuts and burns, honey acts as an antibacterial agent, rapidly cleaning out and preventing further infection, according to an analysis of nearly two dozen studies by New Zealand researchers. One found that burns treated with honey healed, on average, in 11 days -- 4 days less than burns treated without it. The sweet stuff also reduced swelling and minimized scarring.

Try it: Researchers used Manuka honey from New Zealand, available in both pure and ointment forms at, but any locally farmed raw honey product -- as opposed to commercial brands; heat used during production reduces antibacterial strength -- will be just as effective. To get the fastest results, follow the researchers' method: Put some honey on sterile gauze, apply to the wound, and change the dressing every 24 hours...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kuwait Apitherapy Clinic Seeks Physician

The head of an Apitherapy clinic in Kuwait that treats MS and other conditions with bee venom therapy is seeking a new physician.

Applicants must be experienced in Apitherapy (bee venom therapy) and must pass an examination in medicine by the Kuwait Health Ministry.

For more information, e-mail:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Argentinian Honeys Effective Against E. Coli

Antimicrobial Activity of Honey Against Escherichia Coli
Revista Argentina de microbiologĂ­a, 2007 Apr-Jun;39(2):120-3.

This study assessed the susceptibility of Escherichia coli to the antimicrobial activity of honeys by different techniques. Honeys used were from the southeast region of Buenos Aires province.

In order to evaluate antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, solutions containing 0, 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50% (w/v) of honey were prepared…

A reduction of microbial growth of 96% in Mueller-Hinton broth and of 90% in Mac Conkey broth by honey solutions containing 50% and 25% (w/v), was respectively observed. The bactericide action of honey in nutritive agar proved negative. The MBC value in Mac Conkey agar was 25% (w/v) of honey.

The methods used for measuring the antibacterial activity in the present work were adequate to prove that honeys are active against E. coli at 25 and 50% (w/v) concentrations…

Beeswax, Herbs Used in Healing Salves

Clinton’s Healing Herbs
Steve Gilliland, The Kansan (USA), 8/18/2007

…Ninety percent of Clinton’s wild herbs are made into liquid tinctures, the other 10 percent into salves. To make the tinctures, he fills quart jars half full of freshly harvested raw herbs then adds an alcohol base to top off each jar. Six weeks later, the ingredients are strained and the resulting tinctures stored for bottling.

To make the salves, raw herbs are simmered in pans of hot olive oil for 15 to 20 minutes. The ingredients are then strained, and melted beeswax is added until the mixture is just the right consistency to be used as a salve. The resulting processed herbs are sold under the name “Clinton’s Healing Herbs.”…

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Simple, Accurate Method to Determine Hydrogen Peroxide in Honey

Rapid Determination of Hydrogen Peroxide Using Peroxidase Immobilized on Amberlite IRA-743 and Minerals in Honey
J. Agric. Food Chem, 55 (17), 6885 -6890, 2007 (July 28, 2007)

Abstract: Hydrogen peroxide and trace metals (K+, Ca2+, Na+, Mg2+, Mn2+, and Li+) were determined in 14 samples of Brazilian commercial honeys. The method for the determination of H2O2 is based on selective oxidation of H2O2 using an on-line tubular reactor containing peroxidase immobilized on Amberlite IRA-743 resin.

Reactors presented high stability for at least 2 weeks under intense use. The results show a simple, accurate, selective, and readily applied method to the determination of H2O2 in honey…

Friday, August 17, 2007

Study Defines Three Types of Cuban Propolis

Chemical Characterization of Cuban Propolis by HPLC-PDA, HPLC-MS, and NMR: the Brown, Red, and Yellow Cuban Varieties of Propolis
J. Agric. Food Chem., August 11, 2007

Abstract: Sixty-five samples of propolis were collected from eleven regions of Cuba; methanolic extracts of propolis were prepared from all samples, and a classification method was developed using a combination of NMR, HPLC-PDA, and HPLC-ESI/MS techniques.

The analysis of 1H and 13C NMR spectra and chromatographic profiles of all propolis extracts allowed the definition of three main types of Cuban propolis directly related to their secondary metabolite classes: brown Cuban propolis (BCP), rich in polyisoprenylated benzophenones, red Cuban propolis (RCP), containing isoflavonoids as the main constituents, and yellow Cuban propolis (YCP), probably with aliphatic compounds…

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Malaysian University to Study Honey’s Effect on Libido

USM to Conduct Research on Nutritional Value of Honey
Bernama Malaysian National News Agency, 8/16/2007

KOTA BAHARU, Aug 16 (Bernama) -- Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) will conduct a three-year research on the nutritional value of honey including as an aphrodisiac.

University Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM)'s Family Health Clinic Specialist and Lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Shaiful Bahari Ismail said the study would enlighten the public on the amount needed to be taken daily to stay healthy.

"The study will also look at whether consuming honey has any desired effect in enhancing libido as believed by many people," he told reporters after opening the Sexual Health Conference opened by HUSM director Dr Zaidun Kamari here Thursday.

Dr Shaiful Bahari said he was keen to carry out the research as the goodness of honey to health was mentioned in the Quran and the study would be conducted once a grant for it was approved by the government…

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

US Wound Care Firm Adopts MEDIHONEY Brand Name

Derma Sciences and Comvita to Move Forward with MEDIHONEY(TM) Product Line
Business Wire, 8/14/2007

Derma Sciences, Inc. (OTCBB: DSCI), a manufacturer and marketer of advanced wound care products, today announced that it and its partner, Comvita New Zealand, Ltd, are changing the brand name of their honey-based product line to MEDIHONEY(TM), effective immediately.

Previously, both companies had intended to market the products under the API-MED(TM) brand. The MEDIHONEY(TM) brand is an asset Comvita acquired through its recent purchase of Medihoney-Pty Ltd., formerly a subsidiary of the Australian-based Capilano group. MEDIHONEY(TM) is the market-leading line of Active Leptospermum honey-based wound and burn dressings, and is currently sold throughout Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The brand has been featured in multiple peer-reviewed journal articles on the use of honey for the management of wounds and burns, with several additional articles set to be published in the fall of 2007.

Ed Quilty, CEO of Derma Sciences, said "This is an important step in the development of our Active Manuka (Leptospermum)-based product line. The clinical staff running the MEDIHONEY(TM) brand has done an excellent job facilitating the creation of a solid base of evidence, including randomized controlled trials that have been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, their expansive ongoing clinical development program will be a huge asset as we move forward with the commercialization of our products. Lastly, as we consider our strategy for filing an IND in the US for our product as a drug, the MEDIHONEY(TM) patented formulation will provide a good level of protection of this asset moving forward."

Brett Hewlett, CEO of Comvita, added "Leveraging the MEDIHONEY(TM) brand is a key reason for our acquisition of the company. We now have a full library of clinical evidence supporting the use of some of our key products, and a great foundation of clinical activity currently underway upon which to build."…

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Video: Bees Trained to Search Out Specific Scents

Bees to Help Landmine Search
BBC, 8/9/2007

A new technique using honey bee to sniff out landmines is being developed in Croatia. View the video.

The technique of training bees to search out specific scents is described by Russian scientist N. Yoirish in books such as “Curative Properties of Honey and Bee Venom.”

Monday, August 13, 2007

Don’t Discount Use of Raw Honey to Treat Allergies

Comment from BEE-L:

Just a few observations to add to the debate on honey and allergies. Folk are quite right to say that science hasn't confirmed the effect but, as a scientist, I have to add that science isn't perfect. I'm only aware of one study that attempted to address the question in a properly controlled manner and it failed to find an effect. Could have been unlucky with the source of local honey, or maybe they didn't feed the subjects honey for long enough. For me, lots of anecdotal reports versus one negative well-controlled study leaves me thinking that the effect could still be there.

There is plenty of evidence that injecting small amounts of allergen, usually starting with a tiny quantity and gradually building up over time, desensitises patients to bee venom (been through that myself), wasp/yellowjacket venom, cat dander, and even grass and ragweed pollen. There are apparently a group of cats somewhere in Germany getting shaved from time to time to recover dried saliva to inject into patients!

Perhaps honey is providing an oral source of tiny amounts of allergen, and maybe that allergen is a protein sufficiently stable to cross the gut wall, become systemic, and have its desensitising effect. We're talking protein molecules rather than intact pollen grains (I think that it was Laurie Croft that put into print the completely erroneous view that whole pollen gets into the blood!)

Does unfiltered unheated honey contain airborne pollen? Yup, a small amount. I've counted the pollen types in individual pollen loads coming back to a hive and noted a small number of airborne pollen grains of the abundant airborne types at the time - grass and nettle. One or two per thousand of them in pollen loads that are predominantly brassica or clover or willowherb/fireweed. Some of that will get into honey. Is it enough? No idea, but it is there. Honeybees do sometimes deliberately gather grass or tree catkin or other airborne pollen types, but clearly they also accidentally collect other pollens in the environment. Perhaps it just sticks to their bodies while they are out flying (see Jerry Bromenshenk's paper on the collection of Bacillus spores below).

Lighthart, Bruce; Prier, Kevin R. S.; Bromenshenk, Jerry J. (2004) Detection of aerosolized bacterial spores (Bacillus atrophaeus) using free-flying honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) as collectors. Aerobiologia 20 (3-4) : 191-195.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Study Looks at Properties of Bee Venom Component

Melittin: A Membrane-Active Peptide with Diverse Functions
Bioscience Reports, 2007 Oct;27(4-5):189-223

Abstract: Melittin is the principal toxic component in the venom of the European honey bee Apis mellifera and is a cationic, hemolytic peptide. It is a small linear peptide composed of 26 amino acid residues in which the amino-terminal region is predominantly hydrophobic whereas the carboxy-terminal region is hydrophilic due to the presence of a stretch of positively charged amino acids. This amphiphilic property of melittin has resulted in melittin being used as a suitable model peptide for monitoring lipid-protein interactions in membranes.

In this review, the solution and membrane properties of melittin are highlighted, with an emphasis on melittin-membrane interaction using biophysical approaches. The recent applications of melittin in various cellular processes are discussed.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Propolis May Help Protect the Liver from Damage

Propolis Protects CYP 2E1 Enzymatic Activity and Oxidative Stress Induced by Carbon Tetrachloride
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Issue Volume 302, Numbers 1-2, August, 2007, Pages 215-224

Abstract: …Experimental liver injury was induced in rats by CCl4 to determine toxicological actions on CYP 2E1 by microsomal drug metabolizing enzymes. In this report, ethanolic extract of propolis at a dose of 200 mg/kg (po) was used after 24 h of toxicant administration to validate its protective potential…

Propolis extract showed significant improvement in the activity of both enzymes and suppressed toxicant induced increase in sleep time and bromosulphalein retention. Choleretic activity of liver did not show any sign of toxicity after propolis treatment at a dose of 200 mg/kg (id).

Histopathological evaluation of the liver revealed that propolis reduced the incidence of liver lesions including hepatocyte swelling and lymphocytic infiltrations induced by CCl4. Electron microscopic observations also showed improvement in ultrastructure of liver and substantiated recovery in biochemical parameters.

Protective activity of propolis at 200 mg/kg dose was statistically compared with positive control silymarin (50 mg/kg, po), a known hepatoprotective drug seems to be better in preventing hepatic CYP 2E1 activity deviated by CCl4.

These results lead us to speculate that propolis may play hepatoprotective role via improved CYP 2E1 activity and reduced oxidative stress in living system.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Propolis Component Induces Brain Cancer Cell Death, Has Neuroprotective Effect

Propolin G, a Prenylflavanone, Isolated from Taiwanese Propolis, Induces Caspase-Dependent Apoptosis in Brain Cancer Cells
J. Agric. Food Chem., August 9, 2007

Abstract: We have previously shown that six propolins, A-F, could be isolated from Taiwanese propolis (TP) and that they exerted a broad spectrum of biological activities.

Recently, we isolated a seventh compound, propolin G…

In our present study, we were interested in the various biological activities of TP extract as well as in propolin G as a pure compound. We found that propolin G could efficiently induce apoptosis in brain cancer cell lines (glioma and glioblastoma).

The apoptosis might have been through a mitochondrial- and caspase-dependent pathway. This result demonstrated that the TP collection season was more an important factor than the geographical region.

Propolis has been suggested to possess a potent antioxidant activity. We further evaluated the antioxidant property of propolin G using DPPH (1,2-diphenyl-2-picryhydrazyl). Our results indicate that propolin G does possess free radical scavenging activity.

We also evaluated the neuroprotective action of propolin G, TP, and BP (Brazilian propolis) extracts against oxidative stress in rat primary cortical neurons.

Our data demonstrate that propolin G and TP extracts have a marked neuroprotective effect that is greater than BP extract.

In conclusion, the isolation and characterization of propolin G from TP have demonstrated for the first time that this compound is a potent inducer of apoptosis in brain cancer cells and that this compound and TP extract exhibit a protective effect against oxidative stress in rat cortical neurons.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Study Identifies Honey Component that Stimulates Immune Cells

A 5.8-kDa Component of Manuka Honey Stimulates Immune Cells Via TLR4
Journal of Leukocyte Biology, August 3, 2007

Abstract: Honey is used as a therapy to aid wound healing. Previous data indicate that honey can stimulate cytokine production from human monocytes. The present study further examines this phenomenon in manuka honey...

To identify the component responsible for inducing cytokine production, honey was separated by molecular weight using microcon centrifugal filtration and fractions assessed for stimulatory activity.

The active fraction was analyzed by MALDI-TOF mass spectroscopy, which demonstrated the presence of a number of components of varying molecular weights. Additional fractionation using miniaturized, reverse-phase solidphase extraction resulted in the isolation of a 5.8-kDa component, which stimulated production of TNF-alpha via TLR4.

These findings reveal mechanisms and components involved in honey stimulation of cytokine induction and could potentially lead to the development of novel therapeutics to improve wound healing for patients with acute and chronic wounds.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

US Professor to Study Antimicrobial Properties of Propolis

Bees, Biofuels and Climate Change are the Focus of Three U of M, CFANS Grants
Justin Ware, University News Service, 8/6/2007

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL ( 8/6/2007 ) -- Three projects have been awarded $100,000 each as part of the new, University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Grants program.

The grants are aimed at increasing the college's research capacity in the areas of environment; the bio-based economy; and crops, food animals and human health.

The projects include:

Novel Antimicrobial Properties of Honeybee Propolis in Human and Animal Health, led by professor Jerry Cohen with two co-principal investigators, Gary Gardner and Marla Spivak.

Honey Has Been Healing for Ages

The Washington Post, 8/7/2007

"Grind to a powder river dust . . . and then knead it in water and honey, and let oil and hot cedar oil be spread over it." (Sumerian clay tablet, c. 2000 B.C.)

"Boil together strong white vinegar, honey, alum from Egypt, toasted natron [sodium bicarbonate] and a little bile." (Ancient Egyptian wound treatment)

"Thou shouldst bind fresh meat upon [the wound] the first day, thou shouldst apply two strips of linen; and treat afterward with grease, honey, (and) lint every day until he recovers." (Recommendation of Herophilus, founder of the medical school in Alexandria, c. 300 B.C.)

Such were the concoctions prescribed by physicians of the ancient world to soothe ailments of the eye and ear, to eliminate skin infections and to promote the healing of wounds or the site of surgeries such as circumcision.

In "The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting," Eva Crane says honey was even used by the Babylonians to preserve corpses, by preventing putrefaction. During the Middle Ages, write Bodog F. Beck and Doree Smedley in "Honey for Your Health," honey was used extensively "for boils, wounds, burns and ulcers." And it continued to be applied as a topical salve well into the 20th century…

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Washington Post Article Looks at Use of Honey in Wound Healing

Could Honey, an Ancient Remedy, Make a Comeback in Contemporary Wound Care?
By Eric Frederick Trump, The Washington Post, 8/7/2007

For biochemist Peter Molan, honey's ancient power to heal is not a matter of faith. So sure is he of the science behind it that he frequently applies the stuff of his research on himself -- and on his wife.

"She had a persistent boil on her buttocks," he explained. Since no standard salves had helped, he liquefied a dollop of a particular variety of honey known as manuka in the kitchen microwave, poured it over gauze and applied it.

The molten honey burned her.

"Fortunately, manuka is effective in treating burns as well as boils," Molan said cheerfully. Within a short time, he said, both boil and burn healed.

Manuka honey -- widely used for wound treatment in New Zealand, where Molan is co-director of Waikato University's Honey Research Unit -- is becoming increasingly accepted for this purpose around the world. Research over the past two decades, much of it conducted in Molan's lab, has focused on the potential for manuka to be used as an antimicrobial that may one day stand alongside such standard wound treatments as silver dressings and penicillin.

Manuka has also attracted attention because, in an era when the efficacy of pharmaceutical antibiotics is under threat, it has shown some promise in the treatment of wounds infected with especially challenging bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the superbug whose incidence increased 32-fold in U.S. hospitals between 1976 and 2003, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Manuka dressings have been in use for some time in Great Britain and Australia as well as in New Zealand; earlier this year they were cleared for use as an antimicrobial dressing in Canada; and last month the Food and Drug Administration cleared them for use in wound and burn care -- though not as an antimicrobial drug -- making them the first honey-based products cleared for medical use in the United States…

Monday, August 06, 2007

Canadian Beekeepers Use Bee Venom Therapy to Treat Arthritis

Creating a Buzz
By Steve Bartlett, The Telegram (Canada), 8/5/2007

Aubrey Goulding’s knee was being a “real nuisance.” It was to the point where walking down steps was terrible.

He split it open with an ax while working in the woods at age 21 and, as health-care providers predicted at the time, arthritis was setting in years later.

Fed up with the pain, he did something few might muster up the courage to attempt. He captured 14 or 15 bees from a hive in his backyard and put them in a Mason jar. His daughter iced his knee. Aubrey agitated the bees with a shake, flicked the top off the jar, and put it over the aching area. He gave himself 10 or 12 “good stings.” He repeated the process a week later.

That was between 10 and 15 years ago. He hasn’t felt a pain there since. “That knee now, I’d say, is as good as anybody 30 years old — no aches, no pains.”

He learned of the therapeutic power of stings from a book, “Bees don’t get arthritis.”...

Paradise Farms — the business he and his wife, Viola, operate — sells natural bee and honey products on local, national and international markets…

While Viola has been stung only once since 1984 — last year, actually — Aubrey feels a sting as much as seven or eight times a week at certain times of the season.

He admits it hurts — “It’s a hard sting for 30 seconds” — but he welcomes it when one gets him.

“Bee venom has a chemical in it called mellitin, and mellitin is 100 times stronger than cortisone. So, for inflammation on the joint, bursitis, tendonitis, it is fantastic.”…

Honey-Based Body Care Products Company Hires PR Firm

BeeCeutical Organics Signs with Primetime PR and Marketing
PRNewswire, 8/6/2007

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Aug. 6 PRNewswire — Primetime PR and Marketing, a full service public relations and marketing firm based in Hollywood, Florida announced today the addition of BeeCeutical Organics to its roster of clients, says Alan T. Brown, President. The natural skin care line consists of body-care products that feature organic ingredients and their proprietary 100% Organic Holistic Honey Blend(TM)…

Founded by husband and wife team, Richie and Julie Gerber, the couple started as organic farmers in Maine and then opened the Bread of Life Natural Foods supermarket chain in Florida which later merged with Whole Foods. Their products include their proprietary 100% Organic Holistic Honey Blend(TM), featuring medicinal honeys from around the world that have been used for centuries to heal the skin.

For more information please visit

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Best-Selling Diet Author Calls Bee-Collected Pollen ‘Superfood’

An Interview with Tosca Reno, Author of The Eat-Clean Diet
Written by Kelly Jad'on, Blog Critics, 8/4/2007

It's difficult to imagine that Ms. Tosca Reno was once a 40 year old fat housewife who transformed not just her body, but also her life. This is the author of The Eat-Clean Diet, a best-seller. Read it. You'll find the tools to empower your own lifestyle makeover…

KJ: What did you eat for breakfast today?

T. Reno: This morning I ate a bowl of ½ C dry oatmeal, 1T wheat germ (for Vitamin E and fiber) and 2T coarsely chopped flax seed with 1C hot water, 1/4C mixed berries, 1C of coffee, 2T of bee pollen.

KJ: Bee pollen?

T. Reno: Yes, it’s a superfood (protein, complex carbs, vitamins, rutin, minerals). It helps increase stamina during cardio, and improves weight management, by curving cravings for large portions of food…

Study Identifies 20 Royal Jelly Proteins

Proteome Analysis of Apis Mellifera Royal Jelly
Journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, August 3, 2007

Abstract: Royal jelly plays a pivotal role in the development of honey bee larvae. However, while various health promoting properties of royal jelly have been reported, most of the active substances within royal jelly that lead to these properties are still unknown.

Since up to 50% (dry mass) of royal jelly is protein, royal jelly proteome analysis is a promising starting point for attempts to identify the proteins that provide health-promoting effects. However, the comprehensive analysis of royal jelly proteins is hampered by the enormous abundance of some proteins in the major royal jelly protein family, which constitutes 80–90% of the royal jelly proteome…

We applied different methods for the prefractionation and separation of royal jelly proteins in order to circumvent the shortcomings of the individual techniques and achieve a high coverage of the royal jelly proteome. In this way, we were able to identify 20 different proteins in total, as well as to show a very high degree of cleavage of different proteins of the major royal jelly protein family. Furthermore, we investigated the protein phosphorylation of royal jelly proteins, and identified and located two phosphorylation sites within venom protein 2.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Propolis Extract Boosts Antitumor Activity of Cancer Drug

Studies from University of Zagreb, Department of Animal Physiology Add New Findings in the Area of Cancer Therapy
Ventures & Law Weekly, 8/12/2007

A new study, "Enhanced antitumor activity of irinotecan combined with propolis and its polyphenolic compounds on Ehrlich ascites tumor in mice," is now available. According to a study from Zagreb, Croatia, "The effects of the anticancer drug irinotecan combined with ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP), a water-soluble derivate of propolis (WSDP), quercetin and naringin on the growth of Ehrlich ascites tumor (EAT) and the life span of tumor-bearing Swiss albino mice were studied. Test components were given to mice intraperitoneally (i.p.) at doses of 100mg kg(-1) for three consecutive days before the i.p. injection of EAT cells (1x106)."

"Irinotecan was administered i.p. at dose of 50mg kg(-1) on days 1, 13, and 19 after tumor cell inoculation. The results clearly demonstrate the synergistic action of irinotecan and EEP on survival time," wrote V. Benkovic and colleagues, University of Zagreb, Department of Animal Physiology.

The researchers concluded: "These results suggest that clinical trials using a propolis preparation EEP combined with irinotecan may be beneficial in maximizing antitumor activity and minimizing post-chemotherapeutic reactions to the cytostatic drug."…

Friday, August 03, 2007

Study: Propolis Extract May Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

Human Prostate Cancer Cells by Ethanolic Extracts of Brazilian Propolis and Its Botanical Origin
International Journal of Oncology, 2007 Sep;31(3):601-6

Propolis is a resinous substance collected by bees (Apis mellifera) from various tree buds which they then use to coat hive parts and to seal cracks and crevices in the hive. Propolis, a known ancient folk medicine, has been extensively used in diet to improve health and to prevent disease.

In the present study, we have evaluated the effects of ethanolic extracts of Brazilian propolis group l2 and bud resins of botanical origin (B. dracunculifolia), and propolis group 3 on proliferation of metastasis (DU145 and PC-3) and primary malignant tumor (RC58T/h/SA#4)-derived human prostate cancer cells…

The results obtained here demonstrate that the Brazilian propolis extracts have significant inhibitory effect on proliferation of human prostate cancer cells. Inhibition was achieved through regulation of protein expression of cyclin D1, B1 and cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) as well as p21.

Our results indicate that the Brazilian propolis extracts show promise as chemotherapeutic agents as well as preventive agents against prostate cancer.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Raw Local Honey Recommended for Allergy Relief

A Sweet Relief for Allergy Season
By Barbara Gerry, Spokesman Review (USA), 8/2/2007

Is eating local honey for allergy relief just an old wives' tale? Or can the sweet relief allergy sufferers seek from their nonstop miserable "cold" symptoms be as simple as eating two teaspoons of honey a day?

"Local honey" is honey that has been collected from beehives no more than 50 miles from where you live. The closer the hives, the more effective the honey will bee (pun intended) in alleviating allergy symptoms, it is believed.

While not a "cure," anything that eliminates my symptoms is cure enough for me. And this is a feeling shared by the many people who have found sweet relief by eating local honey…

Because raw, unfiltered, unheated honey contains bits and pieces of pollen, it becomes a powerful immune system booster, according to honeybee experts…

Honey, Lettuce Seed Recommended for Asthma

Effective Natural Therapy for Asthma, Bronchitis
By Seye Adeniyi, Nigerian Tribune, 8/2/2007

…Another good natural therapy for asthma is lettuce seeds. Lettuce seed you may ask? But the truth is that a teaspoon of lettuce seeds mixed with pure honey, stirred well and left for a day or two is a natural bronchodilator.

Taking this preparation twice daily during the treatment of asthma and bronchitis is a very useful tonic. Regular usage will also reduce dependence on asthma medicines and improve the quality of life. To prepare this concoction, take a teaspoon of raw lettuce seeds, mix it in a pure (undiluted) honey. Take the concoction on an empty stomach twice a day. This has been proven to be a good relief over a long term…

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Whole Bee Venom Cytotoxicity Differs for Normal, Cancer Cells

Cytotoxicity of Honeybee (Apis Mellifera) Venom in Normal Human Lymphocytes and Hl-60 Cells
Chemico-Biological Interactions, June 20, 2007

Whole bee venom (BV) is used to treat inflammatory diseases in Korean traditional medicine. Various studies have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects of BV.

The toxicity of individual components of BV has been widely studied, although few studies have reported on the toxicity of BV. We sought to evaluate the cytotoxicity of BV in normal human lymphocytes and HL-60 cells.

When cells were treated with BV at concentrations of 1 or 5mug/ml, BV induced cell death in a time-dependent manner until 24h, but these cytotoxic effects ended thereafter. When cells were treated with BV at a concentration of 10mug/ml, however, viability decreased until 72h, which may have been due to the half-life of BV. Whole BV also inhibited proliferation in these cells.

BV induced DNA fragmentation and micronuclei in HL-60 cells and DNA fragmentation in human lymphocytes. Phosphate and tensin homolog (PTEN) up-regulation in HL-60 cells may induce S-phase cell cycle arrest.

Forkhead transcription factor (FKHR and FKHRL1) up-regulation in human lymphocytes by whole BV treatment may be involved in the repair of damaged DNA and reduce genotoxicity. Based on these results, whole BV may exert cytotoxicity in these two cells in a different fashion.