Monday, March 31, 2014

Bee Venom May Help Treat Breast Cancer

Melittin suppresses EGF-induced cell motility and invasion by inhibiting PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in breast cancer cells
Food Chem Toxicol, 2014 Mar 24. pii: S0278-6915(14)00151-3
Bee venom is a natural compound produced by the honey bee (Apis mellifera), and has been reported as having the biological and pharmacological activities, including anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammation. In the present study, the inhibitory effects of bee venom and its major peptide components on the tumor invasion were demonstrated. It was confirmed the inhibitory effects of bee venom, melittin, and apamin on the EGF-induced invasion of breast cancer cells. Transwell invasion and wound-healing assays showed that bee venom and melittin significantly inhibits the EGF-induced invasion and migration of breast cancer cells. Also, bee venom and melittin reduced the EGF-stimulated F-actin reorganization at the leading edge, but apamin did not affect. Particularly, melittin inhibited the EGF-induced MMP-9 expression via blocking the NF-κB and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. In addition, melittin significantly suppressed the EGF-induced FAK phosphorylation through inhibition of mTOR/p70S6K/4E-BP1 pathway. These results suggest that inhibitory effects of melittin on breast cancer cell motility and migration may be related to the inhibition of mTOR pathway.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Manuka Honeys a Useful Anti-Biofilm Treatment for Management of Wound Healing

Manuka-type honeys can eradicate biofilms produced by Staphylococcus aureus strains with different biofilm-forming abilities
New Zealand manuka-type honeys, at the concentrations they can be applied in wound dressings are highly active in both preventing S. aureus biofilm formation and in their eradication, and do not result in bacteria becoming resistant. Methylglyoxal requires other components in manuka-type honeys for this antibiofilm activity. Our findings support the use of well-defined manuka-type honeys as a topical anti-biofilm treatment for the effective management of wound healing.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Manuka Honey May Help Treat Gum Disease

Honey - a potential agent against Porphyromonas gingivalis: an in vitro study
BMC Oral Health, 2014, 14:24 
Honey has been discussed as a therapeutic option in wound healing since ancient time. It might be also an alternative to the commonly used antimicrobials in periodontitis treatment. The in-vitro study was aimed to determine the antimicrobial efficacy against Porphyromonas gingivalis as a major periodontopathogen.
One Manuka and one domestic beekeeper honey have been selected for the study. As a screening, MICs of the honeys against 20 P. gingivalis strains were determined. Contents of methylglyoxal and hydrogen peroxide as the potential antimicrobial compounds were determined. These components (up to 100 mg/l), propolis (up to 200 mg/l) as well as the two honeys (up to 10% w/v) were tested against four P. gingivalis strains in planktonic growth and in a single-species biofilm.
2% of Manuka honey inhibited the growth of 50% of the planktonic P. gingivalis, the respective MIC50 of the German beekeeper honey was 5%. Manuka honey contained 1.87 mg/kg hydrogen peroxide and the domestic honey 3.74 mg/kg. The amount of methylglyoxal was found to be 2 mg/kg in the domestic honey and 982 mg/kg in the Manuka honey. MICs for hydrogen peroxide were 10 mg/l - 100 mg/l, for methylglyoxal 5 - 20 mg/l, and for propolis 20 mg/l - 200 mg/l. 10% of both types of honey inhibited the formation of P. gingivalis biofilms and reduced the numbers of viable bacteria within 42 h-old biofilms. Neither a total prevention of biofilm formation nor a complete eradication of a 42 h-old biofilm by any of the tested compounds and the honeys were found.
Honey acts antibacterial against P. gingivalis. The observed pronounced effects of Manuka honey against planktonic bacteria but not within biofilm can be attributed to methylglyoxal as the characteristic antimicrobial component.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Basil Boosts Antibacterial Effect of Honey

Synergistic antibacterial effect of honey and Herba Ocimi Basilici against some bacterial pathogens
J Tradit Chin Med, 2013 Dec;33(6):810-4
To evaluate the antibacterial activity of the combination of different honey brands and methanolic fraction of Herba Ocimi Basilici using agar well diffusion assay.
The antibacterial activity was determined against thirteen pathogenic bacterial clinical isolates including six gram negative (Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimirium, Xanthomonas campestris) and six gram positive strains (Enterococcus faecalis faecalis, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens type C, Clostridium perfringens type D, Clostridium chauvoei). Agar well diffusion method was used while zones of inhibition were measured with vernier scale.
At higher concentration, all the honey brands showed good to significant activity. The highest activity was observed for Hamdard brand honey (27.60 +/- 0.40) against Enterococcus faecalis.
These results revealed that combinations of plant extracts of Herba Ocimi Basilici with honey can be used for the development of potent and novel antibacterial agents.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gelam Honey Acts as Radioprotector Against Gamma-Irradiation

Gelam honey attenuated radiation-induced cell death in human diploid fibroblasts by promoting cell cycle progression and inhibiting apoptosis
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Mar 24;14(1):108
The interaction between ionizing radiation and substances in cells will induce the production of free radicals. These free radicals inflict damage to important biomolecules such as chromosomes, proteins and lipids which consequently trigger the expression of genes which are involved in protecting the cells or repair the oxidative damages. Honey has been known for its antioxidant properties and was used in medical and cosmetic products. Currently, research on honey is ongoing and diversifying. The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of Gelam honey as a radioprotector in human diploid fibroblast (HDFs) which were exposed to gamma-rays by determining the expression of genes and proteins involved in cell cycle regulation and cell death.
Six groups of HDFs were studied viz. untreated control, irradiated HDFs, Gelam honey-treated HDFs and HDF treated with Gelam honey pre-, during- and post-irradiation. HDFs were treated with 6 mg/ml of sterilized Gelam honey (w/v) for 24 h and exposed to 1 Gray (Gy) of gamma-rays at the dose rate of 0.25 Gy/min. 
Our findings showed that, gamma-irradiation at 1 Gy up-regulated ATM, p53, p16ink4a and cyclin D1 genes and subsequently initiated cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase and induced apoptosis (p < 0.05). Pre-treatment with Gelam honey however caused down regulation of these genes in irradiated HDFs while no significant changes was observed on the expression of GADD45 and PAK genes. The expression of ATM and p16 proteins was increased in irradiated HDFs but the p53 gene was translated into p73 protein which was also increased in irradiated HDFs. Gelam honey treatment however significantly decreased the expression of ATM, p73, and p16 proteins (p < 0.05) while the expression of cyclin D1 remained unchanged. Analysis on cell cycle profile showed that cells progressed to S phase with less percentage of cells in G0/G1 phase with Gelam honey treatment while apoptosis was inhibited.
Gelam honey acts a radioprotector against gamma-irradiation by attenuating radiation-induced cell death.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Propolis Boosts Burn Wounds Healing

Propolis Modulates Fibronectin Expression in the Matrix of Thermal Injury
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 748101, 10 pages
The aim of the study was to assess the propolis effect on fibronectin metabolism in the course of burn wounds healing process. A model of burn wound healing of pig skin was applied. The amount of the released glycoprotein was assessed by a surface plasmon resonance. The profile of extracted fibronectin components was also assessed by an electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gel, with a subsequent immunodetection by Western Blotting. Propolis burn treatment decreased the release of fibronectin components from healing wounds in relation to damages treated with silver sulfadiazine. The main reason of decreased extraction of fibronectin components from wounds treated with propolis was a substantial decrease of degradation product release of the mentioned glycoprotein, which was observed particularly from the 3rd to 5th day of the repair.
Wounds treatment with propolis demonstrated, especially in relation to damages treated with silver sulfadiazine, the decreased release of synthesized fibronectin molecules. The obtained results suggest that propolis modifies fibronectin metabolism in the course of wound healing process. The influence of propolis is reflected in prevention of fibronectin biosynthesis as well as its degradation in the wound area. The above-mentioned metabolic changes may decrease the risk of complications in the repair wounds process.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tualang Honey Protects Non-Cancerous Cells From Toxic Effects of Tamoxifen

Comparison of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of 4-hydroxytamoxifen in combination with Tualang honey in MCF-7 and MCF-10A cells
BMC Complement Altern Med, 2014 Mar 19;14(1):106
The Malaysian Tualang honey (TH) is not only cytotoxic to human breast cancer cell lines but it has recently been reported to promote the anticancer activity induced by tamoxifen in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells suggesting its potential as an adjuvant for the chemotherapeutic agent. However, tamoxifen produces adverse effects that could be due to its ability to induce cellular DNA damage. Therefore, the study is undertaken to determine the possible modulation of the activity of 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT), an active metabolite of tamoxifen, by TH in non-cancerous epithelial cell line, MCF-10A, in comparison with MCF-7 cells.
MCF-7 and MCF-10A cells were treated with TH, OHT or the combination of both and cytotoxicity and antiproliferative activity were determined using LDH and MTT assays, respectively. The effect on cellular DNA integrity was analysed by comet assay and the expression of DNA repair enzymes was determined by Western blotting.
OHT exposure was cytotoxic to both cell lines whereas TH was cytotoxic to MCF-7 cells only. TH also significantly decreased the cytotoxic effect of OHT in MCF-10A but not in MCF-7 cells. TH induced proliferation of MCF10A cells but OHT caused growth inhibition that was abrogated by the concomitant treatment with TH. While TH enhanced the OHT-induced DNA damage in the cancer cells, it dampened the genotoxic effect of OHT in the non-cancerous cells. This was supported by the increased expression of DNA repair proteins, Ku70 and Ku80, in MCF-10A cells by TH.
The findings indicate that TH could afford protection of non-cancerous cells from the toxic effects of tamoxifen by increasing the efficiency of DNA repair mechanism in these cells.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Royal Jelly Lowers Blood Sugar for Diabetes Patients

The Remarkable Royal Jelly and the Queen Bee
Guardian, 3/22/2014
The Queen bee is a remarkable insect, and the royal jelly formed from the milky white substance secreted by the glands of the honeybee is the only food they live on. This food contains water, proteins, sugar, fats, amino acids and vitamins. There are variations of its composition depending on the climate and geographic location. The queen bee lives exclusively on the thick substance, and this is the reason for their longevity and impressive size. Queen bees live up to seven years compared to the short seven-week life span of the worker bees…
Royalactin, which is the active ingredient of royal jelly, is a single protein responsible for the development of a bee into a queen. This medicinal compound secreted by the bees is a form of nourishment for the entire hive and is a factor in the development of larvae into queen bees. Research shows that it has demonstrated powerful antioxidant capacity and the ability to block cholesterol.
A random trial analysis revealed the effects of royal jelly on glycemic control and oxidative stress factors in type 2 diabetes. The health benefits provided from royal jelly include significant blood sugar lowering agents, a finding that could be useful for diabetic patients. Previous studies revealed royal jelly to be an effective functional food to prevent insulin resistance associated with hypertension and lower blood pressure…

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brazilian Stingless Bee Honey Make Help Treat Skin Disorders

Topical Anti-Inflammatory Activity of a Monofloral Honey of Mimosa scabrella Provided by Melipona marginata During Winter in Southern Brazil
J Med Food, 2014 Mar 20
Melipona marginata is an endangered species of stingless bee from Brazil that produces honey with particular physicochemical features and a remarkable exotic flavor. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report devoted to exploring the medicinal potential of this honey. Thus, the aim of this paper was to investigate the potential anti-inflammatory activity of honey extract from M. marginata on skin inflammation.
The honey sample was classified as a monofloral honey of Mimosa scabrella. The presence of 11 phenolic compounds as kaempferol and caffeic acid was detected using the high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-UV-ESI-MS) method. The anti-inflammatory activity was measured using a 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced ear edema model of inflammation in mice. The topical application of the M. marginata honey extract (1.0 mg/ear) was able to reduce ear edema with an inhibitory effect of 54±5%. This extract decreased the myeloperoxidase activity in 75±3%, which suggests a lower leucocyte infiltration that was confirmed by histological analysis. This extract also provided a reduction of 55±14% in the production of reactive oxygen species. This anti-inflammatory activity could be due to a synergic effect of the phenolic compounds identified in the honey sample.
Taken together, these results open up new possibilities for the use of M. marginata honey extract in skin disorders.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Royal Jelly Supplementation May Help Control Diabetes

Effects of royal jelly supplementation on glycemic control and oxidative stress factors in type 2 diabetic female: a randomized clinical trial
Chin J Integr, Med, 2014 Mar 7
It has been proposed that royal jelly has antioxidant properties and may improve oxidative stress and glycemic control. Therefore, we investigated the effects of royal jelly supplementation in diabetic females.
In this pilot, parallel design randomized clinical trial, 50 female volunteers with type 2 diabetes were randomly allocated to the supplemented (25, cases) and placebo (25, cases) groups, based on random block procedure produced by Random Allocation Software, given a daily dose of 1,000 mg royal jelly soft gel or placebo, respectively, for 8 weeks. Before and after intervention, glycemic control indices, antioxidant and oxidative stress factors were measured.
After royal jelly supplementation, the mean fasting blood glucose decreased remarkably (163.05±42.51 mg/dL vs. 149.68±42.7 mg/dL). Royal jelly supplementation resulted in significant reduction in the mean serum glycosylated hemoglobin levels (8.67%±2.24% vs. 7.05%±1.45%, P = 0.001) and significant elevation in the mean insulin concentration (70.28±29.16 pmol/L vs. 86.46±27.50 pmol/L, P = 0.01). Supplementation significantly increased erythrocyte superoxidase dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities and decreased malondialdehyde levels (P < 0.05). At the end of study, the mean total antioxidant capacity elevated insignificantly in both groups.
On the basis of our findings, it seems that royal jelly supplementation may be beneficial in controlling diabetes outcomes. Further studies with larger sample size are warranted.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sarah Harding Uses Special Honey to Protect Her Voice

TV3, 3/18/2014
The 32-year-old pop star relies on a special mixture of £10-a-jar Manuka honey, hot water, lemon and ginger to protect her vocals when she is recording material and is touring.
Talking to BANG Showbiz, she said: ''I usually drink hot water and lemon with a bit of Manuka honey and juiced root ginger. It usually works.''
The special honey - which is made by bees from the nectar of the Manuka tree - is the same brand Lady Gaga uses to preserve her vocal cords…

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Honey Boosts Drug’s Protective Effect on Diabetes Damage

Honey and metformin ameliorated diabetes-induced damages in testes of rat; correlation with hormonal changes
Iran J Reprod Med, 2013 Dec;11(12):1013-20
Background: The global prevalence of diabetes mellitus is on rise. Diabetes-induced oxidative stress has been known to affect liver, pancreas, kidney and reproductive organs pathologically. Honey is a natural product of bee with antioxidant properties.
Objective: Current study aimed to analyze the protective effects of Metformin (MF) alone and MF+ natural honey co-administration on diabetes-induced histological derangements in testis of rats.
Materials and Methods: Thirty six, mature male Wistar rats were randomly divided into six groups including; control, honey-dosed non-diabetic, diabetes-induced (65 mg/kg, single dose), honey-administrated diabetic (1.0 g/kg/day), Metformin-received diabetic (100 mg/kg/day), Metformin and honey-co-treated diabetic which were followed 40 days. The animals were anesthetized by diethyl ether and the blood samples were collected. The serum levels of testosterone, Insulin, LH and FSH analyzed using antibody enzyme immunoassay method. The testicular tissues were dissected out and underwent to histological analyses.
Results: The biochemical analyses revealed that the diabetes resulted in significantly reduced testosterone (p < 0.01), LH and FSH (P < 0.01, 0.001) levels in serum. Light microscopic analyses showed remarkable (p < 0.01) reduction in seminiferous tubules diameter (STD), spermiogenesis index (SPI) and thickness of the epithelium in the diabetic group versus control and co-treated groups. Simultaneous administration of the honey with MF could fairly up-regulate testosterone, LH and FSH levels. The animals in metformin and honey-treated group exhibited with improved tubules atrophy, elevated spermiogenesis index and germinal epithelium thickness.
Conclusion: Our data indicated that co-administration of Metformin and honey could inhibit the diabetes-induced damages in testicular tissue. Moreover, the simultaneous administration of metformin and honey up-regulated the diabetes-reduced insulin, LH, FSH and testosterone levels. This article extracted from M.Sc. thesis. (Ozra Nasrolahi).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Asian Enthusiasm for Natural Health Boosts New Zealand Honey Industry

New Zealand Herald, 3/17/2014
Asian consumers increasingly viewing health supplements as "an investment rather than an expense" are driving growth in New Zealand's natural products industry, says the boss of Comvita's operations in China and Southeast Asia.
Bay of Plenty-based Comvita markets products including manuka honey lozenges and bee pollen capsules and operates more than 450 retail sites across Asia.
South Asia general manager Ronnie Butt said Asian healthcare systems were generally not as good as what New Zealanders were used to.
"A lot of Asian consumers are now seeing health supplements, or natural skincare products, as an investment rather than an expense," he said.
"They're thinking, 'I better go and buy something for my parents to keep them healthy otherwise I'll be in trouble when they get sick'."
Hong Kong-based Butt, who is in New Zealand this week to speak at the Natural Products NZ annual summit, said 10 or 15 years ago consumers in countries like China weren't so worried about their health.
"Now they're investing in their health," he said. "That's a big paradigm shift and that's why the market's growing so strongly."…

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Royal Jelly May Help Control Diabetes

Effects of royal jelly supplementation on glycemic control and oxidative stress factors in type 2 diabetic female: a randomized clinical trial
Chin J Integr Med, 2014 Mar 7
It has been proposed that royal jelly has antioxidant properties and may improve oxidative stress and glycemic control. Therefore, we investigated the effects of royal jelly supplementation in diabetic females.
In this pilot, parallel design randomized clinical trial, 50 female volunteers with type 2 diabetes were randomly allocated to the supplemented (25, cases) and placebo (25, cases) groups, based on random block procedure produced by Random Allocation Software, given a daily dose of 1,000 mg royal jelly soft gel or placebo, respectively, for 8 weeks. Before and after intervention, glycemic control indices, antioxidant and oxidative stress factors were measured.
After royal jelly supplementation, the mean fasting blood glucose decreased remarkably (163.05±42.51 mg/dL vs. 149.68±42.7 mg/dL). Royal jelly supplementation resulted in significant reduction in the mean serum glycosylated hemoglobin levels (8.67%±2.24% vs. 7.05%±1.45%, P=0.001) and significant elevation in the mean insulin concentration (70.28±29.16 pmol/L vs. 86.46±27.50 pmol/L, P=0.01). Supplementation significantly increased erythrocyte superoxidase dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities and decreased malondialdehyde levels (P < 0.05). At the end of study, the mean total antioxidant capacity elevated insignificantly in both groups.
On the basis of our findings, it seems that royal jelly supplementation may be beneficial in controlling diabetes outcomes. Further studies with larger sample size are warranted.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brazilian Red Propolis May Help Treat Skin Cancer

Modulatory activity of brazilian red propolis on chemically induced dermal carcinogenesis
Acta Cir Bras, 2014 Feb;29(2):111-7
To evaluate modulatory effects of a hydroalcoholic extract of Brazilian red propolis (HERP) on dermal carcinogenesis using a murine model.
The HERP was used at concentrations of 10, 50 and 100 mg/kg (PROP10, PROP50 and PROP100, respectively) to modulate dermal carcinogenesis induced by the application of 9,10-dimetil-1,2-benzatraceno (DMBA) on the backs of animals.
The chemical compounds identified in HERP included propyl gallate, catechin, epicatechin and formononetin. PROP100 treatment resulted in significantly decreased tumor multiplicity throughout the five weeks of tumor promotion (p < 0.05), and this concentration also resulted in the highest frequency of verrucous tumors (p < 0.05). All of the tumors that developed in DMBA-treated animals were regarded as squamous cell carcinomas and were either diagnosed as non-invasive verrucous carcinomas or invasive squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). The average score for malignancy was significantly lower in the PROP100-treated group than the non-treated group (p < 0.05), but there was no difference between the other groups (p>0.05).
The oral administration of hydroalcoholic extract of Brazilian red propolis at a dose of 100 mg/kg had a significant modulatory effect on the formation, differentiation and progression of chemically induced squamous cell carcinoma in a murine experimental model.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Propolis Component May Help Fight Obesity

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester, a major component of propolis, suppresses high fat diet-induced obesity through inhibiting adipogenesis at mitotic clonal expansion stage
J Agric Food Chem, 2014 Mar 10
In the present study, we aimed to investigate anti-obesity effect of CAPE in vivo, and the mechanism by which CAPE regulates body weight in vitro. To confirm anti-obesity effect of CAPE in vivo, mice were fed with a high fat diet (HFD) with different concentrations of CAPE for 5 weeks. CAPE significantly reduced body weight gain and epididymal fat mass in obese mice fed a HFD.
In accordance with in vivo results, Oil red O staining results showed that CAPE significantly suppressed MDI-induced adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. FACS analysis results showed that CAPE delayed MDI-stimulated cell cycle progression, thereby contributing to inhibit mitotic clonal expansion (MCE) which is prerequisite step for adipogenesis. Also, CAPE regulated expression of cyclin D1 and phosphorylation of ERK and Akt which are upstream of cyclin D1.
These results suggest that CAPE exerts anti-obesity effect in vivo, presumably through inhibiting adipogenesis at early stage of adipogenesis

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Botulism Found In 2.6% of Honey Samples

Detection of C. Botulinum Types in Honey by mPCR
J Food Sci, 2014 Mar 12. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12402
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Clostridium botulinum in honey samples using conventional methods and multiplex PCR (mPCR). A total number of 150 honey samples were randomly collected from apiaries, retail shops, weekly open bazaars, and supermarkets in Samsun, Turkey. Of 150 honey samples, 4 (2.6%) were positive for the botulinum neurotoxin gene by mPCR analysis. A total of 4 C. botulinum isolates were obtained from the mPCR positive samples, of which 3 were type A and 1 was type B. No samples were positive regarding the type E and type F neurotoxin genes. This is the first report of type A and type B spores of C. botulinum being detected and isolated in Turkey. This study revealed that some honey samples may present a potential hazard for food borne and infant botulism.

Kanuka Honey Has Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Effect Related to Phenolic Content

Potential pathway of anti-inflammatory effect by New Zealand honeys
Int J Gen Med, 2014 Mar 5;7:149-58
The role of honey in wound healing continues to attract worldwide attention. This study examines the anti-inflammatory effect of four honeys on wound healing, to gauge its efficacy as a treatment option.
Isolated phenolics and crude extracts from manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), kanuka (Kunzea ericoides), clover (Trifolium spp.), and a manuka/kanuka blend of honeys were examined. Anti-inflammatory assays were conducted in HEK-Blue™-2, HEK-Blue™-4, and nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)2-Wild Type (NOD2-WT) cell lines, to assess the extent to which honey treatment impacts on the inflammatory response and whether the effect was pathway-specific.
Kanuka honey, and to a lesser extent manuka honey, produced a powerful anti-inflammatory effect related to their phenolic content. The effect was observed in HEK-Blue™-2 cells using the synthetic tripalmitoylated lipopeptide Pam3CysSerLys4 (Pam3CSK4) ligand, suggesting that honey acts specifically through the toll-like receptor (TLR)1/TLR2 signaling pathway. The manuka/kanuka blend and clover honeys had no significant anti-inflammatory effect in any cell line.
The research found that kanuka and manuka honeys have an important role in modulating the inflammatory response associated with wound healing, through a pathway-specific effect. The phenolic content of honey correlates with its effectiveness, although the specific compounds involved remain to be determined.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Honey Re-Emerges as a Medicinal Treasure

New Zealand Farmer, 3/11/2014
Manuka honey's medicinal properties stole the show at the first Manuka Honey Seminar held in Masterton.
While growing manuka on marginal land was the main theme, most speakers expounded on medicinal properties and the demand for the limited supply of manuka honey.
Waikato University's Professor Peter Molan brought along a graphic slide show depicting wounds that had been healed by the application of manuka honey-infused dressings.
Prof Molan said that historically, honey had been used for infected wounds and other problems like sores, throat and eye infections. It took a back seat when penicillin was developed, but this was now changing.
"We're at the stage now that an antibiotic that is prescribed has a 50 per cent chance of working or not working. It's getting worse."
Honey, particularly manuka honey, was being rediscovered as the "antibiotic era" was ending, Prof Molan said. In New Zealand, manuka honey had a reputation for being antiseptic as well as antibacterial…

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bee Venom Component Safe for Use on Gastrointestinal Tissues

Effect of melittin on mice stomach
Saudi J Biol Sci, 2014 Jan;21(1):99-108
Melittin, the main bee venom component, has many positive biological effects and a relatively low toxicity in various cell types. However, there is no evidence of the effect of melittin on gastrointestinal cells.
In the present study, we investigated the histological and immuonohistochemical effects of melittin on mice stomach. Adult male mice (Albino Swiss) were randomly divided into two groups (7 mice for each group): control group and melittin only treated group (10 and 40 μg/kg). These mice were sacrificed, then samples from the stomach were collected and prepared for histopathological studies by using alcian blue stain and immuonohistochemical studies by using smooth muscle actin (SMA) antibody. Treatment with melittin alone do not cause any harmful effect on the stomach tissue where the microscopic examination of Alcian blue stained section showed the normal distribution of the mucous secreting cells of the stomach tissues. On other hand, no changes were observed on smooth muscle cells.
This study demonstrated the safety of using melittin on gastrointestinal tissues if used in definite dose and for suitable duration, which offers an opportunity for its use as a treatment for many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Manuka Honey Effective Treatment for Abdominal Wall Defect in Newborns

Medicated Manuka honey in conservative management of exomphalos major
Pediatr Surg Int, 2014 Mar 6
The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of Manuka honey ointment and dressings in the conservative management of exomphalos major (EM).
A retrospective review of five patients with EM who underwent non-operative management with Manuka honey ointments and dressings was carried out to assess the time to complete epithelialisation, time to full feeds, hospital stay, adverse effects, complications and outcome. 
The skin epithelialisation over the EM sac was achieved in a median of 63 days (48-119). The median time to full enteral feed was 13 days (3-29). The median hospital stay was 66 days (21-121). No adverse effects were noted related to Manuka honey. Three patients had pulmonary hypoplasia requiring prolonged hospitalization; one of those died with respiratory complications at home after achieving complete epithelialisation. The follow-up was a median 16 months (6-22). Two patients did not require repair of the ventral hernia. One patient had ventral hernia repair at 16 months with excellent cosmesis. The remaining patient is awaiting repair.
This is the first description of the use of medicated Manuka honey ointment and impregnated dressings in the conservative management of EM. This treatment is safe, efficacious and promotes wound healing with favorable outcome.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jujube Honey May Help Treat Liver Damage Caused by Alcoholism

Antioxidant properties of jujube honey and its protective effects against chronic alcohol-induced liver damage in mice
Food Funct., 2014, Advance Article
The antioxidant potential of jujube honey, one of the most widely consumed honeys in China, has never been determined fully. In this study, jujube honey from six geographical origins in China was analyzed for individual phenolic acid, total phenolic content, and the antioxidant effect in chronic alcohol-related hepatic disease in mice.
The results showed that jujube honey from Linxian of Shanxi province contained higher phenol levels, exhibited DPPH antioxidant activity, ferric ion reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and protective effects against DNA damage. Treatment with jujube honey (Shanxi Linxian) for 12 weeks significantly inhibited serum lipoprotein oxidation, reduced the impact of alcoholism on aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). It also inhibited the generation of 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), lowered the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and increased the activity of hepatic glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px).
The study indicates that jujube honey exerts potent antioxidant activity and significant protection in hepatic disorders associated with chronic alcoholism. The protective effect is attributed to its antioxidant mechanisms and inhibition of oxidative degradation of lipids.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Honey a Promising Adjuvant Treatment for Brain Tumors

Polish Natural Bee Honeys Are Anti-Proliferative and Anti-Metastatic Agents in Human Glioblastoma multiforme U87MG Cell Line
Honey has been used as food and a traditional medicament since ancient times. However, recently many scientists have been concentrating on the anti-oxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and other properties of honey.
In this study, we investigated for the first time an anticancer effect of different honeys from Poland on tumor cell line - glioblastoma multiforme U87MG. Anti-proliferative activity of honeys and its interferences with temozolomide were determined by a cytotoxicity test and DNA binding by [H3]-thymidine incorporation. A gelatin zymography was used to conduct an evaluation of metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) expression in U87MG treatment with honey samples. The honeys were previously tested qualitatively (diastase activity, total phenolic content, lead and cadmium content). The data demonstrated that the examined honeys have a potent anti-proliferative effect on U87MG cell line in a time- and dose-dependent manner, being effective at concentrations as low as 0.5% (multifloral light honey - viability 53% after 72 h of incubation). We observed that after 48 h, combining honey with temozolomide showed a significantly higher inhibitory effect than the samples of honey alone. We observed a strong inhibition of MMP-2 and MMP-9 for the tested honeys (from 20 to 56% and from 5 to 58% compared to control, respectively).
Our results suggest that Polish honeys have an anti-proliferative and anti-metastatic effect on U87MG cell line. Therefore, natural bee honey can be considered as a promising adjuvant treatment for brain tumors.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Kate Middleton's beauty secret: Is bee venom the answer to flawless skin?

Express, 3/5/2014
Having a seven-month-old baby can be hard work but Kate Middleton shows no sign of sleepless nights with her glossy flowing locks and radiant skin - so what's her secret?
The Duchess of Cambridge has used bee venom to keep her skin looking flawless and even applied the secret ingredient to ensure a glowing complexion when she wed Prince William in 2011.
The treatment was recommended to Kate by her stepmother-in-law Camilla, who swears by the product. And the bizarre-sounding substance, which promises to plump up skin by tricking it into thinking it's been stung, is also a big hit with A-listers including Victoria Beckham, Simon Cowell and Kylie Minogue…

Saturday, March 08, 2014

ApiExpo Africa 6th-11th October in Zimbabwe

ApiTrade Africa, a regional not-for-profit organization that champions the promotion of African honey and other bee products internationally, together with Beekeepers Association of Zimbabwe (BKAZ) and the government of Zimbabwe is organizing the 4th All-Africa International HoneyExposition, dubbed ApiExpo Africa 2014. The 2014 edition is organized under the theme, "Beekeeping For Economic Empowerment In Africa", and is scheduled to take place from 6th-11th October 2014.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Comvita Looks to New Manuka Types

Honey and natural health products company Comvita expects plantings of manuka to make a significant contribution to increasing the supply of the sought-after honey.
The company, which produces and markets manuka honey for medicinal as well as culinary use, has been running trials of new varieties of the tree, with the aim of establishing plantations to supplement naturally growing stands.
Chief executive Brett Hewlett says crosses of indigenous varieties and special varieties are making progress.
"We've got some 25 different planting programmes and trials around the country where we're studying the behaviour of these unique varieties…

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Beehive Air Treatment Now Available in Slovenia

Apitherapy has been known since the Egyptian times, and part of this extensive therapy also comprises beehive air – aerosol treatments. It contains all the components mentioned earlier, i.e. propolis, royal jelly, beeswax and pollen. Inhaling a specific aroma, which is produced in beehives, has an extremely beneficial effect on human psychophysical condition and can take place from April to September. Air, saturated with essential fragrances, helps people with the following conditions:
- Bronchitis;
- Asthma;
- Allergies;
- Chronic lung diseases;
- Susceptibility to infections;
- Weakened immune system;
- Respiratory tract infections;
- Chronic headaches, migraines;
- Stress;
- Depression.
By inhaling a warm beehive air, through a special breathing mask, we consume these precious substances, which have a medicinal effect on a series of conditions. Apitherapy, in a natural way, helps us to overcome many problems and is also more than perfect for athletes, children and the elderly…

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Oral Intake Of Royal Jelly Could Improve Bone Quality

Royal jelly affects collagen crosslinking in bone of ovariectomized rats
Available online 11 February 2014
Royal jelly (RJ) is an essential food for queen bees, and it reportedly has estrogen-like activity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of RJ intake on bone quality with a focus on the posttranslational modifications of type I collagen. RJ was fed to ovariectomized (OVX) rats for 12 weeks. RJ intake did not affect OVX-induced reduction in bone volume at the femur epiphysis; however, the reduction of collagen crosslinks (pyridinoline and deoxypyridinoline), which represent an aspect of bone quality, were significantly mitigated. In cultured MC3T3-E1osteoblasts, RJ treatment did not affect cell proliferation, cell differentiation, matrix formation, or mineralization. However, RJ treatment did stimulate expression of plods, which encode lysyl hydroxylase isoforms that control the collagen crosslinking pathway, and it also affected collagen crosslinking.
These results indicate that oral intake of RJ could improve bone quality by modulating the posttranslational modification of type I collagen.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Royal Jelly May Cause Allergic Reaction in People Sensitive to Dust Mites

Cross-reactivity between royal jelly and Dermato-phagoides pteronyssinus
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Volume 1, Issue 2 , Pages 200-201, March 2013 
Royal jelly (RJ) is a secretion of the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of worker honeybees (Apis mellifera). Approximately one-half of its dry weight consists of protein; other components are fatty acids, sugars, and vitamins. It is used as a health tonic, widely consumed in Asia, with believed benefits that range from promoting growth in children to improving general health status and enhancing longevity in the elderly.
Severe reactions, such as anaphylaxis and asthma have been reported especially in the adult population.1, 2
We present the only reported case of allergy to RJ which suggests the presence of cross-reactive allergenic epitopes in RJ and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus.
An 11-year-old girl was admitted to the emergency department, presenting with dysphonia, cough, wheezing, and eyelid angioedema. She was treated with intravenous diphenhydramine and steroids, which resulted in prompt resolution of her symptoms. Two hours before this reaction she had ingested a beverage made of crude RJ and fructose, and she had taken an ibuprofen 30 minutes before drinking the beverage to treat an upper respiratory tract infection. It was the first time she had RJ, and she had tolerated ibuprofen previously…
In summary, RJ may cause allergic reactions in atopic persons, especially in those patients allergic to D pteronyssinus, given the presence of cross-reactive epitopes in both allergens.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Thai Propolis Contains a Promising Antibacterial Agent

Antibacterial Activity of a Cardanol from Thai Apis mellifera Propolis
Int J Med Sci, 2014 Feb 7;11(4):327-36
Background: Propolis is a sticky, dark brown resinous residue made by bees that is derived from plant resins. It is used to construct and repair the nest, and in addition possesses several diverse bioactivities. Here, propolis from Apis mellifera from Nan province, Thailand, was tested for antibacterial activity against Gram(+ve) (Staphylococcus aureus and Paenibacillus larvae) and Gram(-ve) (Escherichia coli) bacteria.
Materials and methods: The three bacterial isolates were confirmed for species designation by Gram staining and analysis of the partial sequence of 16S rDNA. Propolis was sequentially extracted by methanol, dichloromethane and hexane. The antibacterial activity was determined by agar well diffusion and microbroth dilution assays using streptomycin as a positive control. The most active crude extract was further purified by quick column and adsorption chromatography. The apparent purity of each bioactive fraction was tested by thin layer chromatography. The chemical structure of the isolated bioactive compound was analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
Results: Crude methanol extract of propolis showed the best antibacterial activity with a minimum inhibition concentration (MIC) value of 5 mg/mL for S. aureus and E. coli and 6.25 mg/mL for P. larvae. After quick column chromatography, only three active fractions were inhibitory to the growth of S. aureus and E. coli with MIC values of 6.25 and 31.3 µg/mL, respectively. Further adsorption chromatography yielded one pure bioactive fraction (A1A) with an IC50 value of 0.175 µg/mL for E. coli and 0.683 µg/mL for P. larvae, and was determined to be cardanol by NMR analysis. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy analysis revealed unusual shaped (especially in dividing cells), damaged and dead cells in cardanol-treated E. coli.
Conclusion: Thai propolis contains a promising antibacterial agent.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Honey: An Immunomodulator in Wound Healing

Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)
Honey is a popular natural product that is used in the treatment of burns and a broad spectrum of injuries, in particular chronic wounds. The antibacterial potential of honey has been considered the exclusive criterion for its wound healing properties. The antibacterial activity of honey has recently been fully characterized in medical-grade honeys. Recently, the multifunctional immunomodulatory properties of honey have attracted much attention.
The aim of this review is to provide closer insight into the potential immunomodulatory effects of honey in wound healing. Honey and its components are able to either stimulate or inhibit the release of certain cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, interleukin-6) from human monocytes and macrophages, depending on wound condition. Similarly, honey seems to either reduce or activate the production of reactive oxygen species from neutrophils, also depending on the wound microenvironment. The honey-induced activation of both types of immune cells could promote debridement of a wound and speed up the repair process. Similarly, human keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cell responses (e.g., cell migration and proliferation, collagen matrix production, chemotaxis) are positively affected in the presence of honey; thus, honey may accelerate reepithelization and wound closure.
The immunomodulatory activity of honey is highly complex because of the involvement of multiple quantitatively variable compounds among honeys of different origins. The identification of these individual compounds and their contributions to wound healing is crucial for a better understanding of the mechanisms behind honey-mediated healing of chronic wounds.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Stingless Bee Propolis Shows Antioxidant Activity, High Phenolic Content

Phenolic acids, hydrolyzable tannins and antioxidant activity of geopropolis from the stingless bee Melipona fasciculata Smith
J Agric Food Chem, 2014 Feb 27
Geopropolis is a mixture of plant resins, waxes and soil produced by the stingless bee Melipona fasciculata Smith. This paper describes the antioxidant activity and chemical composition of geopropolis produced by Melipona fasciculata. The total phenolic content determined by the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent was highest in the ethyl acetate fraction and hydroalcoholic extract. Antioxidant activity was assayed by the in vitro DPPH, ABTS and FRAP assays. The hydroalcoholic extract and fractions of geopropolis, except for the hexane fraction, exhibited antioxidant activity against DPPH, ABTS and FRAP. The phenolic compounds were identified by HPLC-DAD-MS based on the evaluation of their UV-vis absorption maxima (λmax) and mass spectral analysis. Eleven compounds belonging to the classes of phenolic acids and hydrolyzable tannins (gallotannins and ellagitannins) were tentatively identified. These compounds are responsible for the antioxidant activity and high phenolic content of geopropolis produced by M. fasciculata.