(Health Secrets) We recently looked at how honey was successfully being used to treat wounds that refused to heal, but now it seems that honey can also be used to fight common and life threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics, such as MRSA.
The laboratory research behind these new claims was undertaken at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, UK, and was presented at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology. It aimed to show the impact of a particular type of honey, manuka honey, on life threatening bacterial infections that are antibiotic resistant and cause serious infection such as MRSA. The research was in response to a recent report by the World Health Organization highlighting particular concerns over these types of bacteria.
Although medical experts have been aware of honey’s healing and bacteria fighting properties for some time, it is not yet widely used to fight life threatening bacterial infections, as the exact mechanism it uses to combat bacteria is not known. The properties that scientists believe make it useful in fighting bacterial infections include:
- A high sugar content
- A low water content
- Low acidity
- Hydrogen peroxide content
- Phytochemical content
Honey is known to have an impact on around 80 different pathogens that cause infections, including those that have become resistant to antibiotics.
Manuka honey is a particular type of honey made from nectar collected by bees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand. It is thought to be especially effective at fighting life threatening bacteria infections because it contains dihydroxyacetone which produces methylglyoxal, a substance with antibacterial and cell killing properties.
What did the research show?
The researchers in Cardiff looked at the impact of medical grade manuka honey on three common bacteria that are well known for causing infection.
- Staphylococcus aureus, most commonly known as MRSA-15, is a superbug which is resistant to antibiotics and which has become a real problem in hospitals all over the world. Laboratory trials showed that this bacteria is susceptible to relatively low concentrations of manuka honey, and when honey was combined with antibiotics, the resistance of the MRSA bacteria was reversed.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type of bacteria which often causes infections in burns patients as well as being responsible for chronic leg ulcers. It was discovered that manuka honey could alter the cell proteins of these particular bacteria making it very difficult for them to survive.
- Streptococcus pyogenes, often known as group A streptococci, is responsible for a wide range of superficial and life-threatening infections. It was discovered that manuka honey limited the growth of biofilm which protects these bacteria from antibiotics and allows the bacteria cells to stick together.
In short it was discovered that honey is capable of:
- Preventing bacteria attaching to tissue and causing infections
- Preventing the growth of biofilm which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and help their cells to stick together
- Interfere with the cell proteins of bacteria, making it difficult for them to survive
- Reverse the resistance of bacteria to certain drugs
Research continues into the use of honey to treat superbugs such as MRSA which are becoming a global problem and which are resistant to antibiotics. However in the mean time researchers emphasize that they are using medical grade honey with all impurities removed and that people shouldn’t use supermarket honey to treat wounds or infections at home.
Photo by wwarby