Friday, April 30, 2010

Propolis a Potential Anti-Tumor Agent

In vitro Cytotoxic Activity of Baccharis dracunculifolia and Propolis Against HEp-2 Cells
Natural Product Research, 22 April 2010

Baccharis dracunculifolia is the most important vegetal source of propolis in southeast Brazil, and researchers have been investigating its biological properties.

Propolis is a complex resinous hive product collected by bees from several plants, showing a very complex chemical composition. It has been employed since ancient times due to its therapeutic properties, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory and antitumour activities, among others.

The goal of this work was to compare the cytotoxic action of B. dracunculifolia, propolis and two isolated compounds (caffeic and cinnamic acids) on human laryngeal epidermoid carcinoma (HEp-2) cells in vitro.

These cells were incubated with different concentrations of each variable, and cell viability was assessed by the crystal violet method. Lower concentrations of B. dracunculifolia (extract and essential oil), propolis, as well as caffeic and cinnamic acids, showed no cytotoxic activity against HEp-2 cells.

On the other hand, elevated concentrations (50 and 100 µg per 100 µL) exerted a cytotoxic action, and propolis showed a more efficient action than its vegetal source and isolated compounds.

Further investigation is still needed in order to explore the potential of these variables as antitumour agents and to understand their mechanisms of action.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Propolis May Help Treat Yeast Infections

Antifungal Activity of Brazilian Propolis Microparticles Against Yeasts Isolated from Vulvovaginal Candidiasis
Evidence-based Compl. and Alt. Medicine, April 12, 2010

Propolis, a resinous compound produced by Apis mellifera L. bees, is known to possess a variety of biological activities and is applied in the therapy of various infectious diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro antifungal activity of propolis ethanol extract (PE) and propolis microparticles (PMs) obtained from a sample of Brazilian propolis against clinical yeast isolates of importance in the vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC).

PE was used to prepare the microparticles. Yeast isolates, obtained from vaginal exudates of patients with VVC, were exposed to the PE and the PMs. Moreover, the main antifungal drugs used in the treatment of VVC (Fluconazole, Voriconazole, Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Miconazole and Amphotericin B) were also tested. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined according to the standard broth microdilution method.

Some Candida albicans isolates showed resistance or dose-dependent susceptibility for the azolic drugs and Amphotericin B. Non-C. albicans isolates showed more resistance and dose-dependent susceptibility for the azolic drugs than C. albicans. However, all of them were sensitive or dose-dependent susceptible for Amphotericin B.

All yeasts were inhibited by PE and PMs, with small variation, independent of the species of yeast.

The overall results provided important information for the potential application of PMs in the therapy of VVC and the possible prevention of the occurrence of new symptomatic episodes.

New Zealand Apitherapy Company’s Profits Soar

Comvita predicts 500+% lift in profit, shares rise 10%
Robert Smith, National Business Review, 4/29/2010

Comvita is forecasting a big lift in full year net profit after tax, with the manuka honey producer confirming today that it expects a bottom line result of $4.9 million.

That unaudited net profit forecast for the year ended March is up 512.5% on the previous year, when it recorded a net profit after tax of $0.77 million…

A progressive reduction in inventory, the sale of global licensing rights of Medihoney to Derma Sciences in February and the improved operating performance have seen the company cut its debt by 61.7% over the past year to currently sit at $11.6 million…

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bee Sting Therapy Offers Hope for AIDS Patients

By Stella Kabura, Business Daily Africa, April 21, 2010

Bee stings and bee venom are an unlikely route to health, but according to one centre in Kenya, the results are stunning, relieving arthritis, slowing the effect of HIV/Aids, stimulating the immune system and delivering a claimed permanent cure for daily pain.

The earliest records of man keeping and harvesting from bees date back to ancient Egyptians, but traditionally the sole focus was on honey.

Now it seems that bee-keeping may be entering a new era as eyes turn to the potential for health cures from the sting too.

“Though it doesn’t cure the disease, we have had HIV patients improve by 80 per cent,” said Andrew Write of the Wild Remedies organisation that deals with bushman honey, referring to a study showing that nerve damage in 50 HIV patients improved by 83 per cent after bee therapy...

“We had a guy come here with pain all over,” he recalled, “after stinging him with a bees for a month, in which the number of stings were gradually increased to 30 stings in a day, all of a sudden he came back no longer in pain.”

The therapy, known as Apitherapy, stings certain parts of the body, known as “acu-points” in acupuncture.

The stinging has been found to activate the adrenal glands, in turn producing cortisol which is one of the body’s main inflammatory agents and also part of the immune system, which helps the body fight disease...

But it’s not all just a painful process. In addition to stinging from bees, the therapy also uses bee venom and raw, unprocessed honey from bees.

The nectar and pollen collected by bees has been found to have medicinal value.

To survive in nature, plants develop properties to give them resistance to attack by microbes.

Bees then add to these medicinal properties in the plant nectar by adding enzymes of their own to preserve and improve the medicinal quality, after extracting the nectar from plants.

This raw honey, which remains unheated, contains several enzymes and antibacterial substances, including hydrogen peroxide content added by the bee.

After a prolonged period, the peroxide compound makes it an ideal substance in the treatment of wounds and disorders caused by bacteria.

The honey also stimulates cell growth and is thus ideal for wounds that show no signs of healing.

In addition, bee propolis is also collected from the buds of certain trees by bees and used as a sealant in the construction of bee hives.

Write and his crew collect the propolis from bee hives.

It contains 50 per cent flavanoids, 30 per cent wax, 10 per cent essential oils, five per cent pollen containing amino acids and proteins and five per cent other substances including vitamins and sugars.

The bee centre uses the propolis as an antiviral on patients, citing the flavanoid as an anti-viral agent...

To extract the bee venom, which they also use, voltage is induced on a board roughly 30 centimetres by 20 centimetres which contains wires that conduct electricity.

When the board is switched on, the voltage provokes the bees to attack “their enemy” in the form of an electric wire.

“The bees get shocked, they try to sting the wires and the venom (they produce) drops on the surface of the board,” explains Write, “the other bees sense the smell (of the venom) which angers them making them produce more venom”.

Once the venom is produced and dries up, it is then scraped off the board and mixed with raw honey.

Therapeutically, the venom is believed to act as an analgesic thanks to a mix of peptides and protein compounds, which have a strong neurotoxin and immunogenic effect.

Moreover, the venom has also been found beneficial on the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and digestive system, according to Write.

According to the organisation’s handbook on the ‘bushman honey’ produced by the centre, bee venom mixed with honey has been sold for more than a decade, with 13 million jars used to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Propolis Alleviates Harmful Effects of Toxin

Propetamphos-Induced Changes in Haematological and Biochemical Parameters of Female Rats: Protective Role of Propolis
Food and Chemical Toxicology, Article in Press

The present study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of propolis in alleviating the toxicity of propetamphos on haematological and biochemical parameters in rats. Twenty-four female Wistar–Albino rats (200–250 g) were randomly divided into four equal groups of six rats each. As normal drinking water was given to the control group, propolis (100 mg/kg bw/day), propetamphos (15 mg/kg bw/day), and propolis (100 mg/kg bw/day) with propetamphos (15 mg/kg bw/day) combinations were given to the other three groups by adding to drinking water for 28 days, respectively.

The levels of glucose and triglyceride, and the activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were increased, and total protein was decreased in serum of rats treated with propetamphos. Lymphocyte percentage was increased, while neutrophil percentage and total leukocyte counts were decreased due to propetamphos administration. In conclusion, propetamphos was determined to cause harmful effects in rats, and the administration of propolis to these animals alleviated the harmful effects of propetamphos.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Propolis Protects Reproductive Organs from Damage by Toxins

Protective Role of Propolis Against Reproductive Toxicity of Triphenyltin in Male Rabbits
Food Chem Toxicol, 2010 Apr 15

Triphenyltin (TPT) is known to cause endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity and a decrease in testosterone production. It is involved in the production of reactive oxygen species.

Propolis has been reported to be an important antioxidant. Therefore, the present study aimed to elucidate the possible protective effects of propolis in alleviating the toxicity of triphenyltin chloride (TPTCl) on reproductive performance, testosterone levels, lipid peroxidation and enzyme activities in seminal plasma of male New-Zealand white rabbits.

Animals were orally administered the doses of propolis, TPTCl and propolis plus TPTCl every day for 12 weeks. Results showed that semen quality was deteriorated following treatment with TPTCl. Also, testosterone levels, body weight (BW), relative weights of testes (RWT) and epididymis (RWE) were decreased. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances and lactate dehydrogenase were increased, while glutathione S-transferase, transaminases and phosphatases were decreased in seminal plasma of rabbits treated with TPTCl compared to control.

Propolis alone significantly increased testosterone levels, BW, RTW, REW, semen characteristics and seminal plasma enzymes, and decreased the levels of free radicals and lactate dehydrogenase. Furthermore, the presence of propolis with TPTCl alleviates its toxic effects.

From the present study, it can be concluded propolis can be effective in the protection of TPTCl-induced reproductive toxicity.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ohio Family Builds Bee Product Business

Solon family all abuzz about beekeeping; honey, beeswax turned into natural body products
By Lindsay Betz, Sun News, 4/24/2010

…After their first season of keeping bees, the Rzepkas realized they would have a surplus of honey and beeswax, despite the fact the whole family loves the raw honey from the hives. David said he can get about 75 pounds of honey from one hive during the year.

[Visit for products and pricing.]

“We wanted to do something with all of it, and making candles was just too easy for us,” David’s wife Amy said. “So we decided to try to make lip balm.”

So David — a self-proclaimed “tinkerer by nature” — started combining different ingredients in the basement to try to make lip balm, soap and other body products. He also consulted a chemist for advice on the formulas.

The whole family soon got involved — including their three children, Molly, 18, Rachel, 16, and Nathan, 14.

“A lot of my friends have tried the lip balm, and they like it better than Burt’s Bees,” Rachel said, adding she constantly has to replenish the lip balm stock in her backpack since her friends always take it from her.

The family recently got a warehouse in Bedford Heights to mix bigger batches of the products — and so David would stop making big messes in the basement.

Last summer, the Rzepkas sold their natural products at local farmers markets and will do the same this year. They are also hoping to start selling at local boutiques…

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Honey, Propolis have Health Benefits

The Amazing Honeybee
By Debbie Croft, Sun-Star, 4/24/2010

Honey is the original candy and a wonderful, healthful energy food which may also help people who have pollen-based allergies.

Propolis is the sticky substance bees use to seal cracks in the hives. With its astounding anti-bacterial qualities, if a mouse were to crawl into a beehive and die, the bees would cover it with propolis, inhibiting decay indefinitely.

Manuka honey is now officially certified as a wound dressing, Jupe continues, because it sucks the water out of bacteria, so that the infection-causing germs in the wound cannot live if honey is applied in the bandage…

Content of Bee Venom Varies by Season

Africanized Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Venom Profiling: Seasonal Variation of Melittin and Phospholipase A2 Levels
Toxicon, Article in Press

Apis mellifera venom is comprised basically of melittin, phospholipase A2, histamine, hyaluronidase, catecholamine and serotonin. Some of these components have been associated with allergic reactions, amongst several other symptoms.

On the other hand, bee mass-stinging, caused by Africanized honey bee (AHB), is increasingly becoming a serious public health issue in Brazil; therefore, the development of efficient serum-therapies has become necessary.

In this work, we have analyzed the venom composition of AHB in Brazil through one year. In order to verify the homogeneity of this venom, one specific hive was selected and the correlation with climatic parameters was assessed. It was possible to perceive a seasonal variation on the venom contents of melittin and phospholipase A2. Moreover, both compounds presented a synchronized variation of their levels, with an increased production in the same months. This variation does not correlate or synchronize with any climatic parameter.

Data on the variation of the AHB venom composition is necessary to guide future intra and inter species studies.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Video: Local Honey to Help Allergies?

Bee Keepers Working to Meet Demand

KCRG-TV, 4/19/2010 - With the spring air thick with pollen, some people think swallowing a spoonful of local honey helps. But local beekeepers say they are just trying to keep the bee population up.

If finding local honey to cut down on the stuffy heads and puffy eyes of spring is on your list, that could be a challenge. Because of cold winters and a mysterious disease, one South Amana beekeeper says it takes more work for fill honey jars…

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Honey Alleviates Wound Odor for Cancer Patients

Honey Beneficial for Treatment of Fungating Tumor Wounds
The Medical News, 4/17/2010

Surviving cancer is physically and emotionally exhausting. But for many patients, beating the disease itself is just the first hurdle. A second ordeal comes from living with the fungating tumor wounds that accompany various cancers. Aside from the pain they inflict, these wounds often emit a strong and offensive odor. Not only does going into public become potentially embarrassing, but it also can be extremely depressing when even close family members are repulsed by the smell.

At the 2010 Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) and the Wound Healing Society (WHS), an international conference drawing clinicians from all over the globe, which was held April 17-20 in Orlando, a clinician presented a series of cases illustrating the benefits of MEDIHONEY® dressings not only in the treatment of fungating tumor wounds but in eliminating their odor and the stigma that goes with it. MEDIHONEY® dressings are a unique key line of products whose active ingredient is medical-grade active Leptospermum honey (ALH), indigenous to New Zealand, that can succeed in alleviating wounds when other treatments have failed. Princeton-based Derma Sciences, Inc. owns the global rights to MEDIHONEY

Malodor in a fungating tumor wound has been attributed to the presence of anaerobic organisms that thrive in areas of superficial and deep necrosis. The odor emanates from the unstable fatty acids released as a metabolic byproduct of the anaerobic bacteria. Among its other effects, MEDIHONEY has been reported to effectively reduce and even eradicate odor in acute and chronic wounds as a result to the preferential metabolism of honey's glucose, which produces lactic acid, instead of amino acids, which produce malodorous ammonia, amines and sulfur compounds.

The investigator, Debbie Segovia RN, MSN, APRN-CNS, CWOCN, examined two women aged 44 and 60 at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa. The 44-year-old, with locally advanced ductal carcinoma, sought treatment for bilateral breast wounds. Silver sulfadiazine and Dakin's 0.25% solution proved ineffective for exudate and odor management. After cleansing and rinsing, caregivers applied a MEDIHONEY dressing, which was changed daily. The necrotic slough tissue was rapidly debrided and the odor was immediately eradicated. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of the honey provided an "analgesic" effect, resulting in decreased wound pain associated with the wound itself and the dressing change procedure. The right breast wound completely healed and the left breast wound continued to progress toward healing…

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Video: Raw Honey to the Rescue for Allergies?

Local Honey Again Recommended for Allergies

Allergy Treatment Could Have an Alternative, But Ask Your Doctor First, 4/20/2010

The spring weather brings us all the pretty flowers, blooms, trees and freshly cut grass... but also allergies.

There might be another natural way to ease those symptoms.

In fact, Many of you may say it's time to throw out the pills and nasal sprays, and take a teaspoon of locally harvested honey.

Jim Blakemore tells us, "I take a tablespoon before I go to bed at night." That's been his ritual for the last 15 years.

It didn't take long for him to see the advantages to eating a bit of locally-harvested honey.

"Within a couple of days, I quit taking all my allergy tablets that I had to buy and I would enjoy the outdoors more." he told KHQA. And he's not alone, just ask local beekeeper Grant Gillard who states, "The secret is the honey is locally-produced with pollen from the surrounding area. The bees bring it back and that's what you ingest orally. So when you breathe in the pollen, your sinuses don't go crazy."…

Weight Loss, MS and Cancer - Could Bees Hold the Key?

By Anna Millar, The Scotsman, 4/20/2010

There is an old French proverb that goes, while honey is sweet, the bee stings. However, though it was once thought of merely as a common pest, nature's contrary little helper has been enjoying a rather more positive buzz in recent years.

Officially named apitherapy, the use of bee products to prevent or heal illness is not a new phenomenon, dating back thousands of years to early civilisations in ancient Egypt, Greece and China.

But the last decade has seen apitherapy receiving growing exposure, particularly for its (occasionally controversial) use in treating multiple sclerosis, arthritis, infections, skin conditions, diabetes and other problems.

At the other end of the spectrum, on the celebrity beauty circuit – and increasingly on the high street – bee-inspired lotions and potions have become big business, with many prescribing to the notion that pollen can promote tighter, younger-looking skin at a fraction of the cost of surgery.

A household name, and perhaps the best known of the bee products, royal jelly has long been hailed as nature's rejuvenator. Essentially bee's milk, royal jelly is rich in vitamins B and C and is often used to promote healthy hair, nails and skin.

It is also reputed to relieve symptoms of PMT, stress and arthritis. It has also become a useful ally in pregnancy and menopause – effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels, it is used to stimulate the reproductive system and help aid pain and flushes.

And it's not just women who are reaping the benefits. Some believe the jelly can prevent osteoporosis, not to mention aiding men with prostate problems. Those suffering from liver cirrhosis and diabetic wounds have also been known to benefit from its anti-inflammatory effects.

Elsewhere, some evidence suggests bee pollen can provide relief from premature ageing and aid weight-loss. High in vitamin C, minerals, amino acids and enzymes, it can boost the immune system.

Propolis, the natural resin created by bees in the construction of hives, has garnered a reputation for its ability to increase the formation of antibodies and strengthen the immune system. Some studies have also found that it helps reduce inflammation when treating second-degree burns, and suggest, most controversially, that the caffeic acids in propolis could help prevent colon cancer.

And the appreciation of apitherapy isn't just about health. Last year it was reported that fans of Hollywood's Eat-Clean Diet, such as Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry, were incorporating flax seed, wheatgerm and bee pollen into their diet to rev up the metabolism.

Bee-derived face masks have also become popular, with some beauty salons now offering bee venom and manuka honey masks to smooth and plump the skin, the venom being used to control the facial muscles by lifting, tightening and firming the skin.

While naysayers point out the lack of scientific evidence, anecdotally apitherapy's reputation continues to grow, with more research constantly underway.

But perhaps the most contentious debate is around the use of bee venom therapy (BVT), which is said to relieve the suffering of people with multiple sclerosis, as the compound acts to reduce inflammation. Users are essentially stung by bees, often many times, in a bid to ease their pain…

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Honey Boosts Healing, Cuts Costs for Uninsured Wound Patients

Study Suggests Treating Wounds with Patented Medical Honey Dressing Makes Healing Affordable for Uninsured Patient Population

Newswise, 4/17/2010 — Using a particular brand of medical honey dressing may be a safe, effective and low-cost method of treating chronic, non-healing wounds in indigent patients, according to a poster presented at the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) and the Wound Healing Society (WHS), an international conference drawing clinicians from all over the globe, which was held April 17-20 in Orlando.

Registered nurses Diane Maggio RN, BSN, CRRN, CWON and Laverne Graves, RN, BSN, CWS, from the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Pomona, NJ identified several challenges when treating indigent patients at the outpatient wound clinic. They include poor patient compliance, multiple wound types, lack of finances, multiple health issues, and poor personal hygiene.

They embarked on a small evidence-based practice study to investigate whether Derma Sciences’ MEDIHONEY® dressings, a unique key line of products whose active ingredient is medical-grade active Leptospermum honey (ALH), indigenous to New Zealand, would serve as a safe, effective, cost-efficient, user-friendly, moist wound healing dressing for use in this group of patients. They evaluated MEDIHONEY’s effectiveness in wounds and burns. The nurses incorporated MEDIHONEY as first-line therapy to not only clean the wound (debridement) but to also provide antimicrobial protection and healing. Princeton-based Derma Sciences, Inc. owns the global rights to MEDIHONEY…

Several patients seen in the study’s indigent outpatient wound clinic who presented with chronic, non-healing wounds were chosen to receive the MEDIHONEY dressings. After cleansing the wound, an appropriate MEDIHONEY dressing (honey impregnated calcium alginate for heavy exudates, honeycolloid or honey paste for light to moderate exudates) was applied and covered with a cover dressing. In their first case, they observed an obese 51-year-old male landscaper affected by diabetes, with a one-and-a-half-year-old ulcer on the bottom of his feet. Previous treatment included hydrogel, silver dressings, cadexomer matrix dressings, compression wraps, off-loading shoes and weekly debridement. A dressing was needed to manage exudate, prepare the wound bed and promote moist wound healing. After six months of unsuccessfuly healing this wound, the study authors tried MEDIHONEY’s calcium alginate bandage, covered with an absorbent foam and transparent film every other day. Complete healing was achieved after a few weeks on MEDIHONEY therapy.

In the case of a 66-year-old male with diabetes, who suffered from venous stasis ulcers and poorly controlled blood sugars, the challenge was to treat five infected, foul-smelling, heavily draining wounds on both legs. Prior treatment included compression bandaging. The nurses noted that excessive exudate and malodor were offensive to everyone in the outpatient wound center. A MEDIHONEY dressing was used to decrease the exudates and malodor, and helped prepare the wound bed and promote moist wound healing. The nurses applied a MEDIHONEY calcium alginate dressing, covered with an absorbent foam dressing, and covered with multilayer compression bandages once weekly. “The odor was immediately eradicated,” noted Maggio in the poster. “The exudates and wound size gradually decreased. By week 16 the wounds [were] well on the way to healing. The patient and staff [were] pleased with ease of use, odor management and wound healing.”

A second patient was a 49-year-old female with a hernia repair that resulted in a open wound that would not heal. The patient had been previously treated with negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) while hospitalized. In preparation for discharge, the NPWT was to be discontinued and an antimicrobial dressing was needed to prevent infection of the exposed mesh. The nurses applied MEDIHONEY’s ALH paste along with an ALH-impregnated calcium alginate dressing and an absorbent cover dressing. The dressing was changed every other day. As Nurse Maggio notes, the wound gradually decreased in size. During week 18, surgical debridement with mesh removal was performed. The patient remained infection- free and the wound had almost completely healed by week 28.

The last patient in the study was a 50-year-old healthy male with no diseases but who had sustained a traumatic injury to the dorsal surface of his foot, resulting in an exposed tendon. Previous treatment included daily application of a papain-urea-chlorphyliin enzymatic debriding agent with a gauze dressing. The wound was surrounded by erythema and debridement of necrotic tissue was slow. The MEDIHONEY dressings decreased redness, and prepared the wound bed and promote moist wound healing, noted the nurses.

The authors concluded that integrating MEDIHONEY into the wound care formulary of their indigent outpatient wound care clinic has not only improved healing outcomes but also decreased costs by eliminating the need for enzymatic debriding agents and multitple dressing types. “The dressings have enabled patients to participate easily in their own care, thus improving compliance for a variety of wound types. The antimicrobial effect may have prevented infection in several wounds,” noted the authors…

Young Patients Also Helped by Honey

Young Patients With Chronic Wounds Can Be Helped With Patented Medical Honey

Newswise — Chronic, non-healing wounds can be a serious problem for children as many currently available treatment modalities can be too harsh or toxic. At the 2010 Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) and the Wound Healing Society (WHS), an international conference drawing clinicians from all over the globe which was held April 17-20 in Orlando, two clinicians presented case series illustrating the benefits of MEDIHONEY® dressings for this challenging patient population...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Apitherapy Popular in Ethiopia

White Honey Grows Scarce as Bees Abandon Ethiopia's Parched Peaks
Alex Duval Smith, The Observer, 4/18/2010

The truffle of the apiary world – rare white honey from Ethiopia's highest peaks – is in danger of disappearing, according to beekeepers in the Tigray region. "No rain for the flowers,'' said Ashenaf Abera as he stood on his rocky, parched slope in the northern Ethiopian region whose famine inspired Bob Geldof to stage Live Aid in 1985. "The bees need high-altitude flowers for the white honey. When they cannot find them, they go to other plants and produce yellow honey.''…

After coffee, gold and cowhide, bee products are major contributors to the economy, especially through exports to Italy, where white honey is considered a delicacy. Bees' products are the only export item produced by Tigray's impoverished 4.6 million people, whose region is said to be one of the worst-hit in the world by climate change.

Such is Ethiopians' love of honey that apitherapy clinics offer treatments for many ailments. The national drink is tej – honey mead.

Beekeepers are increasingly scrapping traditional mud hives for square box-like hives from Europe which produce a higher yield. "The bees will not make white honey in the modern hives, but at least with them we can obtain a decent yield of yellow honey,'' he said…

Malaysian Honey May Help Reduce Blood Glucose Levels for Diabetics

Antioxidant Protection of Malaysian Tualang Honey in Pancreas of Normal and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats
Annales d'Endocrinologie, Article in Press

Glucotoxicity contributes to β-cell dysfunction through oxidative stress. Our previous study demonstrated that tualang honey ameliorated renal oxidative stress and produced hypoglycemic effect in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. This present study investigated the hypothesis that hypoglycemic effect of tualang honey might partly be due to protection of pancreas against oxidative stress.

Diabetes was induced by a single dose of STZ (60 mg/kg; ip). Diabetic rats were randomly divided into two groups and administered distilled water (0.5 ml/d) and tualang honey (1.0 g/kg/d). Similarly, two groups of non-diabetic rats received distilled water (0.5 ml/d) and tualang honey (1.0 g/kg/d). The animals were treated orally for 28 days.

At the end of the treatment period, the honey-treated diabetic rats had significantly reduced blood glucose levels [8.8 (5.8) mmol/L; median (interquartile range)] compared with the diabetic control rats [17.9 (2.6) mmol/L].

The pancreas of diabetic control rats showed significantly increased levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and up-regulation of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities. Catalase (CAT) activity was significantly reduced while glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities remained unchanged in the pancreas of diabetic rats. Tualang honey significantly reduced elevated MDA levels. Honey treatment also restored SOD and CAT activities.

These results suggest that hypoglycemic effect of tualang honey might be attributed to its antioxidative effect on the pancreas.

Action protectrice anti-oxydante du miel malésien Tualang sur le pancréas de rats normaux ou diabétiques induits par la streptozotocine

La glucotoxicité contribue à la dysfonction β cellulaire par le biais du stress oxydatif. Notre étude précédente avait démontré que le miel Tualang améliorait le stress oxydatif rénal et induisait un effet hypoglycémiant chez des rats présentant un diabète induit par la streptozotocine (STZ). La présente étude avait pour but d’évaluer si l’effet hypoglycémiant du miel Tualang pouvait en partie être lié à son action protectrice anti-oxydante sur le pancréas. Un diabète a été induit par une seule dose de STZ (60 mg/kg ; voie intrapéritonéale). Les rats diabétiques étaient randomisés en deux groupes dont l’un recevait de l’eau distillée 0,5 ml/j et l’autre du miel Tualang (1 g/kg par jour). En parallèle, deux groupes de rats non diabétiques recevaient de l’eau distillée (0,5 ml/j) ou du miel Tualang (1 g/kg par jour). Les animaux étaient traités oralement pendant 28 jours.

À la fin de la période de traitement, les rats traités par le miel avaient une glycémie significativement plus basse lorsqu’ils étaient comparés aux rats témoins diabétiques [8,8 (5,8) mmol/L versus 17,9 (2,6) mmol/L ; médiane (interquartile)]. Le pancréas des rats diabétiques témoins contenait des niveaux significativement plus élevés de malondialdéhyde (MDA) ainsi qu’une ascension de l’activité superoxyde dismutase (SOD) et glutathion péroxidase (GPx). L’activité Catalase (CAT) était significativement réduite tandis que la glutathion-S-transférase (GST) et la glutathion réductase (GR) étaient inchangées dans le pancréas des rats diabétiques. Le miel Tualang réduisait significativement les niveaux élevés de MDA. Le traitement par le miel restaurait également des activités SOD et CAT. Ces résultats suggèrent que l’effet hypoglycémiant du miel Tualang peut être attribué à ses effets anti-oxydants sur le pancréas.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Brazilian Red Propolis May Help Fight Obesity

Ethanolic Extracts of Brazilian Red Propolis Promote Adipocyte Differentiation Through PPARgamma Activation
Phytomedicine, 2010 Apr 9

AIM OF THE STUDY: The aim of present study was to investigate the effects of ethanolic extracts of red propolis (EERP) on adipogenesis and evaluate the molecular basis for their anti-obesity effects.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We tested whether EERP alone could induce differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells, regulate the expression of adipocyte-specific genes and reverse inhibitory effects of TNF-alpha on their differentiation. Next, we performed a luciferase reporter gene assay to test whether EERP could enhance transcriptional activities of PPARgamma and adiponectin promoter activities.

RESULTS: EERP strongly induced differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes into adipocytes, and enhanced the PPARgamma transcriptional activity and adiponectin promoter activity. In addition, EERP attenuated the inhibitory effect of TNF-alpha on adipocyte differentiation and adiponectin production in mature adipocytes.

CONCLUSION: The present study indicates that EERP enhance differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocytes in part by its potency of PPARgamma activation and are capable of reversing inhibitory effects of TNF-alpha on adipocyte differentiation and adiponectin expression. These results suggest the value of EERP as a diet supplement for prevention and treatment of obesity and obesity-associated disorders.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bee Venom has Pain-Killing, Anti-Inflammatory Effect on Arthritis

The Assessment of Bee Venom Responses in an Experimental Model of Mono-Arthritis Using Tc-99m DPD Bone Scintigraphy
Ann Nucl Med, 2010 Apr 9

OBJECTIVES: Several recent studies have shown that bee venom (BV) has an anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effect on arthritis. However, objective methods for evaluation of the therapeutic effect of BV is insufficient in animal studies and clinical trials. Our purpose was to determine the usefulness of bone scintigraphy using Tc-99m DPD (3,3-diphosphono-1,2-propan-dicarbonacid) about effects of BV applied to carrageenan-induced mono-arthritis (CIA) model.

METHODS: Mono-arthritis was induced by an intra-articular injection of carrageenan in Sprague-Dawley rats. Administration of BV (0.8 mg/kg) was performed at 30 min before and at 4 h after the induction of mono-arthritis. We assigned rats to BV-before, BV-after, control-before and control-after groups and compared the results of each group by the weight-loading test and bone scintigraphy. The rats received an intravenous injection of 37 MBq of Tc-99m DPD by the tail vein and then scanning was performed at 4 and 24 h after the injection. Visual assessment and quantitative analysis were performed for both knees.

RESULTS: The BV-before and BV-after groups were more improved than the control groups on the weight load test. Bone scintigraphy showed lower activity in the BV-before group than in the control-before group on the 4 h imaging. However, a significant difference in the BV-before and BV-after groups was not observed on the 24 h imaging.

CONCLUSIONS: BV had therapeutic effects by anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity in the CIA and bone scintigraphy performed on 4 h imaging provided visual and quantitative information for the assessment of the therapeutic response to BV as an objective method in mono-arthritis model.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Propolis May Help Alleviate Symptoms of Diabetes

Biological Activities of Chinese Propolis and Brazilian Propolis on Streptozotocin-Induced Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus in Rats
Evidence-based Compl. and Alt. Medicine, Published online on April 5, 2010

Propolis is a bee-collected natural product and has been proven to have various bioactivities. This study tested the effects of Chinese propolis and Brazilian propolis on streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes mellitus in Sprague–Dawley rats.

The results showed that Chinese propolis and Brazilian propolis significantly inhibited body weight loss and blood glucose increase in diabetic rats. In addition, Chinese propolis-treated rats showed an 8.4% reduction of glycated hemoglobin levels compared with untreated diabetic rats.

Measurement of blood lipid metabolism showed dyslipidemia in diabetic rats and Chinese propolis helped to reduce total cholesterol level by 16.6%. Moreover, oxidative stress in blood, liver and kidney was improved to various degrees by both Chinese propolis and Brazilian propolis.

An apparent reduction in levels of alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, blood urea nitrogen and urine microalbuminuria-excretion rate demonstrated the beneficial effects of propolis in hepatorenal function.

All these results suggested that Chinese propolis and Brazilian propolis can alleviate symptoms of diabetes mellitus in rats and these effects may partially be due to their antioxidant ability.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Propolis Extract Kills Breast Cancer Cells

Chemical Composition of Propolis from Different Regions in Java and Their Cytotoxic Activity
American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 5 (4): 180-183, 2009

Problem statement: Propolis samples from tropical zones, such as Java (Indonesia) with its vast biodiversity, have become a subject of increasing scientific and economic attention. The association of the chemical composition of propolis from different geographic regions with cytotoxic activities lead to the identification of active principles, a fundamental tool to achieve standardization of this bee product.

Approach: The purpose of this research was evaluate the quality of propolis collected at different places in Java (Indonesia) based on cytotoxic activity. The ethanolic extracts of propolis from different areas in Java were tested for cytotoxicity against tumor cell lines (T47D, MCF-7, Hela, Myeloma and Vero) using MTT assay. Propolis samples were collected from Batang (Central Java), Lawang (East Java) and Sukabumi (West Java).

Results: The extract of propolis from Batang showed the most potent activity of T47D and MCF-7 with IC50 34.67±8.3 and 37.8±2.5 μg mL-1. The extract of propolis from Sukabumi showed the most potent activity of Hela cell with IC50 147.34±8.9. However, all propolis extract did not show activity of myeloma and Vero cells.

Conclusion: Ethanolics extract of three propolis samples from Batang (Central Java), Lawang (East Java) and Sukabumi (West Java) regions in Java were investigated using GC-MS. From 37 compounds identified, 7 among of them were found for the first time in propolis. This indicated that the secondary metabolite extract of propolis from Batang (Central Java) obtained in the study has antiproliferative activity of breast carcinoma cells (T47D and MCF-7).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Propolis Topical Application May Help Treat Herpes Infection

Antiviral Activity and Mode of Action of Propolis Extracts and Selected Compounds
Phytother Res, 2010 Jan;24 Suppl 1:S20-8

Aqueous and ethanol extracts of propolis were analysed phytochemically and examined for their antiviral activity in vitro. Different polyphenols, flavonoids and phenylcarboxylic acids were identified as major constituents.

The antiviral effect of propolis extracts and selected constituents, e.g. caffeic acid (1), p-coumaric acid (2), benzoic acid (3), galangin (4), pinocembrin (5) and chrysin (6) against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) was analysed in cell culture. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of aqueous and ethanol propolis extracts for HSV-1 plaque formation was determined at 0.0004% and 0.000035%, respectively.

Both propolis extracts exhibited high levels of antiviral activity against HSV-1 in viral suspension tests, plaque formation was significantly reduced by >98%.

In order to determine the mode of antiviral action of propolis, the extracts were added at different times during the viral infection cycle. Both propolis extracts exhibited high anti-HSV-1 activity when the viruses were pretreated with these drugs prior to infection.

Among the analysed compounds, only galangin and chrysin displayed some antiviral activity. However, the extracts containing many different components exhibited significantly higher antiherpetic effects as well as higher selectivity indices than single isolated constituents.

Propolis extracts might be suitable for topical application against herpes infection.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Local Honey Recommended for Allergies

Seasonal Allergies? A Spoonful of Honey...
New York Times, 4/12/2010

In “Allergy-Free New York” (Op-Ed, April 6), Thomas Leo Ogren makes several good points about reducing the misery of people with seasonal allergies. Besides a variety of trees, there is a simpler way for allergy sufferers to find relief: local honey. This remedy (predating Claritin and its ilk) has long been recognized around the world.

Honeybees collect pollen from the very trees that are causing all the sneezing and runny noses. By taking a spoonful of honey daily, approaching and during allergy season, you inoculate yourself against the offending pollen and greatly reduce your allergic reaction.

And now, honeybees are legal in New York City. Given the high incidence (and cost) of allergy-induced asthma, local honey could prove to be a great boon, all the while sweetening your tea or straight from a spoon. Mary Poppins had a point.

Christine Lehner
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., April 6, 2010

The writer is a beekeeper and a writer.

Colorless Flavonoids Reported in Bee Pollen

Colourless Flavonoids in Pollen
Separations Now, 4/5/2010

Pollen is the unique source of all the nutrients that bees require for healthy growth. They use it to feed themselves as well as the larvae in the hive and without it, the hive would perish. Bees collect pollen from flowers and mix it with a sticky secretion from their stomachs, so that it can be stored in pollen baskets on their legs for transport to the hive.

Bee pollen is a mixture of plant pollen, bee saliva and nectar and is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, pigments, vitamins and minerals. The actual composition and proportions of the various components of a particular pollen, like honey, are related to the distribution of the source plants. These components fix the composition so that quality control standards can be established and subsequent adulteration of the products can be detected.

This is an important factor because bee pollen, just like honey, has been used for millennia as a dietary supplement by humans. Many declarations have been made regarding the health benefits but, tellingly, the US FDA does not allow pollen marketers in the United States to make health claims, as there is currently no scientific basis for these.

The pigments present in bee pollen, consisting primarily of flavonoids and anthocyanins, account for the variation in colour of pollen and honey. However, other non-coloured flavonoids can also be present. and their presence in one particular bee pollen has attracted the attention of Iberian researchers.

Federico Ferreres from the University of Murcia at Espinardo in Spain and David Pereira, Patricia Valentao and Paula Andrade from Porto University, Portugal, became interested in bee pollen from the plant Echium plantagineum, also known as Paterson's curse. It is an invasive weed found in southern Europe and its bee pollen has been extensively studied. However, no work has been carried out on the phenolic compounds, including flavonoids, which might be present…

The research team declared that this is the first time that non-coloured flavonoids have been reported from this pollen and the value of HPLC for isomer separation and mass spectrometry for isomer identification has been illustrated.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Use of Honey-Based Wound Care Products Grows Worldwide

Advanced Wound Care Company Poised for International Growth
Business Wire, 4/12/2010

Derma Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCI), a specialty medical device/pharmaceutical company is poised to take advantage of the tremendous growth opportunity in wound care based on their distinct competitive advantage resulting from their worldwide, perpetual, exclusive license for the distribution of MEDIHONEY®. MEDIHONEY® is made from Leptospermum (manuka) honey, indigenous to New Zealand and Australia which has been shown to be very effective in a variety of advanced wound care indications.

Comvita New Zealand, from whom Derma has secured this license, controls approximately 75% of worldwide production and owns key intellectual property and patents concerning its use in medical dressings. This license gives Derma control over three-quarters of the global market for manuka-based dressings…

Honey Wound Dressing Outperforms Traditional Treatment

A Comparative Study to Evaluate the Effect of Honey Dressing and Silver Sulfadiazene Dressing on Wound Healing in Burn Patients
Indian J Plast Surg, 2009 Jul;42(2):176-81

To compare the effect of honey dressing and silver-sulfadiazene (SSD) dressing on wound healing in burn patients...

After washing with normal saline, undiluted pure honey was applied over the wounds of patients in the honey group (n=37) and SSD cream over the wounds of patients in SSD group (n=41), everyday. Wound was dressed with sterile gauze, cotton pads and bandaged. Status of the wound was assessed every third and seventh day and on the day of completion of study. Patients were followed up every fortnight till epithelialization. The bacteriological examination of the wound was done every seventh day...

The average duration of healing in patients treated with honey and SSD dressing at any time of admission was 18.16 and 32.68 days, respectively. Wound of all those patients (100%) who reported within 1 hour became sterile with honey dressing in less than 7 days while none with SSD. All of the wounds became sterile in less than 21 days with honey, while this was so in only 36.5% with SSD treated wounds.

The honey group included 33 patients reported within 24 hour of injury, and 26 out of them had complete outcome at 2 months of follow-up, while numbers for the SSD group were 32 and 12. Complete outcome for any admission point of time after 2 months was noted in 81% and 37% of patients in the honey group and the SSD group.

Honey dressing improves wound healing, makes the wound sterile in lesser time, has a better outcome in terms of prevention of hypertrophic scarring and post-burn contractures, and decreases the need of debridement irrespective of time of admission, when compared to SSD dressing...


Delay in hospital admission increases wound contamination and infection thereby delaying wound healing which has a detrimental effect on final outcomes. Since honey dressing improves wound healing by rendering it sterile in lesser duration of time, wounds thus treated have a better outcome in terms of hypertrophic scarring and post-burn contractures; this is due to the fact that early healing mitigates the need for debridement at when compared to SSD dressing. Hence, Honey dressing is a better option for dressing in burns, in terms of decreased morbidity, economy, patient well-being and speedy rehabilitation.

Honey Equal to Silver Based Wound Preparations

Comparative In Vitro Study of Honey Based and Silver Based Wound Preparations on Cell Viability
Burns, Article in Press


Since the early 1980s a plethora of dressings has been developed to promote wound healing. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of silver based dressings and honey based dressings on cell viability.

Materials and methods

In this blinded study, keratinocyte cultures were exposed to prepared extracts of each of the following wound dressings for 40 h:

• Silver based dressings: Acticoat, Actisorb, Askina, Atrauman-Ag and Contreet.

• Honey based dressings: Melladerm gel, Melladerm mesh, Melladerm plus and Mellarsorb. Controls consisted of cells that were cultured in the same medium, and under the same conditions as those exposed to extracts.


All dressing extracts had an effect on cell viability. Changes in cell morphology from different wound dressing extracts were noted and compared with control groups after 24 h of incubation.


In the silver based extracts group, Atrauman-silver and Acticoat had the most viable cells. For the honey based group, the most viable cells were seen with Melladerm mesh and Mellasorb. There was no significant difference between the best performing silver and honey based wound preparations with regard to cell viability.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Royal Jelly Helps Reverse Kidney Damage

The Protective Effect of Royal Jelly Against Cisplatin-Induced Renal Oxidative Stress in Rats
World J Urol, 2010 Apr 6. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of royal jelly on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity and oxidative stress in rats.

METHODS: Adult male Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into eight groups: the control, cisplatin, royal jelly, and royal jelly plus cisplatin groups. Biochemical and histopathological methods were utilized for evaluation of the nephrotoxicity. Blood was collected and analyzed for blood urea nitrogen (BUN), alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, triglyceride, total cholesterol, uric acid, total bilirubin, and total protein levels. The kidney samples were stored for the measurement of malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) activities and processed for histopathological examinations.

RESULTS: Administration of cisplatin to rats induced a marked renal failure, characterized with a significant increase in serum BUN and uric acid concentrations, and they had higher kidney MDA and lower GSH-Px, SOD, and CAT activities. In the groups that were administered RJ in association with CP, improvement was observed in some oxidative stress parameters and certain other biochemical parameters, pre-treatment with RJ being more effective.

CONCLUSIONS: The CP-induced changes in histopathologic findings of kidneys were partially reversed by treatment with royal jelly. The results provide further insight into the mechanisms of CP-induced nephrotoxicity and confirm the antioxidant potential of royal jelly.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Propolis Protects Against Oxidative Stress in Human Saliva

Journal of ApiProduct & ApiMedical Science, Vol. 2 (2) pp. 72 - 76

Oxidative stress plays an important role in periodontal health and disease and it is important to find natural compounds to control the oxidative stress in the periodontal area. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of Apis mellifera propolis (AmP) and Melipona favosa propolis (MfP) on the Fenton reagent-induced oxidative stress of human saliva.

Human saliva was incubated for 10 min at 37°C in the presence of Fenton reagent, to induce the oxidative stress, and propolis ethanolic extract dilutions. After the incubation, the salivary total antioxidant activity was assayed by the ABTS method. It was found that the Fenton reagent caused a decrease in salivary antioxidant activity.

AmP dilution protected and even increased the salivary total antioxidant activity after the Fenton reagent-induced oxidative stress. MfP only protected the salivary total antioxidant activity against oxidative stress.

In conclusion, propolis could be used to maintain and even increase the antioxidant capacity of saliva during an oxidative stress.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Honey Bee Venom May Soothe Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Laura Gasser, PhD, Natural Reader, 7/8/2010

Ouch! That stings like a bee. Go ahead and sting me. I want you to. Bee venom has been promoted for many years as an analgesic for arthritis sufferers “Bee therapy” or Apitherapy (from the Latin apis which means bee) is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees.

Some of the conditions treated (not in any special order) are: multiple sclerosis, arthritis, wounds, pain, gout, shingles, burns, tendonitis, and infections . We know from ancient rock art of early hunter-gatherers honeybee therapy has existed for thousands of years and depicts the honeybee as a source of natural medicine.

Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that various bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation, and stimulating a healthy immune response. In animal studies conducted recently, doctors in South Korea found that melittin, the principal peptide in bee venom, blocks the expression of inflammatory genes that can cause painful tissue swelling in rheumatoid arthritis patients. It is said to be 100 times stronger than hydrocortisone. Although Bee venom therapy has a risk of an anaphylatic reaction, risks of bee-ing stung far outweighs the possible side effects for many people...

Iranian Propolis ‘Promising Source of Biologically Active Compounds’

Antibacterial Mono- and Sesquiterpene Esters of Benzoic Acids from Iranian Propolis
Chemistry Central Journal, 29 March 2010

Background: Propolis (bee glue) has been used as a remedy since ancient times. Propolis from unexplored regions attracts the attention of scientists in the search for new bioactive molecules.

Results: From Iranian propolis from the Isfahan province, five individual components were isolated: the prenylated coumarin suberosin 1, and four terpene esters: tschimgin (bornyl p-hydroxybenzoate) 2, tschimganin (bornyl vanillate) 3, ferutinin (ferutinol p-hydroxybenzoate) 4, and tefernin (ferutinol vanillate) 5. All of them were found for the first time in propolis. Compounds 2 - 5 demonstrated activity against Staphylococcus aureus.

Conclusions: The results of the present study are consistent with the idea that propolis from unexplored regions is a promising source of biologically active compounds.

New Manuka Honey Standard Reaches U.S.

Koru Naturals Becomes the First U.S. Company to Import Molan Gold Standard Manuka Honey

Hillsborough, NC (PRWEB) April 7, 2010 -- Koru Naturals has received its first batch of Spirits Bay Manuka Honey tested for activity using the new assay and standards developed by Dr. Peter Molan. Molan Gold Standard is a registered trademark of the University of Waikato, home of the Honey Research Unit, a center of excellence for the study of the health properties of manuka honey.

Since the pioneering work conducted by Dr. Molan's group in the 90's, manuka honey has emerged as a natural health product used worldwide for digestive problems, as wound healing agent, as treatment for eczema, acne and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and as basic ingredient in skin care products, wound dressings and health foods.

The activity of manuka honey is measured using variations of the assay originally described by Dr. Molan in 1991. In addition to the proper use of this assay, the production, packing and storage of manuka honey must comply with rules designed to preserve the integrity of the product. Certified manuka honeys are packaged in New Zealand, carry lot numbers and expiration dates, and apiaries offer access to the activity certificates provided by the testing laboratories. The New Zealand Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) holds the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) trademark, currently the most established set of standards. Koru Naturals carries a broad selection of UMF 15+ and 20+ manuka honeys, all produced by AMHA members.

Molan Gold Standard (MGS) now joins the traditional UMF standard in offering consumers confidence that the product is indeed 100% manuka honey of the activity grade shown on the label. MGS offers an improvement over UMF by dictating purity standards for the reference reagents used in the assay and determining the number of independent assays that have to be conducted to obtain statistically significant activity numbers…

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bee Product Firm Targeted by FDA Still Open for Business

Hayward Firm in Limbo Over FDA Charges
After federal marshals seized many of its products this week, Beehive Botanicals Inc. in Hayward is still open for business.
By Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune, 4/8/2010

After federal marshals seized many of its products this week, Beehive Botanicals Inc. in Hayward is still open for business.

But while its case is pending, the company is not able to sell its creams, throat spray, shampoos, tablets and capsules made from bee pollen, honey and other bee-derived ingredients.

“We are not able to sell our brand of goods at this point,” said Sally Gagan, company vice president. “But we’re also a custom manufacturer, and we can still do that.”

Marc Ullman, the company’s attorney, admits the press release issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week about the business came across as “alarming.”

The FDA accused the company of continuing to market its products with unproven medical claims, despite previous requests and warnings to stop. Those product claims include preventing, treating or curing asthma, ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures and even cancer as well as products with supposed antibiotic and antiviral properties.

“The company was marketing their products in a manner they thought appropriate,” Ullman said. They didn’t realize that with medical claims, products fall under the category of drugs, making them subject to strict FDA regulation, he said.

After Beehive Botanicals received an FDA warning in 2007, the company changed its product labels and its Web site.

But a seldom-used link remained to another Web site that still carried the medical claims, Ullman said.

“Really it was an oversight when they revamped their Web site,” Ullman said. “They didn’t take this link down. It fell through the cracks. The company acknowledges it should have taken that link down.”

That link has since been removed, he said...

Doctor Says Honey Could Help Cure Allergies

MUSCLE SHOALS (WAFF) - With pollen in the air and allergy season upon us, many are looking for instant relief. Could that sweet relief come in the form of honey?

T. Doss Kennamer has worked with bees most of his life.

"These particular bees right here I've had them here over thirty years," said Kennamer.

He says for the last few years there has been a lot of buzz behind his honey, not just because of the loud noise his bees make, but also because people think it has extraordinary healing power when it comes to curing allergies.

"I sell a lot of local honey. I sell all I can raise here because of people wanting to use it for that," said Kennamer…

Honey Phenolic Compounds Responsible for Antioxidant Activity

Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Different Floral Origin Honeys from Turkiye
Journal of Food Biochemistry, Volume 34, Supplement 1, March 2010, pp. 321-335(15)

The bioactivities of phenolic extracts of nine Turkish honeys from different floral sources were investigated. The antioxidant properties of the extracts were assessed by ferric reducing/antioxidant power (FRAP) assay, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical-scavenging activity and cupric reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC) assay.

The total phenolic contents measured by Folin-Ciocalteau method varied from 66 to 223 mg/g extract as gallic acid equivalent. The antioxidant activities found with CUPRAC, expressed as trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, ranged from 124.8 to 532 µmol/g, those determined with DPPH• expressed as IC50 ranged from 84 to 296 µg/mL, and those determined with FRAP expressed as trolox equivalent were in 33-166 µmol/g range.

The antioxidant activities showed a marked correlation with total phenolics. In the antimicrobial tests using six bacteria and a yeast, Escherichia coli was moderately sensitive to each extract. There was no correlation between antimicrobial activity and total phenolic contents.

Practical Applications

Honey has functional properties and promotes human health, and such properties depend largely on the floral source. Although studies on screening the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of raw honey samples have been done densely, studies on phenolic compounds of honey are very limited. The present study demonstrates that honey phenolic compounds are partially responsible for honey antioxidant activity, displaying the relevance of honey as both healthy foodstuff and source of antioxidant.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Video: FDA Targets U.S. Firm Over Medicinal Claims for Bee Products

Bee Pollen Increases Healing Potential of Honey

In Vivo Activity Assessment of a “Honey-Bee Pollen Mix” Formulation
Pharmaceutical Biology, Volume 48, Number 3, March 2010 , pp. 253-259(7)

Honey-bee pollen mix (HBM) formulation is claimed to be effective for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, cancers, peptic ulcers, colitis, various types of infections including hepatitis B, and rheumatism by the herb dealers in northeast Turkey.

In the present study, In vivo antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective and antioxidant effects of pure honey and HBM formulation were evaluated comparatively. HBM did not show any significant gastroprotective activity in a single administration at 250 mg/kg dose, whereas a weak activity was observed after three days of successive administration at 500 mg/kg dose.

On the other hand, HBM displayed significant antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities at 500 mg/kg dose orally without inducing any apparent acute toxicity or gastric damage.

HBM was also shown to possess potent antilipidperoxidant activity at 500 mg/kg dose against acetaminophen-induced liver necrosis model in mice.

On the other hand, pure honey did not exert any remarkable antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective activity, but a potent antilipidperoxidant activity was determined.

Results have clearly proved that mixing pure honey with bee pollen significantly increased the healing potential of honey and provided additional support for its traditional use.

Total phenolic and flavonoid contents of HBM were found to be 145 and 59.3 mg/100 g of honey, which were estimated as gallic acid and quercetin equivalents, respectively.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Video: Honey and Bee Pollen Used to Fight Allergies (KNXV-TV), 4/5/2010

Propolis Extract Inhibits Vaginal Yeasts

Antifungal Activity of Propolis Extract Against Yeasts Isolated from Vaginal Exudates
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, March 2010, 16(3): 285-290

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the in vitro antifungal activity of propolis extract against yeasts Candida albicans and Candida non-albicans isolated from vaginal exudates, in comparison with nystatin.

Design: Ninety-seven (97) vaginal yeasts strains were evaluated. These strains were obtained from different clinical conditions, isolated and stored at the Sector of Medical Mycology of the State University of Maringá (Paraná, Brazil). The assays of susceptibility to nystatin and propolis extracts (PE) were conducted through microdilution in broth (National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards-NCCLS, M-27A Document of 1997).

Results: All the yeasts tested were inhibited by low concentrations of PE (maximum of 393.19μg/mL of the total flavonoid content), including an isolate resistant to nystatin, regardless of the clinical conditions of the women and the species of yeast isolated.

Conclusions: The PE showed an outstanding performance against the tested vaginal yeast strains, and could be included among the novel therapeutic options for the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Monday, April 05, 2010

MS Sufferer Claims Relief Through Bee Venom Therapy

'I was Stung by 1,500 Bees and I Feel Great': MS Sufferer's Pioneering Therapy
By Luke Salkeld, The Daily Mail (UK), 4/4/2010

Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Sami Chugg clearly believes there is no gain without pain.

Once bed-ridden and unable to leave her home, she is now back on her feet with a much improved quality of life.

And she puts the recent dramatic improvement in her condition down to a course of treatment which involved subjecting herself to 1,500 bee stings.

The 45-year-old was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago and says she was numb and unable to move until she tried a treatment known as Bee Venom Therapy or Apitherapy.

The treatment involves holding a live bee in a pair of tweezers and deliberately stinging an area of skin on the patient's body.

Proponents of the method believe the venom in the sting helps ease the pain of MS symptoms and also stimulates the body to fight back.

Miss Chugg says she was stung around 1,500 in eighteen months, and feels much better for it.

She said: 'Most people would be terrified by the prospect of being stung by a bee.

'But when you have a condition like MS, that involves the numbing of the body, any kind of sensation is welcome - even if it's from a bee sting.'

She continued: 'You use a pair of tweezers and get hold of a single bee.

'Then you gradually de-sensitise your body to the sting by injecting it in and out of your skin a few times.

'You have to be very careful, in case your body is prone to anaphylactic shock – which can be fatal. You can't just walk in there and encourage the bees to sting you randomly.'

She added: 'Sadly bees are killed by stinging, so you certainly only want to do this for a very good cause. But the relief it gave me was tremendous.'

Researchers claim that certain compounds in bee venom reduce inflammation and pain and a combination of all its ingredients helps the body to release natural healing compounds…

Honeys With High Phenolic Content May Help Prevent Cancer

Effect of Honey and Eugenol on Ehrlich Ascites and Solid Carcinoma
Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Volume 2010 (2010)

Ehrlich ascites carcinoma is a spontaneous murine mammary adenocarcinoma adapted to ascites form and carried in outbred mice by serial intraperitoneal (i/p) passages. The previous work from our laboratory showed that honey having higher phenolic content was potent in inhibiting colon cancer cell proliferation.

In this work, we extended our research to screen the antitumor activity of two selected honey samples and eugenol (one of the phenolic constituents of honey) against murine Ehrlich ascites and solid carcinoma models.

Honey containing higher phenolic content was found to significantly inhibit the growth of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma as compared to other samples. When honey containing higher phenolic content was given at 25% (volume/volume) intraperitoneally (i/p), the maximum tumor growth inhibition was found to be 39.98%. However, honey was found to be less potent in inhibiting the growth of Ehrlich solid carcinoma. On the other hand, eugenol at a dose of 100 mg/kg i/p was able to inhibit the growth of Ehrlich ascites by 28.88%. In case of solid carcinoma, eugenol (100 mg/kg; i/p) showed 24.35% tumor growth inhibition.

This work will promote the development of honey and eugenol as promising candidates in cancer chemoprevention.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Honey Treatment Does Not Harm Nasal Passages

Manuka Honey: Histological Effect on Respiratory Mucosa
Am J Rhinol Allergy, 2010 Mar;24(2):63-6

BACKGROUND: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is an inflammatory disease in which bacteria are commonly implicated often in the form of a biofilm. Manuka honey has been shown in vitro to be an effective treatment against two common CRS pathogens both in the planktonic and in the biofilm forms. The purpose of this study was to determine if the application of manuka honey to respiratory epithelium would result in histological evidence of epithelial injury.

METHODS: Using a rabbit animal model, a nonrandomized controlled trial of four treatment regimes was performed with two rabbits in each group. The left nasal cavity was irrigated with a 1.5-mL manuka honey solution once daily and the right nasal cavity was not treated. Groups 1-3 were treated for 3, 7, and 14 consecutive days, respectively, and killed the morning after the last treatment. Group 4 was treated for 14 consecutive days followed by a 14-day washout period and then killed the following morning. The nasal respiratory mucosa was immediately harvested after death. The mucosa was examined by light microscopy for histological change in comparison with the control side.

RESULTS: Cilia were not measured quantitatively but were equally present on the treated and untreated mucosa. There was no histological evidence of inflammation, epithelial injury, or significant morphological changes.

CONCLUSION: The application of a manuka honey solution to rabbit nasal respiratory mucosa over different treatment intervals did not show evidence of histological epithelial injury.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Video: A Spoonful of Honey May be the Antidote for Allergies

NBC Augusta 26, 4/2/2010

Propolis an Effective Miticide in Bee Hives

Bioactivity of Propolis from Different Geographical Origins on Varroa Destructor
Parasitol Res, 2010 Mar 25

Varroa destructor is an ectoparasitic mite that affects colonies of honey bee Apis mellifera worldwide. In the last years, substances of botanical origin have emerged as natural alternative acaricides to diminish the population levels of the mite.

In the present work, the bioactivity of propolis from different geographical locations of Pampean region from Argentina on V. destructor was evaluated.

Fourteen propolis samples were organoleptic and physicochemically characterized and, by means topical applications, their activity was tested on mites. All propolis had a homogeneous composition and the bioactivity levels against mites were comparable among the different propolis samples. The percentage of mites killed by the treatments ranged between 60.5% and 90% after 30 s of exposure. Thus, V. destructor was highly susceptible to propolis. Moreover, the mites remained anesthetized during the first hours after topical treatment.

The results suggest that propolis from Argentinean pampas could be incorporated in honey bee colonies as acaricidal treatment by spraying.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Honey Useful in Debriding Non-Healing Wounds

Clinical Observations on the Use of Honcrivine in the Chemical Debridement of Wounds
Niger J Clin Pract, 2009 Dec;12(4):412-5

BACKGROUND: Chronic and non healing wounds, necrotic wounds and contused and devitalized wounds require debridement to rid the wounds of all these impediments that encourage bacterial growth and multiplications with consequent impairment of wound healing. Whereas there are several methods of wound debridement with their peculiar indications, merits and demerits, the ideal method of debridement is yet to be discovered.

AIM: The aim of this study is to investigate clinically the ability of honcrivine (honey plus acriflavine 0.1%) to chemically debride various wounds in routine clinical practice.

PATIENTS AND METHOD: One hundred and eighty nine consecutive patients managed by the author between June 1995 and June 2005 were included in this study. They were 125 males and 64 females and their ages ranged between 6 and 78 years. Initially swab was taken for bacterial culture from each wound before being cleaned with normal saline, then dressed daily with gauze soaked in honcrivine. Bacterial culture was repeated fortnightly. Antibiotics were administered as dictated by culture and sensitivity report.

RESULTS: Wound debridement progressed rapidly and impressively with necrotic and devitalized tissues as well as tenacious pus and fibrin deposits being replaced with healthy granulation tissue. Patients age, sex and bacterial burden did not influence the rate of debridement, rather wound age and necrotic burden were inversely proportional to the debridement rate. Honcrivine did not provoke any inflammatory response nor was any allergic reaction observed.

CONCLUSION: It is one of the oldest remedies known to mankind and is still useful and versatile today as it was 2000 years ago. It is a very effective chemical wound debridant.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Can Local Honey Cure Seasonal Allergies?

By Graeme Moore, WPDE, 3/31/2010

Ask beekeeper Robbie Woodle what helps ease the pain of seasonal allergies, and without skipping a beat, he'll tell you the answer is honey.

"It's almost like taking the shots you go to the doctor to get," Woodle said, and added, "It's a lot cheaper and a whole lot better."

Woodle harvests honeybees at his home in Conway, and he says the local pollen used by the bees helps people build up an immunity.

"It lessens the severity of hay fever and sinus problems you have during this time of year," Woodle says…

Bee Venom Components Impact Contraction of Arteries

Mechanisms of Changes in Coronary Arterial Tone Induced by Bee Venom Toxins
Toxicon, 2010 Mar 19

Our study elucidates some mechanisms of contractions or relaxations of isolated porcine left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) induced by two peptides from the honeybee venom, melittin and apamin...

Melittin at lower concentrations (0.1-10 mug/ml) induced transient relaxation, and contraction at higher concentrations (>/= 7 mug/ml). The removing of the endothelium diminished the melittin-induced relaxation but did not affect the maximal contraction...

Our data show that melittin and apamin could affect contractility of porcine LAD at concentrations similar to those encountered in multiple honeybee stings in humans. Melittin could directly affect contractility of porcine LAD, whereas apamin acts as a modulator of the relaxant response to melittin.