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Potential used of Tualang and Acacia Honey in Ameliorating Stress-Depression Disorder: A Preliminary Study

Potential used of Tualang and Acacia Honey in
Ameliorating Stress-Depression Disorder: A Preliminary
Honey has been used since ancient time both
as food and also as traditional medicine.
Honey have been proven to have anti-
hypertensive effects, increase immunity
systems and regulate body weight [1]. Recent
studies have shown that Tualang honey
alleviates pre-natal stress and have nootropic
effects [2]. Moreover, many anti-depressant
studies have correlate the beneficial of anti-
oxidant compound with anti stress-
depression activities [3, 4].
Qamarul Hafiz Zainol Abidin
, Nurul Hanani Mohd. Rujhan
, Wan Iryani Wan Ismail
, Nahlah Elkudssiah Ismail
, Zolkapli Eshak
Department of Pharmacology and Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 42300, Puncak Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Clinical BioPharmaceutics Research Group (CBRG), Brain and Neuroscience Core, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450, Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan,
Fig. 3 (right): ΔT values and its regression line at
10% haemolysis for Acacia (a) and Tualang (b)
honey from Oxidative Haemolysis Inhibition
Fig. 2: Acacia bee farm, source for Acacia honey (Kota
Tinggi Acacia Plantation, Johor, Malaysia)
Antioxidant activities of Acacia and Tualang honey
using Oxidative Haemolysis Inhibition Assay
Table 1: Physicochemical properties of
Acacia and Tualang honey
Conclusion Discussion
Fig. 1:Tualang tree, source for Tualang honey (Pedu Lake
Forest Reserve, Kedah, Malaysia).
Acacia (Fig. 1) and Tualang (Fig. 2) honey
which are high with antioxidant are the most
consumed honey in Malaysia [2]. Thus, this
study was embarked to evaluate the anti
stress-depression properties of Tualang and
Acacia honey on stress-induced rats. In this
study, 20 Sprague-Dawley sp (SD) rats
undergone chronic unpredictable mild stress
(CUMS) for 28-days. The animals were treated
with 1.2 mg/kg/day for 28-days of Tualang
and Acacia honey orally. The stress-
depression activities were evaluated based on
behavioural and hormonal changes.
y = 144.09x - 8.3478
y = 233.57x + 12.696
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8
ΔT (min)
Concentration (g/cm3)
Assay. Erythrocytes (0.7% v/v in PBS) were incubated with different concentration of honey (6.25% v/v, x; 12.5% v/v,
; 25% v/v, ; 50% v/v, ).
Open field activities frequency
Fig. 6: Effect of CUMS experiment on rats open field activities frequency. Value are expressed as ± SEM (n = 5).
*Significant different (p < 0.05) compared to control group.
Significant different (p < 0.05) compared to stress group.
* All data were statistically analysed by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by
Tukey’s multiple comparison test.
Both honey possessed high antioxidant protective effect as both honey did not haemolysed 50% of erythrocytes after 180
minutes. However, Tualang honey ΔT at 10% haemolysis were higher than Acacia honey (Fig. 3) which then showed Acacia honey
possessed higher antioxidant protective effects compared to Tualang honey.
Basal serum cortisol reading for stressed group (1.62 ng/mL, p = 0.012) ) was significantly higher while there was no significant
reading obtained for stressed group treated with Acacia honey (0.20 ng/mL) in comparison to control group (0.32 ng/mL) (Fig. 4).
This finding conform with other anti stress-depression studies where reduced basal cortisol in CUMS induced rats indicated test
substance abilities to reduce stress-depression disorder [3, 4, 5].
Furthermore, energy efficiency of Tualang honey was significantly lowered (0.0029 eef, p = 0.021) compared to control group
(0.0054 eef) (Fig. 5). Moreover, percentage of weight changes for Tualang group of the same honey were significantly lowered
(15.69 %, p = 0.007) when compared to control group (25.91 %) (data not shown here). This shows Tualang honey possessed
weight regulative effects on rats induced with CUMS.
It should be noted that there was no significant different between stress group and control group data in open field test results
activities at the end of trial. However, sucrose preference test result at week-2 (data not shown here) showed rats in stress group
developed anhedonia behaviour (p < 0.01) when compared to its baseline reading. This suggested that the data obtained (Fig. 4)
were aligned with the predicted CUMS model [3, 4]. Meanwhile, Acacia honey open field test activities were significantly higher
than controlled and stress group. This finding correlates with previous finding where consumption of honey have the abilities to
enhance brain activities through increase exploratory activities and reduce anxiety behaviour [6].
This work was supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education
Research Acculturation Grant Scheme under the grant number 600-
RMI.RAGS 5/3 (191/2013). Author also acknowledge Professor Aishah
Adam, Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.
Although screening of both honey showed high
antioxidant protective activities, both honey shown to
ameliorated stress-depression effects differently.
Tualang honey consumption was seem to be more
suitable in regulating weight related effects of stress-
depression disorder while Acacia honey was more
suited in alleviating depression effects and managing
glucocorticoids imbalance effects of stress-depression
disorder. Interestingly, the elucidation on mechanism of
how both honey affect the stress-depression is still
1) Bogdanov, S. (2014). Honey in Medicine. Bee Product Science.
2) Abd Aziz, C. B., Ahmad, R., Mohamed, M., & Wan Yusof, W. N. (2013). The effects of Tualang honey intake during prenatal stress on pain responses in the rat offsprings. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 5(4), 326331.
3) Dai, Y., Li, Z., Xue, L., Dou, C., Zhou, Y., Zhang, L., & Qin, X. (2010). Metabolomics study on the anti-depression effect of xiaoyaosan on rat model of chronic unpredictable mild stress. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 128(2), 4829.
4) Liu, Y., Jia, G., Gou, L., Sun, L., Fu, X., Lan, N., … Yin, X. (2013). Antidepressant-like effects of tea polyphenols on mouse model of chronic unpredictable mild stress. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 104, 2732.
5) Castro, J. E., Diessler, S., Varea, E., Marquez, C., Larsen, M. H., Cordero, M. I., & Sandi, C. (2012). Personality traits in rats predict vulnerability and resilience to developing stress-induced depression-like behaviors, HPA axis hyper-reactivity and brain changes in pERK1/2
activity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(8), 12091223.
6) Oyekunle, O. a, Akanmu, M. a, & Ogundeji, T. P. (2010). Evaluation of anxiolytic and novelty induced behaviours following bee-honey consumption in rats . Journal of Neuroscience and Behavioural Health, 2(4), 3843.
Fig. 5: Effect of CUMS experiment on energy efficiency
(total weight change per total calorie intake in 28-days).
Value are expressed as ± SEM (n = 5). *Significant
different (p < 0.05) compared to control group.
Energy efficiency
Treatment Group
Serum Cortisol (ng / mL)
Control Stress Stress + Acacia Stress + Tualang
Serum cortisol level
Fig. 4: Effect of CUMS experiment on serum cortisol
level. Value are expressed as ± SEM (n = 5).
*Significant different (p < 0.05) compared to control
Treatment Group
Energy Efficiency (eef)
Control Stress Stress + Acacia Stress + Tualang
* / #
Total time active Grooming Wall Probing
Frequency of action
Control Stress Stress + Acacia Stress + Tualang
Honey collection Honey irradiation
physicochemical test
Honey treatment to
Hormonal test from
blood sample
Blood sampling of
Behavioural analysis
of rats
CUMS method
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