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Honey, The Newest Cancer Fighter?

You may recall the results of an interesting study on apitherapy, the method of curing illnesses with honeybee products, and, specifically, bee venom's effect on rheumatoid arthritis. After studying a number of honey-bee products -- including honey, bee venom, bee glue (propolis) and royal jelly -- Croatian researchers recently discovered another important use for them as a natural cancer fighter.

Scientists studied the effects of a number of bee products at three different times -- before, after and at the same time -- cancer cells were injected in mice. For the most part, they believe bee products may have triggered apoptosis (cell suicide) which helped the immune system fight the development of tumours.

Injecting bee venom, bee glue and royal jelly significantly reduced the size of tumors and giving honey orally inhibited the development of tumors when it was given before cancer cells were injected. One caveat: Honey appeared to fuel the development of secondary cancers in mice that were given honey after tumors had been injected into their tiny bodies.

And these are just the latest discoveries, as bee products have been used to combat dental plaque and Lyme disease.

BBC News December 5, 2004

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