Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Happy ‘World Apitherapy Day'

Annual event marks birth of scientist who studied medicinal use of bee venom, celebrates health benefits of bee products

March 30, marks the annual celebration of “World Apitherapy Day," an event designed to enhance international understanding of the therapeutic use and health benefits of bee products.

Apitherapy is the use of bee hive products such as honey, propolis, bee-collected pollen, beeswax, drone larvae extract, bee venom, and royal jelly to maintain good health and in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions.

(Propolis is a resinous substance collected by bees from plants and trees and is used to coat the inside of the beehive and the honeycomb cells with an antiseptic layer. Royal jelly is a substance produced by young worker bees and fed to queens.

March 30 was chosen for World Apitherapy Day because it is the birth date of Dr. Philipp Terc (formerly Filip Tertsch), the first scientific researcher to investigate the medical uses of 'apitoxin," or bee venom. Terc was born on March 30, 1844, in Praporiste, Bohemia (Czech Republic).

For more information about Apitherapy, go to: www.apitherapy.com or www.apitherapy.org

The latest news and information about Apitherapy is available at Apitherapy News: www.apitherapynews.com

Monday, March 22, 2021

Study: Egyptian Use of Supplements (Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc), Medicinal Plants (Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric), Immune-Boosting Drinks (Honey) to Strengthen Immune System Common During COVID-19 Pandemic

Use of vitamin/zinc supplements, medicinal plants, and immune boosting drinks during COVID-19 pandemic: A pilot study from Benha city, Egypt

Heliyon. 2021 Mar;7(3):e06538

Background: The COVID-19 infection is characterized by a wide spectrum of severity that ranges from mild to severe lethal symptoms. The optimal status of vitamins and minerals in the body is important to maintain proper immune response to overcome infections including COVID-19. Certain foods and medicinal plants have been shown to boost the immune system.

Objectives: In the current study, the use of vitamin and zinc supplements, medicinal plants, honey, garlic, and immune-boosting drinks among Egyptian living in Benha city were investigated during the corona pandemic.

Methods: An online questionnaire was distributed through Google forms. A total of 301 adult participants (age range: 18-82) from Benha city, Egypt were included in the study. The Chi2 goodness of fit test was used to determine the differences in the distribution of the participant responses.

Results: The use of vitamin C and D were reported by 27% and 17.7% of participants. About one-third of participants reported the use of immune-boosting drinks, honey, and garlic during the pandemic to strengthen the body immunity. The use of Zingiber officinale and Curcuma longa was reported by 47.2% and 31.6% respectively. Concerning zinc supplements, only 5.6% of the sample reported using it during the pandemic. The use of examined nutrients was found to be associated with age (P < 0.05) and the fear score from the virus (P < 0.05), but not with other factors such as sex, income, and educational level.

Conclusion: The uses of supplements, medicinal plants, and immune-boosting drinks to strengthen the immune system during the pandemic were common among the participants. The present findings may help comprehend some health practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic that might be considered by health policymakers.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Bee Pollen May Help Treat Infertility

Potential Therapeutic Effect of Bee Pollen and Metformin Combination on Testosterone and Estradiol Levels, Apoptotic Markers and Total Antioxidant Capacity in A Rat Model of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Int J Fertil Steril. 2021 Apr;15(2):101-107

Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with metabolic disorder as well as infertility. Many traditional remedies have been reported to show estrogenic and antioxidant potential. Bee pollen is a natural compound, reported as one such remedy. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of BP extract and metformin (MET) on estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T) levels, apoptotic markers, and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) inarat model of PCOS.

Materials and methods: In this experimental study, 54 female Wistar (n=6/group) rats received 2 mg of estradiol valerate (EV) intramuscularly and 6 additional rats were considered the control without EV injection. The rats were treated with BP (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg), MET (300 mg/kg) and BP+MET (50 BP+300 MET, 100 BP+300 MET, and 200 BP+300 MET mg/kg). Serum levels of E2 and T were assessed by ELISA method. TAC of serum was also determined. The expressions of Bcl-2, Bax and Caspase-3(Cas-3), and Sirt-1 genes were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Data were statistically analyzed using one-way ANOVA.

Results: In the untreated PCOS group E2 and T levels (P<0.01), and Bcl-2 (P=0.007) expression were increased, but TAC (P=0.002) and expression of Bax (P=0.001), Cas-3 and Sirt1 (P<0.01) were decreased significantly. The levels of E2 and T, as well as the expressions of Bcl-2 were decreased in all treated groups compared to the untreated PCOS group (P<0.01). On the other hand, TAC and expression of Bax, Cas-3and Sirt1 were increased in the BP- and MET-treated groups (P<0.05).

Conclusion: BP and MET synergistically improved serum E2, T and TAC levels, and expression of apoptotic genes.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Propolis Improves Cognitive Function (verbal memory, information processing, attention, concentration) in Elderly

Cognitive Improvement and Safety Assessment of a Dietary Supplement Containing Propolis Extract in Elderly Japanese: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Parallel-Group, Double-Blind Human Clinical Study

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Feb 24;2021:6664217

Objectives. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of propolis on cognitive function in elderly Japanese with a placebo-controlled design. 

Material and Methods. This study was performed on 79 elderly Japanese. Participants orally received either a placebo or dietary supplement containing propolis extract for 24 weeks. Cognitive function assessed by Cognitrax and various blood or urine markers were measured at pre- and postadministration. 

Results and Conclusion. Eligible data from 68 subjects (placebo: 33, propolis: 35) who completed the study were analyzed. Compared to the placebo group, the propolis group showed significant improvement in verbal memory in Cognitrax (P=0.028). Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, urea nitrogen, creatinine, and uric acid were significantly improved in the propolis group compared to the placebo group (P = 0.011, P = 0.004, P = 0.048, P = 0.045, and P = 0.005, respectively). However, urea nitrogen, creatinine, and uric acid fluctuated within the normal level. Furthermore, a subgroup analysis was performed on those with higher than 100 of the standardized score of the neurocognitive index indicated by the overall Cognitrax score. Significant improvements in the propolis group compared to placebo were confirmed in verbal memory (P = 0.007) and processing speed as indications for information processing ability, complex attention, and concentration (P = 0.029). No side effects were observed in any of the groups. This study demonstrates that propolis is effective in improving cognitive functions such as memory, information processing, complex attention, and concentration in elderly Japanese.


Propolis intake improves not only verbal memory but also information processing, attention, and concentration in a group with high cognitive function. In addition, no side effects were shown by propolis ingestion. Thus, propolis is considered a very safe food.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Thyme Honey Protects Liver From Damage by Toxins

Protective Effect of Thyme Honey against Valproic Acid Hepatotoxicity in Wistar Rats

Biomed Res Int. 2021 Feb 20;2021:8839898

Introduction: Valproic acid is a medication most commonly used in the treatment of emotional and neurological depression, psychological imbalances, epilepsy, and bipolar disorder. Dark honey, like thyme honey, contains more antioxidant compounds than other samples. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of thyme honey on the potential hepatic effects of valproic acid.

Methods: In this study, 48 male rats were randomly divided into 8 groups (n = 6): G1 (control): healthy rats (normal saline 0.9%), G2: thyme honey (1 g/kg), G3: thyme honey (2 g/kg dose), G4: thyme honey (3 g/kg dose), G5: VPA (500 mg/kg), G6: VPA (500 mg/kg) and thyme honey (1 g/kg), G7: VPA (500 mg/kg) and thyme honey (2 g/kg dose), and G8: VPA (500 mg/kg) and thyme honey (3 g/kg dose). Groups G1 to G5 received the drug for 28 days. On day 14, administration of thyme honey for G6 to G8 groups was carried out using gavage until day 28. VPA was administered one hour after honey. To carry out the biochemical evaluation, blood samples were collected from all the groups and their serums were used for MDA, TAC, and liver enzymes (AST, ALT, and GGT). Tissue samples of each rat were also removed for histological studies with hematoxylin-eosin and Masson's trichrome staining.

Results: The use of thyme honey significantly improved the histopathological parameters of the liver tissue, including hypertrophic degeneration and nucleus alteration, expansion of sinusoids, fibrosis and hepatic necrosis, and inflammation as well as hypertrophy of Kupffer cells. In the groups receiving VPA, the rate of lipid peroxidation increased, which indicates the destruction of the liver cell membrane due to drug consumption. TAC levels also increased following increase in thyme honey dosage (p ≤ 0.05). The results of liver enzyme analysis showed a decrease in AST and ALT levels in the G6 group and a decrease in GGT level in the G8 group (p ≤ 0.05).

Conclusion: Based on the results of this study, it seems that high percentage of antioxidants in thyme honey enabled it to improve hepatic complications and reduce the rate of hepatocellular destruction.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Health Benefits of Stingless Bee-Collected Pollen (Bee Bread)

Stingless Bee-Collected Pollen (Bee Bread): Chemical and Microbiology Properties and Health Benefits

Molecules. 2021 Feb 11;26(4):957

Stingless bee-collected pollen (bee bread) is a mixture of bee pollen, bee salivary enzymes, and regurgitated honey, fermented by indigenous microbes during storage in the cerumen pot.

Current literature data for bee bread is overshadowed by bee pollen, particularly of honeybee Apis. In regions such as South America, Australia, and Southeast Asia, information on stingless bee bee bread is mainly sought to promote the meliponiculture industry for socioeconomic development.

This review aims to highlight the physicochemical properties and health benefits of bee bread from the stingless bee. In addition, it describes the current progress on identification of beneficial microbes associated with bee bread and its relation to the bee gut. This review provides the basis for promoting research on stingless bee bee bread, its nutrients, and microbes for application in the food and pharmaceutical industries...

The collective pieces of evidence in recent years have shown the potential of the stingless bee bee bread to be developed as a food ingredient, feed, or a supplement. It is rich in micronutrients, minerals, and phenolic compounds.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Australian Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) Honey Contains Agents That Augment Antifungal Activity

Inhibition of Dermatophyte Fungi by Australian Jarrah Honey

Pathogens. 2021 Feb 11;10(2):194

Superficial dermatophyte infections, commonly known as tineas, are the most prevalent fungal ailment and are increasing in incidence, leading to an interest in alternative treatments. Many floral honeys possess antimicrobial activity due to high sugar, low pH, and the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) from the activity of the bee-derived enzyme glucose oxidase. 

Australian jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) honey produces particularly high levels of H2O2 and has been found to be potently antifungal. This study characterized the activity of jarrah honey on fungal dermatophyte species. Jarrah honey inhibited dermatophytes with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 1.5-3.5% (w/v), which increased to ≥ 25% (w/v) when catalase was added. Microscopic analysis found jarrah honey inhibited the germination of Trichophyton rubrum conidia and scanning electron microscopy of mature T. rubrum hyphae after honey treatment revealed bulging and collapsed regions. When treated hyphae were stained using REDOX fluorophores these did not detect any internal oxidative stress, suggesting jarrah honey acts largely on the hyphal surface. 

Although H2O2 appears critical for the antifungal activity of jarrah honey and its action on fungal cells, these effects persisted when H2O2 was eliminated and could not be replicated using synthetic honey spiked with H2O2, indicating jarrah honey contains agents that augment antifungal activity.