Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Manuka Honey Component Boosts Action of Antibiotics

Distinct Synergistic Action of Piperacillin and Methylglyoxal Against Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Indian J Exp Biol, 2011 Jul;49(7):547-51

The dicarbonyl compound methylglyoxal is a natural constituent of Manuka honey produced from Manuka flowers in New Zealand. It is known to possess both anticancer and antibacterial activity. Such observations prompted to investigate the ability of methylglyoxal as a potent drug against multidrug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

A total of 12 test P. aeruginosa strains isolated from various hospitals were tested for their resistances against many antibiotics, most of which are applied in the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. Results revealed that the strains were resistant to many drugs at high levels, only piperacillin, carbenicillin, amikacin and ciprofloxacin showed resistances at comparatively lower levels.

Following multiple experimentations it was observed that methylglyoxal was also antimicrobic against all the strains at comparable levels. Distinct and statistically significant synergism was observed between methylglyoxal and piperacillin by disc diffusion tests when compared with their individual effects. The fractional inhibitory concentration index of this combination evaluated by checkerboard analysis, was 0.5, which confirmed synergism between the pair.

Synergism was also noted when methylglyoxal was combined with carbenicillin and amikacin.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clover Honey Exhibits Strong Antibacterial Activity

Antioxidative, Antibrowning and Antibacterial Activities of Sixteen Floral Honeys
Food Funct, 2011 Aug 22

Commonly consumed honeys from sixteen different single floral sources were analyzed for their in vitro antioxidant capacities by several methods including DPPH, ABTS, FRAP, SASR and MDA assays.

The total polyphenol contents varied among the tested honeys and were highly correlated to their antioxidant capacity values. The antioxidant capacity of Chinese milk vetch flower honeys was significantly higher than those of other flower honeys.

All honeys tested were active in inhibiting the browning of apple homogenate and linden honey displayed the highest inhibition rate as 85%.

When the antimicrobial activity of the investigated honeys was screened using Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli), clover honey exhibited the strongest antibacterial activity as 2.2 mg mL(-1) kanamycin equivalent inhibition.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hot-Air Drying May Reduce Nutritional Properties of Bee Pollen

Influence of the Commercial Processing and Floral Origin on Bioactive and Nutritional Properties of Honeybee-Collected Pollen
International Journal of Food Science & Technology, Published online: 22 AUG 2011

Pollen is characterised for having a low fat content, a relatively high content of dietary fibre and an important amount of minerals and essential amino acids. With regard to bioactive compounds, honeybee-collected pollen exhibits an important source of phytochemical compounds and antioxidant activity.

The purpose of this research was to study how the nutritional properties and the stability of the bioactive compounds found in honeybee-collected pollen were affected by the commercial processing and its floral origin.

To achieve this goal, pollen pellets of different floral origin were harvested directly from hives and immediately stored at −80 °C. Pollen pellets were dried by placing them into hot-air chambers (traditional drying methodology) or by means of freeze-drying.

We found a slight influence of floral origin on the nutritional properties of pollen pellets (multifloral pollen had higher contents of fat, carbohydrates, proteins and mineral elements than monofloral-type pollen), whereas the abundance of bioactive compounds was correlated with the origin factor as well as the methodology employed to dry the fresh pollen pellets, especially carotenoid pigments such as lutein (5.73 ± 1.80, 4.93 ± 1.16 and 0.81 ± 0.16 μg of lutein per g of pollen for fresh, lyophilised and hot-air-dried multifloral pollen).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Propolis May Help Treat Arthritis

Suppression of Interleukin 17 Production by Brazilian Propolis in Mice with Collagen-Induced Arthritis
Inflammopharmacology, 2011 Aug 23

Propolis is a resinous substance collected by honeybees from leaf buds and cracks in the bark of various plants. Propolis has been reported to have immunomodulatory activity. We hypothesized that propolis would be able to reduce the disease severity of rheumatoid arthritis.

We evaluated the effect of Brazilian propolis ethanolic extract on the pathogenesis of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. Mice fed propolis exhibited significant lower clinical arthritis scores than those fed the control diet.

To investigate the mechanism of the effect of propolis on CIA mice, we examined interleukin-17 (IL-17) production in CIA mice fed propolis using an enzyme-linked immunospot assay and flow cytometric analysis. The numbers of IL-17-producing cells in the CIA mice fed propolis were significantly decreased. To determine direct influence of propolis on cytokine production, splenocytes were stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate in the presence of propolis extract in vitro.

Concentration-dependent declines in IL-17 expression were observed by ELISA and real-time PCR methods. We further found that propolis significantly inhibited the differentiation of Th17 cells from murine splenocytes in a concentration-dependent manner.

Taken together, our results may provide a new light on the potential mechanism of the immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects of propolis.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Honey a Safe Alternative to Preserve Tissue Samples

Honey as a substitute for formalin? Ozkan N, Salva E, Cakalağaoğlu F, Tüzüner B.
Biotech Histochem, 2011 Aug 23

Formalin has long been the standard fixative for clinical routines worldwide. After the Formaldehyde Standard became law in the US in 1987, as a result of increasing concerns about the potential carcinogenicity of formaldehyde, attempts have been made to find safer alternatives. Alcoholic formalin is a useful fixative, because in addition to fixation, dehydration also is begun.

For centuries, honey has been known to be an antibacterial agent with the potential to preserve compounds without harmful effects on its users. We compared the effects of honey fixation with other routine fixatives using conventional histochemical and immunohistochemical staining methods.

Our results demonstrated that tissues fixed in either honey or alcoholic formalin and 10% neutral buffered formalin (NBF) have similar histomorphology. Honey fixation showed minor histomorphological differences among the various tissues; however, it did not influence affect correct diagnostic conclusions.

Our results suggested that honey can be used as a safe alternative to formalin in histopathology.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Honey and Microbial Infections

A Review Supporting the Use of Honey for Microbial Control
J Med Food, 2011 Aug 22

Honey has been used as a medicine throughout the ages and has recently been reintroduced to modern medical practice. Much of the research to date has addressed honey's antibacterial properties and its effects on wound healing.

Laboratory studies and clinical trials have shown that honey is an effective broad-spectrum antibacterial agent. Honey antimicrobial action explains the external and internal uses of honey.

Honey has been used to treat adult and neonatal postoperative infection, burns, necrotizing fasciitis, infected and nonhealing wounds and ulcers, boils, pilonidal sinus, venous ulcers, and diabetic foot ulcers. These effects are ascribed to honey's antibacterial action, which is due to acidity, hydrogen peroxide content, osmotic effect, nutritional and antioxidants content, stimulation of immunity, and to unidentified compounds.

When ingested, honey also promotes healing and shows antibacterial action by decreasing prostaglandin levels, elevating nitric oxide levels, and exerting prebiotic effects. These factors play a major role in controlling inflammation and promoting microbial control and healing processes.

This article reviews data supporting the effectiveness of natural honey in eradicating human pathogens and discusses the mechanism of actions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Study Identifies New Royal Jelly Proteins

Novel Royal Jelly Proteins Identified by Gel-based and Gel-Free Proteomics
J Agric Food Chem, 2011 Aug 22

Royal jelly (RJ) plays an important role in caste determination of honeybee (a genetically same female egg develops either into a queen or worker bee depending on the time and the amount of RJ feed to the larva) and also has numerous health promoting properties for humans.

We applied gel-based and gel-free proteomics approaches followed with high-performance liquid chromatography-chip quadruple time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry to comprehensive reveal RJ proteome.

Generally, 37 and 22 nonredundant proteins were identified by one-dimensional gel electrophoresis and gel-free analysis, respectively, and 19 new proteins were found by these two proteomics approaches.

In agreement with previous studies, major royal jelly proteins was the main protein family in RJ and proteins related to carbohydrate metabolism as glucose oxidase, alpha-glucosidase precursor, glucose dehydrogenase, were also successfully identified. Importantly, the 19 newly identified proteins were mainly classified into three functional categories: oxidation-reduction, ergic53 CG6822-PA, isoform A isoform 1, Sec61 CG9539-PA and ADP/ATP translocase; protein binding, regucalcin (RC) and translationally controlled tumor protein CG4800-PA isoform 1 and lipid transport, apolipophorin-III-like protein.

These new findings not only significantly increase the RJ proteome coverage, but also help us get new knowledge of RJ for honeybee biology and potential use for human health promotion.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Portuguese Propolis Extract Protects Nerve Cells

Northeast Portuguese Propolis Protects Against Staurosporine and Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Neurotoxicity in Primary Cortical Neurons
Food and Chemical Toxicology, Article in Press

The present work describes the protective effects of the crude Northeast Portuguese propolis enriched phenolic extract against staurosporine (STS) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced neurotoxicity.

These two stress inducers act through various pathways, including the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the induction of apoptosis through caspases activation. STS (25 and 50 nM) and H2O2 (100 μM) increased intracellular ROS and diminished cellular reducing ability in cultured cortical neurons, under conditions unrelated with massive loss of plasma membrane integrity, suggesting decreased neuronal function. Moreover, 25 nM STS and 100 μM H2O2 increased caspase-3 activity by about 2.8-fold and 4.6-fold, respectively. Pre-treatment of cortical neurons with the ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) in the range of 0.01 to 1 μg/ml showed no protective effect on cell reducing capacity, but decreased H2O2-stimulated increment in ROS production by about 17%. In addition, the EEP attenuated STS- or H2O2- induced activation of caspase-3 by 23-39%.

Overall, the results show moderate protective effects induced by Northeast Portuguese EEP in c subjected to stress stimuli.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Honey Works with Superabsorbent Dressing to Reduce Wound Bacterial Load

Using a Superabsorbent Dressing and Antimicrobial for a Venous Ulcer
Br J Nurs, 2011 Aug 12-25;20(15):38-43.

In chronic wounds, exudate is believed to prolong the inflammatory phase and is detrimental to healing (Trengove et al, 1999; Vowden and Vowden, 2004). Poor exudate management can have important management cost implications, and may result in increased patient morbidity (White and Cutting, 2006).

Accurate assessment of wound exudate is a key component of wound healing and management is achieved through different methods depending on the cause of the excessive exudate production. Superabsorbent dressings have been designed to treat highly exuding wounds; they have a greater fluid-handling capacity than traditional dressings and require changing less frequently (Tadej, 2009).

This case study reports on the combined use of a superabsorbent dressing with an antibacterial dressing in a 102-year-old patient who presented with a painful infected venous ulcer complicated by some arterial disease. The combination of the superabsorbent KerraMax® (Crawford Healthcare) with the antibacterial honey Algivon® (Advancis Medical) created the ideal dressing for the treatment of this infected mixed aetiology ulcer, as manuka honey has a strong antibacterial effect (Molan, 1992), and the dressing absorbs the excessive exudate.

The dressings worked together to reduce the bacterial load on the wound bed surface, with the honey selectively destroying the bacteria (Molan, 1992), and KerraMax absorbed and locked away the bacteria-containing exudate, which helped to reduce further exudate production, prevent maceration and reduce the potential for a wound to become malodorous (Hampton, 2011).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bee Venom Component Protects Cells Against Injury

Protective Effects of Melittin on Transforming Growth Factor-β1 Injury to Hepatocytes Via Anti-Apoptotic Mechanism
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Article in Press

Melittin is a cationic, hemolytic peptide that is the main toxic component in the venom of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Melittin has multiple effects, including anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory, in various cell types. However, the anti-apoptotic mechanisms of melittin have not been fully elucidated in hepatocytes.

Apoptosis contributes to liver inflammation and fibrosis. Knowledge of the apoptotic mechanisms is important to develop new and effective therapies for treatment of cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver cancer, and other liver diseases.

In the present study, we investigated the anti-apoptotic effect of melittin on transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-induced apoptosis in hepatocytes. TGF-β1-treated hepatocytes were exposed to low doses (0.5 and 1 μg/mL) and high dose (2 μg/mL) of melittin. The low doses significantly protected these cells from DNA damage in TGF-β1-induced apoptosis compared to the high dose. Also, melittin suppressed TGF-β1-induced apoptotic activation of the Bcl-2 family and caspase family of proteins, which resulted in the inhibition of poly–ADP–ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage.

These results demonstrate that TGF-β1 induces hepatocyte apoptosis and that an optimal dose of melittin exerts anti-apoptotic effects against TGF-β1-induced injury to hepatocytes via the mitochondrial pathway. These results suggest that an optimal dose of melittin can serve to protect cells against TGF-β1-mediated injury.


► We investigated the anti-apoptotic effect of melittin on TGF-β1-induced apoptosis in hepatocytes.
► TGF-β1 induces hepatocyte apoptosis.
► TGF-β1-treated hepatocytes were exposed to low doses (0.5 and 1 μg/mL) and high dose (2 μg/mL) of melittin.
► An optimal dose of melittin exerts anti-apoptotic effects to hepatocytes via the mitochondrial pathway.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Is Bee Venom Nature's Botox?

By Renee Trilivas, Allure, August 17, 2011

Kate Middleton isn't the only royal creating a buzz with her beauty habits. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, reportedly slathers on a $90 bee venom-based face mask to combat the aging process. This “organic face lift” claims to smooth out wrinkles by tricking the skin to produce more collagen and elastin. Recently, the British beauty brand which makes the mask, Heaven by Deborah Mitchell, scored a $164 million, ten-year distribution deal in China. But is it actually a viable alternative to Botox? We ask dermatologist Jeannette Graf if the main ingredient in this $90 mask is really the bee's knees.

Dr. Graf says melittin, the active compound in bee venom, does have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can boost the immune system. Since the venom is anaphylactic, it temporarily relaxes the facial muscles, breaking down cell membranes and improving circulation—all of which can theoretically contribute to a tighter complexion…

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bees Still Love Obama: White House Hive Awash in Honey

By Paul Bedard, U.S.News & World Report, 8/17/2011

Bee Culture Editor Kim Flottum, left, with White House bee keeper Charlie Brandts beside the South Lawn hive.

At least the White House honey bees are sticking with the president. Set in some of Washington's lushest gardens and tree groves, and right next to first lady Michelle Obama's veggie patch, the single South Lawn hive has produced a record 225 and a half pounds of honey this year, nearly double its first year production.

"It's just craziness," says White House carpenter and bee keeper Charlie Brandts. "They did really well this year."…

New Book Details Honey’s Healing Properties

Honey: Nature's Golden Healer
Mother Earth News

A compregensive introduction to the "nectar of the gods."

With increasing numbers of people ditching drugs for natural healing, Honey: Nature's Golden Healer is a timely look at how the beehive can help us look and feel better. Highlighted with hundreds of vivid color photographs, the book explains how honey is made and describes the complex lives of honeybees, beehive architecture and the sophisticated social structure of beehives. Novice beekeepers will find enough reliable information to get started on a small scale.

Honey examines the beneficial properties of honey and other bee products, such as propolis, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax, and explains how to collect and use them. The book includes recipes for homemade remedies, luxurious beauty formulas and delicious treats.

•The critical role of honeybees in agriculture
•The many types and colors of honey
•Raw Honey
•How honey compare to sugar
•Preserving with honey
•Honey's antibacterial properties and how they work
•Honey as a neutraceutical (a foodstuff with medicinal properties)
•Bee sting therapy
•The benefits of propolis, bee pollen and royal jelly
•Honey in cooking and baking

This informative and illuminating book shows the links between honey and god health and why protecting the threatened populations of honeybees is important not only for their own survival, but for human longevity.

About the Author: Gloria Havenhand is a beekeeper with hive populations in the millions. Her company, Medibee, produces bee products. She lives in Derbyshire, England.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Royal Jelly Has Lifespan-Extending Effect

Lifespan-Extending Effects of Royal Jelly and Its Related Substances on the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
PLoS ONE 6(8): Published: August 9, 2011


One of the most important challenges in the study of aging is to discover compounds with longevity-promoting activities and to unravel their underlying mechanisms. Royal jelly (RJ) has been reported to possess diverse beneficial properties. Furthermore, protease-treated RJ (pRJ) has additional pharmacological activities. Exactly how RJ and pRJ exert these effects and which of their components are responsible for these effects are largely unknown. The evolutionarily conserved mechanisms that control longevity have been indicated. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether RJ and its related substances exert a lifespan-extending function in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and to gain insights into the active agents in RJ and their mechanism of action.

Principal Findings

We found that both RJ and pRJ extended the lifespan of C. elegans. The lifespan-extending activity of pRJ was enhanced by Octadecyl-silica column chromatography (pRJ-Fraction 5). pRJ-Fr.5 increased the animals' lifespan in part by acting through the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16, the activation of which is known to promote longevity in C. elegans by reducing insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS). pRJ-Fr.5 reduced the expression of ins-9, one of the insulin-like peptide genes. Moreover, pRJ-Fr.5 and reduced IIS shared some common features in terms of their effects on gene expression, such as the up-regulation of dod-3 and the down-regulation of dod-19, dao-4 and fkb-4. 10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA), which was present at high concentrations in pRJ-Fr.5, increased lifespan independently of DAF-16 activity.


These results demonstrate that RJ and its related substances extend lifespan in C. elegans, suggesting that RJ may contain longevity-promoting factors. Further analysis and characterization of the lifespan-extending agents in RJ and pRJ may broaden our understanding of the gene network involved in longevity regulation in diverse species and may lead to the development of nutraceutical interventions in the aging process.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stingless Bee Honey Used to Treat Cataracts

Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Analysis Allows the Simultaneous Characterization of C-Glycosyl and O-Glycosyl Flavonoids in Stingless Bee Honeys
J Chromatogr A, 2011 Jul 22

The analysis of the phytochemicals present in stingless bee honey samples has been a difficult task due to the small amounts of samples available and to the complexity of the phytochemical composition that often combines flavonoid glycosides and aglycones.

Honey samples produced in Venezuela from Melipona species were analyzed using a combination of solid-phase extraction and HPLC-DAD-MSn/ESI methodologies with specific study of the fragment ions produced from flavonoid glycosides. The analyses revealed that flavonoid glycosides were the main constituents.

The honey samples analyzed contained a consistent flavonoid pattern composed of flavone-C-glycosides, flavonol-O-glycosides and flavonoid aglycones. The HPLC-DAD-MSn/ESI analysis and the study of the fragment ions obtained allowed the characterization and quantification for the first time of five apigenin-di-C-glycosides, and ten quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin O-glycosides (di- and tri- glycosides), and the aglycones pinobanksin, quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin in the different samples.

This is the first report of flavonoid-C-glycosides in honey.

The results show that the content of flavonoid-glycosides (mean values of 2712μg/100g) in stingless bee honeys is considerably higher than the content of flavonoid aglycones (mean values of 315μg/100g). This differs from previous studies on Apis mellifera honeys that consistently showed much higher aglycone content and smaller flavonoid glycoside content.

The occurrence of relevant amounts of flavonoid glycosides, and particularly C-glycosides, in stingless bee honeys could be associated with their putative anticataract properties.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Propolis Prevents Liver Damage

Propolis Prevents Hepatorenal Injury Induced by Chronic Exposure to Carbon Tetrachloride
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2012;2012:235358. Epub 2011 Aug 4

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) is a well-known hepatotoxicant, and its exposure induces hepatorenal injury via oxidative stress and biochemical alterations. This study had been conducted to confirm the protective role of propolis extract on CCl(4)-induced hepatorenal oxidative stress and resultant injury.

Propolis extracts collected from Gwalior district and 24 female Sprague Dawley rats were used for experiment. Animals were exposed to CCl(4) (0.15 mL/kg, i.p.) for 12 weeks (5 days/week) followed by treatment with propolis extract (200 mg/kg, p.o.) for consecutive 2 weeks. CCl(4) exposure significantly depleted blood sugar and hemoglobin level and raised the level of transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, protein, urea, albumin, bilirubin, creatinine, triglycerides, and cholesterol in serum. Lipid peroxidation was enhanced, whereas GSH was decreased significantly in liver and kidney in CCl(4)-intoxicated group.

Ethanolic extract of propolis successfully prevented these alterations in experimental animals. Activities of catalase, adenosine triphosphatase, glucose-6-phosphatase, acid, and alkaline phosphatase were also maintained towards normal with propolis therapy. Light microscopical studies showed considerable protection in liver and kidney with propolis treatment, thus, substantiated biochemical observations.

This study confirmed hepatoprotective potential of propolis extract against chronic injury induced by CCl(4) by regulating antioxidative defense activities.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Use of Honey for Wound Treatment Leads to Shorter Hospital Stays

Randomised Controlled Feasibility Trial on the Use of Medical Grade Honey Following Microvascular Free Tissue Transfer to Reduce the Incidence of Wound Infection
Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg, 2011 Aug 8

The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of using Leptospermum honey in a randomised trial to reduce the incidence of wound infection after microvascular free tissue reconstruction for cancer of the head and neck.

During the one-year study period 70 consecutive patients were admitted to the regional maxillofacial ward for free tissue reconstruction. Of these, 56 (80%) consented to be randomised and 49 (70%) were actually randomised, 25 into the honey dressings group, and 24 into the conventional dressings group (control). Six patients were missed when consent was required, 8 did not consent, and 7 who had given consent were missed at the randomisation stage in theatre.

Results of wound swabs were positive in 36% of the honey group and 38% of the control group. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was found in 28% and 25%, respectively. Of these, 38% were deemed to require intervention.

Honey dressings were acceptable to both patients and nurses. There was a reduction in duration of hospital stay in the honey group (median 12 days, IQR 10-21) compared with the control (median 18 days, IQR 13-28). The cost of standard and honey dressings was similar.

This feasibility study has shown that a randomised controlled trial (RCT) is possible and that several hundreds of patients would be required to show a clinical benefit for honey. Further research is needed to confirm a shorter duration of hospital admission and if so, whether this is due to more rapid healing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Propolis a Natural Anti-Protozoal Agent

Activity of Cuban Propolis Extracts on Leishmania amazonensis and Trichomonas vaginalis
Nat Prod Commun, 2011 Jul;6(7):973-6

In this paper we analyzed the antiprotozoal effects of eighteen Cuban propolis extracts (brown, red and yellow type) collected in different geographic areas, using Leishmania amazonensis (as a model of intracellular protozoa) and Trichomonas vaginalis (as a model of extracellular protozoa).

All evaluated propolis extracts caused inhibitory effect on intracellular amastigotes of L. amazonensis. However, cytotoxicity on peritoneal macrophages from BALB/c mice was observed. Only five samples decreased the viability of T. vaginalis trophozoites at concentrations lower than 10 microg/mL. No correlation between the type of propolis and antiprotozoal activity was found.

Cuban propolis extracts demonstrated activity against both intracellular and extracellular protozoa model, as well as the potentialities of propolis as a natural source to obtain new antiprotozoal agents.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Argentinean Propolis Examined

Chemical Composition of Argentinean Propolis Collected in Extreme Regions and Its Relation with Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities
Nat Prod Commun, 2011 Jun;6(6):823-7

This paper reveals, for the first time, the functional properties of propolis from an extreme region of Argentine (El Rincón, Province of Catamarca, Argentina), as well as the isolation and identification of bioactive compounds.

The antioxidant activity was determined by the ABTS method and beta-carotene bleaching. The antibacterial activity was determined on methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by the microdilution method and bioautographic assays. Twelve compounds were isolated and identified by NMR spectroscopy. The main bioactive compounds were 2',4'-dihydroxy-3'-methoxychalcone (3), 2',4'-dihydroxychalcone (9), 2',4',4-trihydroxy-6'- methoxychalcone (8), 5-hydroxy-4',7-dimethoxyflavone (4), 4',5-dihydroxy-3,7,8-trimethoxyflavone (10) and 7-hydroxy- 5,8-dimethoxyflavone (11). All compounds were active against clinical isolates (MIC50 10 microg/mL) and displayed antioxidant activity (SC50 values of 20 microg/mL).

The MIC and SC50 values of the isolated compounds were lower than those obtained with crude propolis extracts, chloroform sub-extracts and isolated fractions.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brazilian Green Propolis May Help Treat Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer

Isolation, Identification, and Biological Evaluation of HIF-1-Modulating Compounds from Brazilian Green Propolis
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript

The tumor microenvironment is characterized by hypoxia, low-nutrient levels, and acidosis. A natural product chemistry-based approach was used to discover small molecules that modulate adaptive responses to a hypoxic microenvironment through the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 signaling pathways.

Five compounds, such as baccharin (3), beturetol (4), kaempferide (5), isosakuranetin (6), and drupanin (9), that modulate HIF-1-dependent luciferase activity were identified from Brazilian green propolis using reporter assay. Compounds 3, 9 and 5 reduced HIF-1- dependent luciferase activity. The cinnamic acid derivatives 3 and 9 significantly inhibited expression of the HIF-1α protein and HIF-1 downstream target genes such as glucose transporter 1, hexokinase 2, and vascular endothelial growth factor A. They also exhibited significant anti-angiogenic effects in the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay at doses of 300 ng/CAM.

On the other hand, flavonoids 4 and 6 induced HIF-1-dependent luciferase activity and expression of HIF-1 target genes under hypoxia. The contents (g/100 g extract) of the HIF-1-modulating compounds in whole propolis ethanol extracts were also determined based on liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry as 1.6 (3), 14.2 (4), 4.0 (5), 0.7 (6), and 0.7 (9), respectively.

These small molecules screened from Brazilian green propolis may be useful as lead compounds for the development of novel therapies against ischemic cardiovascular disease and cancer based on their ability to induce or inhibit HIF-1 activity, respectively.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Royal Jelly May Protect Skin From Sun Damage

Royal Jelly Protects Against Ultraviolet B-Induced Photoaging in Human Skin Fibroblasts via Enhancing Collagen Production
J Med Food, 2011 Aug 3

Royal jelly (RJ) is a honeybee product containing proteins, carbohydrates, fats, free amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. As its principal unsaturated fatty acid, RJ contains 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA), which may have antitumor and antibacterial activity and a capacity to stimulate collagen production.

RJ has attracted interest in various parts of the world for its pharmacological properties. However, the effects of RJ on ultraviolet (UV)-induced photoaging of the skin have not been reported.

In this study we measured the 10-HDA content of RJ by high-performance liquid chromatography and tested the effects of RJ on UVB-induced skin photoaging in normal human dermal fibroblasts. The effects of RJ and 10-HDA on UVB-induced photoaging were tested by measuring procollagen type I, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 after UVB irradiation.

The RJ contained about 0.211% 10-HDA. The UVB-irradiated human skin fibroblasts treated with RJ and 10-HDA had increased procollagen type I and TGF-β1 productions, but the level of MMP-1 was not changed.

Thus RJ may potentially protect the skin from UVB-induced photoaging by enhancing collagen production.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Honey Helps Treat Inflammation, Infection of Cornea

The Use of Topical Honey in the Treatment of Corneal Abrasions and Endotoxin-Induced Keratitis in an Animal Model
Curr Eye Res, 2011 Aug 3

Purpose: To investigate the effect of topically applied honey on intact corneas, surgically induced corneal abrasions and endotoxin induced keratitis.

Materials and Methods: The effect of honey on the cornea was investigated by application of honey on intact corneas, wounded corneas and endotoxin-induced keratitis in Lewis rats. The corneas were wounded by creating an epithelial defect using a surgical blade, and the keratitis was induced by topically applying Pseudomonas aeruginosa endotoxin to scarified corneas.

After treatment rats were sacrificed and cornea harvested in each case. Corneas were processed for paraffin embedding for histological and immuno-fluorescence staining. Corneas were also harvested and processed for total ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolation for reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis for various growth factors and inflammatory chemokines/cytokines).

Results: Histological analysis revealed that no inflammation or morphological changes occurred after honey treatment in naive intact corneas. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels were also not altered after honey treatment. Topical application of honey to injured corneas resulted in faster epithelial healing and decreased expression of VEGF, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin 12 (IL-12) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in injured corneas.

Our results also established that honey treatment reduced the inflammation in endotoxin-induced keratitis by reducing the levels of angiogenic factors (VEGF and TGF-β), inflammatory cytokines (IL-12) and chemokines (CC chemokine receptor 5(CCR-5)).

Conclusion: Short term use of honey on intact corneas can be safe. Honey has anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory properties that can be explored in several corneal inflammatory and infectious conditions.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Algerian Propolis Extract Protects Against Kidney Damage

Polyphenolic Fraction of Algerian Propolis Protects Rat Kidney Against Acute Oxidative Stress Induced by Doxorubicin
Indian J Nephrol, 2011 Apr;21(2):101-6

We evaluated the effects of propolis extract on renal oxidative stress induced by doxorubicin throughout an analytical and pharmacological study of the eastern Algerian propolis using thin layer chromatography, ultra-violet-high-performance liquid chromatography) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

The pharmacological study was carried out in vivo on Wistar rat pre-treated with propolis extract 100 mg/kg/day for seven days. Doxorubicin at 10 mg/kg of body weight was administered intravenously on Day 7. Serum creatinine concentration, scavenging effect of flavonoids, lipid peroxidation and glutathione concentration were measured. Chemical analysis allowed identification and quantification of the phenolic compounds including pinostrombin chalcone (38.91%), galangin (18.95%), naringenin (14.27%), tectochrysin (25.09%), methoxychrysin (1.14%) and a prenylated coumarin compound suberosin (1.65%). The total flavonoid concentration in the propolis extract was 370 mg (quercetin equivalents QE) /g dry weight (QE/g DWPE).

Propolis extract restored the renal functions and reduced the toxic effect of doxorubicin. These data show a protective effect of Algerian propolis extract against doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Prenylated Flavanones From Taiwanese Propolis Have Anti-Cancer Potential

Chemical Modification and Anticancer Effect of Prenylated Flavanones from Taiwanese Propolis
Nat Prod Res, 2011 Jul 27

Our previous studies demonstrated that eight prenylated flavanones (1-8), isolated from Taiwanese propolis, were capable of a broad spectrum of biological activities. Among them, nymphaeol A (3), nymphaeol B (4) and nymphaeol C (7), abundant in Taiwanese propolis, exhibited cytotoxicity against cancer cell lines. It therefore seemed interesting to improve their activity via a semi-synthetic strategy.

In this study, 12 novel prenylated flavanones were synthesised in our laboratory and their activities were assessed for two human prostate cancer cell lines, PC-3 and DU-145, and a human hepatoma cell line, Hep-3B. Of these compounds, 10c, 11 and 12 showed more potent cytotoxicity against the PC-3 cell line than 5-Fu. Using cytometric analysis followed by double staining with annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide, it was observed that these compounds induced apoptosis as well.

This suggests that prenylated flavanones 10c, 11 and 12 may have anticancer potential for further development.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Royal Jelly May Help Treat Depression and Anxiety

Antidepressant-Like Activity of 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid, a Unique Unsaturated Fatty Acid of Royal Jelly, in Stress-Inducible Depression-Like Mouse Model
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2012;2012:139140. Epub 2011 Jul 24

Symptoms of depression and anxiety appeared in mice after they had been subjected to a combination of forced swimming for 15 min followed by being kept in cages that were sequentially subjected to leaning, drenching, and rotation within 1-2 days for a total of 3 weeks.

The animals were then evaluated by the tail-suspension test, elevated plus-maze test, and open-field test at 1 day after the end of stress exposure. Using these experimental systems, we found that 10-hydroxy-trans-2-decenoic acid (HDEA), an unsaturated fatty acid unique to royal jelly (RJ), protected against the depression and anxiety when intraperitoneally administered once a day for 3 weeks simultaneously with the stress loading. Intraperitoneally administered RJ, a rich source of HDEA, was also protective against the depression, but RJ given by the oral route was less effective.

Our present results demonstrate that HDEA and RJ, a natural source of it, were effective in ameliorating the stress-inducible symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Honey Flavone May Help Prevent, Treat Cancer

Chrysin Reduces Proliferation and Induces Apoptosis in the Human Prostate Cancer Cell Line PC-3
Clinics (Sao Paulo), 2011;66(6):1073-1079

INTRODUCTION: Honey is a common household product with many medicinal uses described in traditional medicine. Only recently has its antioxidant properties and preventive effects against disease been highlighted. Chrysin is a natural flavone commonly found in honey that has been shown to be an antioxidant agent. In this study, we investigated the antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of honey and chrysin on cultured human prostate cancer cells.

METHODS: Cells were cultured in RPMI medium and treated with different concentrations of honey and chrysin for three consecutive days. Cell viability was quantitated by the 3-(4, 5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The percentage of apoptotic cells was determined by flow cytometry using Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate.

RESULTS: The MTT assay revealed that both compounds had an antiproliferative effect on PC-3 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The IC50 values for honey and chrysin against PC-3 cells were 2.5% and 24.5% after 48 h and 1.8% and 8.5% after 72 h, respectively. Chrysin induced apoptosis in PC-3 cells, as determined by flow cytometry.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that honey has anti-proliferative effects on prostate cancer cells and the effects are mainly due to chrysin. Therefore, chrysin may be a potential compound for both cancer prevention and treatment. Further in vivo investigation is needed to support the use of chrysin in cancer therapy.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Manuka Honey Component Boosts Activity of Antibiotics

Distinct Synergistic Action of Piperacillin and Methylglyoxal Against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Indian J Exp Biol, 2011 Jul;49(7):547-51

The dicarbonyl compound methylglyoxal is a natural constituent of Manuka honey produced from Manuka flowers in New Zealand. It is known to possess both anticancer and antibacterial activity.

Such observations prompted to investigate the ability of methylglyoxal as a potent drug against multidrug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

A total of 12 test P. aeruginosa strains isolated from various hospitals were tested for their resistances against many antibiotics, most of which are applied in the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. Results revealed that the strains were resistant to many drugs at high levels, only piperacillin, carbenicillin, amikacin and ciprofloxacin showed resistances at comparatively lower levels.

Following multiple experimentations it was observed that methylglyoxal was also antimicrobic against all the strains at comparable levels. Distinct and statistically significant synergism was observed between methylglyoxal and piperacillin by disc diffusion tests when compared with their individual effects.

The fractional inhibitory concentration index of this combination evaluated by checkerboard analysis, was 0.5, which confirmed synergism between the pair. Synergism was also noted when methylglyoxal was combined with carbenicillin and amikacin.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Derma Sciences Receives FDA Clearance for MEDIHONEY Hydrogel

PRINCETON, N.J., Aug 01, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Derma Sciences, Inc. , a medical device and pharmaceutical company focused on advanced wound care, today announced it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for its patented MEDIHONEY(R) Hydrogel Wound and Burn Dressing with Leptospermum (Manuka) honey. This product will be available in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) formulations for the treatment of first- and second-degree burns, in addition to various chronic and acute wounds. The product will be sold in several sizes and configurations including dressings with and without an adhesive border and is expected to be available in early 2012, with a full commercial launch in the spring of 2012.

Commenting on the clearance, Edward J. Quilty, president and chief executive officer of Derma Sciences, said, "This proprietary dressing, our fifth line extension in our rapidly growing MEDIHONEY franchise, combines the proven healing properties of Manuka honey with hydrogels that provide and maintain a moist wound environment to help clean and debride necrotic tissue. Importantly, this dressing does not adhere to the wound bed and, as such, will not disturb the wound bed during dressing changes. MEDIHONEY Hydrogel dressing will be the first in the line that is directed to the treatment of burns, an enormous therapeutic area, expanding our advanced wound care addressable market."…
According to the American Burn Association National Burn Repository (2010 report) there were 450,000 burn injuries that received medical attention in the United States last year. The majority are first-degree (damage only the outer layer of skin) and second degree (damage the outer layer and the layer underneath). The leading cause of burns is direct flame, with scalding the second leading cause of burns.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Irradiation of Honey Enhances Antioxidant Activity

Antioxidant Capacities and Total Phenolic Contents Increase with Gamma Irradiation in Two Types of Malaysian Honey
Molecules, 2011 Jul 27;16(8):6378-95

Two types of monofloral Malaysian honey (Gelam and Nenas) were analyzed to determine their antioxidant activities and total phenolic and flavonoid contents, with and without gamma irradiation.

Our results showed that both types of honey can scavenge free radicals and exhibit high antioxidant-reducing power; however, Gelam honey exhibited higher antioxidant activity than Nenas honey, which is in good correlation with its phenolic contents.

Interestingly, we also noted that both irradiated honeys have higher antioxidant activities and total phenolic and flavonoid contents compared to nonirradiated honeys by Folin-Ciocalteu and UV-spectrophotometry methods, respectively. However, HPLC analysis for phenolic compounds showed insignificant increase between irradiated and nonirradiated honeys. The phenolic compounds such as: caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, p- coumaric acid, quercetin and hesperetin as indicated by HPLC method were found to be higher in Gelam honey versus Nenas honey.

In conclusion, irradiation of honey causes enhanced antioxidant activities and flavonoid compounds.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Royal Jelly Said to Boost Fertility

Hive Naturals® Introduces BeeFertile® Before Trying IVF, Try BeeFertile®: A Natural, Healthy Fertility Supplement
Heber City, UT (PRWEB) July 26, 2011 -- When Josh and Chavah went looking for a natural answer to their infertility problems, after exhausting expensive medical options, they discovered an old family formula passed from generation to generation. BeeFertile®is the breakout product from Hive Naturals®, which harnesses the power of bees and other proven natural remedies for those trying to conceive. It was the natural answer Josh and Chavah were looking for.

Hive Naturals® was inspired by Josh and Chavah’s personal quest for a family. They decided to start their family, but, like 1 in 5 couples worldwide, found it difficult to get pregnant. Doctors had no answers for the couple. With fertility methods like IVF too costly for the couple – Josh was working on finishing off his college degree – they were left heartbroken with the lack of options. That is when Chavah’s father suggested that they try an old family formula that he had been recommending to other couples in the family’s health food store for nearly 30 years. The regimen combined almost two-dozen essential oils, vitamins, herbs, and bee products. After three years of trying without BeeFertile’s ingredients, it only took three months into the regimen for Chavah to become pregnant. Inspired by their own conception story and the knowledge that infertility affects 12 million people in the US every year, Josh and Chavah made it their mission to streamline this formula and make it available to everyone looking to conceive – giving birth to BeeFertile® kits.

BeeFertile® is available in three kits: Women’s, Men’s, and Couple's. Each kit contains a three-month supply of once-daily supplement pills and the proprietary Royal Jelly and Honey mixture designed to optimize each gender's reproductive health. The Women’s kit seeks to support a healthy reproductive system and egg production through well-researched herbal and natural supplements that includes Chasteberry, Red Raspberry Leaf, and Evening Primrose Oil. The Men’s kit not only seeks to support a healthy male reproductive system but also sperm production through a regimen of vitamins and supplements which includes Pine Bark Extract, CoQ10 and L-Carnitine. One ingredient that sets BeeFertile® further apart, is their inclusion of Royal Jelly in every kit. Royal Jelly is a honey-like substance fed to the Queen Bee to enable her to produce up to 2,000 eggs per day. Not used anywhere else, this nutrient rich substance not only supports improved fertility in both men and women, but also is a potential answer for many of those suffering from PMS, low estrogen levels, and irregular menstrual cycles…