Can Honey Help Fight Cancer?
While some regard honey as a condiment to tea or toast, researchers have discovered a vastly different use for it. According to findings, a range of honey-bee products may be useful in the control of tumor growth.
Such products include:
- Royal jelly (produced in the salivary glands of worker bees)
- Bee venom
- Propolis (a resin-like substance used in the construction of honeycombs)
In order to discover whether or not these products aid in stopping the growth and spread of tumors, researchers conducted a series of experiments. They first generated tumors in mice — via the injection of cancer cells — and then gave the honey-bee products to different mice before, at the same time, or after the injection.
· Oral honey intake appeared to inhibit the development of tumors when given prior to the injection; however, when given afterwards the development of secondary cancers was amplified
· Simultaneously injecting the mice with royal jelly and tumor cells reduced the spread of cancer
· Tumors appeared to shrink after being injected with bee venom
· When propolis was injected into the mice, subcutaneous tumor growth significantly reduced, while survival time increased
Though it is still unclear how honey-bee products affect human cancer cells, researchers suggest they may cause cell suicide, which helps the immune system fight the development of tumors. It was also noted that bee products should be considered in addition to (not instead of) chemotherapy treatment.
BBC News December 5, 2004