One of the most well-documented products from the honey bee, propolis (also called Russian penicillin or bee glue) is known in countries outside the United States as a powerful, natural antibiotic. The former Soviet Union performed many scientific studies on the effects of propolis.
This sticky, brown resinous substance is collected by honeybees from various plants and mixed with wax to sterilize their home against infection and for use as a multi-purpose cement and varnish. Propolis is harvested from the beehive and is made available in various forms to be used internally or externally. Propolis is available in capsule and tincture form to be taken internally to help fight infections. Because of its antibacterial and antifungal qualities it is a frequent ingredient in salves, lozenges, chewing gum and toothpastes.
Exact dosing recommendations cannot be made due to differences between various products. Capsules of 500mg are often recommended from 1 to 4 times daily. Follow product directions or your doctors instructions.
While the claim is seen that propolis has proven safe for human use, caution is advised for people sensitive to bee stings. Some of those allergic to bee stings have allergic reactions to propolis as well. Furthermore, people suffering from bronchial asthma and eczema may be more sensitive to bee products. It is not yet proven whether propolis itself or protein residues left by bees in propolis cause these allergic reactions. Another bee product, royal jelly, is associated with a higher risk of serious allergic reactions. Most such reports regarding royal jelly have been in asthma sufferers.
The antimicrobial activity of Manuka honey has been compared to other honey in several studies.
Different honeys have been tested against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, which are microorganisms that infect wounds. These two organisms were most sensitive to manuka honey, illustrating the presence of its special constituents. Both manuka honey and heather honey, which has activity due primarily to hydrogen peroxide, inhibited Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but only manuka honey inhibited a number of other bacteria.
Both manuka and kanuka honey had high antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, and most of the effectiveness of manuka honey was attributed to a substance other than hydrogen peroxide.
Manuka honey has been found to be effective against Helicobacter pylori, which is the pathogen responsible for gastric or peptic ulcers and implicated in gastric cancer. Helicobacter pylori isolated from biopsies of gastric ulcers were sensitive to a 20% solution of manuka honey, but were not affected by a 40% solution of another honey in which the antibacterial activity was primarily due to its hydrogen peroxide content. Growth of these bacteria was prevented completely by a 5% solution of manuka honey.
An extensive article on the use of Manuka Honey can be viewedhere.
In a new report by Food Safety News, more than 75% of the honey on American supermarket shelves may be ultra-processed—to the point that all inherent medicinal properties are completely gone—and then smuggled into the country by the barrel drum. Nearly all of this fake honey is made in China. Some of these brokers will even create bogus country of origin papers. All 60 jars of "honey" tested by FSN came back negative for pollen (including Sue Bee and Winnie the Pooh brands), which is a clear sign of ultra-processing.
"The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies. The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others have also ruled that without pollen, there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources."
Chances are good that ultra-processed honey is actually honey, but the possibility exists that it may never have been honey at all, as the only way to really tell if it is honey or not, is by its pollen content. "It's no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China."
In their investigation, FSN discovered the following:
- 76% of honey samples bought at grocery stores (such as TOP Food, Safeway, QFC, Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.) were absent of pollen.
- 77% of the honey from big box stores (like Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, and Target) were absent of pollen.
- 100% of the honey sampled from drug stores (like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy) were absent of pollen.
- 100% of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald's and KFC had the pollen removed.
The good news: every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and "natural" stores like PCC and Trader Joe's had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen, as did organic brands from common grocery stores.
[Food Safety News Andrew Schneider November 07, 2011