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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Prebiotics and human health: The state-of-the-art and future perspectives

By Patricia L. Conway

ABSTRACT
Prebiotics stimulate growth and/or activity of some presumably beneficial colonic bacteria and thereby have the potential to improve health, possibly through the actions of fermentation end products including butyrate. Some ingested oligosaccharides and resistant starches elevate levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, and decrease bacteroides, enterobacteria and clostridia. Rodent
studies have shown that prebiotic consumption can protect against pathogens, reduce the risk of colon cancer, enhance mineral absorption and influence lipogenesis. However confirmation of effects in humans is needed in clinical studies. With this wide range of potential applications, prebiotics need to be broadly classified based on microbiological and physiological function. Studies investigating mechanisms of action and the combined effects of prebiotics and probiotics are sparse. Resistant starch also functions as a culture protagonist because it provides enhanced bacterial survival when combined with probiotics. With the availability of a variety of prebiotics and probiotics, the potential exists for providing combinations targeted for specific health related benefits.

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A convenient new analysis of dihydroxyacetone and methylglyoxal applied to Australian Leptospermum honeys

Windsor, Pappalardo, Brooks, Williams and Manley-Harris

Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy Vol. 4(1), pp. 6-11, January 2012

This paper shows Australian manuka exhibits significant antibacterial activity as the result of chemical conversion of dihydroxyacetone from the nectar of certain Leptospermum species to methylglyoxal. This is the same process that occurs in NZ manuka honey.

However, there are only two species of Leptospermum in NZ, which is a significantly smaller landmass than Australia, and here there are over 80 species of Leptospermum.

We already know that many Australia Leptospermum honeys have significant levels of activity (equivalent to, or greater than, NZ manuka samples).

And there is currently a large, multi-centre study being undertaken to locate even more sources of active Australian Leptospermum honey.

See: http://www.rirdc.gov.au/research-project-details/custr10_HBE/PRJ-009186

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Flavonoids, phenolic acids and abscisic acid in Australian and New Zealand Leptospermum honeys

Flavonoids, phenolic acids and abscisic acid of Australian and New Zealand Leptospermum honeys were analyzed by HPLC.

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