Sunday, October 31, 2010

Propolis Non-Toxic for Fish

Long-Term Effects of Propolis on Serum Biochemical Parameters of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Article in Press

Long-term effects of propolis administration on serum biochemical parameters of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were investigated. To determine the possible toxicity and side effects of propolis, fish were fed on diets containing 0, 0.5, 1.5, 4.5 and 9 g propolis/kg diet for 8 weeks.

At the end of the experiment, various seric biochemical parameters were determined. Our results showed that all dosages induced no significant alterations in growth parameters and the seric levels of total protein, albumin, globulin, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides and activities of glutamic pyruvic transaminase, glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase, alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase, when compared to the control group.

On the basis of our findings, propolis is a non-toxic substance for rainbow trout and its long-term administration might not have any side effects.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Propolis: Is there a potential for the development of new drugs?

J Ethnopharmacol, 2010 Oct 20

INTRODUCTION: Propolis has plenty of biological and pharmacological properties and its mechanisms of action have been widely investigated in the last years, using different experimental models in vitro and in vivo. Researchers have been interested in the investigation of isolated compounds responsible for propolis action; however, there is lack of clinical research on the effects of propolis. STRATEGY AND

OBJECTIVES: Since propolis-containing products have been marketed and humans have used propolis for different purposes, the goal of this review is to discuss the potential of propolis for the development of new drugs, by comparing data from the literature that suggest candidate areas for the establishment of drugs against tumors, infections, allergy, diabetes, ulcers and with immunomodulatory action.

CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of propolis in different protocols in vitro and in vivo suggests its therapeutic properties, but before establishing a strategy using this bee product, it is necessary to study: a) the chemical nature of the propolis sample. b) Propolis efficacy should be compared to well-established parameters, e.g. positive or negative controls in the experiments. Moreover, possible interactions between propolis and other medicines should be investigated in humans as well. c) Clinical investigation is needed to evaluate propolis potential in patients or healthy individuals, to understand under which conditions propolis may promote health.

Data point out the importance of this research field not only for the readers and researchers in the scientific community waiting for further clarification on the potential of propolis but also for the pharmaceutical industry that looks for new drugs.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bee Venom Boosts Growth, Antioxidative Activities in Broiler Chickens

Effects of Honeybee Venom Supplementation in Drinking Water on Growth Performance of Broiler Chickens
Poult Sci, 2010 Nov;89(11):2396-400

The effects of water supplementation of bee venom (BV) on performance, antioxidant activity, and liver function in Arbor Acres broiler chickens were investigated.

Hence, 3 experimental treatment groups (control, 0.5 mg/L of BV, and 1 mg/L of BV) were allocated to 3 replicates of 5,000 one-day-old chicks each. The control group was kept on tap water, whereas the other 2 groups were supplied water supplemented with 0.5 and 1 mg of BV, respectively, per liter of drinking water. Broilers were provided ad libitum access to feed for the experimental period of 1 to 28 d of age. Supplementing drinking water with BV significantly increased BW gain at 28 d of age (P < 0.05).

The average daily weight gain from d 1 to 28 was increased for birds supplemented with BV compared with control birds. The increase in BW gain was more pronounced with supplementation of 1 mg/L of BV compared with 0.5 mg/L of BV. An improved feed intake was noted in groups supplemented with BV as compared with control chicks.

Liver function enzymes, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase activities including total cholesterol, total protein, albumin, and globulin were not changed by BV supplementation.

Tap water supplementation of BV did not alter the number of leukocytes, erythrocytes, heterophils, and lymphocytes. However, the antioxidative activities estimated as a superoxide dismutase-like activity of broiler chicks supplemented with BV was significantly increased in comparison with those without BV supplementation.

These data indicate a possibility of better broiler performance through BV supplementation under conditions of severe stressful challenges the newly born chicks encounter.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Royal Jelly Glycoprotein Identified

Identification of a Royal Jelly Glycoprotein that Carries Unique Complex-Type N-Glycans Harboring the T-Antigen (Galβ1-3GalNAc) Unit
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem, 2010 Oct 7

In this study, we identified a royal jelly glycoprotein (RJG) that carries a unique complex-type N-glycans harboring the T-antigen (Galβ1-3GalNAc) unit.

The amino acid sequence of the tryptic glycopeptide harboring the T-antigen unit was G-E-S-L-X-K (X might be glycosylated Asn), confirmed in the major royal jelly glycoprotein 1 (MRJP1), which is also expressed in the mushroom body of the honeybee brain…

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Honey, Saffron Minimize Effects of Liver Toxin

Role of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and Honey Syrup on Aluminum-Induced Hepatotoxicity
Saudi Med J, 2010 Oct;31(10):1106-13

OBJECTIVE: To study the biochemical and molecular hepatotoxicity induced by aluminium chloride (AlCl3) and the protective role of saffron and honey against such toxicity.

METHODS: This study was performed in the Department of Biology, College of Science, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between July and August 2009. Two mice strains, BALB/c and C57BL/6 (20 animals from each strain), were used and randomly divided into 4 groups: control group; AlCl3 group; AlCl3+saffron group; and AlCl3+honey group. Changes in liver biochemical markers such as gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and total bilirubin and lipid peroxidation levels were estimated. Induced and suppressed mRNA in the liver homogenate was scanned followed by up- and down- regulated genes were isolated, cloned, and sequenced.

RESULTS: There was a significant increase in the cholesterol levels, triglycerides, GGT, ALT, AST, ALP, lipid peroxidation, and presence of hyperglycemia in the AlCl3 group compared to the control. However, treating those animals exposed to AlCl3 by saffron and honey improved the disrupted liver biochemical markers and alleviated the increase of lipid peroxidation. Seven down-regulated genes (3 BALB/c and 4 C57BL/6) and 5 up-regulated genes (2 BALB/c and 3 C57BL/6) were observed. Aa2-245 gene was observed as being up-regulated in AlCl3+ saffron and AlCl3+honey groups in the BALB/c strain.

CONCLUSION: The use of saffron and honey minimized the toxic effect of AlCl3 in the liver by alleviating its disruptive effect on the biochemical and molecular levels.   

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Propolis May Help Protect Liver from Damage Caused by Diabetes

Protective Effects of Chinese and Brazilian Propolis Treatment Against Hepatorenal Lesion in Diabetic Rats
Hum Exp Toxicol, 2010 Oct 18

Diabetes mellitus promoted an overproduction of free radicals and an increased incidence of both diabetic nephropathy and liver disease.

In this report, we evaluated the effects of Chinese and Brazilian propolis on streptozotocin-induced hepatorenal injury in rats.

The results demonstrated that Chinese propolis-treated rats had a 7.4% reduction in the glycated hemoglobin (HbAlc) level compared with untreated diabetic rats. Additionally, Chinese propolis induced an increase in the serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) level significantly while Brazilian propolis raised serum SOD and reduced level of malonaldehyde (MDA) and nitric synthetase (NOS).

Of the measurable decrease in serum alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST) and microalbuminuria demonstrated the propolis-mediated improvement of hepatorenal function, which was further confirmed by histological examination. We also observed that Chinese and Brazilian propolis increased hepatorenal glutathione peroxidase (GSH-px) level and inhibited MDA production significantly.

These results suggested that propolis may prevent hepatorenal injury by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and enhancing the activities of antioxidant enzymes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nigerian Honey Boosts Movement of Immune Cells

Effect of Jungle Honey on the Chemotactic Activity of Neutrophils Journal of ApiProduct & ApiMedical Science, Vol. 2 (4) pp. 149 - 154

It is generally known that honey has antibacterial activity, yet there is no evidence concerning its chemotactic activity for neutrophils associated with bacterial infection.

Jungle honey is collected from timber and blossom by wild honey bees that live in the tropical forest of Nigeria and it is used as a traditional medicine for bacterial infection, colds and skin inflammation. However, the effect of Jungle honey on neutrophil function is not clearly known.

In this study, we investigated whether jungle honey induced the chemotactic activity of neutrophils from guinea pigs. The number of migrated neutrophils exposed to jungle honey was significantly increased compared with control. Furthermore, the radian and velocity as indicators of chemotactic activity of migrated neutrophils were significantly increased at concentrations of 1 and 10 mg/mL Jungle honey compared to control.

These results suggest that enhancement of chemotactic activity in neutrophils by Jungle honey may be contribute to preventing bacterial infection.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Plant Toxin May be Found in Honey, Bee Pollen

Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Food: Downstream Contamination in the Food Chain Caused by Honey and Pollen
Food Addit Contam, 2010 Oct 20:1-7

In recent years, there has been a steadily growing number of published data on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in honey and pollen. This raises the question whether honey and/or pollen used as ingredients in food processing might provoke a downstream contamination in the food chain. Here we addressed two different facets in connection with PAs in honey and pollen.

First, we analysed the PA content of several food types such as mead (n = 19), candy (n = 10), fennel honey (n = 9), soft drinks (n = 5), power bars and cereals (n = 7), jelly babies (n = 3), baby food (n = 3), supplements (n = 3) and fruit sauce (n = 1) that contained honey as an ingredient in the range of 5% to approximately 37%.

Eight out of 60 retail samples were tested as being PA-positive, corresponding to 13%. Positive samples were found in mead, candy and fennel honey, and the average PA content was calculated to be 0.10 µg g(-1) retronecine equivalents (ranging from 0.010 to 0.484 µg g(-1)).

Furthermore, we investigated the question whether and how PAs from PA pollen are transferred from pollen into honey. We conducted model experiments with floral pollen of Senecio vernalis and PA free honey and tested the influence of the quantity of PA pollen, contact time and a simulated honey filtration on the final PA content of honey.

It could clearly be demonstrated that the PA content of honey was directly proportional to the amount of PA pollen in honey and that the transfer of PAs from pollen to honey was a rather quick process. Consequently, PA pollen represents a major source for the observed PA content in honey. On the other hand, a good portion remains in the pollen. This fraction is not detected by the common analytical methods, but will be ingested, and it represents an unknown amount of 'hidden' PAs.

In addition, the results showed that a technically and legally possible honey filtration (including the removal of all pollen) would not be an option to reduce the PA level of the final product significantly.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tunisian Propolis Extract Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth

Anti-Cariogenic and Anti-Biofilms Activity of Tunisian Propolis Extract and Its Potential Protective Effect Against Cancer Cells Proliferation
Anaerobe, Article in Press

Propolis is a multifunctional substance used by bees to maintain the safety of their hives. It is worldwide used for their potential therapeutic effects. In this study, Tunisian propolis ethanol extract (EEP) was tested for their anti-cariogenic, anti-biofilms and antiproliferative effects of many cell lines.

The Tunisian EEP was evaluated in vitro against 33 oral pathogens including streptococci and enterococci using broth microdilution method. The anti-biofilms activity of EEP was assessed via Crystal Violet staining and MTT assays. The Tunisian EEP antiproliferative effect was evaluated on normal (MRC-5) and cancer cell lines (HT-29, A549, Hep-2, raw 264.7, Vero) by the ability of the cells to metabolically reduce MTT to a formazan dye. Our results revealed that Tunisian EEP possessed excellent protective effects against cariogenic and biofilms activity of oral streptococci bacteria. Furthermore, EEP showed a strong antiproliferative effects against all studied cancer cell lines as judged by IC50 and its value ranges from 15.7 ± 3.4 to 200 ± 22.2 μg mL−1.

These results suggest that EEP could have a promising role in the future medicine and nutrition as antibiotic or food additive, it is able to inhibit cancer cell growth and counteracting cariogenic and biofilms activity.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bee Venom Therapy May Help Treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Bee Venom Attenuates Neuroinflammatory Events and Extends Survival in An Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Model
Journal of Neuroinflammation, 2010, 7:69doi:10.1186/1742-2094-7-69


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease affecting the central nervous system that is either sporadic or familial in origin and causes the death of motor neurons. One of the genetic factors contributing to the etiology of ALS is mutant SOD1 (mtSOD1), which induces vulnerability of motor neurons through protein misfolding, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative damage, cytoskeletal abnormalities, defective axonal transport, glutamate excitotoxicity, inadequate growth factor signaling, and neuroinflammation. Bee venom has been used in the practice of Oriental medicine and evidence from the literature indicates that BV plays an anti-inflammatory or anti-nociceptive role against inflammatory reactions associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether bee venom suppresses motor neuron loss and microglial cell activation in hSOD1G93A mutant mice.


Bee venom (BV) was bilaterally injected (subcutaneously) into 14-week-old (98 day old) male hSOD1G93A mice at the Zusanli (ST36) acupoint, which is known to mediate an anti-inflammatory effect. For measurement of motor activity, rotarod tests were performed and survival statistics were analyzed by Kaplan-Meier survival curves. The effects of BV treatment on anti-neuroinflammation of hSOD1G93A mice were assessed via immunoreactions using Iba1 as a microglial marker and TNF-alpha antibody. Activation of ERK, Akt, p38 MAP kinase (MAPK), and caspase 3 proteins was evaluated by western blotting.


BV-treated mutant hSOD1 transgenic mice showed a decrease in the expression levels of microglia marker and phospho-p38 MAPK in the spinal cord and brainstem. Interestingly, treatment of BV in symptomatic ALS animals improved motor activity, and the median survival of the BV-treated group (139+/-3.5 days) was 18% greater than control group (117+/-3.1 days). Furthermore, we found that BV suppressed caspase-3 activity and prevented defects of mitochondrial structure and cristae morphology in lumbar spinal cord of hSOD1G93A mice at the symptomatic stage.


From these findings, our research suggests BV could be a potential therapeutic agent for anti-neuroinflammatory effects in an animal model of ALS.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bee Venom Acupuncture Modulates Methamphetamine-Induced Hyperactivity; Hyperthermia

Effect of Bee Venom Acupuncture on Methamphetamine-Induced Hyperactivity; Hyperthermia and Fos Expression in Mice
Brain Research Bulletin, Article in Press

Acupuncture has been used to treat drug addiction by nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and morphine. This study was designed to investigate the effect of bee venom (BV) acupuncture on hyperactivity and hyperthermia induced by acute exposure to methamphetamine (METH, 1 mg/kg, s.c.) in mice.

Diluted BV (20 μl of 0.01, 0.1, 1 and 10 mg/ml in saline, s.c.) was administered bilaterally into the Zusanli acupoint (ST36) or control points (SP9 or GB39 or tail base). BV injection into ST36 dose dependently reduced METH-induced hyperactivity and hyperthermia, while BV injection (1 mg/ml) into control points did not produce these suppressive effects. METH injection significantly increased Fos expression in several brain regions including nucleus accumbens (NA), caudate putamen (CPU), ventral tegmental area (VTA), substantia nigra (SN) and locus coeruleus (LC). Interestingly, BV (1 mg/ml) injection into ST36 further increased METH-induced Fos expression in NA (core and shell), SN and LC.

When we performed sciatic denervation or combination treatment of BV and lidocaine (BV diluted in 5% lidocaine solution), the enhancement of Fos elevation by BV was completely blocked in the NA, SN and LC in METH-injected mice, indicating that BV-induced peripheral nerve stimulation played an important role in the BV effect.

Furthermore, the effects of BV were completely blocked by the α2-adrenoceptor antagonist, idazoxan (3 mg/kg, i.p.), but not by β-adrenoceptor antagonist, propranolol (10 mg/kg, i.p.).

Taken together, these findings suggest that BV acupuncture into ST36 may modulate METH-induced hyperactivity, hyperthermia and Fos expression through activation of the peripheral nerve and the central α2-adrenergic activation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Propolis May be Potential Anti-Diabetic Agent

Antidiabetic Effect of Propolis: Reduction of Expression of Glucose-6-Phosphatase Through Inhibition of Y279 and Y216 Autophosphorylation of GSK-3α/β in HepG2 Cells
Phytother Res, 2010 Oct;24(10):1554-61

Propolis is a sticky, resinous material that honey bees collect from various plants, and mix with wax and other secretions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antidiabetic effect of propolis through an analysis of the expression and enzyme activity of glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) and to elucidate the mechanism by which propolis inhibits G6Pase gene expression.

When HepG2 cells were incubated in high glucose media (25 mm), G6Pase expression was induced. Propolis significantly reduced the expression and enzyme activity of G6Pase; however, the hypoglycemic effect was not abolished by the phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002, and by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor, U0126.

Propolis inhibited the activity of GSK3α and β via the inhibition of serine and tyrosine phosphorylation, specifically, Y279 for GSK3α and Y216 for GSK3β. The phosphorylations of Y279 and Y216 occur through autophosphorylation by GSK3α/β and are involved in their own activity.

Although propolis showed antioxidant activity, antidiabetic effect of propolis was not influenced by hydrogen peroxide and N-acetylcysteine.

These results suggest that propolis inhibits the expression of G6Pase by inhibiting the autophosphorylation of Y279 and Y216 of GSK3α and β, respectively, which are involved in the activation of GSK3.

These findings suggest that propolis may be a potential antidiabetic agent for the treatment of insulin.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review Looks at Therapeutic Activities of Propolis

Molecular Mechanism Underlying the Therapeutic Activities of Propolis: A Critical Review
Current Nutrition & Food Science, Volume 6, Number 3, August 2010 , pp. 186-199(14)

Propolis, a resinous bee-hive product referred as “bee glue”, is collected from various plant sources, such as buds of conifer and poplar trees, by honeybees (Apis mellifera). Honeybees blend this resinous non-toxic substance with their salivary secretions and wax flakes secreted from special glands on their abdomens.

Propolis has been used as a healing agent for thousands of years in folk medicine. There is substantial evidence indicating that propolis exhibits a broad spectrum of therapeutic (biological/pharmacological) properties such as antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antitumor, anticancer, anti-ulcer, hepatoprotective, and cardioprotective properties.

Propolis contains more than 200-300 natural compounds. The biological/pharmacological activities of propolis depend on the presence of a large number of polyphenols, mainly flavonoids (flavonoid aglycones), aromatic acids, phenolic acid esters (caffeates and ferulates), triterpenes, diterpenic acids and lignanes. The chemical composition and beneficial properties of propolis vary depending on the plant source, geographic origin and collection time.

Present overview is an attempt to discuss the molecular mechanism(s) underlying the diverse biological effects of propolis.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Honey a Potential Treatment for Colon Cancer

Involvement of Non-Protein Thiols, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Reactive Oxygen Species and p53 in Honey-Induced Apoptosis
Investigational New Drugs, Volume 28, Number 5, October 2010 , pp. 624-633(10)

Honey is a complex mixture of different biologically active constituents. Honey possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor properties.

Our chief investigation was to assess the honey induced apoptosis and its molecular mechanism in colon cancer cell growth inhibition.

Honey exerted antiproliferative potential against the HCT-15 and HT-29 colon cancer cells as assessed by 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Flow cytometric analysis showed the increasing accumulation of hypodiploid nuclei in the sub-G1 phase of cell cycle indicating apoptosis. Honey transduced the apoptotic signal via initial depletion of intracellular non protein thiols, consequently reducing the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and increasing the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation.

An increasing earlier lipid layer break was observed in the treated cells compared to the control. Honey induced apoptosis was accompanied by up-regulating the p53 and modulating the expression of pro and anti-apoptotic proteins. Further apoptosis induction was substantiated using DNA fragmentation assay and YO-PRO-1 staining.

Results showed honey as a plausible candidate for induction of apoptosis through ROS and mitochondria-dependent mechanisms in colon cancer cells. This will promote honey as a potential chemotherapeutic agent against colon cancer.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Honey Boosts Healing of Radiation Burns Following Breast Surgery

Pentoxifylline and Local Honey for Radiation-Induced Burn Following Breast Conservative Surgery
Curr Clin Pharmacol, 2010 Sep 6

Introduction: Breast-conserving therapy is currently the standard of management of breast cancer cases. Radiotherapy is an integral part of it; however, it has several complications. Radiation induced burn is a common complication of radiotherapy that requires more effective lines of management rather than the classically used ones. We investigated whether the addition of pentoxifylline (PTX) alone or in combination with topical honey is effective in its management compared to the standard measures.

Methods and Materials: In this prospective study, patients were randomly allocated into three groups each of 50 cases. Group A received standard burn treatment (control group). Group B received additionally 400 mg PTX twice daily. Group C received the same treatment as Group B with adding topical purified honey ointment. Patients were assessed initially and subsequently after 4 and 12 weeks, for projected coetaneous surface area (PCSA) of burn, Pain severity, limitation of movement and exudation.

Results: There was a striking regression of the mean PCSAs of lesions among groups B and C at 12 weeks, with reduction rates (86±61%) and (76±58%) respectively (p<0.0001***). The addition of honey was associated with marked pain reliving effect and rescue of proper motion. Finally, honey was associated with shorter duration of treatment as 74% of group C patients completely recovered after 12 weeks, compared to only 54% and 36% of groups B and A in order.

Conclusion: Combination of PTX and honey is an ideal measure for treatment of radiation-induced burn following breast conservative surgery.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Malaysian Honey Extracts Show Anti-Inflammatory Activity

Ellagic Acid, Phenolic Acids, and Flavonoids in Malaysian Honey Extracts Demonstrate in vitro Anti-Inflammatory Activity
Nutr Res, 2010 Sep;30(9):650-9

Natural honey has been used in traditional medicine of different cultures throughout the world. This study looked into the extraction of Malaysian honey and the evaluation of the anti-inflammatory activity of these extracts.

It was hypothesized that honey extracts contain varying amounts of phenolic compounds and that they possess different in vitro anti-inflammatory activities. Honey extracts were analyzed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify and compare phenolic compounds, whereas high-performance liquid chromatography was used for their quantification.

Subsequently, honey methanol extract (HME) and honey ethyl acetate extract (HEAE) were tested in vitro for their effect on nitric oxide production in stimulated macrophages. The extracts were also tested for their effects on tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) cytotoxicity in L929 cells.

The major phenolics in the extracts were ellagic, gallic, and ferulic acids; myricetin; chlorogenic acid; and caffeic acid. Other compounds found in lower concentrations were hesperetin, p-coumaric acid, chrysin, quercetin, luteolin, and kaempferol.

Ellagic acid was the most abundant of the phenolic compounds recorded, with mean concentrations of 3295.83 and 626.74 μg/100 g of honey in HME and HEAE, respectively. The median maximal effective concentrations for in vitro nitric oxide inhibition by HEAE and HME were calculated to be 37.5 and 271.7 μg/mL, respectively. The median maximal effective concentrations for protection from TNF cytotoxicity by HEAE and HME were 168.1 and 235.4 μg/mL, respectively.

In conclusion, HEAE exhibited greater activity in vitro, whereas HME contained a higher concentration of phenolic compounds per 100 g of honey.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Honey Helps Treat Rhinoconjunctivitis

Honey as a Treatment Option for Rhinoconjunctivitis
Journal of ApiProduct & ApiMedical Science, Vol. 2 (4) pp. 145 - 148

Treatment with honey is one of many unconventional methods for the treatment of rhinoconjunctivitis. A recent study reported the inefficacy of honey treatment despite earlier reports on the efficacy of oral desensitization with honey in children.

We asked beekeepers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to hand out a questionnaire to their customers who bought honey for the treatment of rhinoconjunctivitis, which assessed the modalities of honey administration, efficacy of honey treatment (using the German version of the Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire from Juniper) and the patient-rated success of treatment.

Twenty-nine questionnaires were received. Twenty three were evaluable for response.

The study showed that the majority of participants (91.3%) considered the use of honey in this respect to be a reasonable or very reasonable approach. Comparison of quality of life before and after honey treatment also showed significant improvements in most cases.

In spite of the limitation of this study due to its design, we were able to provide evidence that the use of honey could help to improve symptom control in patients with rhinoconjunctivitis.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Enriched Honey Has Enhanced Bactericidal Activity Against MRSA

Medical-Grade Honey Enriched with Antimicrobial Peptides has Enhanced Activity Against Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis, 2010 Oct 7

Honey has potent activity against both antibiotic-sensitive and -resistant bacteria, and is an interesting agent for topical antimicrobial application to wounds. As honey is diluted by wound exudate, rapid bactericidal activity up to high dilution is a prerequisite for its successful application.

We investigated the kinetics of the killing of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by RS honey, the source for the production of Revamil® medical-grade honey, and we aimed to enhance the rapid bactericidal activity of RS honey by enrichment with its endogenous compounds or the addition of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs).

RS honey killed antibiotic-resistant isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecium, and Burkholderia cepacia within 2 h, but lacked such rapid activity against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli.

It was not feasible to enhance the rapid activity of RS honey by enrichment with endogenous compounds, but RS honey enriched with 75 μM of the synthetic peptide Bactericidal Peptide 2 (BP2) showed rapid bactericidal activity against all species tested, including MRSA and ESBL E. coli, at up to 10-20-fold dilution. RS honey enriched with BP2 rapidly killed all bacteria tested and had a broader spectrum of bactericidal activity than either BP2 or honey alone...

In summary, we were able to enhance the bactericidal activity of honey by enrichment with the AMP BP2. BP2-enriched RS honey had rapid bactericidal activity up to a high dilution against all bacteria tested and had a broader spectrum of bactericidal activity than either agent alone.

This offers prospects for the development of clinically applicable honey-based antimicrobials with rapid and broad-range microbicidal activity.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In Possible Experimental Model for Nutrigenomics, Bee Pollen Extends Lifespan of Inbred Mice

Inbred Mice Fed Only Bee Pollen
Journal of ApiProduct & ApiMedical Science, Vol. 2 (4) pp. 156 - 160

We previously reported that three different inbred strains of mice (CBA/Ki, C3H/f/Ki and C57BI/Ki) survived in a healthy condition when fed only a bee pollen granules diet and drinking water for 365 days.

Similarly, Sprague-Dawley rats showed comparable skeletal and organ growth and development when fed a similar bee pollen diet during a twelve-week period as compared to control animals fed a standard laboratory diet.

It was the purpose of this study to determine how long the survival time of CBA/Ki mice could be extended beyond 365 days when fed only bee pollen granules and water as compared to controls.

Control mice survived a mean of 477 days (389-548) with 100% diagnosed with renal amyloidosis at autopsy which characterized this strain of mice in our laboratory. All pollen fed mice appeared healthy when euthanized at 600 days of age. Survival times were compared with a log rank test. Also, there was no evidence of pathology particularly in the kidneys.

These unexpected findings could be interpreted as being consistent with the genetotrophic disease concept proposed more than fifty years ago, namely, that bee pollen contains either a unique nutrient or a higher level of one or more nutrients that may be lacking or at a lower concentration in the standard diet which will then circumvent partial genetic blocks in the metabolic assembly line.

If correct, this finding could provide an experimental model for study in the emerging field of nutrigenomics.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Zealand Honey Industry Takes Broader View on Manuka Tests

NZPA, 10/11/10
New Zealand's manuka honey industry has arranged for two laboratories in Asia and Europe to test for the special antibacterial activity present in some strains of manuka honey, to make it easier for supermarket chains and other offshore customers to verify its quality.

The labs are additional to two already used in New Zealand by processors and exporters.

Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) general manager John Rawlcliffe said the laboratories will be able to use not only tests on anti-bacterial activity but also objective chemical markers such as the methylglyoxal content…

AMHA previously has heavily focused on protecting its UMF (unique manuka factor) quality mark, and has argued against methylglyoxal being used alone as a measure of the honey's antibacterial properties...

Research Needed to Standardize Bee Pollen

What is the future of Bee-Pollen?
Journal of ApiProduct & ApiMedical Science, Vol. 2 (4) pp. 131 - 144

In the last two decades many papers have been published on issues concerning bee pollen. Some have related to nutritional and therapeutic claims supported by scientific based evidence and many have dealt with quality control questions and validation of the methodologies that allow bee pollen producers to have sufficient knowledge to provide the market with high quality products.

The quality of the product starts to be influenced by the bees at pollen collection, and includes harvest by beekeepers and technologies used during storage.

This review summarises information available at each of these stages. In the near future research needs to develop legislation in order to have Harmonised Standard Quality Control. It is clear that there is quite a long road until bee pollen will be able to take a place in modern phytomedicine.

The main difficulty for the use of bee pollen in therapy lies in the wide variation of its composition, and thus of its biological activity, depending on its botanical origin.

In the first place beekeepers should offer a good selection of different specific bee pollen. Indeed, the harvest of monofloral pollen is possible, but for the time being it is a relatively rare specialty. Another possibility of having more standardized bee pollen is to mix different pollen types to obtain a constant composition, and thus also consistent biological activity. For this purpose biological parameters like antioxidant activity and vitamin content should be included in a future bee pollen standard. Monofloral or standardized bee pollen should be tested in future biological and clinical studies.

The biological and pharmacological properties of the monofloral pollen types should be determined and the biologically active substances identified. Then pollen types with optimal pharmacological properties can be evaluated for human therapy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Use of Honey to Treat Foot Diabetic Wounds Common in Saudi Arabia

Self-Reported Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Products in Topical Treatment of Diabetic Foot Disorders by Diabetic Patients in Jeddah, Western Saudi Arabia BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:254

There is little published on current Saudi diabetic patients' practices when they are exposed to foot disorders such as open wound, ulcer, and skin cracks. These factors are usually influenced by local culture and communities beliefs.

The aim of the current study was to identify the pattern of patients' use of CAM products in dealing with diabetic foot disorders topically in a group of diabetic patients. A Cross-sectional descriptive study of a representative cohort of diabetic patients living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was designed. A pre-designed questionnaire to identify local diabetics' practices in dealing topically with foot disorders including open wound, chronic ulcer, and skin cracks was designed.

Questionnaire was administered by a group of trained nutrition female students to diabetics face to face living in their neighborhood. A total of 1634 Saudi diabetics were interviewed.

Foot disorders occurred in approximately two thirds of the respondents 1006 (61.6%). Out of the 1006 patients who had foot disorders, 653 reported trying some sort of treatment as 307 patients (47.1%) used conventional topical medical treatment alone, 142 (21.7%) used CAM products alone, and 204 (31.2%) used both treatments.

The most commonly used CAM product by the patients was Honey (56.6%) followed by Commiphora Molmol (Myrrh) in (37.4%) and Nigellia Sativa (Black seed) in (35.1%). The least to be used was Lawsonia inermis (Henna) in (12.1%).

Ten common natural preparations used topically to treat diabetic foot disorders were also identified.

Conclusions: The use of CAM products in topical treatment of diabetic foot disorders is fairly common among Saudi diabetic patients. Honey headed the list as a solo topical preparation or in combination with other herbs namely black seeds and myrrh.

The efficacy of the most common products needs further research.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Caribbean Propolis Components Show Potent Antiretroviral Activity

Antiretroviral Activity of Two Polyisoprenylated Acylphloroglucinols, 7-Epi-Nemorosone and Plukenetione A, Isolated from Caribbean Propolis Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther, 2010 Oct;48(10):670-7

Objectives: Polyisoprenylated acylphloroglucinols have recently emerged as antitumoral agents. This study aims at elucidating the antiretroviral activity of two such compounds which were isolated from Caribbean propolis: 7-epi-nemorosone and plukenetione A, the structure of which is based on an adamantane moiety.

Plukenetione A is for the first time shown to have antiretroviral activity.

Material and methods: The isolation of both small molecules was carried out using RP-HPLC. Their antiretroviral activity was studied based on lentiviral particles produced in HEK293T cells from the SIV-based vector VLDBH; their cytotoxicity was monitored by MTT proliferation assay. The antiviral activity of 7-epi-nemorosone was studied in CEMx174-SEAP infected with the HIV-1-strain pNL4.3wt. Reverse transcriptase inhibition was determined by a standard two-step RT-PCR using MMLV RT.

Results: 7-epi-nemorosone and plukenetione A were found to be potent antilentiviral agents in the employed system, inhibiting viral infection at concentrations below 1 µM/2 µM, respectively. Whereas 7-epi-nemorosone was not able to inhibit the reverse transcriptase in vitro (IC50 > 25 µM), plukenetione A effectively inhibited its enzymatic activity at an IC50 of 1.75 µM.

Conclusions: Despite 7-epi-nemorosone and plukenetione A sharing some structural core elements, the mechanism of action involved in their antiretroviral activity seems to be different.

We propose that 7-epi-nemorosone inhibits the viral replication by interrupting the Akt/PKB signaling cascade, as was demonstrated previously in various cell lines. Since plukenetione A effectively inhibits the enzymatic activity of MMLV reverse transcriptase at concentrations that show antilentiviral activity, we suggest that this small molecule acts by interfering with the enzyme's catalytic site.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Propolis Immunomodulatory Activity May be Related to Anti-Tumor Action

The Effect of Propolis on Th1/Th2 Cytokine Expression and Production by Melanoma-Bearing Mice Submitted to Stress
Phytother Res, 2010 Oct;24(10):1501-7

Since propolis possesses immunomodulatory and antitumoral activities, this work aimed to evaluate its effect on Th1 (IL-2 and IFN-γ) and Th2 (IL-4 and IL-10) cytokines mRNA expression and production by melanoma-bearing mice submitted to immobilization stress.

C57BL/6 male mice were inoculated with B16F10 cells, treated with propolis and submitted to stress for 14 days. Spleen cells were assessed for Th1/Th2 cytokine expression and production. Stress induced a higher tumor area, while propolis-treated mice, stressed or not, showed a melanoma development similar to the control.

In groups without melanoma, stress or propolis treatment did not affect IL-2, IL-4 and IL-10 gene expression. On the other hand, IL-2 and IL-10 expression was inhibited in melanoma-bearing mice, stressed or not. Th1 cytokine production was also inhibited in melanoma-bearing mice. Propolis administration to melanoma-bearing mice submitted to stress stimulated IL-2 expression, as well as Th1 cytokine (IL-2 and IFN-γ) production, indicating the activation of antitumor cell-mediated immunity. Propolis also stimulated IL-10 expression and production, which may be related to immunoregulatory effects.

The data indicate that propolis exerted an immunomodulatory activity in this assay, which may be related to its antitumoral action in vivo.

Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery

By Kirk Johnson, The New York Times, 10/6/2010

Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.

A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One…

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Royal Jelly Used in New Skin Care Serum

Guerlain Offers Healing Honey
Bee goodness is harnessed in Guerlain’s latest serum.
By Patsy Kam, The Star (Malaysia), 10/7/2010

According to French skincare brand Guerlain, research has demonstrated that the tissue reconstruction process, responsible for the repair of both wrinkles and loss of firmness, shares biological factors with the healing process.

Look young: Guerlain’s latest Youth Serum containing royal jelly…

Guerlain believes in harnessing the best that nature has to offer and this has led it to identify natural bee products, which are known to be some of the world’s most effective natural healing substances.

The ingredients of the Pure Royal Concentrate (royal jelly) act on key biological factors involved in tissue reconstruction: migration of cells to damaged areas that will help reconstruct the skin, tissue reproduction whereby the skin repairs itself and tissue remodelling to ensure skin firmness. This concentrate is found in Guerlain’s latest Abeile Royale Youth Serum Firming Lift, Wrinkle Correction…

The concentrate acts like an “orchestra leader” to set into motion and activate the combination of these mechanisms that participate in the skin’s self-repair and stimulate the activation of target genes, said Dr Frédéric Bonté, director of Guerlain Research.

The brand also discovered an extraordinary bee – the Black Bee from Ouessant – that are free to gather nectar from the wilderness to produce honey of exceptional purity. To guarantee the highest quality, only royal jelly of French origin with controlled traceability is used…

Propolis Eliminates E. coli, Reduces Endotoxins in Root Canals

Action of Propolis and Medications Against Escherichia coli and Endotoxin in Root Canals

This study evaluated the action of propolis and intracanal medications against Escherichia coli and endotoxin.

Forty-eight dental roots were contaminated with E. coli. The root canals were instrumented with propolis and divided into groups according to the type of intracanal medication: Ca(OH)(2), polymyxin B, or Ca(OH)(2) + 2% chlorhexidine gel. In the control group, saline solution was used without application of intracanal medication. Counts of colony-forming units were carried out and the endotoxin was quantified by the chromogenic Limulus amobocyte lysate assay. The results were evaluated by analysis of variance and the Dunn test (5%).

Root canal irrigation with propolis was effective to completely eliminate E. coli and reduce the amount of endotoxins. All intracanal medications contributed to the significant decrease in endotoxins. Only intracanal medications may reduce the amount of endotoxins in the root canals. The greatest efficacy was observed for medications containing Ca(OH)(2).

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Propolis Researcher Receives ‘Genius’ Grant

Buzz About U Professor is 'Genius’
A University of Minnesota bee researcher gets a big surprise: a MacArthur "genius" grant.
By Jenna Ross, Star Tribune, 9/28/2010
…Lately, Spivak and her students have been studying resin, which bees collect, take back to the hive and use to seal cracks and gaps of their tree cavities. The resin -- called propolis once it gets to the colony -- helps the bees' immune systems, they've discovered.

But there are "a million more" questions to ask about resin, she said, and the small percentage of bees that collect it.

"Who are the bees who collect these resins?" she said. "It's difficult and unrewarding work. So why do it? Why not just secrete wax?"

Mike Simone-Finstrom has studied resin's role as a Ph.D. student, writing grants with and learning from Spivak….

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bee Pollen Boosts Rabbit Health

Effect of Bee Pollen Levels on Productive, Reproductive and Blood Traits of NZW Rabbits J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl), 2010 Sep 29

Forty New Zealand White (NZW) rabbit does were equally divided among four groups feeding the same commercial diet and receiving a water solution containing, respectively, 0 (control), 100, 200 and 300 mg bee pollen/kg body weight (BW), 1 week before and after mating during moderate (October-February) and hot seasons (May-September) for three consecutive mating in each season.

Does were mated with non-treated adult NZW male rabbits 11 days after kindling. Body weight of does, number of service per conception, conception rate, feed intake, litter size, milk production, blood constituents, weight of kits from birth up to weaning and survival rate were determined. For each season, 80 weaned rabbits originated from the does of the control group (untreated does) were equally divided into four groups (0, 100, 200 and 300 mg/kg BW) of bee pollen, given as a water solution twice per week from 4 to 12 weeks of age.

The kit of the does given 100, 200 and 300 mg/kg BW did not receive bee pollen during the growing period (4-12 weeks of age). The effect of bee pollen on growing rabbit's performance was studied from 4 to 12 week of age.

Bee pollen at 200 mg significantly increased body weight of does, conception rate, milk yield, litter size; improved biochemical profiles of blood and helps outstanding of does during both seasons.

The same dose of bee pollen significantly increased kit growth and their survival rate until weaning. Growth and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of kits from the treated does during 4-8 weeks of age were significantly better than growth of kits from the untreated does that administrated bee pollen during 4-12 weeks of age. Meanwhile, during the following period (8-12 weeks of age) growth and FCR of kits given bee pollen from the untreated does were significantly better than that of treated does.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Slovak Honeydew Honey Beats Antibacterial Activity of Manuka

Honeydew Honey as a Potent Antibacterial Agent in Eradication of Multi-Drug Resistant Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Isolates from Cancer Patients
Phytother Res, 2010 Sep 29

Multi-drug resistance in nosocomial pathogens is a continually evolving and alarming problem in health care units. Since ancient times, honey has been used successfully for the treatment of a broad spectrum of infections with no risk of resistance development.

This study investigated the antibacterial activity of two natural honeys, namely honeydew and manuka, against 20 nosocomial multi-drug resistant Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (S. maltophilia) isolates from cancer patients.

An antibiotic susceptibility test was carried out using the disk diffusion method with 20 antibiotic disks. The antibacterial activity of honey was determined using a broth dilution method. The concentration of honey used in the study was within the range of 3.75% to 25% (w/v). All 20 clinical isolates were multi-drug resistant against 11 to 19 antibiotics.

The MICs for honeydew honey ranged from 6.25% to 17.5%, while those for active manuka honey ranged from 7.5% to 22.5%. Honeydew honey had lower MICs than manuka honey against 16 of the tested isolates.

This study showed that Slovak honeydew honey has exceptional antibacterial activity against multi-drug resistant S. maltophilia isolates and was more efficient than manuka honey (UMF 15+).

Honeydew honey with strong antibacterial activity could be used as a potential agent to eradicate multi-drug resistant clinical isolates.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Propolis Boosts Arthritis Treatment

Effect of Intraarticular Propolis in an Experimental Septic Arthritis Model

To evaluate the efficacy and safety of intraarticular propolis compared with systemic antibiotic treatment in an experimental septic arthritis model.

Thirty-two rabbits were infected intraarticularly by Staphylococcus aureus. The rabbits were randomly divided into four groups, including a control group and three experimental groups. Drainage was the only procedure performed in group I (control group).

The animals were treated with daily intramuscular cefazolin sodium (75 mg/kg) for 7 days in group II. In group III, intraarticular ethanolic extract of propolis (0.5 mg/ml) was injected to the infected knees under sterile conditions on days 7, 14, and 21 after drainage.

In group IV, the rabbits received both intramuscular cefazolin sodium as in group II and intraarticular ethanolic extract of propolis as in group III. After 8 weeks, the animals were killed and joint histopathological and scanning electron microscopic parameters were assessed.

The best clinical score was obtained in group IV. There were statistically significant differences among all the groups. The highest total score of the histological examination was found in group I and the best total score was obtained in group IV.

There were statistically significant differences among the groups when we evaluated the scores of the parameters as loss of chondrocytes, loss of matrix, and pannus in-growth. But there was no significant difference among the groups for the scores of cloning of the chondrocytes. The highest scanning electron microscopy score was found in group I and the best score was obtained in group IV.

Our results confirm the safety and efficacy of intraarticular propolis and synergistic effect of propolis when used with cefazolin in an experimental septic arthritis model.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Swiss-German Apitherapy Association to Hold Annual Seminar

The Swiss-German Apitherapy Association will hold its annual seminar on the 13th of November in the beautiful Steinhausen, Canton Zug, with Dr. Clifflord Kunz, Arlesheim, Dr. Joachim Exner, Germany, Gregor Schraner, Homoeopath, and Herisau Helene Schilliger.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Does Honey Have a Role in Pediatric Wound Management?

Br J Nurs, 2010 Aug 12-Sep 8;19(15):19-24

Topical honey treatment has been shown to possess antimicrobial properties, promote autolytic debridement, stimulate growth of wound tissues to hasten healing, and to start the healing process in dormant wounds, stimulating anti-inflammatory activity that rapidly reduces pain, oedema and exudate production.
This article provides an overview of the use of honey as a medicinal substance, particularly its use in wound treatment, and reviews the published data concerning honey as a form of complementary and alternative medicine in paediatric wound management.
The literature reviewed was found by searching the PubMed, BIOSIS, and ISI Web of Science databases for the term honey. Exclusion criteria were articles where honey was used in a mixture with other therapeutic substances.