Sep 18, 2012

This honey can fight infection

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Article Courtesy: healthzone.ca

A New Zealand “superfood” honey already known as an infection fighter can also kill superbugs that resist antibiotics, new research shows.

Manuka honey, produced only from New Zealand’s manuka trees, has prevented some bacteria from growing and killed off other bacteria in lab tests, Professor Rose Cooper told the Star on Friday.


In particular, manuka honey can stop worrisome drug-resistant MRSA bacteria from growing in wounds.

“What we’re thinking, in time, is that we can develop products containing low levels of antibiotics and honey that can work on patients in hospitals,” said Cooper.

Although still confined to lab results, the tests showed clearly that drug-resistant bacteria not exposed to manuka honey kept growing; an overlay of 5 per cent honey knocked the infection cells out of action.

Previous research has demonstrated the honey’s topical wound care benefits, to the point where a range of licensed products are available. Cooper and her team at the University of Wales are hoping their preliminary findings will take it one step further.

She warned people not to treat their own severe wounds with health food store manuka honey.

“The honey we use clinically is irradiated, so it’s sterile. There is a remote risk the spores would grow” with store-bought honey, she said.

The next stage of research will be to firmly identify which antibiotics work with manuka honey and which don’t.

Manuka honey – weapon in superbug battle

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Article Courtesy: New Zealand Herald

Manuka honey, the premium product found on fashionable breakfast tables, could play a role in the battle against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, scientists reported yesterday.

Honey is known to have antiseptic properties but the antibacterial potency of manuka honey is 10 to 50 times more powerful.


It has been shown to stop the growth of the antibiotic-resistant superbug known as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree and is included in modern wound-care products such as dressings and ointments available on prescription in Britain.

However, its antimicrobial properties have not been fully exploited, according to researchers.

Laboratory studies by Professor Rose Cooper and colleagues at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, show manuka honey interacts with three bacteria that commonly infect wounds – MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Group A streptococci.

“Our findings suggest manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections.

Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of bio-films, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections," Professor Cooper said.

“Honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics – effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey."

The long-term aim was to develop products combining honey with antibiotics that could be applied directly to infected wounds to speed healing and prevent the spread of suberbugs to other patients in hospital, she said. The findings were presented at a meeting of the Society for Microbiology in Harrogate.

“We will still need antibiotics taken [orally] for blood infections. But we may be able to develop products with low concentrations of antibiotics and honey than can be applied directly to a wound."

Patients should not try applying honey from the jar to wounds as it was not sterile, Professor Rose warned.

SWEET MEDICINE

  • Honey has been used as an antiseptic for thousands of years. It was displaced by the arrival of antibiotics in the 1940s.
  • Dressings using honey, which must be sterilised, create a moist, non-adherent surface around the wound, stimulate cell growth and act as an anti-inflammatory.
  • The antibacterial potency of manuka honey is said to be greater than ordinary honey because it has an extra component called methylglyoxal.

Manuka honey for your family’s health

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Article Courtesy: KidSpot

Honey. Its sweet taste has been satisfying people for centuries. Always a family favourite, honey is delicious on toast or spooned into a bowl of warm porridge. It works wonders as a sugar substitute in cakes and tops off a cup of tea like nothing else can.

But there is more to honey and in particular, more to manuka honey, than meets the taste buds!


What is manuka honey?

Dr. Peter Molan from the University of Waikato in New Zealand has been researching manuka honey and its health benefits since 1995. His research has shown that manuka honey, from the manuka bush in New Zealand, is extremely unique as it possesses rare healing properties.

Honey has been used as a healing agent for thousands of years. All honey has some level of antibacterial activity, but manuka honey has much stronger antibacterial qualities than most other honeys. Also known as ‘active manuka honey’, it is said to contain “the best natural antibiotic in the world”, and is now being used both internally and externally to treat a range of different conditions.

What conditions can be treated with manuka honey?

Many medical practitioners are turning to high-potency active manuka honey, where traditional medicine is not having the desired effect. Some infected wounds which have not responded well to antibiotics alone, have also been treated with high-grade manuka honey. Used as a dressing, active manuka honey can help prevent the growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi and also speed up the healing process, once the infection has been treated.

Honeymark, a company that makes products from active manuka honey believes that, “Antibiotics are indiscriminate killers. When taken orally, antibiotics kill all bacteria, both good and bad," the company said. “For reasons that are currently unknown, manuka honey does not affect good bacteria in the body and only destroys harmful, infectious bacteria. This is something that pharmaceuticals have not been able to accomplish."

In addition to having antibacterial characteristics, active manuka honey is also:

  • An antioxidant – manuka honey has qualities that protect against free radicals, which cause cell damage and accelerated aging. Manuka honey is used with great success in some anti-aging skin products.
  • Anti-carcinogenic – manuka honey contains properties that are said to reduce the occurrence or severity of some cancers. There have been some studies that indicate manuka honey may inhibit the growth of bladder cancer.
  • Anti-inflammatory – manuka honey is a natural anti-inflammatory which means it can help to reduce swelling and pain.

Active manuka honey has proven and potent healing qualities, some of which are yet to be discovered. Research is constantly ongoing in this area, to try and fully understand the scope of this natural wonder. Today, manuka honey has already helped to successfully treat conditions such as:

  • Acne, eczema and other skin conditions
  • Stomach ulcers and other digestive issues
  • Sore throats and colds
  • Burns and insect bites
  • Arthritis, muscle and joint pain
  • Nail fungus and athletes foot

Manuka honey is a relatively inexpensive way to treat common ailments. And perhaps one of the biggest advantages of using active manuka honey is that there are no known harmful side-effects.

How do I know if I am buying genuine manuka honey?

In the late 1990’s an industry classification standard was created to rate honey according to the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). The UMF relates to the amount of manuka nectar found in the honey, as not all manuka honey contains the same amount. Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 10 is the lowest of the rated active manuka honeys considered appropriate for healing purposes. The higher the UMF rating,, the more potent the honey is said to be. Only licensed products that meet the strict UMF criteria are allowed to display the UMF trademark on its packaging.