Native Bees: Australia's own pollinators

Tim Heard’s “The Australian Native Bee Book” has just been launched and it’s packed full of quality photos, graphics and diagrams. It’s an information rich handbook which is laid out in an easy-to-read format laced with humour and inspirational comments making it entertaining as well as educational. 

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Food Medicine: How bioactive honey heals

Gather By Bioactive+ Honey is a powerful antibiotic, aids in burns and wound care, boosts your immune system, aids in gut health, and reduces dental plaque.

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Warre Hives

Warre Bee hives offer bees a safe, healthy place to live and create honey like they would do in nature. They also help beekeepers effectively extract honey with minimal disturbance to the bees. 

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What do Seinfeld, the Amish and Bees have in common?

An Amish farmer, a Seinfeld movie and a table of honey, no, it’s not the start of a dad joke, but the start of an amazing journey that leads us to the launch of Gather By. But before we go into detail, we thought you might like to hear the strange and serendipitous story of how it all began. 

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The Planting Process

The planting phase of the Gather By model is the most significant and, therefore, it is crucial it done correctly.

This is where planning and preparation comes to life. The images below demonstrate the planting process – from clearing the land to putting the plants in the ground. This process also involves putting down weed mats, digging holes, and putting protective barriers around each Leptospermum plant.

We take pride in each and every plant we put in the ground and love that we can share with you where our unique honey originates from and how each jar is created.  

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Growth and rain

The images below illustrate the necessity of rain for the growth of the leptospermum and, also, the potential risks to the plants and how careful planning can minimise the potential damage of environmental factors.

Heavy rain, during the growth period, led to a once-in-20-year flood, which could have had a drastic impact on the plants; however, with careful contingency planning, we were able to minimise the damage of these floods. The plants were planted on high ground, in protected areas, which meant the rain had a positive impact on plants - instead of wiping them out completely!

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Planning and Preparation

Following the exploring and selection of appropriate land for a Medicinal Honey Forest, the Gather By team gets to work on planning and preparation.

This stage involves a lot of research, drawing, and discussing – as you can see in the images below! 

Although this stage can be time-consuming, it is always pays off when the plants are put into the ground. 

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An investigation into the therapeutic properties of honey

Dee A. Catert, Shona E. Blair and Julie Irish

Implication for relevant stakeholders

The Australian Honey Industry

This project showed that there are numerous Australian honeys that exhibit therapeutically beneficial levels of antibacterial activity.  With appropriate marketing and public awareness campaigns, supported by reliable assay procedures, Australian honey has the potential for adoption as internationally-recognised, potent, non-toxic, topical micro-agent.  There is a potentially huge market for such products.

Communities

This study has shown that honey has a potent activity against numerous problematic pathogens.  Honey shows excellent potential as a prophylactic agent, particularly in hospital settings where patients are often immune-compromised and exposed to multi-drug pathogens.

Recommendations for Beekeeping Industry

Develop and license a unified means of assaying and labeling medical-grade honeys, and this should be used by anyone marketing Australian honey as an antibacterial product.

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Antibacterial activity of honey against strains of Staphlycococcus Aureus from infected wounds

RA Cooper, PhD, PC Molan, PhD, KG Harding, MRCGP, FRCS

School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Wales Institute, Llandaff Campus Western Avenue, Cardiff Cf5 2YB, UK

Abstract:

The antibacterial action of honey in infected wounds does not depend wholly on its high osmolality.  We tested the sendivity of 58 stratins of coagulase-positive Staphylococcus aureas, isolated from infected wounds, to pasture honey and a manuka honey.  There were little variations between the isolates in their sensitivity to honey: minimum inhibitory concentrations were all between 2 aand 3 % (v/v) for the manuka honey and between 3 and 4 % for the pasture honey.  Thus, these honeys would prevent growth for S. aureus if diluted by body fluids a further 7 fold to fourteen-fold beyond the point where their osmolarity ceased to be completely inhibitory.  The antibacterial action of the pasture honey relied on release of hydrogen pyroxide, which in vivo might be reduced by catalase activity in tissue or blood.  The action of manuka honey stems partly from a phytochemical component, so this type of honey might be more effective in vivo.  Comparative clinical trials with standardized honeys are needed.

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Honey dressing versus silver sulfadiazine for wound healing in burns patients: a retrospective study

Shilpi Singh Gupta, Omnkar Singh, Praveen Singh Bageel, Sonia Moses, Sumit Shukla and Raj Kumar Mathur

Department of Surgery, MGM Medical College and mY Hospital, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India

Abstract

Objective:
The aim was to evaluate the effect of honey dressings and silver sulfadiazine (SSD) on wound healing in burn patients.

Materials and Methods:

We retrospectively reviewed the records of 108 patients (14-68 years of age), with first and second degree burns of less than 50% of the total body surface area admitted to our institution, over a period of 5 years (2004-2008).  Fifty-one patients were treated with honey dressings and 57 were treated with SSD.  Time elapsed since burn, site, percentage, degree and depth of burns, results of culture sensitivity at various time intervals, duration of healing, formation of post-treatment hypertrphic scar, and/or contracture were recorded and analysed.

Results:

The average duration of healing was 18.16 and 32.68 days for the honey and SSD respectively.  Wounds of all patients within 1 hour of burns became sterile with the honey dressing in less than 7 days while there was none with SSD.  All wounds treated with honey became sterile within 21 days shile for SSD-treated wounds, this figure was 36.5%.  A complete outcome was seen by 81% of all patients in the “honey group” while in only 37% patients in the “SSD group.”

Conclusion:

Honey dressings make the wounds sterile in less time, enhance healing, and have a better outcome in terms of hypertropic scars and postburn contractures, as compared to SSD dressings.

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