Thursday, March 31, 2011

Propolis’ Synergistic Effect with Antibiotics Examined

Antibacterial Effects of Brazilian and Bulgarian Propolis and Synergistic Effects with Antibiotics Acting on the Bacterial DNA and Folic Acid
Nat Prod Res, 2011 Jan 1:1-6

Propolis is a honeybee product that has been used since ancient times because of its therapeutic effects.

It can be used in the development of alternative therapies for the treatment of many diseases, and because propolis shows antibacterial action, this work was carried out in order to investigate a possible synergism between propolis and antibiotics acting on DNA (ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin) and on the metabolism (cotrimoxazole) against Salmonella Typhi.

Propolis samples collected in Brazil and Bulgaria were compared in these assays, and the synergism was investigated by using ½ and ¼ of the minimal inhibitory concentration for propolis and antibiotics, evaluating the number of viable cells according to the incubation time.

Brazilian and Bulgarian propolis showed antibacterial activity, but no synergistic effects with the three tested antibiotics were seen. Previous works by our laboratory have revealed that propolis has synergistic effects with antibiotics, acting on the bacterial wall and ribosome, but it does not seem to interact with antibiotics acting on DNA or folic acid, and only a bacteriostatic action was seen in these assay conditions.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Honey, Black Seed Help Heal Gastric Ulcers

Comparative Gastroprotective Effects of Natural Honey, Nigella sativa and Cimetidine Against Acetylsalicylic Acid Induced Gastric Ulcer in Albino Rats
J Coll Physicians Surg Pak, 2011 Mar;21(3):151-6

Objective: Natural honey (NH) and Nigella sativa (NS) seeds have been in use as a natural remedy for over thousands of years in various parts of the world.

The aim of this study was to assess the protective effects of NS (Nigella sativa) and NH (natural honey) on acetylsalicylic acid induced gastric ulcer in an experimental model with comparison to Cimetidine (CD)…

Methodology: The study was conducted on 100 male albino rats, divided into 5 groups, with 20 animals in each group. Group A was used as a control and treated with Gum Tragacanth (GT). Eighty animals of the other groups were given acetylsalicylic acid (0.2 gm/kg body weight for 3 days) to produce ulcers by gavage. Two animals from each group were sacrificed for the detection of gastric ulcers. The remaining 72 animals were equally divided in four groups (B, C, D and E). The rats in group B, C and D were given NS, NH, and CD respectively while those in E were kept as such.

Results: No gastric lesions were seen in control group A while all the animals in group E revealed gastric ulcers. The animals of group B, C and D showed healing effects in 15/18 (83%), 14/18 (78%) and 17/18 (94%) animals grossly; 13/18 (72%), 14/18 (78%) and 16/18 (89%) rats showed recovery on microscopic examination respectively.

The healing effects were almost the same in all three groups therefore, the statistical difference was not significant among them (p =0.40 and 0.65) while significant from group E (p=0.0000075, 0.0000016 and 0.0000012 respectively).

Conclusion: NS and NH are equally effective in healing of gastric ulcer similar to cimetidine. Further broad spectrum studies as well as clinical trials should be conducted before the use of these products as routine medicines.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Propolis, Propolis Component Show Anti-Cancer Activity

Effect of Propolis and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE) on NFκB Activation by HTLV-1 Tax
Antiviral Research, Article in Press

HTLV-1 is the etiological agent of an aggressive malignancy of the CD4+ T-cells, adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and other sever clinical disorders. The viral Tax protein is a key factor in HTLV-1 pathogenicity. A major part of Tax oncogenic potential is accounted for by its capacity of inducing the transcriptional activity of the NFκB factors, which regulate the expression of numerous cellular genes.

Propolis (PE), a natural product produced by honeybees, has been used for long time in folk medicine. One of PE active components, caffeic acid phenylethyl ester (CAPE), was well characterized and found to be a potent inhibitor of NFκB activation. Therefore, the aim of this study was to pursue the possibility of blocking Tax oncogenic effects by treatment with these natural products.

Human T-cell lines were used in this study since these cells are the main targets of HTLV-1 infections. We tried to determine which step of Tax-induced NFκB activation is blocked by these products.

Our results showed that both tested products substantially inhibited activation of NFκB-dependent promoter by Tax. However, only PE could efficiently inhibit also the Tax-induced activation of SRF- and CREB- dependent promoters.

Our results showed also that PE and CAPE strongly prevented both Tax binding to IκBα and its induced degradation by Tax. However, both products did not interfere in the nuclear transport of Tax or NFκB proteins.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Propolis Ethanol Extract Shows Stronger Antioxidant Activity

Antioxidant Activity and Total Phenolics of Propolis from the Basque Country (Northeastern Spain)
Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, Online First

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant activity (AA) of 19 propolis extracts prepared in different solvent (ethanol and propylene glycol).

It was observed that all the samples tested had AA, although results varied considerably between extracts, i.e. 420–1,430 μmol Trolox/g (ABTS), 108–291 mg ascorbic acid/g (DPPH), and 1,573–4,669 μmol iron++ sulfate/g (FRAP).

The ethanol may enhance the potency of the AA, and the correlation coefficient between total phenolic content (TPC) (200–340 mg/g propolis extracts) and AA was statistically significant. Total flavonoids ranged from 72 to 161 mg/g propolis extracts.

The results indicate that TPC and flavonoids contributed to AA.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Process Standardizes Manuka Honey's Active Ingredient

Powdered Manuka Honey Could Boost Earnings
National Business Review, 3/24/2011

A Te Awamutu company, Manuka Health NZ Ltd, says it has found a way to boost tenfold the potential earnings from each kilogram of biologically active manuka honey, which is already a $100 million export industry.

The company said today that its next generation of manuka honey products would use patented technology to deliver the active ingredient in forms such as powders in capsules, more like pharmaceutical products than jars of honey.

The products will use cyclodextrins -- compounds made up of sugar molecules bound together in a ring -- to enhance solubility, stabilise, control release rate, and increase bio-availability and absorption, said Manuka Health chief executive Kerry Paul.

The initial product range will include throat lozenges with an active ingredient from the honey, methylglyoxal, and would be encapsulated within cyclodextrins as a powder, Mr Paul told the annual NZBIO biotechnology conference.

A wide range of applications such as eye drops, nasal sprays, topical creams and oral capsules would become practical without the disadvantages of delivering the active ingredient in honey - such as acidity, taste and odour,

"CycloPower moves us a long way from a pot of honey," he said, "improving bioactivity, easy of use and convenience, and with a presentation consistent with medical applications"…

Manuka Health research manager Dr Lynne Chepulis told the conference that antibacterial studies being carried out by Auckland University using reference strains of common bacteria had found significant differences in growth, with the honey-cyclodextrin powder showed significantly higher rates of bacterial inhibition than raw manuka honey…

Oral delivery of manuka honey's active ingredient methyglyoxal made it possible to standardise the product delivery methods that meant lozenges with small amounts of methylglyoxal could replace the big doses of honey necessary to counter dilution in the gut.

The honey compounds could also be stabilised to provide a slower rate of methylglyoxal release in the lower gut, allowing it to work for longer.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Propolis Boosts Fracture Healing

Effects of Propolis on Fracture Healing: An Experimental Study
Phytotherapy Research, March 21, 2011

Propolis is a substance of honeybee origin with known antioxidant effects. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of propolis on fracture healing and the antioxidant system in an experimental setting.

Thirty-two rats that underwent experimental femur fracture and then fixation were randomly allocated in one of four groups: two control groups (Control-3w and Control-6w) and two treatment groups (Propolis-3w and Propolis-6w).

Treatment groups received propolis until killing (at 3 or 6 weeks). X-ray, histological, bone mineral density measurement findings and endogenous antioxidant levels were examined.

The bone mineral density was higher, radiological and histological evaluation scores were better, and superoxide dismutase, total glutathione and myeloperoxidase levels were lower among the rats that received oral propolis treatment compared with the controls.

In addition, bone mineral density and histological assessment scores showed time-dependent improvement in the treatment group.

In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that propolis has some time-dependent beneficial effects on fracture healing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

An in vitro Comparison of the Antimicrobial Activity of Honey, Iodine and Silver

Wound Dressings Bioscience Horizons, Volume4, Issue1, Pp. 61-70

The main line of treatment for chronic wounds is the application of an appropriate dressing. Dressings can be used to reduce odour and pain, maintain a moist healing environment, remove excessive exudate and prevent clinical infection.

Antimicrobial compounds such as silver, honey and iodine have been in use for millennia. The discovery of antibiotics in the early 20th century greatly reduced the routine usage of such compounds. More recently, there has been renewed interest in these compounds, with manufacturers adding these to dressings to provide greater antimicrobial action and aid the healing process.

Much of the published literature on the antimicrobial properties of silver, honey and iodine-containing dressings is contradictory, with varying degrees of efficacy reported. This study aimed to independently compare the in vitro antimicrobial activity of a wide variety of dressings against common wound pathogens; Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, in order to provide further evidence and aid dressing selection.

Although no significant differences were reported between honey, iodine and silver; a significant difference was observed between the individual dressings, indicating that determination of bacterial species present within a wound can aid clinical staff in the selection of the most appropriate dressing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Apitherapy Quality Standards Project

By Horacio Mezziga, ApiNews, 3/21/2011

The Apitherapy Commission of Apimondia has set up new program to establish a standard of quality for products pertaining to Apitherapy. The program will provide a Gold Label which will protect the name apitherapy from being used for products that fail to reach the standards demanded in medicine.

Many years of research in the apitherapy field have given rise to more and more products being offered. A very large number of them are of good quality and have valid scientific references. But we begin to see on the market products we think of as worrisome, as they threaten the credibility of a science thousands of years old. Those very products could be then used to discredit the whole validity of our work.

Firms interested in participating should send their dossier as PDF to the President of the Commission, Dr. Théodore Cherbuliez…

The Commission will answer within three months. Upon favorable rating, the Gold Label will be granted for use on the product, its packaging and all communications about this product…

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clinical Trials to Start for Bee Venom Arthritis Product

American Bee Journal, March 2011

Apimeds, Inc. US Chief Operating Officer Robert Brooks PhD announced the company received a clearance letter from the US Food & Drug Administration on December 22nd authorizing the company to proceed with its Phase III clinical trial. Apimeds plans the launch of its Phase III Apitox, a honeybee toxin, for the indication of pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis early in 2011 with clincial sites in India and the United States.

Apimeds is a South Korean pharmaceutical dedicated to biological pharmaceutical products for unmet medical needs. This is the first US Phase III clinical trial for a Korean pharmaceutical company. The company continues to explore its Apitox product for the multiple sclerosis indication, but has not filed its intention to conduct a clinical trial for this indication. A Phase III clinical trial is the last development phase of clinical studies leading to submission of a new drug application in the US leading to marketing.

Robert Brooks PhD
Chief Operating Officer
Apimeds, Inc.
3418 Big Rd
Zieglerville, PA 19492

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Honey Boosts Effect of Anti-Diabetic Drugs

Glibenclamide or Metformin Combined with Honey Improves Glycemic Control in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats
Int J Biol Sci, 2011; 7:244-252

Diabetes mellitus is associated with deterioration of glycemic control and progressive metabolic derangements. This study investigated the effect of honey as an adjunct to glibenclamide or metformin on glycemic control in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Diabetes was induced in rats by streptozotocin. The diabetic rats were randomized into six groups and administered distilled water, honey, glibenclamide, glibenclamide and honey, metformin or metformin and honey. The animals were treated orally once daily for four weeks.

The diabetic control rats showed hypoinsulinemia (0.27 ± 0.01 ng/ml), hyperglycemia (22.4 ± 1.0 mmol/L) and increased fructosamine (360.0 ± 15.6 µmol/L).

Honey significantly increased insulin (0.41 ± 0.06 ng/ml), decreased hyperglycemia (12.3 ± 3.1 mmol/L) and fructosamine (304.5 ± 10.1 µmol/L). Although glibenclamide or metformin alone significantly (p < 0.05) reduced hyperglycemia, glibenclamide or metformin combined with honey produced significantly much lower blood glucose (8.8 ± 2.9 or 9.9 ± 3.3 mmol/L, respectively) compared to glibenclamide or metformin alone (13.9 ± 3.4 or 13.2 ± 2.9 mmol/L, respectively).

Similarly, glibenclamide or metformin combined with honey produced significantly (p < 0.05) lower fructosamine levels (301.3 ± 19.5 or 285.8 ± 22.6 µmol/L, respectively) whereas glibenclamide or metformin alone did not decrease fructosamine (330.0 ± 29.9 or 314.6 ± 17.9 µmol/L, respectively).

Besides, these drugs or their combination with honey increased insulin levels. Glibenclamide or metformin combined with honey also significantly reduced the elevated levels of creatinine, bilirubin, triglycerides, and VLDL cholesterol.

These results indicate that combination of glibenclamide or metformin with honey improves glycemic control, and provides additional metabolic benefits, not achieved with either glibenclamide or metformin alone.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Water Content of Brazilian Bee-Collected Pollen Measured

Determination of Water Content in Brazilian Honeybee-Collected Pollen by Karl Fischer Titration
Food Control, Article in Press

This paper assesses the performance of a chemical method based on the Karl Fischer titration to determine the water content in samples of dehydrated honeybee-collected pollen.

The following analysis parameters were investigated: extraction temperature, particle size, reaction time, and weight of a dried pollen sample. After optimization, the method was used to determine the water content of 154 samples of dried honeybee-collected pollen from different geographical regions of Brazil. The Karl Fischer titration method, performed using a solvent mixture of methanol and n-octanol (1:1 v/v) at 50 °C on pollen particles 600 μm in size produced the best results.

Mean values for water content of the 154 samples of dried honeybee-collected pollen from 12 Brazilian regions ranged from 3 % to 9 %.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Propolis Research and the Chemistry of Plant Products

Nat Prod Rep. 2011 Mar 16

Covering: 1979 to 2010

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Plant Source of Indonesian Propolis Identified

Indonesian Propolis: Chemical Composition, Biological Activity and Botanical Origin
Nat Prod Res, 2011 Mar;25(6):606-13

From a biologically active extract of Indonesian propolis from East Java, 11 compounds were isolated and identified: four alk(en)ylresorcinols (obtained as an inseparable mixture) (1-4) were isolated for the first time from propolis, along with four prenylflavanones (6-9) and three cycloartane-type triterpenes (5, 10 and 11). The structures of the components were elucidated based on their spectral properties.

All prenylflavanones demonstrated significant radical scavenging activity against diphenylpicrylhydrazyl radicals, and compound 6 showed significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus.

For the first time Macaranga tanarius L. and Mangifera indica L. are shown as plant sources of Indonesian propolis.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Propolis Boost to Anti-Cancer Drug Related to Gender

Antitumor Effect of Croatian Propolis as a Consequence of Diverse Sex-Related Dihydropyrimidine Dehydrogenase (DPD) Protein Expression
Phytomedicine, 2011 Feb 24

The aim of this study was to detect the antitumor properties of Croatian propolis in BALB/c male and female mice injected with 4T1 mammary carcinoma. Furthermore, the gender-dependence of this effect and the possible involvement of combined effect of propolis and 5-Fluorouracil (5FU) on dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) transcriptional and translational level, were determined.

In combination with 5FU propolis treatment induced gender-related effects. The results of the study revealed that pretreatment of mice with propolis combined with 5FU treatment prolonged the suppressive effect of 5FU on tumor growth and reduced the number of metastasis only in male mice.

Only males pretreated with propolis prior to 5FU administration had decreased DPD protein level indicating higher sensitivity to 5FU.

Thus, benefitial effects of propolis in male tumor-bearing mice treated with 5FU might be explained by increased sensitivity to 5FU as the result of translationally downregulated DPD.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Propolis Products Could Prevent Cavities

Antimicrobial Effect of Korean Propolis Against the Mutans Streptococci isolated from Koreans
J Microbiol, 2011 Feb;49(1):161-4. Epub 2011 Mar 3

The aim of this study was to determine the optimal concentration of Korean propolis against clinical isolates of mutans streptococci (MS) from Koreans.

The antimicrobial activity was evaluated using the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and time-kill curves against mutans streptococci. The MIC(90) values of propolis for MS were 35 μg/ml. Propolis had a bacteriostatic effect on Streptococcus mutans ATCC 25175(T) and bactericidal effects on Streptococcus sobrinus ATCC 33478(T) at > 2×MIC (70 μg/ml).

These results suggest that the propolis can be used in the development of oral hygiene products for the prevention of dental caries.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Royal Jelly Protein May Play Role in Honey Allergy

Immunological Characterization of Honey Proteins and Identification of MRJP 1 as an IgE-Binding Protein
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem, 2011 Mar 7

We encountered a fourth case of honey allergy in Japan. We characterized and identified the IgE-binding proteins in honey using the serum of a honey-allergenic patient.

Immunoblot analysis revealed that IgE in the patient serum specifically bound to four proteins in each honey sample. At least three of these IgE-binding proteins were N-linked glycoproteins. To identify the 60-kDa IgE-binding protein in dandelion honey, the N-terminal sequences of the fragmented protein were analyzed, revealing the protein to be major royal jelly protein 1 (MRJP 1). Three IgE-binding proteins removed of N-linked oligosaccharide showed a large reduction in IgE-binding activity as compared with the intact protein.

This suggests that the carbohydrates in the IgE-binding proteins are a major epitope for patient IgE.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two Major Medicinal Honeys Have Different Mechanisms of Bactericidal Activity

PLoS One, 2011 Mar 4;6(3):e17709

Honey is increasingly valued for its antibacterial activity, but knowledge regarding the mechanism of action is still incomplete.

We assessed the bactericidal activity and mechanism of action of Revamil® source (RS) honey and manuka honey, the sources of two major medical-grade honeys. RS honey killed Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa within 2 hours, whereas manuka honey had such rapid activity only against B. subtilis.

After 24 hours of incubation, both honeys killed all tested bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, but manuka honey retained activity up to higher dilutions than RS honey.

Bee defensin-1 and H(2)O(2) were the major factors involved in rapid bactericidal activity of RS honey. These factors were absent in manuka honey, but this honey contained 44-fold higher concentrations of methylglyoxal than RS honey.

Methylglyoxal was a major bactericidal factor in manuka honey, but after neutralization of this compound manuka honey retained bactericidal activity due to several unknown factors. RS and manuka honey have highly distinct compositions of bactericidal factors, resulting in large differences in bactericidal activity.

Monday, March 14, 2011

UK Food Watchdog Bans 'Miracle' Bee Venom Honey

The Telegraph, 3/13/2011

Bee venom, hailed as a natural medicine to ease conditions from arthritis to cancer, has been deemed unsafe to eat.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has ordered New Zealand company Nelson Honey & Marketing to stop selling pots of honey, which includes bee venom, in Britain.

The company had applied to the UK watchdog two years ago for a “novel food” licence for permission to sell the product.

But the FSA has ruled there is in not enough evidence to prove that eating bee venom, a natural toxin, is safe - triggering a Europe-wide ban.

Clinton Lammas, who distributed the honey under the label Nectar Ease in the UK, last night branded the ruling “ridiculous”. He said he has already sold “about one hundred thousand” jars of the honey by mail order and in independent food stores across the country.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saudi Arabian Honey Shows Antioxidant, Antibacterial Activity

Antioxidant and Antibacterial Characteristics of Phenolic Extracts of Locally Produced Honey in Saudi Arabia
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Posted online on March 10, 2011

The antibacterial and antioxidant properties of 30 selected honey samples produced in Saudi Arabia have been studied. The inhibitory action of the total phenolic content of the honey samples has been tested against Staphylococcus aureus, Micrococcus luteus and Escherichia coli.

The MIC values of the ten selected honey samples against S. aureus, M. luteus and E. coli were in the range 0.5 ± 0.2 − 3.6 ± 0.3; 0.45 ± 0.05 − 5.0 ± 0.6 and 0.6 ± 0.2 − 4.4 ± 0.4 mg mL− 1.

The antioxidant activities of the ethyl acetate extracts based on their anti-radical power using the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl scavenging assay and their ferric reducing antioxidant power were in the ranges 50.78 ± 1.4% to 99.52 ± 0.2% and 0.85 ± 0.13 to 1.167 ± 0.13 mg/ml, respectively.

The total phenolic content was in the range 84.97 ± 0.57 to 317.39 ± 0.76 mg/100 g.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Propolis Helps Preserve Cells

Potential of Propolis as Storage Medium to Preserve the Viability of Cultured Human Periodontal Ligament Cells: An in vitro Study
Dent Traumatol, 2011 Apr;27(2):102-8

Aim: In vitro experiments were carried out to evaluate the potential of propolis, a natural resin known for its wide therapeutic window, as storage medium to preserve the viability of cultured human periodontal ligament (PDL) cells.

Materials and Methods: Primary cultures of human PDL cells were subjected to either independent exposure of propolis (2.5%, 5.0%, 10.0%, and 20.0%), Hank’s balanced salt solution (HBSS), milk (0.5%), artificial saliva, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium (DMEM) or combination of propolis 10% + DMEM, propolis 20% + DMEM for 30 min to 24 h at 37°C. Cell viability was assessed using standard endpoints i.e., tetrazolium bromide salt (MTT), neutral red uptake, and trypan blue dye exclusion assay.

Results: In general, combinations of propolis 10% + DMEM, propolis 20% + DMEM, and DMEM alone were found to be better than other media used in this study. The difference in the potentials of these media to maintain the cell viability reached to the statistically significant levels by 24 h, when compared with other media used viz., propolis 2.5%, propolis 5.0%, propolis 10.0%, propolis 20.0%, HBSS, and milk. Trypan blue dye exclusion assay could be recorded the most sensitive among all the assays selected to study the cell viability of PDL cells.

Conclusions: Study indicates that combinations of propolis 10% + DMEM, propolis 20% + DMEM, and DMEM alone are equally good as storage media of choice to keep PDL cells viable during extra-alveolar period up to 24 h. Other more readily available medium such as milk may serve as appropriate alternative storage medium for shorter time periods i.e., up to 12 h.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Argentine Propolis Drops Help Treat Inflammation of Ear Canal

Efficacy of Argentine Propolis Formulation for Topical Treatment of Canine Otitis Externa
Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec, vol.62 no.6 Belo Horizonte Dec. 2010

The therapeutic effects of Argentine propolis ear drop formulation on canine otitis externa were evaluated.

Forty-eight dogs with symptoms of otitis externa were randomly assigned to double-blinded, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of topical formulation with propolis versus a topical placebo in the treatment of otitis externa.

The propolis preparation and placebo were administrated into both external ear canals, twice daily for 14 days. Throughout the study, clinical examination and microbiological analysis of dogs ear exudates were made. The most frequent microorganisms isolated in culture media were: Malassezia pachydermatis (54.2%), Staphylococcus aureus (43.8%), coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (25.0%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (20.8%), Candida albicans (18.8%), Proteus mirabilis (16.7%), Streptococcus spp. (16.7%), Enteroccocus faecalis (12.5%), Escherichia coli (12.5%), Staphylococcus intermedius (6.3%), Klebsiella spp. (4.2%), andCandida glabrata (2.1%).

Whereas the control group did not recover from the infectious ear disease, the propolis preparation exhibited antimicrobial activity against most of the microorganisms isolated from samples of the treated group. In addition, no propolis-adverse effects were observed. This allowed propolis-treated patients to show a significant improvement of the clinical parameters.

Thus, this new Argentine propolis ear drop formulation may be used for topical treatment of otitis externa in dogs.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Propolis Component Promising Therapeutic Tool for Spinal Cord Injuries

Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Reduces Spinal Cord Injury-Evoked Locomotor Dysfunction
Biomed Res, 2011;32(1):1-7

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is a component of propolis, which is a substance taken from the hives of honeybees, and is known to exhibit an anti-inflammatory activity. Such activity has been thought to be partly based on its potential and specific inhibitory activities toward nuclear factor-κB, a transcription factor.

Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated the effect of CAPE on functional locomotor recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI) caused by hemi-transection, because inflammatory responses are a major cause of the secondary injury observed following SCI and play a pivotal role in regulating the pathogenesis of acute and chronic SCI.

When CAPE was i.p.-administered at a dosage of 10 µmol/kg, it enhanced the recovery of locomotor function and reduced the lesion size while suppressing the expression of the mRNAs for a pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β and the inflammatory enzymes, inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2.

These results suggest CAPE to be a promising therapeutic tool for reducing the secondary neuronal damage following primary physical injury to the spinal cord.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Honey and Bee Pollen

Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess, 2011 Mar;28(3):348-58

A total of 3917 honey samples and 119 'bee pollen' samples (pollen collected by honeybees) were analysed for pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs).

Some 0.05 M sulphuric acid was used for extraction followed by a clean-up step by means of solid-phase extraction. Separation and detection was achieved by target analysis using an LC-MS/MS system.

PAs were found in 66% of the raw honeys (bulk honey not yet packaged in containers for sale in retail outlets) and in 94% of honeys available in supermarkets (retail honey). A total of 60% of the bee pollen samples were PA positive.

The PA pattern was used to identify the potential origin of the PAs in honey, which was verified for the genus Echium by relative pollen analysis.

The results give an estimate of the impact of PA-containing plants belonging to the genera Echium, Senecio and, to a certain extent, Eupatorium on PA levels in honey and can serve as a decision basis for beekeepers in order to find the most suitable location for the production of honey and bee pollen low in PAs.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Honey a Sweet Way to Treat Skin Ulcers

Dr. Frank Bures, Winona Daily News, 3/6/2011

Skin ulcers — especially on legs or feet — are a dastardly, devilish dilemma to deal with.

The witness to that is the almost inconceivably long list of options, devices, incantations and techniques used by doctors, wound-care clinics, wound-care specialists, physical therapists, postal carriers, uh, wait, no.

If you or someone else has dealt with one or unfortunately more of these, you can echo the travail they entail.

One substance used for centuries that had taken a back seat to newer approaches is being re-examined and re-employed in some settings with good results.

That would be honey, the all-natural sweet gooey stuff that gets everything it touches sticky, as seen when a 3-year-old consumes a bread slice coated with it. Its use in ulcers and skin defects goes back at least 2,000 years.

Dioscorides, an often-quoted Greek doctor, described honey in 50 A.D. as good “for all rotten and hollow ulcers.” Various medical writings appeared in ancient Middle Eastern and Asian papers espousing honey’s therapeutic benefits.

In contrast, a paper in the 1976 Archives of Internal Medicine panned (jarred?) it. More recently, starting in the 1990s, it has been studied for its antibacterial effects in as many as about 60 bug species, including MRSA and pseudomonas types.

Some studies, done on ulcers refractory to antibiotics and costly wound-care treatments, show significant healing. These could be burns, venous or mixed types of leg ulcers, pressure sores, unhealed graft donor sites, open abscesses, pilonidal sinuses, etc. Two randomized, controlled trials, comparing honey to silver sulfadiazine antibiotic cream on partial thickness burns, showed honey gave better infection control.

There are thought to be three ways honey suppresses bacteria. First, it has a very high sugar concentration, which draws water to it and out of the bugs (called osmotic pressure) shriveling up the measly microbes. It also contains an enzyme, glucose oxidase, that produces hydrogen peroxide in the ulcer, which is antibacterial.

Certain honeys have been analyzed and found to contain antibacterial plant chemicals, called phytochemicals. The most touted honey is manuka honey from the manuka tree in New Zealand. It is even tested for antibacterial activity at the Waikato Honey Research Unit in New Zealand, and given a Unique Manuka Factor rating number for antibiotic effect…

Monday, March 07, 2011

Propolis Water Extract Has Anti-Influenza Effect

Caffeoylquinic Acids are Major Constituents with Potent Anti-Influenza Effects in Brazilian Green Propolis Water Extract
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011

Influenza A viral infections reached pandemic levels in 1918, 1957, 1968, and, most recently, in 2009 with the emergence of the swine-origin H1N1 influenza virus. The development of novel therapeutics or prophylactics for influenza virus infection is urgently needed.

We examined the evaluation of the anti-influenza virus (A/WSN/33 (H1N1)) activity of Brazilian green propolis water extract (PWE) and its constituents by cell viability and real-time PCR assays.

Our findings showed strong evidence that PWE has an anti-influenza effect and demonstrate that caffeoylquinic acids are the active anti-influenza components of PWE. Furthermore, we have found that the amount of viral RNA per cell remained unchanged even in the presence of PWE, suggesting that PWE has no direct impact on the influenza virus but may have a cytoprotective activity by affecting internal cellular process.

These findings indicate that caffeoylquinic acids are the active anti-influenza components of PWE.

Above findings might facilitate the prophylactic application of natural products and the realization of novel anti-influenza drugs based on caffeoylquinic acids, as well as further the understanding of cytoprotective intracellular mechanisms in influenza virus-infected cells.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

FDA Approves MediHoney Wound Care System

MediHoney Gets Sweet FDA 510(k) Clearance
MedGadget, 3/2/2011

A wound care system impregnated with manuka honey has passed the FDA's 510(k) approval process. The concept from Derma Sciences has passed approval in several iterations prior, but the new formulation comes in gel form (no, the tube is not shaped like a bear.) A cursory PubMed and Medical Lit search does in fact show a developing evidence base for the use of honey in wound care management for its purported anti-microbial and immune activating properties.

From the press release:

This latest MEDIHONEY line extension is dispensed from a tube and is comprised of Active Manuka (Leptospermum) honey blended with natural-based gelling agents. This is the fourth product in the expanding MEDIHONEY franchise, and will be launched into the market by the Company's 20-person U.S. sales force at the major annual wound conferences this spring.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Apitherapy Becomes Popular in Mexico (Spanish)

Rotary Journal (Mexico), 2/28/2011

"Apitoxin is considered in biological medicine to help restore balance to the body and maintain the health of any person" - Mayra Vazquez, apitherapist.

Alternative medicine to cure various diseases and treatment of stress and physical ailments, has begun to emerge through the Apitherapy and Homeopathy, which significantly improve the health of People of all ages.

In an interview, Mayra López Vázquez, therapist, alternative medicine, of Sefi Nzaki, Said the apitherapy is used to treat different diseases by application of acupuncture, so you can treat almost all diseases.

"The technique is to be stung in different parts of the body (depending on condition) by a bee, which is what gives honey, but must be done by a professional who knows the special treatment, "he said.

Apitherapy said the application is apitoxin in regulated doses, which is the substance containing the bees in the pocket of his lancet and has functions as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, sedative and antibacterial as well as being one of the antibiotics most powerful that exists for the cure of diseases…

Friday, March 04, 2011

Australian Jelly Bush Honey a Powerful Antibacterial

Native Honey a Sweet Antibacterial
By Katherine Nightingale, Australian Geographic, 3/3/2011

A native honey may well be the most powerfully antimicrobial honey ever discovered, say Queensland researchers.

The honey, cultivated at undisclosed locations in northern NSW and southeast Queensland, is made by bees that have fed on Leptospermum polygalifolium, also known as jelly bush or the lemon-scented tea tree.

The researchers tested 100 jelly bush honeys from a range of areas and found that some had 1750mg/kg of the antibacterial compound 'methylglyoxal' – the highest concentration yet found in this kind of honey. This is higher even than the concentration found in New Zealand's famed manuka honey, made from Leptospermum scoparium, a cousin to the myrtle tree.

Honey has long been known to have antimicrobial properties, and has been used since ancient times as a remedy for wounds. Interest in its medicinal use has resurged in recent years with the discovery of the potency of manuka and jelly bush honeys.

Unknown x-factor

Jelly bush grows all along the east coast from southern NSW to Cape York, but no one knows why only certain trees lead to the highest methylglyoxal levels in honey, says Dr Yasmina Sultanbawa, with the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), which carried out the latest study with the University of Queensland and two medicinal honey companies.

An additional unknown is how methylglyoxal works, she says. All honey has antibacterial activity to a certain extent, but only honeys such as jelly bush and manuka have particularly strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, and they also seem to hasten the wound-healing process.

What is known is that methylglyoxal's antimicrobial potency is strengthened when it's taken in honey, suggesting that it acts in synergy with other components – this is an area the researchers plan to further study. "We're looking at the mechanism of action of methylglyoxal and also the other antimicrobial phytochemicals and enzymes in honey. This is just the tip of iceberg; there is a lot more to be done," says Yasmina…

However, Dr Peter Molan, from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, argues that a higher methylglyoxal level doesn't necessarily correlate with a better antimicrobial effect. Peter, a biochemist, discovered the antimicrobial activity of manuka honey in the 1980s and says the synergy that boosts methylglyoxal activity has been found only in some types of manuka honey.

On its own, methylglyoxal can kill some human cells as well as bacterial cells, but there is something in medical-grade manuka honey which counteracts this toxicity, says Peter. "With the Queensland honey, it is not known whether there is enough of the protective component to overcome the toxicity of the very high levels of methylglyoxal. A lot more testing would be required before it could be assumed to be safe to use on infected tissues," he says…

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Video: Cairo Physician Treats Patients with Bee Stings

Russia TV, Feb 25, 2011

A Cairo physician uses the venom of honey bees to kick-start patients’ immune systems and help them fight illness

Haj Sayed Assaeh once suffered from a severe illness – and after standard treatments failed, he subjected him to bee sting therapy.

He was so impressed with the results that he decided to start curing people himself, and became a professional.

Haj Sayed Assaeh opens his doors to dozens of patients every day suffering from a variety of illnesses. He treats all of them with the same method – bee sting therapy.

The medical use of bee venom dates back thousands of years. It was used in by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, and more recently by the Chinese and French.

“What encouraged me that I was diabetic and felt severe pain in my back and shoulder and had many other kinds of illnesses. My daughter was studying in the research center in Cairo and specialized on bees. She told me that lots of people come to center to cure. I did in turn –Praise be to God-. That was 8 years ago.” Said Haj Sayed Assaeh says.

Bees are sacred creatures in Islamic culture, and get a special mention in the Holy Quran.

Haj Sayed’s patients say the technique is highly effective.

“I’m a driver, I had severe pain in my back and knees, and sometimes I used to feel like I won’t be able to stand, I was so tired with that. I was cured with bees’ stings, and - thank God - I’m totally healthy”, says Muhammed Az-zaher, a local.

Patients come here for treatment after traditional medicine fails them. Haj Sayed’s approach is far from random – the number of and location of stings is precisely calculated, depending on the illness.

His daughter explains how it works.

“Bee venom contains 13 compounds, each cures specific illnesses, besides catalyzing the immune system. When the immune system works fine, it kills any disease”, says Hiba Assaeh.

Patients here don’t need a prescription and don’t have to go through the usual red-tape. But they’re always warned that treatment can be risky.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Royal Jelly Boosts Metabolism

Specific Hydroxy Fatty Acids in Royal Jelly Activate TRPA1
J Agric Food Chem, 2011 Feb 24

This is the first report of TRPA1 activation by fatty acids.

Activation of TRPA1 and TRPV1 induces thermogenesis and energy expenditure enhancement.

In this study, we searched for novel agonists of TRPA1 and TRPV1 from a nonpungent food, royal jelly (RJ).

We measured the activation of human TRPA1 and TRPV1 by RJ extracts and found that the hexane extract contains TRPA1 agonists. The main functional compounds in the hexane extract were trans-10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (HDEA) and 10-hydroxydecanoic acid (HDAA). These are characteristic fatty acids of RJ.

Their EC(50) values were about 1,000 times larger than that of AITC, and their maximal responses were equal. They activated TRPA1 more strongly than TRPV1. Their EC(50) values for TRPV1 were 2 times larger, and the maximal response was less than half of that for TRPA1.

Next, we studied the potencies of other lipid components for both receptors. Most of them have higher affinity to TRPA1 than TRPV1. Among them, dicarboxylic acids showed equal efficacy for both receptors, but those are present in only small amounts in RJ.

We concluded that the main function of RJ is TRPA1 activation by HDEA and HDAA, the major components of the RJ lipid fraction.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Propolis of Australian Stingless Bees Shows Medicinal Properties

Cerumen of Australian Stingless Bees (Tetragonula carbonaria): Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Fingerprints and Potential Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Naturwissenschaften, 2011 Feb 24
Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Locked Bag 4, Maroochydore DC, Queensland, 4558, Australia,

Cerumen, or propolis, is a mixture of plant resins enriched with bee secretions.

In Australia, stingless bees are important pollinators that use cerumen for nest construction and possibly for colony's health.

While extensive research attests to the therapeutic properties of honeybee (Apis mellifera) propolis, the biological and medicinal properties of Australian stingless bee cerumen are largely unknown.

In this study, the chemical and biological properties of polar extracts of cerumen from Tetragonula carbonaria in South East Queensland, Australia were investigated using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses and in vitro 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) cell-free assays.

Extracts were tested against comparative (commercial tincture of A. mellifera propolis) and positive controls (Trolox and gallic acid). Distinct GC-MS fingerprints of a mixed diterpenic profile typical of native bee cerumen were obtained with pimaric acid (6.31 ± 0.97%, w/w), isopimaric acid (12.23 ± 3.03%, w/w), and gallic acid (5.79 ± 0.81%, w/w) tentatively identified as useful chemical markers.

Characteristic flavonoids and prenylated phenolics found in honeybee propolis were absent. Cerumen extracts from T. carbonaria inhibited activity of 5-LOX, an enzyme known to catalyse production of proinflammatory mediators (IC(50) 19.97 ± 2.67 μg/ml, mean ± SEM, n = 4).

Extracts had similar potency to Trolox (IC(50) 12.78 ± 1.82 μg/ml), but were less potent than honeybee propolis (IC(50) 5.90 ± 0.62 μg/ml) or gallic acid (IC(50) 5.62 ± 0.35 μg/ml).

These findings warrant further investigation of the ecological and medicinal properties of this stingless bee cerumen, which may herald a commercial potential for the Australian beekeeping industry.