Saturday, October 31, 2009

Propolis May Help Treat Food Poisoning

Antimicrobial Activity of Two Propolis Samples Against Human Campylobacter jejuni
J Med Food, 2009 Oct;12(5):1050-1056.

The aim of this study was to analyze the antimicrobial activity of two ethanolic extracts of propolis (EEPs) and selected flavonoids against 16 Campylobacter jejuni clinical isolates and several Gram-positive and Gram-negative human pathogens.

The antimicrobial activity of EEPs and flavonoids was evaluated by the agar well diffusion method. The EEPs inhibited the growth of C. jejuni, Enterobacter faecalis, and Staphylococcus aureus.

The most active flavonoid was galangin, with the highest percentage of sensitivity among C. jejuni strains (68.8%); lower percentages of sensitivity were observed for quercetin (50%). The minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of EEPs and flavonoids for C. jejuni isolates were determined by the agar dilution method. EEPs showed MIC values of 0.3125-0.156 mg/mL for all C. jejuni strains; galangin and quercetin gave MICs ranging from 0.250 to 0.125 mg/mL.

Thus propolis preparations could be used as support to traditional therapy for Campylobacter infection, especially when the antibiotic agents show no activity against this microorganism.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Basque Firm Researches Health Properties of Propolis

Propolis has Proved to be a Product with Ability to Have Beneficial Effects for Health
Basque Research, 10/27/2009

…Over the past 5 years, Neiker-Tecnalia, in collaboration with the Fundación Kalitatea, apicultural associations in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, honey producing plants and Basque governmental bodies, has undertaken R+D projects associated with the beekeeping sector. Various products derived from the beehive have been studied and propolis has proved to be a product having beneficial results for human health.

Propolis (Pro-before, Polis-city = defence of the city), is the resinous substance that bees gather from the leaf buds of trees and certain vegetables. The bee gathers this and transforms it in order to disinfect the beehive, seal cracks, build panels, as well as using it as a microbiocidal agent, disinfectant and also for embalming intruders otherwise difficult to expel due to their size. Propolis is, thus, directly responsible for guaranteeing the asepsis of the beehives, locations prone to developing viruses and bacteria, given their conditions of temperature and humidity.

Although the precise composition of propolis depends on the zone of beehive activity (climate, surrounding vegetation, and so on), as a rough guide, we can mention the following: resins and balsams (50-60%), waxes (20-25%), essential oils (5-10%), pollen (5%), others (minerals, enzymes, etc. 5%).

The fraction of resins and balsams is the one that contains most of the biologically active compounds, mainly phenolic ones derived from the vegetable kingdom and having proven pharmacological abilities. Due to the great number of active ingredients present, tincture (alcoholic extract) of propolis is well-known and used for its therapeutic properties, principally for its stimulant action on the organism’s defence system. Notable amongst its properties are its antioxidant and anti-microbial action, its activity as a stimulant and its healing, analgesic, anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory activity…

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Royal Jelly Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

Royal Jelly Reduces the Serum Glucose Levels in Healthy Subjects
J Med Food, 2009 Oct;12(5):1170-1172.

Earlier biological investigations have shown that royal jelly has insulin-like activity. However, there have so far been no clinical trials to support these findings. The objective of the present study was to study the effect of royal jelly ingestion on the glucose metabolism of healthy humans.

Twenty volunteers underwent the standardized oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and afterwards a second OGTT after ingestion of 20 g of royal jelly. Serum glucose levels after 2 hours and the area under the curve for glucose were significantly lower (P = .041) after royal jelly administration.

Substances originating from the pharyngeal glands of the honey bee with insulin-like activity are likely to have caused this effect and may thus be, at least partially, responsible for the lowering impact of honey on blood glucose levels.

The identification of the substances that seem to act even after passage through the human stomach could lead to the development of new concepts in diabetology.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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Bee Venom Peptide May Help Treat Cancer

Tumor Protein p53 (TP53; p53); mdm2 p53 Binding Protein Homolog (MDM2) Distillery: Therapeutics, Published online Oct. 22 2009

A bee venom–derived peptide could provide a scaffold for p53 inhibitors to treat cancer.

Beeswax Candles Burn Slower, Better at Emitting Fragrances

Waxing Scientific: After 140 Years, Company has Candle-Making Art Down Pat
By Mary Beth Breckenridge, Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, 10/21/2009

MEDINA, Ohio — Making fine candles is a delicate balance of science and art. The right wax has to be combined with the proper wick for the best burn. Colors have to match exactly from batch to batch. Even the fragrance and hue of a candle need to be perfectly paired to meet consumers' expectations.

Those kinds of details are the business of Medina, Ohio's 140-year-old A.I. Root Co. Root has been in business since 1869 and early on made its mark as a manufacturer of beekeeping equipment…

Today, the Root Co.'s focus is primarily on candles, but beeswax — most of it from Iowa's Sioux Honey — remains an important ingredient. It's always been used in Root's liturgical candles, and now it's blended with other natural waxes in a new line of home fragrance products called Legacy by Root.

Beeswax, Brad Root explained, is desirable because it burns slower than other waxes. And in combination with other soy- and vegetable-based waxes, he said, it does a better job of emitting fragrances.

Some of the candles are made by pouring melted wax into tempered-glass jars. Some are made by dipping wicks repeatedly into hot wax in a computer-controlled version of the method used by early Americans. Some candles are formed in molds. Still others are made by compressing wax pellets that resemble snow…

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Honey Targets Staph Infection’s Cell Division Machinery

The Intracellular Effects of Manuka Honey on Staphylococcus aureus
Journal European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, October 08, 2009

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of manuka honey on Staphylococcus aureus in order to identify the intracellular target site.

…A bactericidal mode of inhibition for manuka honey on S. aureus was established. Marked structural changes in honey-treated cells were seen only with TEM, where a statistically significant increase in the number of whole cells with completed septa compared to untreated cells were observed.

Structural changes found with TEM suggest that honey-treated cells had failed to progress normally through the cell cycle and accumulated with fully formed septa at the point of cell division without separating. Sugars were not implicated in this effect. The staphylococcal target site of manuka honey involves the cell division machinery.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Video: Wild Honey Bee Colonies Studied in Hawaii

October 24, 2009 - Kehena, Hawaii

Feral beehives in Kehena in the Puna region of the Big Island of Hawaii were tagged and studied by researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa on Friday.

The effort is a part of the The UH Honeybee Varroa Project, being directed by directed by Dr. Mark Wright and Dr. Ethel Villalobos of the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The wild honeybees are being examined for viruses transmitted by the varroa mite.

The varroa mite was detected on Oahu in March 2007, and later found to have spread to the Big Island in August 2008. UH Manoa says that although bees in Hawaii have been relatively free of pests and diseases that have spread throughout the mainland, the mite has already dramatically decreased the number of feral bee colonies in Hawaii…

As evidenced in this video, feral colonies may make their hive almost anywhere. The UH research team was not too surprised to find a hive living in a nearby "stone head".

Propolis Protects Injured Teeth

Propolis Inhibits Osteoclast Maturation
Dent Traumatol, 2009 Oct 14

Propolis, a natural product produced by the honey bee, has been successfully used in medicine as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. Traumatic injuries to the teeth, especially avulsion injuries, present a challenging situation for the clinician because of post-treatment complications, such as inflammatory and/or replacement resorption. Agents that reduce osteoclast numbers and activity may be useful in the treatment of traumatic injuries to the teeth.

In this study, we evaluated propolis as an anti-resorptive agent.

Calcitriol-stimulated mouse marrow cultures, which contain both osteoclasts and osteoblasts, were exposed to the ethanol extracts of propolis or vehicle control and stained for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-activity to identify osteoclasts. A significant, dose-dependent reduction in multinuclear TRAP+ cells was demonstrated, although the propolis treatment accommodated cell growth and survival.

Propolis also reduced the formation of actin rings in pure cultures of RAW 264.7 osteoclast-like cells, suggesting that it exerts direct actions on osteoclast maturation.

In summary, our data suggest that propolis inhibits late stages of osteoclast maturation including fusion of osteoclasts precursors to form giant cells and formation of actin rings. This supports the hypothesis that it may prove useful as a medicament to reduce resorption associated with traumatic injuries to the teeth.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Honey Accelerates Wound Healing Process

Effect of Honey and Its Major Royal Jelly Protein 1 on Cytokine and MMP-9 mRNA Transcripts in Human Keratinocytes
Exp Dermatol, 2009 Oct 21

Honey has been used since ancient times as a remedy in wound healing. However, even though the results from randomized clinical trials document that honey accelerates wound healing, no study dealing with its influence on human skin cells (epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblast) has been performed.

We demonstrate that keratinocytes, which are known to be involved in wouAdd Imagend healing, are responsible for elevated production of mediators including cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and TGF-beta) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) after incubation with honey. Real-time PCR was performed for the quantification of mRNA level of selected cytokines and MMP-9. Furthermore, we show that the increased level of MMP-9 in the epidermis following incubation with honey leads to degradation of type IV collagen in the basement membrane.

These data indisputably demonstrate that honey activates keratinocytes and support the findings that honey may accelerate wound healing process.


…The stimulation of MMP-9 expression was demonstrated in skin after incubation with honey. Most of the staining was associated with epidermal keratinocytes. Staining was also detected in the basal layer of keratinocytes as well as intra-dermal glandular structures. MMP-9 is able to activate cytokines such as TGF-b, IL-1b and TNF-a from their pro-forms, and thus stimulate its own secretion by keratinocytes (34). Honey also promotes collagen type IV degradation in the basement membrane. In addition, honey promotes secretion of MMP-9 in inactive form what was proved by gelatinolytic zymography (data not shown).

In conclusion, our results show that honey activates human keratinocytes, with the up-regulation of expression of certain cytokines (TNF-a, IL-1b and TGF-b) and MMP-9. We have demonstrated that honey markedly promotes collagen type IV degradation through MMP-9 stimulation in the skin.

Honey and MRJP1 at tested concentrations are able to induce proliferation of human keratinocytes (data not shown), but further studies are needed to reveal factors and molecular mechanisms participating at keratinocytes activation by honey. Such factors could have the potential to act as novel therapeutic agent(s) and target(s) for treatment of wounds.

However, new techniques and therapies for wound care such as stem cell therapy (35–37) have been discovered, honey represents natural inexpensive and effective product for wound care.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hornet Nests Used as Medicine in China

Migrant Workers Make Money by Selling Hornet Nests, 10/22/2009

A group of adventurous fortune-seekers is profiting by obtaining and selling hornet nests to pharmacies in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, the local website reports…

A hornet's pupa contains high protein, and the nest itself makes for a medicinal herb as it produces honey and propolis, a resinous mixture that bees collect from trees and plants and can help intensify human immune systems.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wound Healing Honey to be Discussed at U.S. Conference

Derma Sciences Announces Multiple Clinical Presentations of MEDIHONEY(R) at Upcoming Major Wound Care Conference
11 Separate Clinical Case Series Presentations on a Variety of Wound Types Further Broadens the Evidence Base of the Company's Key Product

PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Derma Sciences, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: DSCI), a specialty medical device/pharmaceutical company focusing on advanced wound care, today announced that eleven clinical case series regarding its flagship product, MEDIHONEY®, will be presented at the upcoming October 22-25 Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care in San Antonio. These presentations include:

· "Active Leptospermum Honey and Negative Pressure Wound Therapy for Non-Healing Post-Surgical Wounds"

· "Honey Under Negative Pressure Wound Therapy: A New Approach to Removing Devitalized Tissue"

· "Use of Honey Dressings for Infected Left Ventricular Assist Device Wounds"

· "Evidence Based Practice for Pediatric Wound Care: Utilizing Active Leptospermum Honey as a Primary Dressing for Chronic Wounds"

· "Active Leptospermum Honey for Pediatric Wound Care: Moving Evidence into Practice"

· "The Clinical Benefits of Active Leptospermum Honey: Oncologic Wounds"

· "Active Leptospermum Honey for Frostbite, PIN Sites, and Skin Tears"

· "Utilizing Active Leptospermum Honey Dressings in the Treatment of Cutaneous Small Vessel Vasculitis"

· "Active Leptospermum Honey for the Treatment of Recalcitrant Lower Extremity Wounds"

· "Use of Active Leptospermum Honey Dressings in the Home Care Setting"

· "Evidence Based Practice: Active Leptospermum Honey Dressings for Tertiary Care"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Study Examines Antibacterial Activity of Peruvian Stingless Bees Honey

Properties of Honey from Ten Species of Peruvian Stingless Bees
Nat Prod Commun, 2009 Sep;4(9):1221-6.

Honey produced by ten stingless bee species (Melipona crinita, M. eburnea, M. grandis, M. illota, Nannotrigona melanocera, Partamona epiphytophila, Ptilotrigona lurida, Scaptotrigona polystica, Scaura latitarsis, and Tetragonisca angustula) from Peru has been characterized according to traditional physicochemical standards (color and moisture), biochemical components (flavonoids, polyphenols, nitrites, proteins), and bioactive properties (antibacterial activity, antioxidant capacity). Analytical data are also provided for a sample of Apis mellifera and an artificial honey control.

For stingless bees, honey color varied between 26 and 150 mm Pfund. M. illota produced the lightest honey, while N. melanocera and T. angustula were the darkest. Moisture varied between 20.8 and 45.8 g water/100 g, confirming higher moisture for stingless bee honey than the A. mellifera honey standard of 20 g water/100 g. Flavonoids varied from 2.6 to 31.0 mg quercetin equivalents/100g, nitrites from 0.30 to 2.88 micromoles nitrites/100 g, polyphenols from 99.7 to 464.9 mg gallic acid equivalents/100g, proteins from 0.75 to 2.86 g/100 g, and the antioxidant capacity from 93.8 to 569.6 micromoles Trolox equivalents/100 g.

The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) was slightly lower against Staphylococcus aureus (12.5 -50 g/100 mL) than Escherichia coli (50 g/100 mL).

Online Lecture: Honey Bees Trained to Detect Contraband

University of California, 10/20/2009

DAVIS — How are honey bees being trained to detect explosives and narcotics?

Scientist Robert Wingo of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, will speak on "Explosives and Narcotics Detection by Monitoring of the Proboscis Extension Reflex in Apis mellifera (Honey Bee)" today (Oct. 21) in 357 Hutchison Hall, UC Davis.

The one-hour event, set from 4 to 5 p.m., is sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology.

Wingo is with the chemical diagnosis and engineering of the chemistry division.

His lecture will be Webcast live as part of the pilot UC Seminar Network program, said UC Davis entomologist James R. Carey, former chair of the UC Systemwide Academic Senate University Committee on Research Policy, which is spearheading the project on three UC campuses: UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. Long-term plans include expanding to the seven other campuses.

Viewers can link to Wingo's lecture at

…The bee’s phenomenal sense of smell rivals that of dogs, according to Tim Haarmann, principal investigator for the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Research Shows Need to Prevent Contamination of Honey During Extraction

Honeys from Ventania System: Microbiological Quality Evaluation at Different Points of Honey-Processing
Rev Argent Microbiol, 2009 Jun-Sep;41(3):163-7.

One stage of honey production is extraction. Honey is a product with minimal types and levels of microorganisms; however it could be contaminated during its manipulation. The aim of this work was to evaluate the microbiological contamination of honey at different processing points…

Contamination problems were observed at the uncapping stage of beeswax-capped honey separation, showing that the "unheated" honey process would imply more risks.

Ten to fifty CFU/g of honey of mould and yeast were observed in four out of 30 samples from the honey pump and drums.

The present work shows the importance of preventing contamination at the beeswax-honey separation stage, and also highlights the need to perform microbiological studies in the honey house, which would contribute to determine critical points in control quality systems.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

White House Beehives Produce 100 Gallons of Honey

Hives join Michelle Obama's organic garden on South Lawn
By Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, 10/20/2009

WASHINGTON -- The White House is minding its own bee's wax.

In the lush gardens of the South Lawn, which has hosted a hive of activity since the new first family moved in, working bees are turning out gallons of honey.

The chief horticulturist has combed his memory -- which spans four decades on the White House grounds -- and cannot recall any other honey harvesting.

Washington is not exactly abuzz with this sweet new development on the grounds where the first lady has planted an organic garden and where the president has turned the tennis court into a basketball court.

But Dale Haney, White House horticulturist and grounds superintendent, waxes nostalgic about the grounds that lacked, until now, a working beehive.

Charlie Brandts, a White House carpenter and beekeeper, collected the first batch of honey from the hives on June 10. "I'm sure they've gotten at least 100 gallons of honey," Haney told NBC's "Today" show Monday…

Honey Heals Wounded Dog

Buddy Can Thank Manuka Honey for Miracle
Derry Journal, 10/20/2009

King Charles Spaniel Buddy, who made the headlines in July after being "ripped apart" by marauding dogs in Derry, has made a miraculous recovery…

And the proud owner has praised the healing effects of manuka honey on his lovable pet.

“Buddy was left without enough skin to sew together and this stuff worked miracles - we’ve been covering him in it and it encouraged the growth of new skin. We could see it getting closer every day until it finally joined up.”…

Propolis Composition Depends on Plant Source

Analysis of Content of Phenolic Acids in Lithuanian Propolis Using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Technique
Medicina (Kaunas), 2009;45(9):712-717

The aim of the study was to analyze phenolic acids in Lithuanian propolis and to compare it with the composition of propolis in neighboring countries (Latvia and Poland) according to the predominant flora in the collecting places.

The study was also aimed at the evaluation of the effect of the layer thickness (mm) of the harvested propolis on the quality of the raw material in determining the amount of phenolic acids…

The results of the study showed that the quantitative and qualitative composition of phenolic acids in propolis depended on the plants from which the bees in the area collected substances for the raw material of propolis. The predominant phenolic acids were determined to be ferulic and coumaric acids, and they may be among the main indicators of quality in the standardization of the raw material and preparations of propolis…

The variety of phenolic acids in propolis depends on the vegetation predominating in the harvesting area. Studies have shown that the highest amount of phenolic acids is observed in propolis harvested in areas characterized by the predominance of deciduous trees and meadows. Results have also shown that ferulic and coumaric acids are the predominant phenolic acids in propolis. The thickness of the layer of the collected propolis in the hive also influences its chemical composition.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Honey Boosts Sperm Counts

Searching for Link Between Tongkat Ali, Honey and Sperm
By Syed Azhar, The Star, 10/18/2009

KOTA BARU, MALAYSIA - The Men's Health Clinic of University Sains Malaysia Hospital has embarked on two sexual and reproductive health projects to find out whether Tongkat Ali and pure honey can enhance sperm count.

At least 100 people have been recruited to consume pure extracts of Tongkat Ali at reasonable doses to see whether it would enrich sperm count and produce testosterone (male sex hormones), clinic head Assoc Prof Dr Shaiful Bahari Ismail said.

"The preliminary results that we have documented are quite encouraging. We will know the outcome by early next year."

He said another project, utilising Tualang honey from Kedah or Borneo honey, would start soon following laboratory tests done on rats that showed that they had better sperm count after being fed with the honey.

"We have had a minor breakthrough with that. This has prompted us to try it on human subjects in two months time," said Dr Shaiful Bahari, who completed a 12-month fellowship programme in male sexual and reproductive health at Monash University, Australia, in 2006.

He said those types of honey were found to be suitable for the research because they were collected from bees in an environment that was not affected by pollution.

These studies on libido were part of a combination of traditional and clinical research into sexual impotence, he said…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bronx Woman Keeps Family Tradition Alive Tending Bees - Even Though It's Illegal

By Dave Buscema, NY Daily News, 10/18/2009

Her grandfather tended bees in Hungary and her mother would often chase after a lost swarm as a child. Now, Zan Yassin is hoping to keep the family tradition alive in the Bronx while helping society and the environment.

Yassin dons her white beekeeper's suit and climbs the fire escape to the roof of her South Bronx apartment building where she is caring for as many as 100,000 honey bees tucked neatly away in hives that look like two night stands.

Technically, her work is illegal…

Burnt Dog Treated with Honey, 10/15/2009

A German Shepherd bitch is making an impressive recovery from serious burns, after treatment with manuka honey impregnated dressings. 'Lady' sustained her injuries after being trapped in a blazing house in Cornwall, as reported by the BBC. She has since been under the care of Amanda Manley at the Cornwall Animal Hospital, who has been using Activon Tulle Manuka honey impregnated dressings to treat the wounds. Amanda said: "I'd like to say it was all down to the manuka honey, although it's difficult to make a scientific judgement without a control in place. Nevertheless I am...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Video: Honey Used as Medicine in Iraq

Study Rates Bee Pollen as Dietary Supplement

An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Bee Pollen by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration
Journal of Dietary Supplements, Volume 6, Issue 3 September 2009, pages 290 - 312

An evidence-based systematic review including written and statistical analysis of scientific literature, expert opinion, folkloric precedent, history, pharmacology, kinetics/dynamics, interactions, adverse effects, toxicology, and dosing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Royal Jelly Protects Against Wastewater Toxicity

Protective role of Royal Jelly (Honeybee) on Genotoxicity and Lipid Peroxidation, Induced by Petroleum Wastewater
Environmental Technology, Volume 30, Issue 11 October 2009, pages 1205 - 1214

In the present study, the protective effect of Royal Jelly (RJ) on genotoxicity and lipid peroxidation, induced by petroleum wastewater, in Allium cepa L. root-tip cells was investigated…

In additional to the genotoxic analysis, we examined changes in the root anatomy of A. cepa seeds treated with the wastewater. Heavy metal concentrations in the wastewater were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The seeds were divided into six groups as control, wastewater and RJ treatment groups. They were treated with the wastewater alone, RJ alone (25 and 50 µm doses) and RJ + wastewater for 10 consecutive days.

As a result, the mean concentrations of heavy metals in the wastewater were observed to be in the order: Pb > Fe > Al > Ni > Cu > Zn > Cr > Cd. The results showed that there was a significant alteration in MI and in the frequency of MN and CAs in the seeds exposed to the wastewater when compared with the controls…

Heavy metals in the petroleum wastewater significantly increased the MDA production, indicating lipid peroxidation. Moreover, light micrographs showed anatomical damages such as an accumulation of chemical compounds in cortex parenchyma, cell death, an unusual form of cell nucleus and unclear vascular tissue.

However, the RJ treatment caused amelioration in the indices of lipid peroxidation and MI, and in the frequency of CAs and MN, when compared with the group treated with petroleum wastewater alone. Also, the RJ application caused the recuperation of anatomical structural damages induced by the petroleum wastewater.

Each dose of RJ provided protection against the wastewater toxicity, and the strongest protective effect was observed at dose of 50 µm. In vivo results showed that RJ is a potential protector against toxicity induced by petroleum wastewater, and its protective role is dose-dependent.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Honey as a Remedy

Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, Volume 13, Issue 3 July 2009, pages 287 - 294

Honey is an alternative therapy firmly rooted in ancient medical armamentarium.

Many of its curative properties are being revived today. Only a few rigorous scientific studies support the therapeutic value of honey, and those few studies have enrolled very small numbers of patients.

It is time to take a critical look at the curative properties of this nonirritating, nontoxic, and inexpensive alternative.

Apitherapy Conference in Thailand Nov. 11-14

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Turkish Honey Shows Anti-Fungal Activity

Antifungal Activity of Turkish Honey Against Candida spp. and Trichosporon spp: An in vitro Evaluation
Medical Mycology, Volume 47, Issue 7 November 2009, pages 707 - 712

Honey samples from different floral sources were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the growth of 40 yeast strains (Candida albicans, C. krusei, C. glabrata and Trichosoporon spp.). Broth microdilution method (CLSI, M27-A2) was used to assess the activity of the honeys against yeasts at different concentrations ranging from 1.25-80% (v/v).

All of the yeast strains tested were inhibited by honeys in this study. Broth microdilution assay revealed that inhibition of growth depends on the type and concentration of honey as well as the test pathogen. Little or no antifungal activity was seen at honey concentrations < 2%. Rhododendron and multifloral honeys have generally more inhibitory effect than eucalyptus and orange honeys. Fluconazole-resistant yeast strains were examined for their susceptibility to honeys.

This study demonstrated that, in vitro, these honeys had antifungal activity at the high concentration of 80% (v/v) in these fluconazole-resistant strains. Further studies are now required to demonstrate if this antifungal activity has any clinical application.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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Manuka Honey Blocks Growth of Staph Infection

The Intracellular Effects of Manuka Honey on Staphylococcus aureus
Journal European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Thursday, October 08, 2009

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of manuka honey on Staphylococcus aureus in order to identify the intracellular target site.

The mode of inhibition of manuka honey against S. aureus NCTC 10017 was investigated by determining the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) and the effect of time on viability…

A bactericidal mode of inhibition for manuka honey on S. aureus was established. Marked structural changes in honey-treated cells were seen only with TEM, where a statistically significant increase in the number of whole cells with completed septa compared to untreated cells were observed.

Structural changes found with TEM suggest that honey-treated cells had failed to progress normally through the cell cycle and accumulated with fully formed septa at the point of cell division without separating. Sugars were not implicated in this effect.

The staphylococcal target site of manuka honey involves the cell division machinery.

Michelle Obama's Special Gift: White House Honey

By Paul Bedard, U.S. News & World Report, 10/12/2009

What started out as a springtime lark meant to help Michelle Obama's South Lawn veggie garden—a simple beehive—has produced an abundance of sweet honey that the first lady is treating like gold. While initially planned for use in the first family's recipes, the light honey with a hint of mint from local basswood trees has been given an elevated role in the East Wing: It's the main feature in the first lady's gift packages. At the recent G-20 economic meeting in Pittsburgh, for example, the first lady had a wooden gift box made up for each of the visiting spouses. Inside were a tea set colored like the purple-and-white Lincoln china and a crystal vase with two little jars of White House honey. Etched on the vase: "White House Honey 2009." The remaining honey will be jarred for other gifts, used in the kitchen, and offered as tasty treats for visitors…

Monday, October 12, 2009

Video: Local Honey Recommended for Allergies

Pembroke Mariner Editor Steve Annear talks to Peter Chamberlain about making honey in Pembroke, Mass. The recommendation to use local honey to treat allergies coves at the end of the video.

Raw Honey Helps with Pollen Allergies

Honey a Natural Way to Fight Allergic Reactions
Decatur Daily, 10/9/2009

To The Daily: In addition to the H1N1 that has invaded North Alabama, we also have to contend with allergies that are not as widely publicized. Nor is a treatment that has proven to be beneficial for thousands of sufferers: honey. I’m not talking about processed honey, available in stores year-round; but rather raw honey that is available from beekeepers and many local fruit stands.

Why raw honey?

Processed honey has been heated and force-filtered, which destroys many of the nutrients and removes 95 percent of the pollens that are found only in raw honey. This is done to honey to give it better eye appeal. It gives clarity, which helps it sell better.

Raw honey will have a cloudy appearance because the natural properties have been left in. The only filtering usually done to raw honey is to strain it through cheesecloth, which removes bits of beeswax and other foreign particles. Otherwise, it is left untouched.

Some of the medical community have recognized the benefits of bee products and have started keeping bees themselves and are prescribing honey as an effective treatment for allergies. It certainly beats taking a day of sick leave and the pain associated with shots.

Two teaspoons of honey a day won’t cure allergies, but certainly will lessen one’s reaction to pollen allergies by processing those grains of pollen that are in honey and helping the body build up a resistance to them.

Jay MacIlveen
Alabama Beekeepers Association

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Manuka Honey War Continues

Radio New Zealand, 10/11/2009

The acrimony over measuring anti-bacterial activity in manuka honey has flared up again.

The industry body that controls the use of the unique manuka factor (UMF) trademark has criticised a new standard released by Waikato University for measuring non-peroxide activity levels in honey.

The Active Manuka Honey Association has 32 licence holders and owns the UMF trademark which is used to certify manuka honey products.

Waikato University's new standard was devised by researcher Professor Peter Molan who first identified the unique anti-bacterial properties in manuka…

New Medicinal Honey Standard Challenged

Waikato University ‘Standard’ Misleading
Press Release: Active Manuka Honey Association, 10/9/2009

The Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) has slammed the release by Waikato University of a new standard for measuring non peroxide activity levels in Manuka honey as misleading. It also undermines an industry review that is currently underway.

John Rawcliffe, General Manager of AMHA said “The special antibacterial activity which has medical properties is well recognised in international research and has been firmly established in the minds of consumers since the early 1990s.”

“AMHA owns the UMF® and UNIQUE MANUKA FACTOR trademarks which are used to certify Manuka honey products. UMF® is more than a “test” of the activity of the honey. It is a comprehensive quality standard encompassing processing and quality standards required from the manufacturers and is aligned with food safety standards set by Government” said Mr Rawcliffe.

He said that the UMF® test is the only method validated and accredited by IANZ, the Independent Accreditation NZ; which is an autonomous Crown agency. Unlike UMF®, Waikato University’s so called “standard” is only a testing method and, if adopted, will give less and not more protection for consumers.

AMHA is concerned about the way in which this new brand will be monitored. Over the past year, one company has been stripped of its UMF® license. This company as part of its legal defence, tried to undermine the validity and accuracy of the UMF® test method. Such challenge to the accuracy of the UMF®test method has now been dropped, but only after the High Court was not prepared to uphold an application by the company to retain its licence based on expert evidence by Professor Molan. As the High Court recognized, AMHA “seriously challenged” Professor Molan’s evidence as lacking objectivity. Professor Molan had sought to defend the company despite test results that found 65% of the samples tested were not true to label.

Waikato University have challenged AMHA several times over control and ownership of the UMF® trademark, and failed. The University has formed an acrimonious relationship with AMHA and has further isolated itself from the manuka honey industry by publicly supporting a single brand and manufacturer of manuka honey – the very same manufacturer which was stripped of its UMF® license for failure to meet label claims and other industry standards…

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Acacia Honey Boosts Wound Healing

Effects of Acacia Honey on Wound Healing in Various Rat Models
Phytotherapy Research, Published Online: 7 Oct 2009

Honey is a traditional remedy for the treatment of infected wounds, and is becoming more important as microbial resistance to conventional therapeutic agents increases.

A study was conducted to assess the wound-healing activity of Acacia honey using incision, excision, burn and dead-space wound models in rats. Different formulations of honey were used and rats were treated topically as well as orally.

Both the higher and lower doses of honey produced a significant effect on healing. The area of epithelization was found to increase, followed by an increase in wound contraction, skin-breaking strength, tissue granulation. The hydroxyproline content also increased in the rats treated with higher doses of honey compared to control, indicating an increase in collagen formation.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Stingless Bee Honey has Broad-Spectrum Antibacterial Activity

Antimicrobial Activity of Honey from the Stingless Bee Trigona carbonaria Determined by Agar Diffusion, Agar Dilution, Broth Microdilution and Time-Kill Methodology
Journal of Applied Microbiology, Published Online: 7 Oct 2009

Aims: The aim of this study was to determine the spectrum of antimicrobial activity of 11 samples of stingless bee honey compared to medicinal, table and artificial honeys.

Methods and Results: Activity was assessed by agar diffusion, agar dilution, broth microdilution and time-kill viability assays. By agar dilution, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ranges were 4% to >10% (w/v) for Gram-positive bacteria, 6% to >16% (w/v) for Gram-negative bacteria and 6% to >10% (w/v) for Candida spp. By broth microdilution, all organisms with the exception of Candida albicans and Candida glabrata were inhibited at ≤32% (w/v). Geometric MIC (w/v) means for stingless bee honeys ranged from 7·1% to 16·0% and were 11·7% for medicinal honey and 26·5% for table honey. Treatment of organisms with 20% (w/v) stingless bee honey for 60 min resulted in decreases of 1–3 log for Staphylococcus aureus, >3 log for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and <1 log for C. albicans. Similar treatment with each control honey resulted in decreases of <1 log for all organisms.

Conclusions: Stingless bee honey has broad-spectrum antibacterial activity although activity against Candida was limited. Stingless bee honey samples varied in activity and the basis for this remains to be determined.

Significance and Impact of the Study: Stingless bee honey had similar activity to medicinal honey and may therefore have a role as a medicinal agent.

Ugandans Urged to Take Up Beekeeping

Turning Honey Into Money
Scola Kamau, Daily Monitor (Uganda), 10/8/2009

Bee keeping is a venture that has not attracted many investors.
However, the demand for this product locally and internationally explains the dire need for more investors to engage in its production.

Dickson Biryomumaisho, Director, Western Region-The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organization (TUNADO) describes apiculture as the science of bees and art of keeping bees for production of honey, and other hive products using different techniques. This art can be carried out with or without land.

“One may need as little as10 by 10 metres of land unlike other ventures,” he says.

He adds that the undertaking is a low cost investment liable for all classes of people as little or no capital is needed.

“Hives and other equipment can be made locally and bees are freely available and depend on beekeepers for food,” he says.

The traditional hives include broken pots, woven twig hive or log hives that are hang on trees. However, Biryomumaisho says that it is advisable for the bee farmers to graduate to the modern langsroth hives where unlike in traditional hives where honey is extracted naturally, a honey extractor is needed to harvest honey from this modern hive. Top bar hives are referred to as transitional ones as they bridge one from traditional bee farming to langsroth bee farming. Langsroth hives are reusable, which could lead to an increase in honey production…

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Propolis Component a Potential Treatment for Bone Diseases

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester, an Active Component of Honeybee Propolis Attenuates Osteoclastogenesis and Bone Resorption Via the Suppression of RANKL-Induced NF-kappaB and NFAT Activity
J Cell Physiol, 2009 Dec;221(3):642-9

Receptor activator NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL)-activated signaling is essential for osteoclast differentiation, activation and survival. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a natural NF-kappaB inhibitor from honeybee propolis has been shown to have anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.

In this study, we investigated the effect of CAPE on the regulation of RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis, bone resorption and signaling pathways…

Taken together, our findings demonstrate that inhibition of NF-kappaB and NFAT activation by CAPE results in the attenuation of osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption, implying that CAPE is a potential treatment for osteolytic bone diseases.

Harvard’s Robotic Bees Generate High-Tech Buzz

October 7, 2009 (Network World) Harvard University researchers recently got a $10 million grant to create a colony of flying robotic bees, or RoboBees to among other things, spur innovation in ultra-low-power computing and electronic “smart” sensors; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines.

The five-year, National Science Foundation-funded RoboBee project could lead to a better understanding of how to artificially mimic the unique collective behavior and intelligence of a bee colony; foster novel methods for designing and building an electronic surrogate nervous system able to deftly sense and adapt to changing environments; and advance work on the construction of small-scale flying mechanical devices, according to the Harvard RoboBee Web site.

The RoboBee scientists will create robotic bees that fly autonomously and coordinate activities amongst themselves and the hive, much like real bees. They anticipate the devices will open up a wide range of discoveries and practical innovations, advancing fields ranging from entomology and developmental biology to amorphous computing and electrical engineering, the researchers stated…

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Discover the Health Benefits of Bee Pollen

By Elizabeth Walling, 10/5/2009

(NaturalNews) Before our modern age of sterilization and sanitation, traditional medicine was based on healing herbal and food remedies that may seem eccentric by our "civilized" standards. And while substances like bee pollen were highly prized at one time, today the idea may seem quite bizarre at first glance. Bee pollen, however, is one of nature's best kept secrets.

Beekeepers of old knew this, and considered honey rich in pollen to be a source of health and longevity. A prime example is the beekeepers native to the Caucasus Mountains that stretch between the Black and Caspian Seas. These people, many of whom lived on a diet rich in honey filled with bee pollen, exhibited fine health and often lived well over 100 years old.

Bees package their pollen with nectar and enzymes that help it develop into a powerful superfood. In fact, bee pollen contains thousands of enzymes and co-enzymes which are necessary for true vitality. Bee pollen also contains 22 amino acids, including the eight essential ones. It is, in essence, a complete protein. You'll also find dozens of vitamins and minerals in bee pollen, as well as natural hormones and important fatty acids.

While science has yet to thoroughly examine bee pollen for its benefits, many people have successfully used it to treat a variety of ailments, including:

- Asthma
- Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and other digestive issues
- Anemia
- Low energy and fatigue
- Depression
- Skin conditions such as acne
- Sexual problems
- Hemorrhoids
- Obesity
- Rheumatism and arthritis

Bee pollen is also useful for improving the health of the heart, prostate, immune system and nervous system.

One of bee pollen's many intriguing benefits is its ability to improve allergies. It seems counterproductive to fight pollen allergies with pollen, but bee pollen seems to have an immunizing effect against these reactions. If you use bee pollen to treat allergies, proceed with care and start with only two or three granules per day. Slowly increase dosage as long as there is no reaction. However, those with a history of anaphylactic reactions should avoid bee pollen...

Pure Honey Candy Introduced

Honibe Introduces Honey Delights -- the World's First 100% Pure Honey Candy -- the Best Tasting Candy in the World

Montague, PE (PRWEB) October 6, 2009 -- Island Abbey Foods Ltd., specialty food producer and creator of the award winning Honey Drop - the world's first alternative to the sugar cube, today introduced the world's first 100% pure honey candy: Honey Delights…

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New Medicinal Manuka Honey Standard Announced

Manuka Honey’s Medical Marvels Measured in Gold
Waikato University, 10/5/2009

The scientist who discovered the original manuka honey activity has put his name to a new standard that guarantees consumers are getting the genuine article.

The surging global demand for the proven health values of New Zealand manuka honey is creating a major ethical concern in the way it is being marketed to consumers, says Professor Molan MBE, from the University of Waikato’s Honey Research Unit.

Prof Molan has now put his name to the Molan Gold Standard™, the new standard that defines manuka honeys with the unique bioactivities identified in his research.

Manuka is now one of the world’s great health honeys and one of the great food icons of New Zealand. This year parallel research by science teams in both the UK and Australia confirmed New Zealand’s manuka honey to be a powerful antibiotic against drug-resistant super-bugs.

However, care is needed in marketing to consumers, Prof Molan says. “Not all manuka honeys have true medicinal bioactivity beyond the range that’s normal of all honeys, and the industry is exposed if it does not make the distinction clear for consumers,” he says. “Several manuka honeys called ‘active’ in combination with a number have little or none of the non-peroxide activity that is the key to its distinctive antibacterial qualities.”

Prof Molan, who is now regarded as the world’s foremost authority on medical honeys, is concerned non medical-grade manuka honeys could be used for medicinal purposes by unknowing consumers. Active manuka honey can sell for about $65 for a 250gm jar in countries such as the UK.

“The more powerful the research results proving manuka honeys health benefits, the more important it is for consumers to purchase the correct honey,” Prof Molan says.

Because of this uncertainty, the University of Waikato is providing manuka honey marketers with the new international standard allowing consumers to readily recognise authenticated medicinal honeys. The trademark to represent the new standard has been developed by WaikatoLink, the research commercialisation company of the University of Waikato. It will be on manuka honeys in the UK within weeks and on New Zealand shelves by the end of the year.

Fraser Smith, a WaikatoLink Commercial Manager, says the name Molan Gold Standard is instantly linked with the honesty and integrity of Prof Molan – the man whose research made manuka a New Zealand icon…

He says the manuka honeys that meet the Molan Gold Standard have the original bio-activity he discovered (known in research literature as non-peroxide activity). “It’s a bio-activity that is proving to be the most versatile antibiotic available to medicine for combating difficult persistent infections. It has amazing potency against harmful bacteria and yet, surprisingly, it assists in restoring the balance of good bacteria in our bodies,” Prof Molan.

It’s effective against subcutaneous infections, eg acne and sinusitis. “And we are also starting to understand how the bio-activity can work within the body and why it could have a major role to play in digestive health and for its anti-inflammatory properties.”…

Honey Improves Wound Healing

Manuka Honey Improved Wound Healing in Patients with Sloughy Venous Leg Ulcers
Evidence-Based Medicine, 2009;14:148

Design: randomised controlled trial.

Allocation: concealed.*

Blinding: blinded (statistician).*

Study question

Setting: vascular centres, leg ulcer clinics, and acute and community care hospitals.

Patients: 108 patients >18 years of age (mean age 68 y) who had a venous leg ulcer (VLU) <100 cm2 with 50% of the wound bed covered in slough. Exclusion criteria were malignant ulcer, wound infection, presence of a cavity wound, use of antibiotics or oral immunosuppressants, poorly controlled diabetes, pregnancy or lactation, and previous enrolment in the study.

Intervention: Wounds were cleansed with warm tap water and then treated with 5 g/20 cm2 Manuka honey (n = 54), or 3 g/20 cm2 hydrogel therapy (n = 54), weekly for 4 weeks. Use of Allevyn hydrocellular foam as secondary dressings and compression therapy continued throughout the treatment period. Treatment after week 4 was determined by the local investigator.

Outcomes: VLU desloughing at 4 weeks and wound healing at 12 weeks.

Follow-up period: 12 weeks.

Patient follow-up: 100% in intention-to-treat...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Video: Oregon Apitherapy Company to be Featured on National TV

By Arrianee LeBeau, KVAL, 10/4/2009

EUGENE, Ore - GloryBee Foods will be featured on an upcoming episode of "Unwrapped!" on the Food Network cable channel. The episode is called ‘Honey’…

The segment will air on October 5th at 9:00 PM PT, October 06, 2009 at 12:00 AM PT, and October 20, 2009 at 11:30 PM PT.

Video: Forest Honey High in Micronutrients

In Poland, Honey - Again - Grows On Trees
By Bernard Osser Bernard Osser, 10/4/2009


SPALA, Poland (AFP) – Perched in a lofty pine tree a dozen metres (around 30 feet) from the forest floor, Tomasz Dzierzanowski carefully removed a clump of dry grass from a hole in the wood and wafted smoke into a bees' nest.

Using a wooden spatula, he delicately cut out the gleaming slices of honeycomb, and the dark, shining liquid ran down his fingers. After climbing down, he tore off a waxy chunk and tasted the powerfully-flavoured honey.

Dzierzanowski is one of a group of Polish enthusiasts reviving a form of beekeeping stretching back thousands of years but abandoned more than a century ago…

Tree-honey is distinctive -- Dzierzanowski's harvest had a deep-gold colour, an initially smoky taste, and wasn't over-sweet -- and is traditionally eaten mixed with remainders of pollen and chewy wax.

"Forest honey is much better than other kinds because it contains seven times more micronutrients," said Nawrocki.

In addition, it is a delight for organic food fans: the forest nests and the bees' pollen-gathering territory lie far from the fertiliser- and pesticide-strewn fields of agribusiness…

Bees Fight Back Against Colony Collapse Disorder

Some Honey Bees Toss Out Varroa Mites

ScienceDaily (Oct. 5, 2009) — Honey bees are now fighting back aggressively against Varroa mites, thanks to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) efforts to develop bees with a genetic trait that allows them to more easily find the mites and toss them out of the broodnest…

Bee Venom Boosts Anti-Cancer Drug

Potentiation of Bleomycin Lethality in HeLa and V79 cells by Bee Venom
Arh Hig Rada Toksikol, 2009 Sep;60(3):317-26

This study investigated possible growth-inhibiting effects of bee venom applied alone or in combination with a cytotoxic drug bleomycin on HeLa and V79 cells in vitro based on clone formation, cell counting, and apoptosis.

Melittin, the key component of bee venom, is a potent inhibitor of calmodulin activity, and also a potent inhibitor cell growth and clonogenicity. Intracellular accumulation of melittin correlates with the cytotoxicity of antitumour agents. Previous studies indicated that some calcium antagonists and calmodulin inhibitors enhanced intracellular levels of antitumor agents by inhibiting their outward transport.

In this study, treatment of exponentially growing HeLa and V79 cells with bleomycin caused a dose-dependent decrease in cell survival due to DNA damage. This lethal effect was potentiated by adding a non-lethal dose of the bee venom. By preventing repair of damaged DNA, bee venom inhibited recovery from potentially lethal damage induced by bleomycin in V79 and HeLa cells.

Apoptosis, necrosis, and lysis were presumed as possible mechanisms by which bee venom inhibited growth and clonogenicity of V79 cells. HeLa cells, on the other hand, showed greater resistance to bee venom.

Our findings suggest that bee venom might find a therapeutic use in enhancing cytotoxicity of antitumour agent bleomycin.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Malaysian Medicinal Honey Conference Extends Deadline for Abstract Submission

Dear friends

Due to heavy traffic at our online registration for the 2nd International Conference on Medicinal Uses of Honey; 13-15th January 2009, -- we are now extending the deadlines to submit abstracts and for early registration to 31st October 2009. I was told there are some who are unable to do so due to the congestion --If you encounter registration problems -- you could write to the secretariat: -

I hope you could extend this email to your friends in your institution and in others. Please also take note, the abstracts of the conference will be published in Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science while American Medical Journal (AMJ ) has decided to dedicate a special issue for publication of all full articles presented at this conference in a special AMJ issue. AMJ would bear printing and publication cost of all articles. These 2 journals are aware of each others presence in this conference.

On behalf of the organizing committee, I welcome all papers on Honey or/and bee products. As a pathologist, I am amazed at the results of research on honey on a number of diseases. You are welcome to present papers or just sit in and listen to talks which will be given by Who's who in honey research. Check out the programs.

Best wishes,

Professor Dr Nor Hayati Othman

Top Bar Hives Reduce Stress on Bees

New Kind of Beehive Makes for ‘Happy Bees’
By Abigail Curtis, Bangor Daily News, 10/3/2009

TENANTS HARBOR, Maine — When Jan Wirth gets close to the rectangular wooden beehive at Old Woods Farm, the lazy, muted buzzing from the tens of thousands of honeybees inside makes her smile.

“There’s a nice hum,” she said earlier this week. “When they’re happy, the hum is different than when they’re angry.”

And happy bees are exactly what Wirth wants as permanent residents of Old Woods Farm, the conservation neighborhood she’s developing close to the Tenants Harbor village center on a parcel of land that boasts old apple trees, low bush blueberries, meadow grasses, sunflowers and red clover.

Wirth is pretty sure that happy bees also will be healthy bees, and so she has installed a new shape of beehive that was built and is being monitored by a new breed of beekeeper — Christy Hemenway of Bath…

Hemenway is alarmed by many aspects of conventional beekeeping, including the fact that beekeepers give bees a mass-produced wax foundation that ostensibly helps them get started in their box-shaped hives.

“It’s one size fits all,” she said of the foundation. “But it doesn’t really fit any bee — at least, not well.”

That is one stress on honeybees, she stressed. Another is the fact that commercial beekeepers may feed the bees on a sugar water mixture after harvesting the honey.

“It reminds me of a feedlot,” Wirth said. “Then we wonder why the colony’s collapsing.”

Another stressor is the prevalence of chemicals and pesticides in modern agriculture.

“A combination of things that lethal and that interconnected — that sort of thing is not sustainable. It eventually will take something apart,” Hemenway said. “There’s nothing more heartbreaking than to lose your bees.”

A new way

The 49-year-old Hemenway didn’t always have a passion for bees. In 2006, she owned a small business called Gold Star Alpacas and helped a beekeeping friend shear his alpaca. In exchange, he gave her a jar of homemade honey, and Hemenway was stung with bee fever. She took a class in conventional beekeeping and wondered why her bees weren’t thriving.

“I asked in class: What did the bees do before we started giving them wax foundation?” she said. “No one could answer.”

Her curiosity led her to discover beekeepers who were practicing a different method, called top bar. This type of beekeeping doesn’t provide bees a foundation, and they make all their own wax. It’s meant to mimic what occurs in nature, while still allowing beekeepers a practical, safe way to gather honey and tend their swarms.

By August 2007, Hemenway had decided to start a company — Gold Star Honeybees, based in Bath — and had found a new path…

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Targeting Cancer with Bee Venom

In Animal Studies, Tiny Composite Spheres Deliver Drug Directly to Tumor Sites; 'It's Like an Injection'
By Peter Loftus, The Wall Street Journal, 9/28/2009

A bee sting can be painful, but its venomous payload might hold promise for a beneficial purpose—fighting cancer.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have used an ingredient of bee venom called melittin to shrink or slow the growth of tumors in mice. Melittin's anti-tumor potential has been known for years, but it hasn't been used as a drug because it also attacks healthy cells, including vital red blood cells.

Now the researchers have found a way, using the burgeoning field of nanotechnology, to pinpoint tumors for attack by melittin while largely shielding healthy cells. They do this by attaching the bee-venom ingredient to nanoparticles, which are ultra-tiny, synthetically manufactured spheres. The resultant product, called nanobees, are injected into the blood stream where they circulate until they reach and attack cancerous tumors. The approach also has the potential to avoid some of the toxic side effects seen in older cancer therapies like chemotherapy.

Nanobees showed promise in a study published this summer in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study found that nanobees halted tumor growth or shrank tumors in mice with breast and skin cancers, and reduced precancerous lesions. The experiments showed minimal toxicity to healthy cells from the treatment.

"In effect, we've got something that does what a bee does except it's a synthetic particle. It's got a stinger and injector to insert the toxin into a cell," says Samuel Wickline, a professor at Washington University's medical school...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Honey Wound Dressing Not Toxic to Cells

An In Vitro Evaluation of the Cell Toxicity of Honey and Silver Dressings
Journal of Wound Care, Vol. 18, Iss. 9, 10 Sep 2009, pp 383 - 389

Objective: To establish whether honey and silver-impregnated dressings used by wound-healing practitioners are cytotoxic in vitro to human skin keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts.

Method: Human keratinocyte and fibroblast tissue cultures were established in vitro. Untreated cultures served as controls (group I). Small dressing implants of monofloral, medicinal honey (L-Mesitran) (group 2) and nanocrystalline silver (Acticoat) (group 3) were placed in test wells and co-cultured with each of the two cell lines. Morphological changes, including cell toxicity, were assessed using inverted microscopy, trypan blue staining and the Rosdy and Clauss cell toxicity scoring system.

Results: Untreated cultures consisting of both keratinocytes and fibroblasts (group 1) were established in 90% of all cases. In group 2, cultures with honey-impregnated implants, cell proliferation remained present at two and four months. Cell viability remained intact and cell toxicity was not evident at four months after continuous tissue culture. In group 3, marked toxicity was observed with high non-viability staining and cell-scoring counts compared with groups 1 and 2 (p<0.05). This demonstrates that the silver interfered with epidermal cell proliferation and migration, implying that it contains cytotoxic material.

Conclusion: The honey-based product showed excellent cytocompatibility with tissue cell cultures compared with the silver dressing, which demonstrated consistent culture and cell toxicity. Further studies are needed to assess if these comparative in-vitro findings should influence a clinician's choice of wound dressing.

Nectar Testing Guarantees Origin, Purity of Manuka Honey

New Manuka Honey Research Adds Clarity for Consumers
Voxy News Engine, 10/2/2009

Comvita today released scientific findings from a research project of considerable importance for consumers and New Zealand's $100 million Manuka Honey industry.

Comvita's research, conducted in association with the University of Auckland and Hill Laboratories and published this week by Food Chemistry (Elsevier Ltd), is the culmination of a year-long, intense scientific trial investigation of the bioactivity of Manuka Honey.

The research revealed: A clear methodology for differentiating honey types and of guaranteeing the proof of origin and purity of Manuka honey…

Comvita Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Ralf Schlothauer, says using Nectar Testing to trace the bioactive compounds from the nectar to the Manuka Honey on the shelf is a considerable step forward in ensuring the consumer is buying what they believe.

"This is important because bioactive compounds are ultimately from the nectar collected by the bees."…

The real story behind UMF Manuka honey is incredibly complex and rich, Dr. Schlothauer says. He likens it to an unravelling mystery, as this, the first in a series of research papers, confirms…

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Phenolic Profile May be Used to Differentiate Honeys

Phenolic Compounds and Methylglyoxal in Some New Zealand Manuka and Kanuka Honeys
Food Chemistry, Article in Press

The principal phenolic compounds and methylglyoxal were analysed in New Zealand Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) and Kunzea ericoides (kanuka) honeys. These honeys shared six phenolic acids as primary components and differentiation was possible as relative proportions varied.

Manuka honey contained an elevated concentration of a trimethoxybenzoic acid and methylglyoxal; and 2-methoxybenzoic acid and methylglyoxal concentrations were linearly correlated in fresh manuka honey.

Kanuka honey contained an elevated concentration of methoxyphenyllactic acid. The concentration of the phenolic components increased with maturation in both honey types; and this profile development, along with a corresponding increase of methylglyoxal concentration, was linear in manuka honey. Nectar analysed from the plant species contained the same phenolic components as the honeys.

These results demonstrated the phenolic profile could be used to differentiate the honey types, heat treatment of honey could be identified, and the presence of these components may contribute to the efficacy of these honeys in therapeutic uses.