Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Instant Coffee Herbhoney Shows High Antioxidant Activity

(1) H and (13) C NMR-based sugar profiling with chemometric analysis and antioxidant activity of herbhoneys and honeys
J Sci Food Agric, 2014 Jan 30;94(2):246-55
Herbhoneys, relatively new bee products, are expected to have interesting medicinal properties. However, there is still a lack of data concerning their composition and antioxidant properties. (1) H and (13) C NMR spectroscopy coupled with chemometric analysis (PCA and PLS-DA) and antioxidant assays (DPPH-ESR and ORAC-FL) were used to study 25 samples of Polish herbhoneys and honeys.
Antioxidant activity varied among the samples. The best properties were exhibited by cocoa and instant coffee herbhoneys. The contents of total polyphenols and total carotenoids in the studied samples were found to be 70-1340 mg GAE kg(-1) and 0-28.05 mg kg(-1) respectively. No significant differences between herbhoney and honey samples were found in their sugar profiles. The PCA of (13) C NMR spectra of the samples in DMSO-d6 resulted in sample clustering due to sucrose content.
Herbhoneys have similar antioxidant properties to traditional honeys, being therefore of equal nutritional value. There was a noticeable influence of the extract concentration on the observed antioxidant effect. For samples with high antioxidant activity, polyphenols were responsible for the observed effect. Sample clustering due to sucrose content in the NMR-PCA study allowed effortless detection of adulteration. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Propolis May Help Treat Psoriasis

Inhibitory effect of a propolis on Di-n-Propyl Disulfide or n-Hexyl salicilate-induced skin irritation, oxidative stress and inflammatory responses in mice
Fitoterapia, 2013 Dec 23. pii: S0367-326X(13)00316-X
Thermal imaging has been utilized, both preclinically and clinically, as a tool for assessing inflammation. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by hyperkeratosis, dermal inflammatory infiltrate and increased angiogenesis. The aim of the present study was to assess usefulness of thermography in psoriatic lesion regression after topically treatment with bee propolis, recognized as potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
We monitored the inflammation process induced by irritants such as n-Hexyl salicilate (HXS) or Di-n-Propyl Disulfide (PPD by hystopatological assement of skin, thermographic scanning, total number of inflammatory cells in peritoneal cavity, differential analysis of cells in peritoneal cavity, macrophage spreading index, haematological and biochemical parameters, frequencies of micronucleated reticulocytes, lipid peroxidation and glutathione assay in skin.
Topically applied ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) with HXS or PPD reduced the lipid peroxidation in skin and total number of inflammatory cells in skin and peritoneal cavity, functional activity of macrophages, the number of micronuclei in mouse peripheral blood reticulocytes and enzymatic activity of ALP and AST.
These results demonstrate that topical application of EEP may improve psoriatic-like skin lesions by suppressing functional activity of macrophages and ROS production. Taken together, it is suggested that EEP can safely be utilized in the prevention of psoriasis-related inflammatory changes without causing any toxic effect.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

‘Mad Honey’ May Help Treat Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

Analgesic effects of mad honey (grayanotoxin) in mice models of acute pain and painful diabetic neuropathy
Hum Exp Toxicol, February 2014  vol. 33  no. 2  130-135
Objectives: The aim of this experimental study was to investigate the effects of mad honey (grayanotoxin, GTX), used in complementary medicine for a variety of purposes besides being food, on pain thresholds in normal mice as model for acute pain and diabetic mouse as model for neuropathic pain.
Methods: Hind paw withdrawal pain threshold to thermal stimulus was measured with a plantar analgesia meter in a mice model using healthy intact animals for acute pain and streptozotocin-induced diabetic animals for chronic neuropathic pain. Time and dose-dependent effects of intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered GTX were investigated in both acute and neuropathic pain.
Results: In the acute pain model, administration of GTX caused a dose- and time-dependent marked increase in the pain latency values. In diabetic mice, which had markedly increased threshold to pain, GTX (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) restored the mean pain latencies by decreasing from the pre-GTX treatment values of 3.2 ± 0.6 to 3.0 ± 0.9s at 10 min, 3.2 ± 0.6s at 20 min, 3.4 ± 0.6s at 30 min, 2.6 ± 0.5s at 60 min and 2.4 ± 0.6s (p < 0.05) at 100 min.
Conclusion: The results from this experimental study indicate that GTX exhibits significant analgesic activity and has potential benefits against painful diabetic neuropathy. This is compatible with the widespread use of GTX containing mad honey for alleviating pain. Further studies involving long-term applications are needed for a more decisive conclusion regarding the usefulness of GTX as an analgesic, especially in the treatment of painful neuropathy.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Propolis May Help Treat Inflammation of the Gums

Leptomeningeal Cells Transduce Peripheral Macrophages Inflammatory Signal to Microglia in Reponse to Porphyromonas gingivalis LPS
Mediators Inflamm, 2013;2013:407562
We report here that the leptomeningeal cells transduce inflammatory signals from peripheral macrophages to brain-resident microglia in response to Porphyromonas gingivalis (P.g.) LPS. The expression of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), TLR4, TNF- α , and inducible NO synthase was mainly detected in the gingival macrophages of chronic periodontitis patients. In in vitro studies, P.g. LPS induced the secretion of TNF- α and IL-1 β from THP-1 human monocyte-like cell line and RAW264.7 mouse macrophages. Surprisingly, the mean mRNA levels of TNF- α and IL-1 β in leptomeningeal cells after treatment with the conditioned medium from P.g. LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages were significantly higher than those after treatment with P.g. LPS alone. Furthermore, the mean mRNA levels of TNF- α and IL-1 β in microglia after treatment with the conditioned medium from P.g. LPS-stimulated leptomeningeal cells were significantly higher than those after P.g. LPS alone. These observations suggest that leptomeninges serve as an important route for transducing inflammatory signals from macrophages to microglia by secretion of proinflammatory mediators during chronic periodontitis. Moreover, propolis significantly reduced the P.g. LPS-induced TNF- α and IL-1 β production by leptomeningeal cells through inhibiting the nuclear factor- κ B signaling pathway. Together with the inhibitory effect on microglial activation, propolis may be beneficial in preventing neuroinflammation during chronic periodontitis.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Acacia Honey May Help Block Carcinogens

Ameliorative Effects of Acacia Honey against Sodium Arsenite-Induced Oxidative Stress in Some Viscera of Male Wistar Albino Rats
Biochem Res Int, 2013;2013:502438
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and its development is frequently associated with oxidative stress-induced by carcinogens such as arsenicals. Most foods are basically health-promoting or disease-preventing and a typical example of such type is honey. This study was undertaken to investigate the ameliorative effects of Acacia honey on sodium arsenite-induced oxidative stress in the heart, lung and kidney tissues of male Wistar rats. 
Male Wistar albino rats divided into four groups of five rats each were administered distilled water, Acacia honey (20%), sodium arsenite (5 mg/kg body weight), Acacia honey, and sodium arsenite daily for one week. They were sacrificed anesthetically using 60 mg/kg sodium pentothal. The tissues were used for the assessment of glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase activities, protein content and lipid peroxidation. Sodium arsenite significantly (P < 0.05) suppressed the glutathione peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase activities with simultaneous induction of lipid peroxidation. Administration of Acacia honey significantly increased (P < 0.05) glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase activities with concomitant suppression of lipid peroxidation as evident by the decrease in malondialdehyde level. 
From the results obtained, Acacia honey mitigates sodium arsenite induced-oxidative stress in male Wistar albino rats, which suggest that it may attenuate oxidative stress implicated in chemical carcinogenesis.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why Raw Honey is Good for You

The medicinal properties of honey are as exciting as its breadth of flavour
Joanna Blythman and Rosie Sykes
The Guardian, Friday 20 December 2013
Why is honey good for me?
…Raw, cold extracted honey hasn't been heat-treated and "purified", so still contains its full complement of enzymes and antioxidants, and has antibacterial properties. Manuka honey is most effective in killing antibiotic-resistant infections, such as MRSA.
Manuka is the only honey so far that is widely acknowledged to have proven medicinal effects, but earlier this year a study at the University of Glasgow's School of Veterinary Medicine found that heather honey also killed MRSA microbes and three other strains of pathogenic bacteria.
Raw honey is increasingly used to treat hard-to-heal wounds. Several studies support the traditional use of honey as a cough soother. But like all sugars, honey should only be eaten in small amounts, which isn't that hard, because its natural intensity makes it tough to overdo anyway…

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Biological Activities of Commercial Bee Pollens

Antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Food Chem Toxicol, 2014 Jan;63:233-9
Bee pollen is considered, since memorable times, a good source of nourishing substances and energy. The present study aimed to evaluate the biological activities of eight commercial bee pollens purchased from the market. The origin of sample A was not specified in the labeling; samples B, C, D and G were from Portugal and the remaining were from Spain.
The sample E presented the highest value of phenolics (32.15±2.12mg/g) and the H the lowest (18.55±095mg/g). Sample C had the highest value of flavonoids (10.14±1.57mg/g) and sample H the lowest (3.92±0.68mg/g). All the samples exhibited antimicrobial activity, being Staphylococcus aureus the most sensitive and Candida glabrata the most resistant of the microorganisms studied. All the samples exhibited antimutagenic activity, even though some samples were more effective in decreasing the number of gene conversion colonies and mutant colonies. Regarding the antioxidant activity, assessed using two methods, the more effective was sample B.
The anti-inflammatory activity, assessed using the hyaluronidase enzyme, was highest in samples B and D. Pearson's correlation coefficients between polyphenols, flavonoids, antioxidant activity and antimicrobial activity were computed. It was also performed a discriminant analysis.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Low Concentrations of Honey Appear Non-Toxic to Inner Ear

Safety of transtympanic application of 4 % manuka honey in a chinchilla animal model
The antimicrobial and anti-biofilm properties of manuka honey (MH) are currently being explored in the treatment of chronic recalcitrant rhinosinusitis. Due to similarities between chronic rhinosinusitis and chronic otitis, manuka honey may find applications in the management of challenging cases of chronic otitis media implicating biofilms. The goal of this study was to investigate the safety of topical application of 4 % MH in the middle ear. Eleven adult female chinchillas had one of their ears randomly assigned to receive transtympanic 4 % MH, while the contralateral ear served as control. Auditory brainstem-evoked response (ABR) was performed before and after MH application. The facial nerve function and vestibular system were assessed clinically. The animals were euthanized one month following the last application, and the cochleae samples were processed for light and scanning electron microscopy. There was no statistically significant differences between ABR thresholds in both control and experimental ears before and after the application of MH. No morphological differences were seen in both groups of cochleae. The outer hair cell counts for both groups were comparable. Our results suggest that 4 % MH appears not toxic to the cells of the cochlea after 4 weeks of application. The long-term effects of prolonged contact on the structure and function of the cochlea however need further investigations.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Honey in Medicine (German)

Honig in der Medizin
Dtsch med Wochenschr 2013; 138(51/52): 2647-2652
Die geschichtliche Verwendung des Honigs als Heilmittel
Die Verwendung von Honig geht in prähistorische Zeiten zurück. Die steinzeitlichen Höhlenmalereien von La Aranas gelten als das älteste Dokument zur Geschichte des Honigs und werden auf eine Zeit um etwa 7000 v.  Chr. datiert [14]. Sie belegen, dass Honig offenbar schon immer ein begehrtes Produkt war. Australische Pteroglyphen dokumentieren, dass auch die Aborigines bereits in vorgeschichtlicher Zeit den Honig von stachellosen Bienen sammelten.
In früheren Zivilisationen wurde Honig als Substanz mit magisch religiösem Charakter oder gar als Medizin angesehen [19]. Im Irak wurden Honigrezepte für Salben und Heilmittel auf Tontafeln entdeckt. Sie werden der Zeit der Sumerer um etwa 2100 v. Chr. zugeordnet und sind bis heute die ersten bekannten Schriften über Honig. Im RIG-Veda, der ältesten aller geheiligten Schriften Indiens, die auf eine Zeit zwischen 3000–2000 v. Chr. datiert wird, finden sich viele Hinweise auf Bienen und Honig. Zu dieser Zeit wurde Honig vorwiegend in Verbindung mit Feierlichkeiten und als Medizin eingesetzt. Schon etwa 1400 v. Chr. kannte man in Indien acht Honigsorten die von verschiedenen Insekten produziert und denen verschiedene medizinische Wirkungen zugesprochen wurden. Einige Honigsorten wirkten kühlend, andere wurden gegen Erkältung und Asthma, andere gegen Hautkrankheiten eingesetzt [19].
Eine therapeutische Verwendung von Honig wird um 1800 v. Chr. auch im Babylonischen Gesetzbuch, dem „Code of Hammurabi“ beschrieben. Im Talmud, dem großen Jüdischen Thesaurus um Null bis etwa 600 n. Chr. finden sich zahlreiche Hinweise für die medizinische Wirkung von Honig, wobei Honig im Gegensatz zu Wasser, Wein und Milch nicht als unrein bezeichnet wurde. Auch die Griechen kannten die medizinischen Wirkungen von Honig. Hippokrates (460–377 v.  Chr.), der berühmteste Arzt der Antike und noch heute hochgeschätzte „Vater der Medizin“ benutzte Honig und Propolis als „liebste Medizin“. Der Prophet Mohammed (571–632 n.  Chr.) sagt im Koran: „Honig ist ein Heilmittel für alle körperlichen Krankheiten, der Koran ist ein Heilmittel für alle Krankheiten des Geistes, deshalb empfehle ich euch beide Heilmittel, den Koran und den Honig“.
Auch im Burenkrieg und während der beiden Weltkriege wurde Honig zur Wundbehandlung und zur Vorbeugung gegen Wundinfektionen verwendet. Ein weit verbreiteter Einsatz von Honig und anderen Bienenprodukten zu medizinisch-therapeutischen Zwecken erfolgt noch heute in vielen Ländern der Dritten Welt. Honige von Melipona- und Trigona-Arten werden noch in vielen afrikanischen Ländern und bei Indiostämmen im Amazonasgebiet als Therapeutikum eingesetzt. Als altes Hausmittel gegen Erkältung und Husten genießt Honig in Tee oder Milch während der Wintermonate auch in vielen europäischen Ländern eine lange Tradition. In den „modernen“ Industrieländern werden Naturstoffe in der medizinischen Therapie jedoch oft abgelehnt, mit der Begründung, dass deren chemische Zusammensetzung variiert und somit nicht exakt definiert werden kann.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bee Venom Facials

Fashion Central, 12/11/2013
We all might like to have perfect, glowing, young and healthy skin like movie stars and celebrities on glossy magazines covers. But the question rises how can we fulfil our desire?
For perfect skin everyone adopts different tips. Some choose natural tips and use herbs for skin treatment and some use different moisturising cream, masks and facials. For glowing and healthy skin some go to beauty clinics or saloon and consult with experts and some like to use domestic treatments at home.
Well, the good news is that this is now in our range and access. The new buzz which is introduced in beauty industry is called “bee venom facials.” Facials protect your skin from seasonal and environmental changes. When we travel, smoke and dirt leave bad effects on our skin, which show in the shape of dark circles, wrinkles, black or white heads and freckles. These all elements damage your skin and beauty, and you look old among your friends. Facial gives you healthy and young skin. It’s also known as apitherapy and anti-aging.
Bee venom facials are no so common. It was introduced in duchees and top models and actress of Hollywood. But its result is very fantastic. Kate Middleton, new the duchees of Cambridge has used bee venom facial before wedding to Prince William in 2011…

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why I eat BEE GLUE every day!

Yep, along with my daily dose of my ancient cold-preventer and my healthy dirt bugs, I take a helping of bee glue, a.k.a propolis.
What is propolis?
Along with the other fruits of their labor, including honey and royal jelly, bees create propolis from the resin of trees. After gathering the resin, bees transform it into a very sticky and antimicrobial mixture that they use to patch up their hive.
Due to its antimicrobial properties, it also disinfects the hive and prevents outbreaks of viruses and bacteria. Bees even use propolis to immobilize intruders (source). So basically, propolis is bee duct tape!
Bees living in hollow trees will coat the inside of the cavity thickly with propolis.  After an experiment, researchers at The University of Minnesota found that bees housed in a nest box coated with propolis had lower bacterial loads in their body and also ‘quieter’ immune systems compared to the colonies with no propolis coating.
So, although bees never eat propolis, this unique substance plays a key role in their immune system. Through the same properties, propolis can boost our immune system and overall wellness. 
Why I take propolis
General immune system support – Propolis supports the immune system in various ways. First, the antimicrobial properties suppress harmful bacteria and infections. Further, it actually stimulates the immune system and raises the body’s natural resistance (source).
I diligently take my dose of propolis during cold and flu season. I can’t, however, credit any one part of my diet or supplement regime for keeping me healthy (not a single cold this year! *knocks on wood*). I do take a double dose of propolis if I wake up and feel something coming on, and I will feel better the next day…

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bee Venom May Help Correct Imbalance of Female Sex Hormones

Effect of bee venom on IL-6, COX-2 and VEGF levels in polycystic ovarian syndrome induced in Wistar rats by estradiol valerate
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a low-grade inflammatory disease characterized by hyperandrogenemia, hirsutism, chronic anovulation and vascular disorder. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are triggered by inflammatory stimuli and lead to angiogenesis and pathogenesis of the ovary. Honeybee venom (HBV) contains an array of biologically active components possessing various pharmaceutical properties. This study was designed to assess the possibility of HBV application as an anti-inflammatory therapeutic agent to suppress levels of the main inflammatory mediators IL-6, COX-2 and VEGF.
To induce PCOS, 1 mg of estradiol valerate (EV) per 100 g of body weight was subcutaneously (SC) injected into eight-week-old rats. After 60 days, 0.5 mg/kg of HBV was administered Intraperitoneal (IP) for 14 consecutive days, and the results of PCOS treatment were investigated. Rats were then anesthetized with CO2, and the ovaries were surgically removed. Serum IL-6 was detected by the ELISA kit. Immunoexpression of COX-2 and VEGF were examined in three groups: EV-induced PCOS, HBV-treated PCOS and control animals.
Thickness of theca layer, number and diameter of cysts and levels of IL-6 significantly decreased in HBV group relative to PCOS group. The immunohistochemical analysis showed an increase in COX-2 and VEGF expression in PCOS group whereas HBV-treated rats presented weak and irregular immunostaining.
Our results suggest that the beneficial effect of HBV may be mediated through its inhibitory effect on serum IL-6 level and ovarian COX-2 and VEGF expression.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Organogel Boosts Delivery, Antimicrobial Action of Propolis

Propolis organogel as a novel topical delivery system for treating wounds
Drug Deliv, 2013 Dec 3
Context: Propolis has traditionally been used in curing infections and healing wounds and burns. Objective: The aim of this study is to formulate pluronic lecithin organogel of propolis to improve its availability and antimicrobial activity.
Materials and methods: Different organogels were prepared by using soybean lecithin, isopropyl palmitate, pluronic F127 and water. The effect of quantity of lecithin and pluronic F127 and percentage of oil phase was investigated. The organogels were evaluated for appearance, texture, pH, drug content and viscosity. In vitro release studies were carried out using cellophane membrane. Drug permeation through abdominal rat skin from organogels that showed high % drug release was compared to that from propolis suspension in distilled water. Finally, the antimicrobial activity of the selected propolis formulation against different bacterial isolates was compared with that of propolis suspension in water. 
Results and discussion: Results showed that all organogel formulations except the formula containing 10% pluronic F127, showed acceptable physical properties. Drug content of organogel formulations was in the range of 97.5-100.2%. The pH of the formulations was in the range of 5.5-6.3 that suits the skin pH, indicating skin compatibility. The viscosity was in the range of 5366-8984 cp. A significant decrease in drug release from formulations was observed with increase in concentration of lecithin and pluronic F127. Decreasing oil phase percentage to 20% w/w led to a decrease in drug release from the formulation.
Conclusion: The formula containing 3% lecithin and 20% pluronic F127 exhibited superior skin permeation and antimicrobial activity over propolis suspension in water.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Propolis Boosts Sciatic Nerve Healing

Propolis and curcumin have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and neuroprotective features. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of propolis and curcumin on nerve healing in rat sciatic nerve crush injuries and to compare these effects with results obtained using steroid treatment.
In the sham group, the right sciatic nerves of rats were dissected and exposed, and the skin was closed without any additional manipulation. In the control group (group C), after the right sciatic nerves of rats were exposed, crush damage was inflicted using a surgical clamp. In the control-methylprednisolone group, crush injuries were inflicted on sciatic nerves as in group C. After injury, 1-mg/kg methylprednisolone was administered daily for 6 days and was then tapered for 4 days. In the curcumin group, crush injuries were inflicted on sciatic nerves as in group C. Then, 100-mg/kg curcumin was given every day. In the propolis group, crush injuries were inflicted on sciatic nerves as in group C. Then, 200-mg/kg propolis was given every day. Rats were evaluated after 28 days using functional (walking track analysis and electrophysiological measurements), histomorphometric, electron microscopic, and muscle weight measurements.
Compared to the control groups, the curcumin and propolis groups had better functional (walking track analysis and electrophysiological) results after experimental peripheral nerve crush injury.
Curcumin and propolis, 2 traditional drugs, had a positive effect on nerve crush injuries. We are convinced that they can be used to support routine treatment in such nerve injuries.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Royal Jelly May Help Prevent Muscle Loss with Aging

Royal jelly prevents the progression of sarcopenia in aged mice in vivo and in vitro
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2013 Dec;68(12):1482-92
Sarcopenia is characterized by the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. One of the mechanisms of sarcopenia is the loss in the function and number of muscle satellite cells. Royal jelly (RJ) is a health food used worldwide. To obtain better digestion and absorption than RJ, protease-treated RJ (pRJ) has been developed. RJ and pRJ have been suggested to have potential pharmacological benefits such as prolonging the life span and reducing fatigue. Because these effects may improve sarcopenia and the functions of satellite cells, we examined the effects of RJ or pRJ treatment on the skeletal muscles in an animal model using aged mice. In vivo, RJ/pRJ treatment attenuated the decrease in the muscle weight and grip strength and increased the regenerating capacity of injured muscles and the serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels compared with controls. In vitro, using isolated satellite cells from aged mice, pRJ treatment increased the cell proliferation rate, promoted cell differentiation, and activated Akt intracellular signaling pathway compared with controls. These findings suggest that RJ/pRJ treatment had a beneficial effect on age-related sarcopenia.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gelam Honey Protects Against Diabetes By Improving Insulin Content, Insulin Resistance

Effect of Gelam Honey on the Oxidative Stress-Induced Signaling Pathways in Pancreatic Hamster Cells
Int J Endocrinol, 2013;2013:367312
Background: Oxidative stress induced by reactive oxygen and nitrogen species is critically involved in the impairment of β -cell function during the development of diabetes.
Methods. HIT-T15 cells were cultured in 5% CO2 and then preincubated with Gelam honey extracts (20, 40, 60, and 80 µg/mL) as well as quercetin (20, 40, 60, and 80 µM), prior to stimulation by 20 and 50 mM of glucose. Cell lysate was collected to determine the effect of honey extracts and quercetin on the stress activated NF- κ B, MAPK pathways, and the Akt (ser473) activated insulin signaling pathway. 
Results. HIT-T15 cells cultured under hyperglycemic conditions demonstrated insulin resistance with a significant increase in the levels of MAPK, NF- κ B, and IRS-1 serine phosphorylation (ser307); however, Akt expression and insulin contents are significantly decreased. Pretreatment with quercetin and Gelam honey extract improved insulin resistance and insulin content by reducing the expression of MAPK, NF- κ B, and IRS-1 serine phosphorylation (ser307) and increasing the expression of Akt significantly.
Conclusion. Gelam honey-induced differential expression of MAPK, NF- κ B, IRS-1 (ser307), and Akt in HIT-T15 cells shows that Gelam honey exerts protective effects against diabetes- and hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress by improving insulin content and insulin resistance.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

New Rapid Method to Measure Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Honey

Development and validation of a rapid multiplex ELISA for pyrrolizidine alkaloids and their N-oxides in honey and feed
Anal Bioanal Chem, 2013 Dec 11

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are a group of plant secondary metabolites with carcinogenic and hepatotoxic properties. When PA-producing plants contaminate crops, toxins can be transferred through the food chain and cause illness in humans and animals, most notably hepatic veno-occlusive disease. Honey has been identified as a direct risk of human exposure. 
The European Food Safety Authority has recently identified four groups of PAs that are of particular importance for food and feed: senecionine-type, lycopsamine-type, heliotrine-type and monocrotaline-type. Liquid or gas chromatography methods are currently used to detect PAs but there are no rapid screening assays available commercially. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a rapid multiplex ELISA test for the representatives of three groups of alkaloids (senecionine, lycopsamine and heliotrine types) that would be used as a risk-management tool for the screening of these toxic compounds in food and feed. The method was validated for honey and feed matrices and was demonstrated to have a detection capability less than 25 μg/kg for jacobine, lycopsamine, heliotrine and senecionine. The zinc reduction step introduced to the extraction procedure allows for the additional detection of the presence of N-oxides of PAs. 
This first multiplex immunoassay for PA detection with N-oxide reduction can be used for the simultaneous screening of 21 samples for >12 PA analytes. Honey samples (n = 146) from various origins were analysed for PA determination. Six samples were determined to contain measurable PAs >25 μg/kg by ELISA which correlated to >10 μg/kg by LC-MS/MS.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chinese Hospital Uses Apitherapy

Shijiazhuang Taisho Apitherapy Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Bee venom therapy is based on the theory of traditional Chinese medicine syndrome differentiation, choose a different acupuncture points is subject to different treatment of different diseases.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Brazilian Propolis Accelerates Corneal Wound Healing, Reduces Inflammation

Topical Brazilian propolis improves corneal wound healing and inflammation in rats following alkali burns
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of the Brazilian Scaptotrigona sp propolis, a widely used folk medicine, in corneal wound healing and inflammation.
Corneal epithelial defects of 1 mm in diameter were made in the right eyes of Wistar male adult rats by cauterization with silver nitrate sticks. Subsequently, they were divided in two groups (n = 40 rats/group): Brazilian propolis (BP) group was topically treated with a microemulsion containing 1% Brazilian propolis; vehicle (VH) group received the same formulation without propolis. The epithelial defect area was photographed and measured at t = 0 (wound induction), and after 12, 24, 48 and 120 h of treatment. The inflammatory response was evaluated based on counting of neutrophils. Epithelial regeneration rates were determined based on Ki-67 expression in basal epithelial cells. Comparisons were made using the Kruskal-Wallis and the Mann–Whitney U test.
The BP group presented both smaller epithelial defect areas at 12, 24 and 48 h and fewer corneal infiltrating neutrophils at 24 and 48 h (P < 0.01) than the VH group. These effects were associated with more pervasive Ki-67 staining in the BP group at 12 and 24 h (P < 0.05).
Topically applied BP accelerated wound healing and reduced the inflammatory response to silver nitrate-induced corneal alkali burns in rats.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bee Venom Boosts Anti-Arthritic Effects of Methotrexate, Protects Against Side Effects

Targeting TNF-α and NF-κB Activation by Bee Venom: Role in Suppressing Adjuvant Induced Arthritis and Methotrexate Hepatotoxicity in Rats
PLoS ONE, 11/20/2013
Low dose methotrexate is the cornerstone for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. One of its major drawbacks is hepatotoxicity, resulting in poor compliance of therapy. Dissatisfied arthritis patients are likely to seek the option of complementary and alternative medicine such as bee venom. The combination of natural products with modern medicine poses the possibility of potential interaction between the two groups and needs investigation.
The present study was aimed to investigate the modulatory effect of bee venom acupuncture on efficacy, toxicity, and pharmacokinetics and tissue disposition of methotrexate.
Complete Freund's adjuvant induced arthritic rats were treated for 3 weeks with methotrexate and/or bee venom. Arthritic score, ankle diameter, paw volume and tissue expression of NF-κB and TNF-α were determined to assess anti-arthritic effects, while anti-nociceptive effects were assessed by gait score and thermal hyperalgesia. Methotrexate toxicity was assessed by measuring serum TNF-α, liver enzymes and expression of NF-κB in liver.
Combination therapy of bee venom with methotrexate significantly improved arthritic parameters and analgesic effect as compared to methotrexate alone. Bee venom ameliorated serum TNF-α and liver enzymes elevations as well as over expression of NF-κB in liver induced by methotrexate. Histological examination supported the results. And for the first time bee venom acupuncture was approved to increase methotrexate bioavailability with a significant decrease in its elimination.
Conclusion: bee venom potentiates the anti-arthritic effects of methotrexate, possibly by increasing its bioavailability. Also, it provides a potent anti-nociceptive effect. Furthermore, bee venom protects against methotrexate induced hepatotoxicity mostly due to its inhibitory effect on TNF-α and NF-κB.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Propolis-Honey Balm Beats Traditional Burn Treatment

Biological Activity of Propolis-Honey Balm in the Treatment of Experimentally-Evoked Burn Wounds
Molecules 2013, 18(11), 14397-14413
Medicines of biogenic origin with micro-organic, regenerative and analgesic properties are becoming more and more significant in the treatment of burn wounds. These properties are found in apitherapeutics such as propolis and honey—products collected and processed by a honey bee. Their effect on the course of the healing processes is multidirectional.
The aim of the study was a histopathological and biochemical analysis of the processes of scar formation in experimentally evoked burn wounds in white pigs treated with the 1% and 3% Sepropol balms containing standardized extracts of propolis and honey. The results were compared with the therapeutic effects obtained with dermazin cream (1% silver sulfadiazine). The level of collagen was determined in the wounds treated with 1% and 3% Sepropol and compared with the collagen level in healthy skin and wounds treated with dermazin.
Granulation and regenerated epithelium formation times were compared, with the 3% Sepropol being by far the most effective. The 3% Sepropol also increased the collagen level to 116% with the control sub-groups scoring between 80% and 98%. The results show the healing process of burn wounds in pigs treated with the Sepropol balm starts earlier and has a faster course than the standard dermazin therapy.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Significant Seasonal Variations in Antioxidant Potentials of Honey

Two-Year Variations of Phenolics, Flavonoids and Antioxidant Contents in Acacia Honey
Molecules 2013, 18(12), 14694-14710; doi:10.3390/molecules181214694
Honey is a good source of several important chemical compounds and antioxidants and is harvested throughout the year. However, no study has determined how their contents change over the years. The aim of the present research was to investigate the changes in the phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidant properties, as well as other physicochemical properties, of Malaysian acacia honey collected during different months during a two year period.
The DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) and FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power) methods were used to determine the total antioxidant activity of the honey samples. Generally, honey samples collected in the beginning and the middle of the year tended to have higher sugar content, which may be attributed to its high acidic nature and low moisture content. There was a gradual increase in the phenolic content of the acacia honey samples collected between September 2010 and December 2010. The honey sample collected at the beginning of the year (January) showed the highest color intensity and was dark amber in color. It also contained the highest concentration of phenolic compounds (341.67 ± 2.94 mggallic acid/kg), the highest flavonoid content (113.06 ± 6.18 mgcatechin/kg) andthe highest percentage of DPPH inhibition and the highest FRAP value, confirming its high antioxidant potential. There was a positive correlation between DPPH and total phenolic content, suggesting that phenolic compounds are the strongest contributing factor to the radical scavenging activity of Malaysian acacia honeys.
Overall, our results indicated that there were significant seasonal variations in the antioxidant potentials of honey over the two year period and the time of honey collection affects its physicochemical properties. Therefore, acacia honey from Malaysia should ideally be collected during the dry season, particularly in the months of January, May and June.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Dermatitis Due to Live Bee Acupuncture Therapy in Korea

Live Bee Acupuncture (Bong-Chim) Dermatitis
Int J Dermatol, 2013 Dec;52(12):1519-24
Live bee acupuncture (Bong-Chim) dermatitis is an iatrogenic disease induced by so-called live bee acupuncture therapy, which applies the honeybee (Apis cerana) stinger directly into the lesion to treat various diseases in Korea. We present two cases of live bee acupuncture dermatitis and review previously published articles about this disease. 
We classify this entity into three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic. The acute stage is an inflammatory reaction, such as anaphylaxis or urticaria. In the chronic stage, a foreign body granuloma may develop from the remaining stingers, similar to that of a bee sting reaction. However, in the subacute stage, unlike bee stings, we see the characteristic histological "flame" figures resulting from eosinophilic stimulation induced by excessive bee venom exposure.
We consider this stage to be different from the adverse skin reaction of accidental bee sting.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Honey in Dermatology and Skin Care: A Review

J Cosmet Dermatol, 2013 Dec;12(4):306-13
Honey is a bee-derived, supersaturated solution composed mainly of fructose and glucose, and containing proteins and amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and other minor components. Historical records of honey skin uses date back to the earliest civilizations, showing that honey has been frequently used as a binder or vehicle, but also for its therapeutic virtues.
Antimicrobial properties are pivotal in dermatological applications, owing to enzymatic H2 O2 release or the presence of active components, like methylglyoxal in manuka, while medical-grade honey is also available. Honey is particularly suitable as a dressing for wounds and burns and has also been included in treatments against pityriasis, tinea, seborrhea, dandruff, diaper dermatitis, psoriasis, hemorrhoids, and anal fissure. In cosmetic formulations, it exerts emollient, humectant, soothing, and hair conditioning effects, keeps the skin juvenile and retards wrinkle formation, regulates pH and prevents pathogen infections.
Honey-based cosmetic products include lip ointments, cleansing milks, hydrating creams, after sun, tonic lotions, shampoos, and conditioners. The used amounts range between 1 and 10%, but concentrations up to 70% can be reached by mixing with oils, gel, and emulsifiers, or polymer entrapment. Intermediate-moisture, dried, and chemically modified honeys are also used.
Mechanisms of action on skin cells are deeply conditioned by the botanical sources and include antioxidant activity, the induction of cytokines and matrix metalloproteinase expression, as well as epithelial-mesenchymal transition in wounded epidermis.
Future achievements, throwing light on honey chemistry and pharmacological traits, will open the way to new therapeutic approaches and add considerable market value to the product.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Bee Venom May Help Treat Dermatitis Symptom

Bee venom ameliorates compound 48/80-induced atopic dermatitis-related symptoms
Int J Clin Exp Pathol, 2013 Nov 15;6(12):2896-903
Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) venom (BV) has been traditionally used for the treatment of pain and inflammatory diseases such as itchy skin problems. However, the precise mechanism of BV in ameliorating the scratching behavior is not fully understood.
In order to evaluate the effect of BV on atopic dermatitis-related symptoms in mice, we used a mouse skin scratching model induced by compound 48/80. The anti-itch effect of BV was investigated in a compound 48/80-induced mouse scratching behavior model.
BALB/c mice were injected intraperitoneally with vehicle (saline 0.9%) or BV (0.01 and 0.1 mg/kg). One hour after treatment, the animals received a subcutaneous injection of compound 48/80. Intraperitoneal administration of BV (0.01 and 0.1 mg/kg) attenuated compound 48/80-induced scratching behaviors.
The anti-scratching behavior effect of BV was in proportional to its vascular permeability effects. Treatment with BV also inhibited the degranulation of mast cells and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in compound 48/80-treated skin tissues.
According to these results, BV may improve atopic dermatitis-related symptoms by inhibiting the mast cell degranulation and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Bee Venom-Loaded Hydrogel Accelerates Wound Healing, Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Effect

Accelerated wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects of physically cross linked polyvinyl alcohol-chitosan hydrogel containing honey bee venom in diabetic rats
Arch Pharm Res, 2013 Nov 30
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of impaired wound healing. The objective of this study was to develop a bee venom-loaded wound dressing with an enhanced healing and anti-inflammatory effects to be examined in diabetic rats.
Different preparations of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), chitosan (Chit) hydrogel matrix-based wound dressing containing bee venom (BV) were developed using freeze-thawing method. The mechanical properties such as gel fraction, swelling ratio, tensile strength, percentage of elongation and surface pH were determined. The pharmacological activities including wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects in addition to primary skin irritation and microbial penetration tests were evaluated. Moreover, hydroxyproline, glutathione and IL-6 levels were measured in the wound tissues of diabetic rats.
The bee venom-loaded wound dressing composed of 10 % PVA, 0.6 % Chit and 4 % BV was more swellable, flexible and elastic than other formulations.
Pharmacologically, the bee venom-loaded wound dressing that has the same pervious composition showed accelerated healing of wounds made in diabetic rats compared to the control. Moreover, this bee venom-loaded wound dressing exhibited anti-inflammatory effect that is comparable to that of diclofenac gel, the standard anti-inflammatory drug.
Simultaneously, wound tissues covered with this preparation displayed higher hydroxyproline and glutathione levels and lower IL-6 levels compared to control.
Thus, the bee venom-loaded hydrogel composed of 10 % PVA, 0.6 % Chit and 4 % BV is a promising wound dressing with excellent forming and enhanced wound healing as well as anti-inflammatory activities.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

BBC to Expose "Counterfeit" Manuka Honey Products

Stinging Claims on Healing Honey
New Zealand Farmer, 12/1/2013
The $120 million manuka honey industry is bracing for a critical BBC expose of "counterfeit" products, which some producers fear could cause irreparable damage to their reputation.
The BBC was in New Zealand last week interviewing for its documentary, expected to claim some Kiwi manuka honey being sold to British consumers is little different from ordinary, and far cheaper, British table honey.
Manuka honey is a signature export, prized for its healing qualities - consumers are willing to pay a lot of money for it, up to £49.99 (NZ$100) for a 500g jar. But the BBC, which has tested it in England, will claim that some manuka honeymarketed in the UK as "active" is no more "active" than clover honey.
Honey's active rating, known as its UMF quality rating, is a measure of its stable, non-peroxide anti-bacterial properties, which makes it highly sought-after for dressing wounds and as a health food.
But not all manuka honey has that non-peroxide activity, and the BBC will claim some of it is being sold with "active" manuka honey labels reading "Active 10" or "Active 12" which look so similar to the UMF labels that consumers are unable to distinguish between the two. That, the BBC will claim, is misleading British consumers.
Some big manuka honey producers, including Comvita, Manuka Health, and the UMF Honey Association, say the BBC is right and the same is happening here, with consumers paying over the odds for mislabelled honey.
Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said the labels were "misleading" consumers and Kerry Paul, chief executive of Manuka Health, agreed: "The consumer can't tell the difference."
But Honey NZ says the "total activity test" is internationally accepted, and the numbers on jars refer to the results of those tests. It rejects the claims that "active" labels confuse consumers, saying they explain clearly what the activity scores mean…

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

What's the buzz about apitherapy?

Judd Jones, The Coeur d' Alene Press, November 30, 2013
This week, I have "8 Apitherapy Questions" for Frank Wiedemann. Frank has been a bee enthusiast for more than 30 years. He has given classes on beekeeping and apitherapy, and is an engaging public speaker with a passion for spreading the good news about bees. He is a member of the American Apitherapy Society and regularly attends courses and conferences with leaders in the field.
Frank is an avid believer in the health properties of bee venom and other natural remedies derived from the hive. He is a practicing apitherapist and is CMACC trained. Frank has experience in commercial beekeeping and currently raises bees on his property in Idaho.
Ramey's IS 2012
Q: Frank, can you give us a brief understanding of apitherapy?
A: Apitherapy is a holistic medicine where all products from bees are used to promote good health. These products include: honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom. The use of bee products as medicine has been recorded for over 8,000 years. In China, there is evidence that acupuncture had its origins from bee venom therapy.
Q: How would athletes and fitness enthusiasts apply the use of apitherapy to support their exercise programs?
A: People with active lifestyles can improve their energy and endurance levels by using bee products. For maximum benefit it is important to use all or as many different bee products as possible. Bee products have a synergetic effect when used in combination with each other. I suggest taking 1 tablespoon honey and one tablespoon bee pollen twice each day. Also once each day a propolis and royal jelly supplement. Two to three hours before an event or extreme workout, I suggest taking one or two extra tablespoons of pollen for that extra energy boost.
Q: Many mainstream athletes take bee pollen before competitions what is the benefit of the pollen before a workout or event?
A: Despite many athletes consuming bee pollen prior to events or workouts, there is no conclusive evidence which supports that pollen has ergogenic properties. Components in bee pollen vary from region to region but pollen mainly consists of 20 to 40 percent proteins, 55 percent carbohydrates, 1 to 2 percent fats, 3 percent minerals. Bee pollen is close to being a whole food; one teaspoon of bee pollen is equivalent to a hearty serving of vegetables. As to the benefits of taking bee pollen prior to heavy physical exertion, I'm all for it but it does remain a mystery as to how the compounds in bee pollen interact. We do not fully understand the significance of some flavonoids, carotenoids and phytosterols in bee pollen. The full physiological effects of bee pollen on the human body remains to be determined. For now anecdotal information is plenty good for me.
Q: Why use raw honey over processed honey as an energy source of your workouts?
A: It's very simple: Raw, multiflower, unheated, unfiltered and unprocessed honey is loaded with natural sugars, antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, anti-inflammatories, phytochemicals, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals just to name a few. Natural honey is an instant energy-building powerhouse. Processed honey is generally heated (over 140 degrees F), this will destroy all beneficial qualities in honey and you might as well be using white sugar, also: filtered or otherwise processed honey will jeopardize quality.
Q: Can aspects of apitherapy help you with healing and recovery after exercise?
A: Yes, bee pollen, honey, propolis and venom are all anti-inflammatory and help reduce pain and recovery. Bee pollen mixed half and half with raw honey is good after a hard workout. As far as injuries are concerned, I suggest bee venom therapy as it stimulates various healing responses in our bodies.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Video: Founder of Apivita on How Bees Inspired Her Products

BBC, 11/28/2013
The founder of Apivita, Niki Koutsiana, has described how she was inspired to create products harnessing the natural properties of bee propolis.
"No one believed it would sell in Greece - not a soap that was black and has no fragrance!"
However, Niki and her husband overcame tough times and differences in business philosophy and now employ 200 people.
The firm grew slowly as they did not want to take on debt or outside investment.
"If you do something well and put your heart and soul into it, you will surely succeed," she said.

Monday, December 02, 2013

More Than Royal Food

Major royal jelly protein genes in sexuals and workers of the honeybee Apis mellifera
Frontiers in Zoology, 2013, 10:72 
In the honeybee Apis mellifera, female larvae destined to become a queen are fed with royal jelly, a secretion of the hypopharyngeal glands of young nurse bees that rear the brood. The protein moiety of royal jelly comprises mostly major royal jelly proteins (MRJPs) of which the coding genes (mrjp1-9) have been identified on chromosome 11 in the honeybee's genome.
We determined the expression of mrjp1-9 among the honeybee worker caste (nurses, foragers) and the sexuals (queens (unmated, mated) and drones) in various body parts (head, thorax, abdomen). Specific mrjp expression was not only found in brood rearing nurse bees, but also in foragers and the sexuals.
The expression of mrjp1 to 7 is characteristic for the heads of worker bees, with an elevated expression of mrjp1-4 and 7 in nurse bees compared to foragers. Mrjp5 and 6 were higher in foragers compared to nurses suggesting functions in addition to those of brood food proteins. Furthermore, the expression of mrjp9 was high in the heads, thoraces and abdomen of almost all female bees, suggesting a function irrespective of body section. This completely different expression profile suggests mrjp9 to code for the most ancestral major royal jelly protein of the honeybee.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Study: Bee Venom Kills HIV

Cosmos TV, November 26, 2013,
Bees could hold the key to preventing HIV transmission. Researchers have discovered that bee venom kills the virus while leaving body cells unharmed, which could lead to an anti-HIV vaginal gel and other treatments.
Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that melittin, a toxin found in bee venom, physically destroys the HIV virus, a breakthrough that could potentially lead to drugs that are immune to HIV resistance. The study was published Thursday in the journal Antiviral Therapy.
"Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this as a preventative measure to stop the initial infection," Joshua Hood, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement.
The researchers attached melittin to nanoparticles that are physically smaller than HIV, which is smaller than body cells. The toxin rips holes in the virus' outer layer, destroying it, but the particles aren't large enough to damage body cells…