Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Book on Medicinal Benefits of Honey

Doctors Discover an Ancient Solution to Modern Health Care Woes -- Honey

Middletown, MD (November 24, 2011) – The health care debate rages in the halls of congress and across the American dinner table as we struggle to rein in the cost of medical care. In her new book Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey, Kirsten S. Traynor, M.S. details how doctors have rediscovered a timeless and cost-effective remedy used effectively since the Egyptian pharaoh’s physicians.

New scientific findings from around the world demonstrate honey heals chronic wounds, halts antibiotic-resistant superbugs, eliminates tissue scarring, reduces brain damage, improves memory and minimizes the harmful side-effects of cancer treatments. An easily assimilated antioxidant, honey proves more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines, acts as a natural laxative, stimulates good intestinal flora, and alleviates spring allergies.

As conventional therapies increasingly failed to clear infected wounds, doctors started applying honey dressings with astounding success. Chronic wounds that refused to mend for many years using standard medical care costing over $300,000 suddenly started healing when treated with 43¢ of honey and gauze honey, according to Dr. Jennifer Eddy, a family practitioner at Health’s Family Medicine Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

In 2007, the FDA approved medical honey for diabetic foot ulcers, leg ulcers, pressure ulcers,
1st and 2nd degree burns, donor sites, traumatic wounds and surgical wounds. Two Million Blossoms lets you discover the remarkable healing properties of honey.

“This delightful book Kirsten has written is the book I wanted to write myself twenty years ago,” world renowned honey researcher Dr. Peter Molan, Director of the Waikato Honey Research Unit in New Zealand writes in the foreword. Honey can “prevent people from suffering needlessly from ailments that detract from their quality of life.” Two Million Blossoms, a 272 page paperback, is divided into four sections that cover the history of honey, honey for human health, honey for wound healing and honey for pet care; it is available through Dadant and

Kirsten Traynor is currently pursuing a PhD in biology at Arizona State University. Much of the research in this book was gathered while she was a German Chancellor Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Institute of Bee Research in Celle, Germany. Currently she is in Avignon, France on a Fulbright Fellowship to study how to improve honey bee health. If you would be interested in an interview, please contact her at

CONTACT: Kirsten S. Traynor (301) 371 8527,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Portuguese Bee Pollen Analyzed

Botanical, Nutritional and Microbiological Characterisation of Honeybee-Collected Pollen from Portugal
Food Chem Toxicol, 2011 Nov 15

Bee pollen is an important natural product, used in the folk medicine, clinical practices, food and pharmaceutical industries. This work intends to characterise, for the first time in Portugal, the palynological origin, nutritional value and microbiological security of bee pollen.

Moisture content, ash, a(w), pH, reducing sugars, carbohydrate, proteins, lipids, fatty acids and energy were the specific parameters analysed. Aerobic mesophiles, moulds and yeasts, fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and sulphite-reducing clostridia were the microorganisms studied.

The most frequent plant families from a total of 10 taxa identified were Boraginaceae and Ericaceae. Portuguese bee pollens are nutritionally well-balanced and revealed high levels of moisture, proteins, fat, energy, ash, carbohydrates, reducing sugars, essential n-3 fatty acids and good ratios of PUFA/SFA. In fact, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) represent 66% of the total fatty acids.

Microbiologically, the commercial quality was good. All samples showed negative results for toxigenic species.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stop Wrinkles with a Bee Sting

Celebrities' Favourite 'Poison' Available on the High Street
By Tamara Cohen, Daily Mail (UK), 11/26/2011

Being stung by a bee to make you look younger?

It may not sound appealing, but the poison is being hailed as miracle anti-ageing treatment.

Scientists have discovered it can boost collagen - which gives skin its youthful elasticity and make it less susceptible to sun damage.

Face masks containing bee venom have been a celebrity fad for years available only in salons and spas.

Now the first skincare range containing it is to hit the high street after 12 years of research.

The new range has been devised by Korean scientist Dr Sang Mi Han for the New Zealand beauty company Manuka Doctor which will be stocked at Holland & Barrett shops from Monday.

The company claim it is ‘the next best alternative to botox – in a jar.’

It was revealed last year that Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall had a £55 bee venom facial treatment at a salon, and Dannii Minogue is also said to be a fan.

Previously only available as an exclusive salon treatment, the new range of five products starts at £16.99 for the facial moisturiser and foaming cleanser, £18.99 for skin treatment serum, £24.99 for repairing skin cream, and £49.99 for a rejuvenating face mask.

The products are said to have a ‘gentle tingling’ effect on the skin. They apparently fool the body into thinking it has been stung, which causes it to direct blood towards the affected area and stimulates the production of the naturally-occurring chemicals collagen and elastin which keep the skin taut.

Dr Han, a researcher at South Korea’s National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has published research suggesting it may also boost the number of cells called keratinocytes which act as a barrier against environmental factors such as bacteria, water loss and sun damage…

Bee venom has been used in medical applications since ancient times. It also contains a protein called Apamin which relaxes the muscles and is used in an arthritis treatment called apitherapy, and to relieve the symptoms of muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Honey Recommended as Sugar Substitute in Type 1 Diabetic Patients

Honey and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Source: Type 1 Diabetes - Complications, Pathogenesis, and Alternative Treatments
InTech, November 2011

Conclusions and recommendations

1. Honey has a lower glycemic and peak incremental indices compared to glucose and sucrose in both type 1 diabetic patients and non-diabetics. Therefore, we recommend using honey as a sugar substitute in type 1 diabetic patients.

2. In spite of its significantly lower glycemic and peak incremental indices, honey caused significant post-prandial rise of plasma C-peptide levels when compared to glucose and sucrose in non-diabetics; indicating that honey may have a direct stimulatory effect on the healthy beta cells of pancreas. On the other hand, C-peptide levels were not significantly elevated after honey ingestion when compared with either glucose or sucrose in type 1 diabetic patients. Whether or not ingestion of honey in larger doses or/and for an extended period of time would have a significant positive effect on the diseased beta cells, needs further studies.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Allergy Test, Medical History a Must Before Bee Sting Acupuncture

A Fatal Case of Intravascular Coagulation after Bee Sting
Allergy Asthma Immunol Res, 2011 November 18

Bee stings can cause severe adverse reactions, leading to anaphylaxis, cardiovascular collapse, and death. In some cases, bee venom also induces disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). However, to our knowledge, there has been no fatal case of intravascular coagulation accompanied by anaphylaxis caused by bee sting acupuncture. Here, we report a fatal case of a 65-year-old woman with DIC, following anaphylactic shock after bee sting acupuncture…

This case emphasizes that practitioners should consider anaphylaxis followed by coagulation abnormalities when a patient’s vital signs are unstable after bee sting acupuncture. Additionally, this case highlights the messages that bee sting acupuncture without taking a history, especially for bee venom allergies, and without skin tests for bee venom reactions can be very dangerous, and that bee stings for therapeutic purposes may cause DIC accompanied by anaphylaxis.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Propolis May Help Control Diabetes

Glycemic Control and Anti-Osteopathic Effect of Propolis in Diabetic Rats
Dovepress Journal, November 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 377 - 384

The aim of the study was to explore the possibility that propolis can control diabetes mellitus and prevent diabetic osteopathy in rats.

The study compared 60 streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, with ten nondiabetic rats used as a negative control. The experimental design comprised seven groups (n = 10 rats per group): (1) nondiabetic, used as a negative control; (2) nontreated, used as a positive control; (3) treated with insulin alone; (4) treated with a single dose of propolis alone; (5) treated with a double dose of propolis; (6) treated with insulin and a single dose of propolis; and (7) treated with insulin and a double dose of propolis.

After 6 weeks of treatment, the rats were sacrificed. Ratios of femur ash to femur weight and of femur weight to body weight (FW/BW) were calculated and calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), and magnesium (Mg) concentrations in femur ash were estimated and analyzed. Fasting blood glucose (FBG), plasma insulin and glucagon, serum thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), plasma parathyroid hormone (PTH), and calcitonin levels were also estimated and analyzed.

There was significant reduction in FBG in all diabetic treated rats. Similarly, higher plasma insulin levels were observed in diabetic rats treated with propolis and insulin than in nontreated diabetic rats, although plasma insulin was not comparatively higher in diabetic rats treated with insulin alone. Serum TBARS was significantly lower in the propolis treated rats than the diabetic nontreated rats. No differences in PTH and calcitonin levels were observed among treatment groups. The FW/BW ratio was significantly higher in diabetic treated groups than in control groups. Furthermore, diabetic rats treated with propolis and insulin had significantly higher Ca, P, and Mg concentrations in femoral ash than nontreated diabetic rats and diabetic rats treated with insulin alone.

In conclusion, propolis has a remarkable effect on glucose homeostasis and bone mineralization.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Propolis Alleviates Oxidative Stress

Antioxidant Effect of Propolis Against Exposure to Chromium in Cyprinus carpio
Environ Toxicol, 2011 Nov 4

The aim of the present study was to investigate the ameliorative properties of propolis against the toxic effects of chromium (VI) by examining oxidative damage markers such as lipid peroxidation and the antioxidant defence system components in carp (Cyprinus carpio).

The fish were exposed to sublethal concentrations of chromium. Propolis was simultaneously administered to chromium-exposed fish. Treatment was continued for 28 days, and at the end of this period, blood and tissue (liver, kidney, spleen, and gill) samples were collected. Levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione (GSH) as well as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities were determined in blood and tissues for measurement of oxidant-antioxidant status.

The levels of MDA, as an index of lipid peroxidation, increased in blood and tissues. Antioxidant enzyme activities in blood and tissues were modified in chromium groups compared to controls. Simultaneous administration of propolis ameliorated these parameters.

The present results suggest that administration of propolis might alleviate chromium-induced oxidative stress.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Royal Jelly Has Skin-Whitening, Therapeutic Properties

Royal Jelly Reduces Melanin Synthesis Through Down-Regulation of Tyrosinase Expression
Am J Chin Med, 2011;39(6):1253-60

For cosmetic reasons, the demand for effective and safe skin-whitening agents is high. Since the key enzyme in the melanin synthetic pathway is tyrosinase, many depigmenting agents in the treatment of hyperpigmentation act as tyrosinase inhibitors.

In this study, we have investigated the hypo-pigmentary mechanism of royal jelly in a mouse melanocyte cell line, B16F1. Treatment of B16F1 cells with royal jelly markedly inhibited melanin biosynthesis in a dose-dependent manner. Decreased melanin content occurred through the decrease of tyrosinase activity. The mRNA levels of tyrosinase were also reduced by royal jelly.

These results suggest that royal jelly reduces melanin synthesis by down-regulation of tyrosinase mRNA transcription and serves as a new candidate in the design of new skin-whitening or therapeutic agents.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Honey Protects Against Chromosomal Breakage in Fanconi Anemia Patients

Cytoprotective Effect of Honey Against Chromosomal Breakage in Fanconi Anemia Patients in vitro
Indian J Hum Genet, 2011;17(2):77-81


Natural honey is widely used all over the world as a complementary and alternative medicine in various disorders including Fanconi anemia (FA). FA is a rare genetic chromosomal instability syndrome caused by impairment of DNA repair and reactive oxygen species (ROS) imbalance. This disease is also related to bone marrow failure and cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cytoprotective effect of honey on mitomycin C (MMC-) induced chromosomal damage in peripheral lymphocytes from FA patients.

Materials and Methods:

Treatment of these complications with alkylation agents MMC may enhance chromosomal breakage. We have evaluated the effect of honey on MMC- induced chromosomal breakage in FA blood cells using chromosomal breakage assay. The basal chromosomal breakage count was higher among FA patients than healthy subjects.


The addition of MMC alone gave a significantly higher of chromosomal breakage in FA patients than control group (P < 0.0001). Pre- treatment with honey significantly inhibited breakage induced by MMC in FA patients by its antioxidant effect…

To our knowledge, this is the first study involving Honey as a cytoprotector for FA patients. We have shown that honey can prevent MMC- induced chromosomal breakage by its antioxidant effect.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Honey: The 'Bee Penicillin' That Could Even Beat MRSA

By Gloria Havenhand, Daily Mail (UK), 11/19/2011
It is often hailed as a natural, healthy sweetener – but in most cases, honey bought from supermarkets today is simply sugar syrup with no nutritional value at all. To reap the true benefits of what was dubbed ‘the food of the gods’ by the Ancient Greeks, you have to look for the raw variety.

Perfectly clear honey has usually undergone a process of ultrafiltration and pasteurisation, which involves heating and passing it through a fine mesh, to ensure it remains runny at any temperature. This strips away many of the unique chemicals and compounds that make it a nutritious and healing health food…

Raw honey is particularly high in polyphenols, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lowering blood cholesterol and combating heart disease. The darkest varieties of honey include heather and hedgerow honey, which have a polyphenol content of 201mg per gram. In contrast, rapeseed oil honey, known in supermarkets as ‘blossom honey’, trails behind at just 71mg per gram.

The white ring of pollen on the top contains B vitamins, Vitamins C, D and E as well as minerals and 31 other antioxidants, although to get close to your recommended daily amounts of each nutrient you need a pollen supplement…

The University of Waikato in New Zealand found that when raw honey was applied to MRSA infected antibiotic-resistant wounds, they became sterile and healed so quickly that patients could leave hospital weeks earlier. Scarring was minimised because peeling back a dressing glazed in honey – as opposed to a dry bandage – did not disturb the new tissue underneath. If you suffer a minor wound or burn, glaze a bandage with raw honey and cover. Change the glazed bandage every 24 hours and any cuts or signs of infection should disappear within a week (if not, see a doctor).

While manuka honey – a variety produced using only nectar and pollen from the manuka bush in New Zealand – gets the majority of press for being antibacterial, a good-quality raw UK honey will also be powerfully antibacterial and can kill E.coli and MRSA…

Raw honey’s anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe chronic skin conditions. Cleopatra famously bathed in milk and honey because of their skin-softening qualities – honey is a natural emollient as it is humectant (it attracts water). Melting half a jar of raw honey into a warm bath will promote healing in patients suffering with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, too. Mixed with olive oil, raw honey applied to the scalp is also a great tonic for those suffering with a seborrheic dermatitis (a flaky scalp condition).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Antibacterial Components of Honey

IUBMB Life, 2011 Nov 17

The antibacterial activity of honey has been known since the 19th century. Recently, the potent activity of honey against antibiotic-resistant bacteria has further increased the interest for application of honey, but incomplete knowledge of the antibacterial activity is a major obstacle for clinical applicability.

The high sugar concentration, hydrogen peroxide, and the low pH are well-known antibacterial factors in honey and more recently, methylglyoxal and the antimicrobial peptide bee defensin-1 were identified as important antibacterial compounds in honey.

The antibacterial activity of honey is highly complex due to the involvement of multiple compounds and due to the large variation in the concentrations of these compounds among honeys. The current review will elaborate on the antibacterial compounds in honey.

We discuss the activity of the individual compounds, their contribution to the complex antibacterial activity of honey, a novel approach to identify additional honey antibacterial compounds, and the implications of the novel developments for standardization of honey for medical applications.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brazilian Brown Propolis May Help Treat Infections Caused by E. coli

Physico-Chemical Indicators and Antibacterial Activity of Brown Propolis Against Escherichia coli
Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec, vol.63 no.5 Belo Horizonte Oct. 2011

The activity of 23 samples of ethanolic brown propolis, from the State of Mato Grosso, was investigated against Escherichia coli ATCC 25922.

The values of physical and chemical parameters showed significant variation among samples. The percentage of dry extract ranged from 2.6 to 27.6%. The index of oxidation varied from 3 to 519 seconds. All samples showed the percentage of wax higher than the limit preconized by the legislation, with values varying from 3.4 to 74.6%.

The quantification of phenolic and flavonoid compounds, responsible for antimicrobial activity, ranged from 0.1 to 5.0 (w/w) and 0.02 to 0.66 (w/w), respectively, being that the higher the index of phenolic compounds the larger the zones of inhibition.

Antibacterial activity was observed in seven out of the 23 samples, demonstrating zones of inhibition ranging from 10 to 11.3mm. For these active samples, the minimum inhibitory concentration was determined, ranging from 125 to 1000mg/mL. The value of MIC in 42.9% of these samples was 250mg/mL.

These results contribute to the establishment of physical and chemical parameters for the regulation of brown propolis and indicate possible therapeutic applicability in the development of formulations for the treatment of infections caused by E. coli.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Basque Propolis Has Strong Dose-Dependent Activity Against Microbial Strains

The Antimicrobial Effects of Propolis Collected in Different Regions in the Basque Country (Northern Spain)
World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Online First

The antimicrobial activity of 19 propolis extracts prepared in different solvents (ethanol and propylene glycol) (EEP/PEP), was evaluated against some bacterial and fungal isolates using the agar-well diffusion method.

It was verified that all the samples tested showed antimicrobial activity, although results varied considerably between samples. Results revealed that both types of propolis extracts showed highly sensitive antimicrobial action against Gram-positive bacteria and fungi at a concentration of 20% (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisae) with a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 mg/ml, with a moderate effect against Streptococcus pyogenes (MIC from 17 to 26 mg/ml).

To our knowledge, this is the first study showing elevated antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative bacteria [Salmonella enterica (MIC from 0.6 to 1.4 mg/ml)] and lesser activity against Helicobacter pylori (MIC from 6 to 14 mg/ml), while Escherichia coli was resistant.

This concluded that the Basque propolis had a strong and dose-dependent activity against most of the microbial strains tested, while database comparison revealed that phenolic substances were responsible for this inhibition, regardless of their geographical origin and the solvent employed for extraction. Statistical analysis showed no significant differences between EEP and PEP extracts.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bee Venom May Help Treat Parkinson's Disease

Bee Venom Protects SH-SY5Y Human Neuroblastoma Cells from 1-Methyl-4-Phenylpyridinium-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death
Brain Res, 2011 Oct 6

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Recently, bee venom was reported to protect dopaminergic neurons in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine induced mice PD model, however, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood.

The objective of the present study is to investigate the neuroprotective mechanism of bee venom against Parkinsonian toxin, 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridine (MPP(+)), in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells.

Our results revealed that bee venom pretreatment (1-100ng/ml) increased the cell viability and decreased apoptosis assessed by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activity assays in MPP(+)-induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Bee venom increased the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression and decreased the pro-apoptotic Bax, cleaved PARP expressions.

In addition, bee venom prevented the MPP(+)-induced suppression of Akt phosphorylation, and the neuroprotective effect of bee venom against MPP(+)-induced cytotoxicity was inhibited by a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, LY294002.

These results suggest that the anti-apoptotic effect of bee venom is mediated by the cell survival signaling, the PI3K/Akt pathway. These results provide new evidence for elucidating the mechanism of neuroprotection of bee venom against PD.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Increasing Doses of Propolis Decreased Severity of Radiation-Induced Mucositis

Dose-Dependent Profile of Ethanolic Extracts of Iranian Propolis on Radiation-Induced Mucositis in Rats
Saudi Medical Journal 2011; Vol. 32 (11): 1196-1198

Radiotherapy is a method commonly used in the treatment of head and neck malignancies. One of the most common side-effects of radiotherapy is oral mucositis, a toxic and dose and treatment limiting complication of radiotherapy, and the most significant cause of morbidity in patients undergoing chemoradiation for head and neck cancers. Studies have shown that Iranian propolis contains a significant amount of flavonoids and phenolic compounds. In a recent study, Iranian propolis, used to treat radiation-induced mucositis, was found to postpone the appearance of lesions and substantially reduce the severity of mucositis. The aim of this study was to evaluate different doses of propolis on radiation induced mucositis in rats and investigate the effective dose of Iranian propolis for reducing radiation-induced mucositis.

This study was conducted in the Faculty of Dentistry, Shahid Rajaee Hospital, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran. Thirty-five male Wistar rats, aged 7-11 weeks and weighing 160 ± 20 g were included in this study. This experiment was carried out according to the International Guidelines for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and its design was approved by the Research and Ethics Committee of Babol University of Medical Sciences.

Fresh propolis was acquired from the Agriculture Faculty, Mazandaran University and was stored at 4°C. A fresh ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) was made weekly using the magnetic stirring of 25 g of propolis in 100 ml of 10% (V/V) ethanol in a 250-ml closed-cap glass bottle at 420C for 2 hours. Then, the supernatant was paper-filtered at room temperature for 24 hours, and after EEP concentration measurement following centrifugation, different concentrations of propolis were prepared using 10% ethanol. The extracts were kept in a light-proof, closed containers in the refrigerator (2-80C) and placed in room to be warmed up at room temperature before injection. Rats were kept in metal cages under standard conditions (temperature, 22 ± 20C and dark/light cycle, 12/12 hours) with unlimited access to food and water. They were randomly divided into 5 groups: Group I received 10% (V/V) ethanol (control), Group II received 50 mg/kg propolis, Group III received 100 mg/kg propolis, Group IV received 200 mg/kg propolis, and Group V received 400 mg/kg propolis. The solutions were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) into the rats 2 hours prior to radiotherapy and for the next 10 consecutive days. The rats were anesthetized with ketamine (100 mg/kg i.p.) before x-ray radiation and were immobilized on a metal shield. Then, they were irradiated by an x-ray apparatus (Siemens Co, Munich, Germany) at a 250 kV peak with a current of 12 mA and a dose of Gy15 for 9 minutes and 39 seconds.

The radiation tube was 3 × 3 cm2, and the rat’s nose and jaw were in the field. After irradiation, the lips and tongues of the rats were examined daily over 10 days for signs of mucositis, according to the Parkin’s scale. The person responsible for the rats’ daily examination was not aware of the groups’ distribution (single blind), and the first evaluation was performed 24 hours after irradiation. The injection and examination continued up to 10 days (based on previous research).3 For the histopathological study, specimens of lips and tongues were obtained on the tenth day after euthanizing the rats by CO2. Samples were separated, coded and fixed in 10% formaldehyde for 24 hours, and after routine procedures, they were embedded in paraffin. Four micrometer-thick slices were prepared and stained with hematoxylin and eosin for light microscopic examination. An expert oral pathologist evaluated the microscopic findings. The affected areas included 1) degeneration and vacuolar alteration of the basal layer, 2) congestion and inflammatory infiltrate in the submucosa, and 3) cell changes in the stratified squamous epithelium, such as hyperchromasia, pleomorphism, necrosis and binucleation. These areas were classified into 5 grades in terms of the percentage of involved cells, according to Ertekin’s scale.5

The severity of mucositis, the determination of the maximum effective dose, and the pathologic findings were all analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis test, and a comparative analysis between the histological grades of each of the 2 groups was performed using the Mann-Whitney test. The results are described below. P values more than 0.05 were considered significant.

Mucositis was detected in the group receiving 400 mg/kg propolis after 7.14 ± 0.9 days (p=0.003), and the lesions were observed earlier with decreasing propolis doses (200 mg/kg [5.57 ± 1.4], 100 mg/kg [4.43 ± 1.5] (p<0.0012), 50 mg/kg [2.86 ± 0.9] (p=1) and control [2.43 ± 0.5]). There was a significant difference between the control and all groups, except for the 50 mg/kg propolis group (Table 1). Differences between the mucositis scales of all groups were significant for all days of the experiment except for the first, the ninth and the tenth days (Kruskal-Wallis test) (Table 1). No significant weight change was found between the groups with increasing propolis doses. Degeneration and vacuolar alteration of the basal layer showed a remarkable reduction with augmentation of the propolis doses (p=0.000). In addition, minimum congestion and inflammatory infiltrates in the submucosa and maximum alteration were observed in the 400 mg/kg propolis group and the control group, respectively (p=0.000). Fewer cellular changes were found in the stratified squamous epithelial layers with enhanced doses of propolis because there were no cases of pleomorphism or severe necrosis in our control group; in contrast, marked cellular changes were observed in a few sections in the 400 mg/kg propolis group. The Propolis used in our study had no side effects. In this study, we examined different doses of propolis to identify the most effective dose for reducing the severity of the lesions and for postponing the development of mucositis. The results of the present study showed delays in the lesion incidence and reductions in the lesion severity with increasing doses of propolis. The late onset of mucositis observed with higher doses of propolis indicated its effectiveness; this may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which plausibly lead to a delay in initiation of this phase by influencing the early (inflammatory) phase of mucositis. Histopathological findings showed reduced congestion and inflammatory infiltrate with increasing doses of propolis. This dose-dependent change was observed among different groups and is consistent with a previous study. Furthermore, alterations in basal and epithelial layers diminish with dosage increase, which could be attributed to the impact of propolis on the second (epithelial) phase of mucositis. Due to the presence of phenolic compounds, propolis possesses antioxidant properties. The following 2 factors are used to assess the antioxidant characteristic of propolis: DPPH (2, 2 diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and the reducing power of iron (III).

Based on the present findings, propolis caused increases in the latency of radiotherapy-induced mucositis in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, increasing doses of propolis lowered the severity of mucositis. Likewise, the histopathological effects of propolis were observed in a dose-dependent manner. According to these results, we suggest that higher propolis doses should be used in future studies in order to establish the most effective dose of propolis in human studies and evaluation of the mechanisms of its action.

Lack of groups receiving doses higher than 400 mg/kg of EEP which could provide the most effective dose, was the limitation of this study.

In conclusion, according to the results of this study, increasing dose of propolis will reduce the severity of mucositis, and it is suggested that higher propolis doses should be used in detecting the most effective dose in future studies.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video Shows Application of Manuka Honey to Treat Burn Wound

Manuka Honey Preparation for Burn Wounds- 2011 Charles Mraz Apitherapy Course, New Orleans, LA – American Apitherapy Society

Watch the video.

In this clip Dr. Alan Dennison MD walks us through a Menuka Honey Preparation for a severe burn wound. The subject’s shin was burned by a scooter exhaust pipe in Aug. 2011, which she treated for three months using only honey from her hives and acupuncture. The preparation shown is using irradiated Menuka honey and sterile bandages. Listen closely, there is valuable cross-talk in the video, particularly the full-length version. To access the full 12 minute video from the 2011 Charles Mraz Apitherapy Course, join the American Apitherapy Society here:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bee Venon Toxin May Help Target Symptoms of Dementia and Depression

Scientists Discover How to Design Drugs That Could Target Particular Nerve Cells
Health Canal, 11/10/2011

The future of drug design lies in developing therapies that can target specific cellular processes without causing adverse reactions in other areas of the nervous system.

Scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Liège in Belgium have discovered how to design drugs to target specific areas of the brain.

The research, led by Professor Neil Marrion at Bristol’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology and published in this week’s Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), will enable the design of more effective drug compounds to enhance nerve activity in specific nerves…

The researchers have been using a natural toxin found in bee venom, called apamin, known for its ability to block different types of SK channel. SK channels enable a flow of potassium ions in and out of nerve cells that controls activity. The researchers have taken advantage of apamin being able to block one subtype of SK channel better than the others, to identify how three subtype SK channels [SK1-3] can be selectively blocked.

Neil Marrion, Professor of Neuroscience at the University, said: “The problem with developing drugs to target cellular processes has been that many cell types distributed throughout the body might all have the same ion channels. SK channels are also distributed throughout the brain, but it is becoming obvious that these channels might be made of more than one type of SK channel subunit. It is likely that different nerves have SK channels made from different subunits. This would mean that developing a drug to block a channel made of only one SK channel protein will not be therapeutically useful, but knowing that the channels are comprised of multiple SK subunits will be the key.”

The study’s findings have identified how SK channels are blocked by apamin and other ligands. Importantly, it shows how channels are folded to allow a drug to bind. This will enable drugs to be designed to block those SK channels that are made of more than one type of SK channel subunit, to target the symptoms of dementia and depression more effectively…

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bee Sting Therapy-Induced Hepatotoxicity: A Case Report

World J Hepatol, 2011 Oct 27;3(10):268-70

The use of bee venom as a therapeutic agent for the relief of joint pains dates back to Hippocrates, and references to the treatment can be found in ancient Egyptian and Greek medical writings as well. Also known as apitherapy, the technique is widely used in Eastern Europe, Asia, and South America. The beneficial effects of bee stings can be attributed to mellitinin, an anti-inflammatory agent, known to be hundred times stronger than cortisone.

Unfortunately, certain substances in the bee venom trigger allergic reactions which can be life threatening in a sensitized individual. Multiple stings are known to cause hemolysis, kidney injury, hepatotoxicity and myocardial infarction. The toxicity can be immediate or can manifest itself only weeks after the exposure.

We describe hepatotoxicity in a 35-year-old female, following bee sting therapy for multiple sclerosis. She presented to our clinic 3 wk after therapy with a history of progressive jaundice. The patient subsequently improved, and has been attending our clinic now for the last 9 mo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Propolis Component Shows Anti-Inflammatory Activity

Catechols in Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester are Essential for Inhibition of TNF-Mediated IP-10 Expression Through NF-κB-Dependent But HO-1- and p38-Independent Mechanisms in Mouse Intestinal Epithelial Cells
Mol Nutr Food Res, 2011 Oct 31

Scope: Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is an active constituent of honeybee propolis inhibiting nuclear factor (NF)-κB. The aims of our study were to provide new data on the functional relevance and mechanisms underlying the role of CAPE in regulating inflammatory processes at the epithelial interface in the gut and to determine the structure/activity relationship of CAPE.

Methods and results: CAPE significantly inhibited TNF-induced IP-10 expression in intestinal epithelial cells. Using various analogues, we demonstrated that substitution of catechol hydroxyl groups and addition of one extra hydroxyl group on ring B reversed the functional activity of CAPE to inhibit IP-10 production. The anti-inflammatory potential of CAPE was confirmed in ileal tissue explants and embryonic fibroblasts derived from TNF(ΔARE/+) mice. Interestingly, CAPE inhibited both TNF- and LPS-induced IP-10 production in a dose-dependent manner, independently of p38 MAPK, HO-1 and Nrf2 signaling pathways.

We found that CAPE did not inhibit TNF-induced IκB phosphorylation/degradation or nuclear translocation of RelA/p65, but targeted downstream signaling events at the level of transcription factor recruitment to the gene promoter.

Conclusion: This study reveals the structure-activity effects and anti-inflammatory potential of CAPE in the intestinal epithelium.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Low Concentrations of Honey Can Reduce Colonization, Virulence of E. coli

Low Concentrations of Honey Reduce Biofilm Formation, Quorum Sensing, and Virulence in Escherichia coli O157:H7
Biofouling, 2011 Nov;27(10):1095-104

Bacterial biofilms are associated with persistent infections due to their high resistance to antimicrobial agents. Hence, controlling pathogenic biofilm formation is important in bacteria-related diseases.

Honey, at a low concentration of 0.5% (v/v), significantly reduced biofilm formation in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 without inhibiting the growth of planktonic cells. Conversely, this concentration did not inhibit commensal E. coli K-12 biofilm formation.

Transcriptome analyses showed that honey significantly repressed curli genes (csgBAC), quorum sensing genes (AI-2 importer and indole biosynthesis), and virulence genes (LEE genes). Glucose and fructose in the honeys were found to be key components in reducing biofilm formation by E. coli O157:H7 through the suppression of curli production and AI-2 import. Furthermore, honey, glucose and fructose decreased the colonization of E. coli O157:H7 cells on human HT-29 epithelial cells.

These results suggest that low concentrations of honey, such as in honeyed water, can be a practical means for reducing the colonization and virulence of pathogenic E. coli O157:H7.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Rare Cause of Atrial Fibrillation: Mad Honey Intoxication

J Emerg Med, 2011 Nov 4

BACKGROUND: Mad honey intoxication occurs after ingestion of honey containing grayanotoxin.

CASE REPORT: We report the case of a 36-year-old man who ingested mad honey and developed atrial fibrillation.

DISCUSSION: Mad honey intoxication is often characterized by symptoms such as hypotension, bradycardia, and syncope. Patients may also experience gastrointestinal, neurologic, and cardiovascular symptoms due to intoxication. Cardiac rhythm abnormalities, including sinus bradycardia, atrioventricular blocks, and nodal rhythms, also may be observed. To our knowledge, this is the first case report of a 36-year old man developing atrial fibrillation with a slow ventricular response after mad honey ingestion.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Smuggled Honey Makes it to American Stores Under Cover of 'Ultra-Filtration'

Huffington Post, 11/7/2011

The next time you find yourself in the honey aisle of your grocery store, debating between a pricy premium, artisanal honey and the store-brand nectar contained in a plastic bear, you might want to think twice before choosing based on price.

That's because a searing investigation of the honey market by Food Safety News found that 76% of all honey bought at grocery stores were treated with a process called "ultra-filtration," which removes not only impurities like wax, but also all traces of pollen. And of the types of brands at grocery stores, the ones that were far-and-away the most likely to be ultra-filtered were generic brands.

There are issues with ultra-filtration in general -- many believe that pollen, and other so-called "impurities," are actually beneficial to human health, and make honey a better choice than rival sweeteners like sugar. And there doesn't seem to be any serious benefit to the process; it's expensive and doesn't significantly improve shelf-life, even though some manufacturers claim it does…

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Apitherapy Products Promoted in Fiji

Farmers Learn Tricks of the Trade in Bee-Keeping
Sera Whippy, Fiji Times, 11/6/2011

It was a bee-affair for about 28 farmers who attended a Ministry of Agriculture workshop at the Veilomani Boys Home in Ba.

Agriculture officer Karishma Gounder said the workshop, which was for four days, had farmers from as far as Nadi and Tavua who wanted to learn the tricks of the trade in bee-keeping...

She said the last two days of the workshop saw the farmers constructing bee-hives. "A standard beehive was constructed with the help of the agriculture officers. This is a sustainable method of reducing costs and expenses. With this workshop farmers now would be able to construct their own beehives at a low cost and sell honey and other bee hive products such as wax, pollen, royal jelly and propolis at a quality price."

Monday, November 07, 2011

Stingless Bee ‘Geopropolis’ Shows Antimicrobial, Anti-Inflammatory Activity

Antimicrobial Activity Against Oral Pathogens and Immunomodulatory Effects and Toxicity of Geopropolis Produced By the Stingless Bee Melipona Fasciculata
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, Published: 4 November 2011


Native bees of the tribe Meliponini produce a distinct kind of propolis called geopropolis. Although many pharmacological activities of propolis have already been demonstrated, little is known about geopropolis, particularly regarding its antimicrobial activity against oral pathogens. The present study aimed at investigating the antimicrobial activity of M. fasciculata geopropolis against oral pathogens, its effects on S. mutans biofilms, and the chemical contents of the extracts. A gel prepared with a geopropolis extract was also analyzed for its activity on S. mutans and its immunotoxicological potential.


Antimicrobial activities of three hydroalcoholic extracts (HAEs) of geopropolis, and hexane and chloroform fractions of one extract, were evaluated using the agar diffusion method and the broth dilution technique. Ethanol (70%, v/v) and chlorhexidine (0.12%, w/w) were used as negative and positive controls, respectively. Total phenol and flavonoid concentrations were assayed by spectrophotometry. Immunotoxicity was evaluated in mice by topical application in the oral cavity followed by quantification of biochemical and immunological parameters, and macro-microscopic analysis of animal organs.


Two extracts, HAE-2 and HAE-3, showed inhibition zones ranging from 9 to 13 mm in diameter for S. mutans and C. albicans, but presented no activity against L. acidophilus. The MBCs for HAE-2 and HAE-3 against S. mutans were 6.25 mg/mL and 12.5 mg/mL, respectively. HAE-2 was fractionated, and its chloroform fraction had an MBC of 14.57 mg/mL. HAE-2 also exhibited bactericidal effects on S. mutans biofilms after 3 h of treatment. Significant differences in total phenol and flavonoid concentrations were observed among the samples. Signs toxic effects were not observed after application of the geopropolis-based gel, but an increase in the production of IL-4 and IL-10, anti-inflammatory cytokines, was detected.


In summary, geopropolis produced by M. fasciculata can exert antimicrobial action against S. mutans and C. albicans, with significant inhibitory activity against S. mutans biofilms. The extract with the highest flavonoid concentration, HAE-2, presented the highest antimicrobial activity. In addition, a geopropolis-based gel is not toxic in an animal model and displays anti-inflammatory effect.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Natural Honey Beats Artificial ‘Honey’ in Inhibiting Bacterial Growth

Effect of Honey on Streptococcus mutans Growth and Biofilm Formation
Appl Environ Microbiol, 2011 Oct 28

Because of the tradition of using honey as an antimicrobial medicament, we investigated the effect of natural honey (NH) on Streptococcus mutans growth, viability and biofilm formation compared to an artificial honey (AH).

AH contained the sugars at the concentrations reported for NH. NH and AH concentrations were obtained by serial dilution with tryptic soy broth (TSB). Several concentrations of NH and AH were tested for inhibition of bacterial growth, viability and biofilm formation after inoculation with S. mutans UA159 in 96-well microtiter plates to obtain absorbance and CFU values.

Overall, NH supported significantly less bacterial growth compared to the AH at 25 and 12.5% concentrations. At 50 and 25% concentrations, both honey groups provided significantly less bacterial growth and biofilm formation compared to the TSB control.

For bacterial viability, all honey concentrations were not significantly different from the TSB control except for 50% NH. NH was able to decrease the maximum velocity of S. mutans growth compared to AH.

In summary, NH demonstrated more inhibition of bacterial growth, viability and biofilm compared to AH. This study highlights the potential antibacterial properties of NH, and could suggest that the antimicrobial mechanism of NH is not solely due to its high sugar content.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Study looks at Honey-Alginate Scaffold for Wound Healing

Ex vivo Bio-Compatibility of Honey-Alginate Fibrous Matrix for HaCaT and 3T3 with Prime Molecular Expressions
J Mater Sci Mater Med, 2011 Nov 1

Honey's inherent compositional diversity, bio-compatibility and time tested therapeutic efficacy, especially in tissue repair as a topical agent, attract researchers towards harnessing its biomaterial potential particularly in developing matrix for tissue engineering applications.

Hence, this study fabricates fibrous mat from optimum honey-alginate formulation and alginate solution using wet spinning technology.

The physical and morphological properties of the scaffolds are assessed and finally their comparative biological performances are evaluated through in vitro studies on adherence, viability and prime molecular expression of HaCaT and 3T3 cells.

The honey-alginate scaffold demonstrates better performance than that of alginate in terms of cellular adherence, viability and proper expression of cell-cell adhesion molecule (E-cadherin) and prime molecules of extra cellular matrix (Collagen I and III) by HaCaT and 3T3 respectively.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Antibacterial Activity of Hydrogen Peroxide in Honey Boosted by Other Components

Re-Examining the Role of Hydrogen Peroxide in Bacteriostatic and Bactericidal Activities of Honey
Front Microbiol, 2011;2:213. Epub 2011 Oct 25

The aim of this study was to critically analyze the effects of hydrogen peroxide on growth and survival of bacterial cells in order to prove or disprove its purported role as a main component responsible for the antibacterial activity of honey.

Using the sensitive peroxide/peroxidase assay, broth microdilution assay and DNA degradation assays, the quantitative relationships between the content of H(2)O(2) and honey's antibacterial activity was established(.) The results showed that: (A) the average H(2)O(2) content in honey was over 900-fold lower than that observed in disinfectants that kills bacteria on contact. (B) A supplementation of bacterial cultures with H(2)O(2) inhibited E. coli and B. subtilis growth in a concentration-dependent manner, with minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC(90)) values of 1.25 mM/10(7) cfu/ml and 2.5 mM/10(7) cfu/ml for E. coli and B. subtilis, respectively.

In contrast, the MIC(90) of honey against E. coli correlated with honey H(2)O(2) content of 2.5 mM, and growth inhibition of B. subtilis by honey did not correlate with honey H(2)O(2) levels at all. (C) A supplementation of bacterial cultures with H(2)O(2) caused a concentration-dependent degradation of bacterial DNA, with the minimum DNA degrading concentration occurring at 2.5 mM H(2)O(2). DNA degradation by honey occurred at lower than ≤2.5 mM concentration of honey H(2)O(2) suggested an enhancing effect of other honey components. (D)

Honeys with low H(2)O(2) content were unable to cleave DNA but the addition of H(2)O(2) restored this activity. The DNase-like activity was heat-resistant but catalase-sensitive indicating that H(2)O(2) participated in the oxidative DNA damage.

We concluded that the honey H(2)O(2) was involved in oxidative damage causing bacterial growth inhibition and DNA degradation, but these effects were modulated by other honey components.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

International Demand Drives Boost in Kenyan Propolis Production

Honey By-Product Drives New Sales for Beekeepers
By Bob Koigi, Business Daily Africa, 10/31/2011

The rise of a honey by-product, propolis, as a wonder ingredient for the global pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries is driving new sales for farmers across Kenya, with groups and companies alike reporting that the demand for the product is growing faster than any producer can expand.

The hive product, which the bees use to line the nest and combs and to repair cracks in the hive, has become an active ingredient in skin moisturisers, food technologies and medicines due to its ability to blend well with other ingredients.

It is gathered by the beekeeper either by scraping the inside of the hive or by stimulating bees to apply the substance to a plastic sheet with holes in it, which they attempt to fill.

Locally, companies like Tego Foods, Dotino Pharmaceuticals and Lightshade Cosmetics are now buying propolis from local farmers in a newly lucrative business line.

According to Euro Monitor, the price of propolis has risen by up to 70 per cent since the 1990s, when its uses were limited to food technology. It is now selling for as much as Sh4,750 per kilo in the international market.

This is stimulating new beekeeping enterprises across the country…

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Propolis Suppresses Bacterial Quorum Sensing

A Novel Property of Propolis (Bee Glue): Anti-Pathogenic Activity by Inhibition of N-acyl-Homoserine Lactone Mediated Signaling in Bacteria
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, In Press, Accepted

An alternative approach to antibiotics is the development of anti-pathogenic agents to control the bacterial virulome. Such anti-pathogenic agents could target a phenomena known as quorum sensing (QS).

Materials and Methods

Six bacterial N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL)-dependent bioreporter strains were used to evaluate if bee hive glue also known as propolis contains constituents that capable of inhibiting QS-controlled AHL signaling. In addition, the effect of propolis on the QS-dependent swarming motility was evaluated with the opportunisitic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.


Differences in the propolis tinctures samples were identified by physiochemical profiles and absorption spectra. Propolis tinctures at 0.0005% v/v that do not affect bacteria biosensor growth or the reporter system monitored were exposed to biosensors with and without the addition an AHL. No AHL signal mimics were found to be present in the propolis tinctures. However, when propolis and an inducer AHL signal were together exposed to five E.coli and a Chromobacterium violaceum biosensor, propolis disrupted the QS bacterial signaling system in liquid- and agar-based bioassays and in C18 reverse-phase thin-layer plate assays. Swarming motility in the opportunistic pathogen, P. aeruginosa PAO1 and its AHL-dependent LasR- and RhlR-based QS behaviors were also inhibited by propolis.


Together, we present evidence that propolis contain compounds that suppress QS responses. In this regard, anti-pathogenic compounds from bee harvested propolis could be identified and isolated and thus will be valuable for the further development of therapeutics to disrupt QS signaling systems which regulate the virulome in many pathogenic bacteria.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Water Extracts of Propolis Contain More Active Constituents Than Ethanol Extracts

Chemical Compositions Andantioxidant Activities of Water Extract of Chinese Propolis
J Agric Food Chem, 2011 Oct 25

In the present study, we have investigated the chemical composition and antioxidant activity of water extract of propolis (WEP) collected from 26 locations in China.

Spectrophotometry was used to determine the physico-chemical properties and the chemical constituents of WEP. Phenolic compounds in WEP were identified by RP-HPLC-DAD with reference standards. The antioxidant activities [characterized by reducing power and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging ability] of WEP were also measured.

Results show that epicatechin, p-coumaric acid, morin, 3,4-dimethoxycinnamic acid, naringenin, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid, pinocembrin and chrysin are the major functional phenolic compounds in Chinese WEPs.

Furthermore, most WEPs show strong antioxidant activities, which are significantly correlated with , an index for estimation of the quality of WEP. WEPs also contain many more active constituents than that of ethanol extracts of propolis.