Honey bees self-medicate using plants
Bees use propolis against bacterial pathogens (thanks for the FB likes ;)
Bees have been known to produce some of the best natural products against many ailments and common affections, honey.
We also heard about propolis, a mixture of resinous products collected by bees from tree buds that was already used by Greeks, Egyptians and others to treat different diseases and affections and actually the source of Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE), a substance derived from Propolis found in honeybee products, has been found able to inhibit growth of breast cancer stem cells. What we didn´t know yet is that bees also used plants, and more exactly plant resins as propolis to treat fungal infections in their colony .
The findings have been published in a press release by the North Carolina State University, and only confirms something that Soccrates advocated since long time ago, "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food".
Dr. Michael Simone-Finstrom, a postdoctoral research scholar in NC State’s Department of Entomology and lead author of a paper describing the research, explained in the press release how bees make use of Propolis, using 45 percent more propolis to protect their beehives.
Propolis is collected by bees from tree buds and bark and later on used to cover the hives honeycomb, protecting it this way from viruses and bacterias. It contains bioflavonoids known to have many beneficial properties, being some of these ones antibiotic, antibacterial ...etc. However the amount of CAPE and artepillin C, another anti-cancer agent found in propolis, is not very high.
But CAPE has many other properties. In another study, propolis was able to suppress cataract formation in rats , showing how this chemical can protect our systems from other affections. Its cancer prevention properties have for long being part of literature , which later on was supported by scientific evidence from several clinical trials in which the use of its derivative CAPE, was proven to be effective as an anti-cancer agent .
HONEY AND HONEY MIXTURE AGAINST CHEMOTHERAPY-INDUCED ORAL MUCOSITIS
But honey bees products are also known for their anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects, something that didn't pass unnoticed to researchers and investigators that in their will to find solutions for commonly occurring ailments and affections tried a mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil-propolis extract (HOPE) against chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis, an affection with a high considerable number of patients attending traditional chemotherapy sessions .
In the trial, 90 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and oral mucositis grades 2 and 3, patients were treated with honey, HOPE, and benzocaine gel. It was found that honey produced faster healing in patients with grade 2/3 chemotherapy-induced mucositis than HOPE or benzocaine gel, with which honey and possibly other bee products and olive oil may in future be the source of other therapeutic treatments targeting chemotherapy-induced mucositis .