Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chinese See Brazilian Green Propolis as Effective Health Care Product

China Daily, 3/26/2017

Almost every week between December and March, Guilherme Almeida, who lives in Belo Horizonte, the capital city of Minhas Gerais, drives more than 125 miles into the mountainous area.

Once renowned for being rich in gold, gems and diamonds, the region in southeastern Brazil is where honey bees produce green propolis, which is gaining greater popularity among Chinese people as an effective healthcare product.

Guilherme oversees a large apiary where besides producing honey, the bees are basically chemists, producing the best grade of green propolis.

The bees are a hybrid of European bees and African killer bees, and are efficient producers of propolis and immune to diseases. The bees use propolis as a cement or sealant in the construction of their hives to keep them relatively sterile.

Though there are other types of propolis – dark brown, red and black and with white hues – the bees at this apiary produce green propolis because they have access to the resin of the rosemary tree, which can only be found in certain parts of Minhas Gerais.

The substance can only be harvested in the December-March time period, so Guilherme must seize the opportunity to increase his business with his Chinese clients...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Chinese Propolis May Help Prevent Heart Damage

Potential Protective Effects of Bioactive Constituents from Chinese Propolis against Acute Oxidative Stress Induced by Hydrogen Peroxide in Cardiac H9c2 Cells

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:7074147

Chinese propolis (CP) is known as a health food but its beneficial effects in protecting cardiomyocytes remain elusive. Here, we investigated the effects of CP and its active compounds on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) induced rats cardiomyocytes (H9c2) oxidative injury.

Cell viability decreases induced by H2O2 were mitigated by different CP extracts using various solvents. From these active fractions, six active compounds were separated and identified. Among tested isolated compound, the cytoprotective activities of three caffeates, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), benzyl caffeate (BZC), and cinnamyl caffeate (CNC), exerted stronger effects than chrysin, pinobanksin, and 3,4-dimethoxycinnamic acid (DMCA). These three caffeates also increased H9c2 cellular antioxidant potential, decreased intracellular calcium ion ([Ca2+]i) level, and prevented cell apoptosis.

Overall, the cardiovascular protective effects of the CP might be attributed to its caffeates constituents (CAPE, BZC, and CNC) and provide evidence for its usage in complementary and alternative medicine.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rape Bee Pollen Extract May Protect Against Skin Cancer

Antioxidant and Anti-tyrosinase Activities of Phenolic Extracts from Rape Bee Pollen and Inhibitory Melanogenesis by cAMP/MITF/TYR Pathway in B16 Mouse Melanoma Cells

Front Pharmacol. 2017 Mar 9;8:104

Rape bee pollen possesses many nutritional and therapeutic properties because of its abundant nutrimental and bioactive components.

In this study, free (FPE) and bound (BPE) phenolic extracts of rape bee pollen were obtained, phenolic and flavonoid contents were determined, and composition of phenolic acids was analyzed.

In vitro antioxidant and anti-tyrosinase (TYR) activities of FPE and BPE were compared, and inhibitory melanogenesis of FPE was further evaluated. Results showed FPE and BPE contain total phenolic contents of 11.76 and 0.81 mg gallic acid equivalents/g dry weight (DW) and total flavonoid contents of 19.24 and 3.65 mg rutin equivalents/g DW, respectively. Phenolic profiling showed FPE and BPE fractions contained 12 and 9 phenolic acids, respectively. FPE contained the highest rutin content of 774.87 μg/g. FPE and BPE showed the high antioxidant properties in vitro and high inhibitory activities for mushroom TYR. Higher activities of FPE than those of BPE can be attributed to difference in their phenolic compositions. Inhibitory melanogenesis activities of FPE against B16 were further evaluated.

Results showed suppressed intracellular TYR activity, reduced melanin content, and promoted glutathione synthesis (p < 0.05) in FPE-treated cells. FPE reduced mRNA expression of TYR, TYR-related protein (TRP)-1 and TRP-2, and significantly suppressed cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels through down-regulation of melanocortin 1 receptor gene expression (p < 0.05). FPE reduced mRNA expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), significantly inhibiting intracellular melanin synthesis (p < 0.05).

Hence, FPE regulates melanogenesis of B16 cells involved in cAMP/MITF/TYR pathway. These results revealed that FPE can be used as pharmaceutical agents and cosmetics to protect cells from abnormal melanogenesis.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Propolis Component Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth

Direct interaction between caffeic acid phenethyl ester and human neutrophil elastase inhibits the growth and migration of PANC-1 cells

Oncol Rep. 2017 Mar 21

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal malignant tumors of the digestive system, but the mechanisms of its development and progression are unclear. Inflammation is thought to be fundamental to pancreatic cancer development and caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is an active component of honey bee resin or propolis with anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities.

We investigated the inhibitory effects of CAPE on cell growth and migration induced by human neutrophil elastase (HNE) and report that HNE induced cancer cell migration at low doses and growth at higher doses. I

n contrast, lower CAPE doses inhibited migration and higher doses of CAPE inhibited the growth induced by HNE. HNE activity was significantly inhibited by CAPE (7.5-120 µM). Using quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting, we observed that CAPE (18-60 µM) did not affect transcription and translation of α1-antitrypsin (α1-AT), an endogenous HNE inhibitor. However, in an in silico drug target docking model, we found that CAPE directly bound to the binding pocket of HNE (25.66 kcal/mol) according to CDOCKER, and the residue of the catalytic site stabilized the interaction between CAPE and HNE as evidenced by molecular dynamic simulation. Response unit (RU) values of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) significantly increased with incremental CAPE doses (7.5-120 µM), indicating that CAPE could directly bind to HNE in a concentration-dependent manner.

Thus, CAPE is an effective inhibitor of HNE via direct interaction whereby it inhibits the migration and growth of PANC-1 cells in a dose-dependent manner.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Comparison of Tissue Engineering Scaffolds Incorporated with Manuka Honey of Varying UMF

Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:4843065

Purpose. Manuka honey (MH) is an antibacterial agent specific to the islands of New Zealand containing both hydrogen peroxide and a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). Although the antibacterial properties of MH have been studied, the effect of varying UMF of MH incorporated into tissue engineered scaffolds have not.

Therefore, this study was designed to compare silk fibroin cryogels and electrospun scaffolds incorporated with a 5% MH concentration of various UMF. Methods. Characteristics such as porosity, bacterial clearance and adhesion, and cytotoxicity were compared. Results. Pore diameters for all cryogels were between 51 and 60 µm, while electrospun scaffolds were 10 µm. Cryogels of varying UMF displayed clearance of approximately 0.16 cm for E. coli and S. aureus. In comparison, the electrospun scaffolds clearance ranged between 0.5 and 1 cm. A glucose release of 0.5 mg/mL was observed for the first 24 hours by all scaffolds, regardless of UMF. With respect to cytotoxicity, neither scaffold caused the cell number to drop below 20,000.

Conclusions. Overall, when comparing the effects of the various UMF within the two scaffolds, no significant differences were observed. This suggests that the fabricated scaffolds in this study displayed similar bacterial effects regardless of the UMF value.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Propolis From Two Native Bees in Brazil Shows Anti-Tumor Activity

Antioxidant, Cytotoxic, and Toxic Activities of Propolis from Two Native Bees in Brazil: Scaptotrigona depilis and Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1038153, 12 pages

Propolis is a natural mixture of compounds produced by various bee species, including stingless bees. This compound has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, antiproliferative, and antitumor activities.

The present study aimed to determine the chemical constituents as well as the antioxidant, cytotoxic, and toxic activities of ethanol extracts of propolis obtained from the stingless bees Scaptotrigona depilis and Melipona quadrifasciata anthidioides, which are found in Brazil. Phytosterols, terpenes, phenolic compounds, and tocopherol were identified in the ethanol extracts of propolis (EEPs) in different concentrations. The compounds stigmasterol, taraxasterol, vanilic acid, caffeic acid, quercetin, luteolin, and apigenin were found only in EEP-M. The EEPs were able to scavenge the free radicals 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl and 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) and protected human erythrocytes against lipid peroxidation, with the latter effect being demonstrated by their antihemolytic activity and inhibition of malondialdehyde formation.

The EEPs showed cytotoxic activity against erythroleukemic cells and necrosis was the main mechanism of death observed. In addition, the concentrations at which the EEPs were cytotoxic were not toxic against Caenorhabditis elegans.

In this context, it is concluded that EEP-S and EEP-M show antioxidant and cytotoxic activities and are promising bioactive mixtures for the control of diseases associated with oxidative stress and tumor cell proliferation.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Health Benefits of Propolis

Extracting phenolic compounds from bee propolis

Propolis phenols

Propolis is a glue made by honey bees from a mixture of saliva, beeswax, and tree resin or plant sap, which the bees use to fix up the hive. Humans have found an alternative use for it: as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, including minor infections and dry skin.

Even though humans have used propolis as a medical treatment for thousands of years, scientists are still working to identify the active ingredients responsible for its medicinal properties. What makes this process so difficult is that not only is propolis a highly complex substance, comprising many different compounds, but its composition can differ substantially between different hives and seasons. This is because bees produce it using resin or sap from whatever trees or plants are growing near their hive.

One specific class of organic molecules that scientists are focusing on is phenols, as they are known to have medicinal properties and are abundant in propolis. Because of the complexity of propolis, scientists first need to extract the phenolic compounds from any samples before they can identify them with a technique such as liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Existing methods for doing this are slow and not particularly environmentally friendly, because they tend to involve extracting the phenolic compounds with large volumes of organic solvents...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bee Venom: What is it?

Refinery 29, 3/20/2017

Honey bee venom, or apitoxin, is – without sounding too obvious – what bees sting you with. So those who are allergic to bee-stings, stay away, this isn’t for you. According to our trusty friend Wikipedia, when you get stung by a bee, it injects around 0.1mg of venom, which is made up of histamine, the element that causes the allergic reaction, and dopamine, which raises your heart rate...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chilean Ulmo Honey Shows Anti-Cancer Activity

Food Res Int. 2017 Apr;94:20-28

Volatile and non-volatile/semi-volatile compounds and in vitro bioactive properties of Chilean Ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia Cav.) honey

Ulmo honey originating from Eucryphia cordifolia tree, known locally in the Araucania region as the Ulmo tree is a natural product with valuable nutritional and medicinal qualities. It has been used in the Mapuche culture to treat infections. This study aimed to identify the volatile and non-volatile/semi-volatile compounds of Ulmo honey and elucidate its in vitro biological properties by evaluating its antioxidant, antibacterial, antiproliferative and hemolytic properties and cytotoxicity in Caco-2 cells. Headspace volatiles of Ulmo honey were isolated by solid-phase microextraction (SPME); non-volatiles/semi-volatiles were obtained by removing all saccharides with acidified water and the compounds were identified by GC/MS analysis.

Ulmo honey volatiles consisted of 50 compounds predominated by 20 flavor components. Two of the volatile compounds, lyrame and anethol have never been reported before as honey compounds. The non-volatile/semi-volatile components of Ulmo honey comprised 27 compounds including 13 benzene derivatives accounting 75% of the total peak area. Ulmo honey exhibited weak antioxidant activity but strong antibacterial activity particularly against gram-negative bacteria and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the main strain involved in wounds and skin infections. At concentrations >0.5%, Ulmo honey reduced Caco-2 cell viability, released lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in a dose dependent manner in the presence of foetal bovine serum (FBS). The wide array of volatile and non-volatile/semi-volatile constituents of Ulmo honey rich in benzene derivatives may partly account for its strong antibacterial and antiproliferative properties important for its therapeutic use.

Our results indicate that Ulmo honey can potentially inhibit cancer growth at least partly by modulating oxidative stress.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Stingless Bee Honey Promotes Wound Healing

Stingless Bee Honey, the Natural Wound Healer: A Review

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2017 Mar 15;30(2):66-75


The stingless bee is a natural type of bee that exists in almost every continent. The honey produced by this bee has been widely used across time and space. The distinctive feature of this honey is that it is stored naturally in the pot (cerumen), thus contributing to its beneficial properties, especially in the wound healing process.


In this article, several studies on stingless bee honey that pointed out the numerous therapeutic profiles of this honey in terms of its antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, as well as moisturizing properties are reviewed. All of these therapeutic properties are related to wound healing properties.


Antioxidant in stingless bee honey could break the chain of free radicals that cause a detrimental effect to the wounded area. Furthermore, the antimicrobial properties of stingless bee honey could overcome the bacterial contamination and thus improve the healing rate. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory attribute in this honey could protect the tissue from highly toxic inflammatory mediators. The moisturizing properties of the honey could improve wound healing by promoting angiogenesis and oxygen circulation.


The application of honey to the wound has been widely used since ancient times. As a result, it is essential to understand the pharmacological mechanism of the honey towards the physiology of the wounded skin in order to optimize the healing rate in the future.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Buckwheat Honey Effective Against Antibiotic-Resistant Hospital Acquired Pathogens

Effect of United States buckwheat honey on antibiotic-resistant hospital acquired pathogens

Pan Afr Med J. 2016 Dec 6;25:212


Due to an upsurge in antibiotic-resistant infections and lack of therapeutic options, new approaches are needed for treatment. Honey may be one such potential therapeutic option. We investigated the susceptibility of hospital acquired pathogens to four honeys from Wisconsin, United States, and then determined if the antibacterial effect of each honey against these pathogens is primarily due to the high sugar content.


Thirteen pathogens including: four Clostridium difficile, two Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, two Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus, two Vancomycin-resistance Enterococcus, one Enterococcus faecalis and one Klebsiella pneumoniae were exposed to 1-50% (w/v) four Wisconsin honeys and Artificial honey to determine their minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) using the broth dilution method.


Buckwheat honey predominantly exhibited a bactericidal mode of action against the tested pathogens, and this varied with each pathogen. C. difficile isolates were more sensitive to the Wisconsin buckwheat honey as compared to the other pathogens. Artificial honey at 50% (w/v) failed to kill any of the pathogens. The high sugar content of Wisconsin buckwheat honey is not the only factor responsible for its bactericidal activity.


Wisconsin buckwheat honey has the potential to be an important addition to therapeutic armamentarium against resistant pathogens and should be investigated further.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Health Benefits of Bee Sting Therapy

How bee sting therapy works

The Alternative Daily, 3/17/2017

Bee sting therapy is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees such as honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, beeswax and bee venom. Therapies involving the honeybee have existed for thousands of years. Bee venom therapy was even practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece and China. Ancient civilizations recognized the healing properties of bee venom for treating arthritis and other joint problems. Today, growing scientific evidence suggests that bee products promote healing by improving circulation, decreasing inflammation and stimulating a healthy immune response according to The American Apitherapy Society Inc...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Propolis May Help Treat Diabetes

Effects of bee propolis supplementation on glycemic control, lipid profile and insulin resistance indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial

J Integr Med. 2017 Mar;15(2):124-134


Propolis, a natural resinous substance made by bees from material extracted from plants, flowers and bee's wax, has shown great therapeutic effects and been widely used in food and drug industries. Recently, some researchers have studied the effect of this substance in the treatment of diabetes.


The purpose of this trial was to determine the effect of bee propolis on glycemic control, serum lipid profile and insulin resistance indices in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).


This randomized clinical trial involved 66 patients with T2D, which were randomly divided into two groups of intervention (IG) and placebo (PG). IG received 300 mg three times a day for a total of 900 mg/d of propolis pills, while PG received similar pills, lacking propolis, on the same schedule for 12 weeks.


Fasting blood glucose (FBG), hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), triglyceride (TG), serum insulin and insulin resistance indices were the main outcome measures.


The mean change in FBG between the IG ((17.76 ± 27.72) mg/dL decrease) and the PG ((6.48 ± 42.77) mg/dL increase) was significantly different (P = 0.01). Change in mean HbA1c had a similar pattern to FBG. The mean change in TC between the IG ((5.16 ± 43.80) mg/dL increase) and the PG ((28.9 ± 27.4) mg/dL increase) was also significantly different (P = 0.01), showing the protective role of propolis against the increase in TC. The change in mean LDL was similar to mean TC. There was no significant difference in other lipids or insulin resistance indices between the two groups.


Based on this study, the daily intake of 900 mg of bee propolis supplement for 12 weeks results in improvement of glycemic and some serum lipid levels in patients with T2D.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thyme Honey Effective in Treating Radiation-Induced Xerostomia

The effectiveness of thyme honey for the management of treatment-induced xerostomia in head and neck cancer patients: A feasibility randomized control trial.

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2017 Apr;27:1-8


Radiation-induced xerostomia is one of the most common side effects that head and neck cancer patients experience during and after treatment. Despite the various methods for the prevention and treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia, it remains highly prevalent among patients treated for head and neck cancers negatively influencing their lives. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of thyme honey as a means for managing radiation-induced xerostomia.


This was a parallel randomised controlled trial with two equal arms, the experimental arm (thyme honey) and the control arm (saline). 72 head and neck cancer patients receiving radiotherapy or/and chemotherapy or/and surgery were recruited in a specialised cancer centre. Patients in both arms followed the same administration protocol with thyme honey and saline respectively. Identical assessments at baseline, 1 month and 6 months following completion of the intervention were performed in both arms including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) xerostomia scale and the Xerostomia Questionnaire (XQ) additionally to weekly oral clinical assessments. The Identifier for this study is NCT01465308.


Linear Mixed Models revealed the statistically significant effect of the intervention on xerostomia (F = 8.474 p < 0.001) and overall quality of life (F = 13.158 p < 0.001). Moreover, Generalised Estimating Equations revealed a statistically significant effect on strong and unbearable pain (F = 10.524 p < 0.001) and dysphagia (F = 4.525 p = 0.033).


The study has demonstrated the safety and efficacy findings of Thyme honey in head and neck cancer patients for the management of treatment induced xerostomia.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Strawberry-Tree, Manuka Honey May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Strawberry-Tree Honey Induces Growth Inhibition of Human Colon Cancer Cells and Increases ROS Generation: A Comparison with Manuka Honey

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 613

Honey is a natural product known to modulate several biological activities including cancer. The aim of the present study was to examine the phytochemical content and the antioxidant activity of Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) honey (STH) and its cytotoxic properties against human colon adenocarcinoma (HCT-116) and metastatic (LoVo) cell lines in comparison with Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey (MH).

Several unifloral STH and MH were analyzed for their phenolic, flavonoid, amino acid and protein contents, as well as their radical scavenging activities. STH from the Berchidda area showed the highest amount of phenolic, flavonoid, amino acid and protein content, and antioxidant capacity compared to MH. Both STH and MH induced cytotoxicity and cell death in a dose- and time-dependent manner in HCT-116 and LoVo cells, with less toxicity on non-cancer cells. Compared to MH, STH showed more effect at lower concentrations on HCT-116 and LoVo cells. In addition, both honeys increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. In HCT-116 cells, STH and MH induced similar ROS production but in LoVo cells STH induced a higher percentage of ROS compared to MH.

Our results indicate that STH and MH can induce cell growth inhibition and ROS generation in colon adenocarcinoma and metastatic cells, which could be due to the presence of phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. These preliminary results are interesting and suggest a potential chemopreventive action which could be useful for further studies in order to develop chemopreventive agents for colon cancer.