Raw Canadian buckwheat and clover honey is better than antibiotics. Just as good as Manuka honey in fact. What’s more, this little-known fact was established in 2009, according to research done by the Canadian Therapeutic Honey Project. Headed by Dr. Katrina Brudzynski of Brock University’s Department of Biological Sciences, the project tried to find out the level antibacterial activity of Canadian honey, as well as establish a standard production procedure that would lead to pure, sterile medical-grade honey of the highest antibacterial activity. The project was so successful that a US pharmaceutical company wanted to get involved in producing and marketing Canadian honey for therapeutic purposes. But guess what? They chose New Zealand Manuka honey instead because it was farther along in the industrial development and marketing process. Once again, Canada lost out despite our great products and great potential.
Instead, we get to purchase imported Manuka honey at an astronomical price, thinking it is somehow better than our own great honey — all be cause of savvy New Zealand & US pharmaceutical marketing.
In fact, Dr. Brudzynski has continued to do research into the amazing properties of honey. She is the founder of Bee-Biomedicals which manufactures anti-viral anti-inflammatoryt topical therapies using honey and propolis. She and her colleagues have isolate and chemically synthesized a compound known as caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) from propolis extracts which, according to her Brock University web profile, “showed potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, CAPE exhibited selective cytotoxicity toward undifferentiated cells such as breast cancer cells; MCF-7 and MDA-MB-435 (Brudzynski et al, 2005), and against progenitor/stem cells of regenerating limb (Brudzynski and Carlone, 2004).”
Dr. Brudzynski’s exciting collaborative research has also showed that “CAPE transiently delayed reconstruction of missing limb by blocking cellular dedifferentiation and formation of progenitor cells (Brudzynski and Carlone, 2004).”
She adds that “Our studies on the influence of dietary propolis extract (containing naturally occurring CAPE) on diabetic mice showed a protective, anti-inflammatory effect on insulin-secreting beta cells. It also caused hypoglycemia (Brudzynski and Brudzynski, 2005).”
In collaboration with members of Department of Chemistry, we have isolated and chemically synthesized a compound from propolis extracts, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) (Brudzynski et al, 2005). CAPE showed
In the 2009 study, Dr. Brudzynski and her team looked at specific pollen source plants which yielded the highest rate of anti-bacterial compounds in the honey. The team looked at 178 honey samples from across Canada to determine which pollen sources had the highest rate of anti-bacterial compounds.
Honey sourced from
the pollen of clover (Trifolium sp.), buckwheat (Fagopryum esculentum), and Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) had the highest anti-bacterial compounds.
Phase two of the project used these findings, working with University of Western Ontario’s Clinical Microbiology Lab. Anti-bacterial honey compounds were tested on patients exhibiting a
resistance to conventional anti-bacterial treatments. Honey samples taken from six different varieties of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) coming from different geographical regions in Canada and two varieties of clover (Trifolium sp.) treated the bacterial infection more efficiently than the usual treatment using penicillin and tetracycline.
The project was so successful in field examinations and clinical trials, researchers began to try to find ways to produce and regulate Canadian honey as a therapeutic agent, in other words, as medicine. Prof. Brudzynski began talking to a British Columbia company but despite the clinical success the company declined to get involved. A US pharmaceutical company was also very interested but it decided to work with Manuka Honey in New Zealand which had more advanced production and industrial implication testing.
What does it all mean? Canada’s honey is as good as the highly touted and extremely expensive Manuka honey which we import from the other side of the world. Why don’t we get behind a Canadian product which can benefit Canadians directly – economically, medically and clinically through expansion of research into this area?
The project wrapped up in 2009 but new projects are looking at the shelf life of honey as a therapeutic agent, and the antioxidant properties of honeys from different pollen sources.
Project funding came from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Adaptation Programming, administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. Read more at http://adaptcouncil.org/testimonials.php?id=3l8s8f8g7p6f and http://www.brocku.ca/mathematics-science/departments-and-centres/biology/people/katrina-brudzynski.