So which insect can put hairs on your head in 2015?

02/01/2015

cute bee

I hate bees and wasps. They are always there to spoil your picnic, get into your fizzy cola, cause irritation and frustration at the barbeque, and give you a nasty sting for no reason at all really. Scientists and eco-warriors tell me they are essential for keeping the food chain going. Their part in moving pollen from flower to flower is invaluable to keeping our soils rich and our agricultural animals fed. Well, I am not sure I understand all that but I have now heard that Bees specifically are needed for something else – to fight !

A whole new meaning to wearing a beehive…

Apparently scientists in Japan have found that a resin called Propolis, which is found in beehives, has led to hair growth in their experiments. True, they have only tried it on shaven mice so far, but the results are promising. Because mice have so many attributes the same as humans, it is highly likely that in the next stage – when human follicles are used – the results will be duplicated.

Propolis has been used for healing successfully for quite some time. It has been used primarily as an anti-inflammatory, for healing wounds and even for dealing with acne. In fact it was the success it has shown in reducing inflammation that scientists decided to investigate its properties for combating hair loss – as alopecia areata is linked to inflammation.

Hair growth accelerated

Ken Kobayashi, who led the study, wanted to make clear that the mice were not in a situation where they had actually gone bald – they were shaven – which is a slightly different scenario. But even so it was clear that the Propolis had stimulated the proliferation of keratinocytes which are found in follicle hair management. The mice with the beehive resin definitely enjoyed accelerated hair growth when compared with the control group.

The Japanese experimenters are not looking at their findings as a cure for baldness in its own right. They see it possibly being used as an add-on to medication and drugs which are already available (such as adding it to Monodoxil in Rogaine). Also the backers are promoting the fact that as a natural substance it has no side effects at all which is certainly a relief after some of the reports related to other well known hair loss medications recently.

So the bee and his resin may well be coming into its own soon, though it is going to be some time before it is cleared to go into the market. Perhaps our black and yellow friends aren’t that bad – they’ve got a pretty bad name and could do with some pretty cool marketing!

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