Monday, May 26, 2014

Volatile Oils in Propolis are Chemically Diverse, Biologically Active

New studies on the volatile compounds in propolis are growing rapidly. It's not surprising as the strength of propolis makes it a powerful, preventative and protective agent with complementary effects when combined with allopathic treatment.

Propolis Volatile Compounds: Chemical Diversity and Biological Activity: A Review

Propolis is a sticky material collected by bees from plants, and used in the hive as building material and defensive substance. It has been popular as a remedy in Europe since ancient times. Nowadays, propolis use in over-the-counter preparations, "bio"-cosmetics and functional foods, etc., increases.

Volatile compounds are found in low concentrations in propolis, but their aroma and significant biological activity make them important for propolis characterisation. Propolis is a plant-derived product: its chemical composition depends on the local flora at the site of collection, thus it offers a significant chemical diversity. The role of propolis volatiles in identification of its plant origin is discussed. The available data about chemical composition of propolis volatiles from different geographic regions are reviewed, demonstrating significant chemical variability. The contribution of volatiles and their constituents to the biological activities of propolis is considered.

Future perspectives in research on propolis volatiles are outlined, especially in studying activities other than antimicrobial.

Click here to view entire paper.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Does Gamma Irradiation Make Honey Better?

A very important study concerning sterilized honey for medical use. People have used honey with success in treating wounds for centuries but its use in hospital settings requires irradiation. Though the results show no effect on physicochemical properties, there is significant effects on vitamins C, E and HMF (used to determine the amount of heat exposure which destroys healthy enzymes). There's also no mention of the effects on phenolic acids which have a strong impact on the therapeutic use of honey. Further studies are definitely required...

Does Gamma Irradiation Affect Physicochemical Properties of Honey? 
La Clinica Terapeutica, 2014 Mar-Apr

Honey is a supersaturated solution of sugars, enriched with proteins, minerals, vitamins, organic acids and polyphenols. Gamma irradiation is a physical technique of food preservation which protects the honey from insects' and microbial contamination during storage. We investigated the effect of gamma irradiation on physicochemical properties in two types of Malaysian honey, Gelam and Nenas.

Both honeys were irradiated at the dose 25 kGy in a cobalt-60 irradiator. The physicochemical properties pH, moisture, acidity, color, and sugar content as well as vitamins C and E, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and mineral contents, for the irradiated and non-irradiated honeys were assessed.

The results revealed that pH, acidity, minerals and sugar contents in both types of honey were not affected significantly by gamma irradiation, while moisture, vitamin E contents and HMF level decreased significantly with gamma irradiation. However, significant increase in color intensity and vitamin C were observed after gamma irradiation for both types of honey.

In summary, gamma irradiation treatment of honey (in the dose mentioned above) did not cause significant changes in the physicochemical and mineral contents, except for significant alterations in color intensity, moisture, vitamins (C and E), and HMF contents.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chestnut Honey Exhibits High Antimicrobial Effect on E coli, Salmonella

This study highlights the importance of honey floral sources for antimicrobial usage, stressing the need for further studies using honey to stop the spread of resistant bacteria... 

Antimicrobial potential of Sicilian honeys against commensal Escherichia coli and pathogenic Salmonella serovar infantis

J Prev Med Hyg. 2013 Dec

The purpose of this study was to investigate the antibacterial effect of 71 locally produced honeys from different botanical sources collected from apiarist's open markets in Sicily.

Antimicrobial activity was determined against Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922) and Salmonella serovar Infantis (ATCC 1523) by an agar-diffusion assay from the estimation of the diameter of the inhibition zone produced by the honeys. Statistically) significant differences (P < .000) regarding inhibition were observed for the honeys tested.

The chestnut and polyfloral honey samples exhibited the largest and highest inhibition (diameter of the inhibition zone > 25 mm) against both E. coli and S. Infantis. The honey of oregano origin showed intermediate or low activity against E. coli and S. Infantis, respectively. Prickly pear and erica honeys showed no antimicrobial activity against the two reference strains.

The results may partially suggest the usefulness of the Sicilian honeys on treating multi-resistant enterobacteria. In light of the enormous potential for application of honey in the clinical practice, it is important that research continues not only into those honeys well recognized as antimicrobial, but also into other locally produced and yet untested honeys.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Propolis Proven Effective Against Leukaemia

Propolis, the protector of the beehive, also provides protection for many living species and is by far the most important product from honey bees. That's why you'll find it used in many applications, from balms to ovules and creams to vaporizers. The anticancer effects are complementary and enhance the effects of allopathic treatments such as chemotherapy against multiple cancer cells.

Polyphenols as Key Players for the Antileukaemic Effects of Propolis

Propolis (a bee product) which has a long history of medicinal use by humans has attracted a great deal of research interest in the recent time; this is due to its widely reported biological activities such as antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic properties.

Crude form of propolis and its phenolic contents have both been reported to exhibit antileukaemic effects in various leukaemia cell lines. The ability of the polyphenols found in propolis to arrest cell cycle and induce apoptosis and differentiation in addition to inhibition of cell growth and proliferation makes them promising antileukaemic agents, and hence, they are believed to be a key to the antileukaemic effects of propolis in different types of leukaemia.

This paper reviews the molecular bases of antileukaemic activity of both crude propolis and individual polyphenols on various leukaemia cell lines, and it indicates that propolis has the potential to be used in both treatment and prevention of leukaemia. This however needs further evaluation by in vitro, in vivo, and epidemiological studies as well as clinical trials.

It is also suggested that the use of propolis in combination with honey for prevention and treatment of many ailments including malignancies as practiced traditionally should be further elucidated.