It is well known that New Zealand’s Manuka honey has both antiseptic and antibacterial properties, but could it also fight cancer? Recently there have been discussions about the effectiveness of using Manuka honey as part of cancer treatment. A brand that is often quoted as being beneficial is LifeMel’s honey.
LifeMel was created by microbiologist Dr Alexander Goroshit (yes this is his surname, but let’s put the giggles aside and call him Dr G). As a student living in a small Russian town, Dr G noticed that despite a local cholera outbreak beekeepers and their families remained healthy, so after graduating Dr. G explored bees, their honey and its benefits. This led to the development of the LifeMel product range.
This special honey is not cheap coming in at £37.50 for a 120g jar! What makes this honey so special (and expensive)? According to the company the nectar is created by bees that feed on therapeutic herbs, and is infused with iron, protein and vitamins, therefore the honey acts as a health supplement. But most importantly so many people praise it for beating their cancer and counteracting the horrid side effects of cancer treatments.
Robert Brunt, 48, from Plymouth was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, he was told to prepare for the seriously unpleasant side effects; hair loss, pain, fatigue, nausea…the list goes on. However Robert experienced few side effects. He credits 2 teaspoons of LifeMel honey a day. “I sometimes feel tired and a bit sick but apart from that I have had no side effects at all.”
One study found that taking 2 spoonfuls of LifeMel honey supplement a day raised 64% of patient’s blood count. The honey also resulted in 40% of the cancer cases not requiring any extra treatment after chemotherapy. Furthermore 32% of patients reported that they had more energy and felt an improvement in their overall quality of life, since they began taking Life Mel.
If you are a little sceptical about paying almost £40 for a jar of honey, you’re in luck. Other studies have concluded that any manuka honey has a positive effect on cancer its treatments.
PLOS ONE published a study involving researchers from UAE University, who discovered New Zealand’s manuka tree honey effectively inhibited the growth of cancer cells and significantly reduced the toxic effects of chemotherapy. The groundbreaking 5 year study was led by Dr Basel Al Ramadi, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the UAEU.
In the study 3 types of cancer lines were used: breast, skin and colon. Small amounts of manuka honey, as little as 1%, were added to the lines. The honey prevented cancer growth by up to 70%.
After further investigating their findings, Dr Al Ramadi said “The evidence so far suggests that manuka acts by stimulating a number of proteins inside the cells that leads to the induction of apoptosis, or programmed cell death. This is a natural process by which our body eliminates old or unwanted cells and is part of the normal organism’s development.”
The researchers next looked at manuka honeys ability to cope with chemotherapy. To do this, mice were implanted with fast growing tumour cells and intravenously given a small dose of manuka honey along with chemotherapy treatment. The results showed an overall improvement in the mice quality of life.
Dr Al Ramadi and his team feel “it is significant that a honey can do this…. the manuka honey alone can inhibit cancer growth by 30 per cent, but when combined with chemotherapy, there was 61 per cent inhibition.”
Believe it or not honey could be your hero. Even if you are a cynic, try it. You never know until you try, it could help save your life.