The Benefits of Manuka Honey
Harnessing honey's healing power
Honey has been known for its healing properties for thousands of years - the Ancient Greeks used it, and so have many other peoples through the ages. Even up to the second world war, honey was being used for its antibacterial properties in treating wounds. But with the advent of penicillin and other antibiotic drugs in the twentieth century, honey's medicinal qualities have taken a back seat. But that might be about to change - thanks to one New Zealand based researcher. Working in his Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, in the central North Island, biochemist Professor Peter Molan has identified one particular type of honey with extraordinary healing qualities. Professor Molan has shown that honey made from the flowers of the manuka bush, a native of New Zealand, has antibacterial properties over and above those of other honeys. Mystery ingredient. He said: "In all honeys, there is - to different levels - hydrogen peroxide produced from an enzyme that bees add to the nectar. "In manuka honey, and its close relative which grows in Australia called jellybush, there's something else besides the hydrogen peroxide. "And there's nothing like that ever been found anywhere else in the world." That "something else" has proved very hard to pin down. Even now, after more than twenty years of research, Peter Molan admits he still has no idea exactly what it is. But he has given it a name: unique manuka factor, or UMF. And he has found a way to measure its antibacterial efficacy, by comparing UMF manuka honey with a standard antiseptic (carbolic, or phenol) in its ability to fight bacteria. The results are astonishing. He said: "We know it has a very broad spectrum of action. "It works on bacteria, fungi, protozoa. We haven't found anything it doesn't work on among infectious organisms." Resistant strains. In fact, he says UMF manuka honey can even tackle antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria - a growing problem for hospitals around the world. "Staphylococcus aureas is the most common wound-infecting species of bacteria, and that's the most sensitive to honey that we've found. "And that includes the antibiotic resistant strains - the MRSA - which is just as sensitive to honey as any other staphylococcus aureas." Clinical trials at the Waikato Hospital have shown that even out of the lab, UMF manuka honey has amazing healing properties. Nurse practitioner Julie Betts has successfully used honey to treat leg ulcers and pressure sores. And she says it helps healing after surgery - particularly for diabetic patients. "It has an anti-inflammatory effect as well, so if I want to do several things apart from actually controlling the bacteria in that wound, then that's when I'll use honey." Cancer treatment. Cancer specialist Dr Glenys Round has also found honey to be an effective treatment. "We've been using honey to treat fungating wounds, where the cancer has broken through the skin," she said. "The results in that situation have been excellent." Most recently, she has had success in using honey dressings on patients with wounds or ulcers resulting from radiation therapy. "Most of these patients in the past had tried various other conventional treatments without good success, and that is the reason why at least initially honey was tried." Most patients seem happy to try the honey treatment. "They don't have a problem with it at all," said Julie Betts. "Humans in general have a fondness I think for natural remedies, so they're quite happy to use them." "I think the problem we encounter is when people don't understand how it works. "They think that sourcing any honey will achieve the same outcome, and that's not always true." Worldwide export. That's a view shared by beekeeper Bill Bennett a few kilometres up the road from the hospital. He and his wife Margaret run the Summerglow Apiaries, one of just a handful of registered suppliers of UMF manuka honey in New Zealand. They produce between eight and twelve metric tonnes of manuka honey every year, and sell it across the world. The honey is rigorously tested three times during production for that elusive unique manuka factor; only then can it carry the label "UMF manuka honey". "It just seems that manuka from a few areas within New Zealand produces a nectar that has this special property," said Bill Bennett. "There is a lot of manuka honey out there that doesn't have this special property. That's why it's so important to look for the name UMF." A satisfied user called Chris Graham: "I got bitten by an Alsatian. It grabbed my hand and gave me a five-stitch bite. So I went off to the doctors, and they solely used manuka honey, nothing else, no other treatment. I've got barely a scar now, and that's only three weeks ago. Now in the medical kit I carry in the truck, I have manuka honey and bandages, and that's all."
Reference: BBC News
How Manuka Honey Helps Fight Infection
Manuka honey may kill bacteria by destroying key bacterial proteins. Dr Rowena Jenkins and colleagues from the University of Wales Institute - Cardiff investigated the mechanisms of manuka honey action and found that its anti-bacterial properties were not due solely to the sugars present in the honey. The work was presented this week (7-10 September), at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was grown in the laboratory and treated with and without manuka honey for four hours. The experiment was repeated with sugar syrup to determine if the effects seen were due to sugar content in honey alone. The bacterial cells were then broken and the proteins isolated and separated on a system that displayed each protein as an individual spot. Many fewer proteins were seen from the manuka honey-treated MRSA cells and one particular protein, FabI, seemed to be completely missing. FabI is a protein that is needed for fatty acid biosynthesis. This essential process supplies the bacteria with precursors for important cellular components such as lipopolysaccarides and its cell wall. The absence of these proteins in honey-treated cells could help explain the mode of action of manuka honey in killing MRSA. "Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time," said Dr Jenkins, "But the way in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how manuka honey inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics".
Reference: Science Daily
Tea tree honey 'could fight MRSA'
Smearing an exotic type of honey on wounds could help protect against bacterial infections including MRSA, scientists believe. A laboratory study has found that manuka honey can stop bacteria from establishing themselves on tissue. Manuka honey is from bees which have collected nectar from manuka trees - better known as tea trees - in New Zealand and Australia. Tea tree oil has long been feted for its anti-bacterial properties. However, scientists at Cardiff University say that the honey could also be a useful "topical agent". Prof Rose Cooper, of its Centre for Biological Sciences, said: "Our findings with streptococci and pseudomonads [bacteria] suggest that 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 biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections." She added: "Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin - effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. "This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey." Putting the honey on wounds could be a novel and economic way of reducing infections, she suggested. "The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future."
Reference: Telegraph.co.uk, 13th April 2011, by Stephen Adams
A new study from researchers at the University of Ottawa shows honey to be effective in killing bacteria that cause chronic sinusitis. Honey Kill Bacteria. Chronic sinusitis affects millions of people every year. In chronic sinusitis, the mucous membranes in the sinus cavities become inflamed, causing headaches, stuffy nose, and difficulty breathing. Though it can be caused by allergies, chronic sinusitis can also be caused by bacteria that colonize in the nose and sinuses. That's where honey may help. Researchers, led by Tala Alandejani, MD, at the University of Ottawa, tested two honeys, manuka and sidr. Manuka honey comes from the manuka bush, also known as the tea tree bush, in New Zealand. Sidr honey comes from the sidr tree in Yemen, an ancient and sacred tree mentioned in spiritual texts. It's one of the world's most expensive honeys. Researchers singled out three particularly nasty bacteria: two strains of staph bacteria, MSSA (methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus) and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and one called Pseudomonas aeriginosa (PA). The two types of honey were effective in killing the bacteria. Even bacteria growing in a biofilm, a thin, slimy layer formed by bacteria that affords resistance to antibiotics, were susceptible to honey. The researchers also found that the two types of honey worked significantly better than an antibiotic against MSSA and MRSA, according to past research. Here's the breakdown of results:
Scientists hope the results can help lead to a new treatment for people with chronic sinusitis.
Manuka honey may fight superbugs: study
Manuka honey, derived from honeybees in New Zealand, might be the next medical weapon against chronically infected wounds and even "superbugs," bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to new research. Announced April 12 and being presented at a Society for General Microbiology meeting in the UK this week, the new research found that medical-grade honey can interfere with the growth of three types of stubborn bacteria commonly found in infected wounds. Also researchers reveal that when the honey is applied to a wound along with antibiotics, it can help make superbugs more sensitive to the drugs. Honey has long been known for its antimicrobial properties, with traditional honey remedies being used topically on wounds for centuries. However, modern medicine has only recently begun tapping into its potential. In other research, Australian researchers from the University of Sydney reported on honey's potential to fight superbugs in 2009, suggesting that honey-based products could replace antibiotic creams on wounds and even some hospital equipment.
Reference: The Independent
Fighting Infection With Manuka Honey
Manuka honey may kill bacteria by destroying key bacterial proteins. Dr
Rowena Jenkins and colleagues from the University of Wales Institute -
Cardiff investigated the mechanisms of manuka honey action and found
that its anti-bacterial properties were not due solely to the sugars
present in the honey. The work was presented this week (7-10 September),
at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt
Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was grown in the
laboratory and treated with and without manuka honey for four hours. The
experiment was repeated with sugar syrup to determine if the effects
seen were due to sugar content in honey alone. The bacterial cells were
then broken and the proteins isolated and separated on a system that
displayed each protein as an individual spot. Many fewer proteins were
seen from the manuka honey-treated MRSA cells and one particular
protein, FabI, seemed to be completely missing. FabI is a protein that
is needed for fatty acid biosynthesis. This essential process supplies
the bacteria with precursors for important cellular components such as
lipopolysaccarides and its cell wall. The absence of these proteins in
honey-treated cells could help explain the mode of action of manuka
honey in killing MRSA.
"Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and
anti-bacterial properties for some time," said Dr Jenkins, "But the way
in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how
manuka honey inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a
first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to
many currently available antibiotics".
Could honey beat MRSA?
"All honey has some degree of antibacterial activity," Prof Molan explains. "In many honeys, the activity is due to hydrogen peroxide, a well-known antiseptic, which is made in the honey by an enzyme that the bees add. "However, in manuka honey I found an antibacterial activity that other honey doesn't have - something that comes from the plant's nectar, which is different." This unique activity (the Unique Manuka Factor - UMF) has many applications for human well-being, including wound care. Dressing. Professor Molan recently researched an MRSA outbreak in a New Zealand's largest hospital, in which all victims were treated with manuka honey ApiNate Dressing (manuka honey which is impregnated into a calcium alginate fibre dressing). The results were astonishing. "A couple of years ago, Waikato hospital took up my suggestion to use Manuka honey to try to prevent MRSA infections," he says. "In one of the wards, where they had a long-history of problems with MRSA, the charge nurse tried putting honey dressings on all patients with wounds when they had an MRSA outbreak. As well as clearing up the wounds which were already infected, there were no cases of cross infections. "Now, whenever they get a patient with MRSA, rather than putting them in isolation they just put honey dressings on everybody with open wounds and they've never had a case of cross infection since. "We've since tested manuka honey against MRSA and other superbugs, and they are all very sensitive to it." There are now wound dressings made purely with manuka honey and sterilised to hospital standards, which are available as registered medical products on the NHS drug tariff. "They are being used but I don't think people have really caught on to the idea that it can be the answer to the MRSA problem. "People don't realise just how much evidence there is and the reason why honey works - it's not just an antibacterial activity - there are other beneficial healing elements, so even if a wound isn't infected it's still the best thing to use to get the most rapid healing without scarring."
Reference: Manchester Evening News
Honey Capable of Fighting Superbugs
Science is backing honey as more effective at wound healing than antibiotics. The following is a transcript of an interview with Associate Professor Dee Carter, Head of Microbiology, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney. DESLEY BLANCH: "Honey from an Australian and New Zealand native bush is being flagged by scientists as a successful medical weapon against hospital super bugs. It's well known that honey has anti-bacterial properties, but in the first study of its kind, Associate Professor Dee Carter and her team at the University of Sydney have found proof that some honeys can be more effective than antibiotics in treating surface wounds and infections." The researchers identified variations of Manuka honey and Jelly Bush honey to be especially potent as Professor Carter explains. PROFESSOR DEE CARTER: "We were focusing on particular honeys from plants known as Manuka in New Zealand or Jelly Bush here in Australia. These are the same species -- it's a species known as "leptospermum" -- of a tee tree plant, but it's not the same as the tea tree which you get tea tree oil from. It's a different one. But we were particularly focusing on honeys that were derived from those plants." DESLEY BLANCH: "And what makes these honeys much more potent than other kinds of honey?" PROFESSOR DEE CARTER: "Well, recent research has pointed to a particular compound in these honeys which is called "methylglyoxal". This is a small chemical that seems to be very potently effective against bacterial cells. But one of the interesting things about this is that although it's toxic, honey doesn't have any negative effect against human cells, so it's very selective in how it kills." DESLEY BLANCH: "While you're not the first to find that honey can be more effective than antibiotics, what is the novelty in your study, because you tested the honey on wound pathogens named at a high level of resistance?" PROFESSOR DEE CARTER: "That's right. We were looking at pathogens that are commonly a problem in hospitals and one of the major reasons for this is they have very high resistance to a wide range of different antibiotics, making them extremely difficult to treat in the hospital setting. Our study was focusing on that but also looking at whether it would be possible for organisms to develop resistance to honey over time, because you know, they might just go the way of antibiotics and they're useful for a while but then resistance develops; but what we found was that there was no way it seemed that the organisms could get resistant to the honey. So under the same conditions, that rapidly induced resistance to antibiotics, there was no resistance whatsoever to honey."
Reference: ABC Radio Australia
Honey 'weapon against superbugs'
Scientists claim to have discovered that honey can be used as a natural remedy to hospital infection "superbugs" which are resistant to strong antibiotics. The research team from Cardiff University and the University of Waikato in New Zealand believes the combination of honey's high sugar content and its syrupy texture would act as a natural barrier to bacteria entering wounds. The tests could have a major impact on the way hospitals tackle outbreaks of bugs, such as MRSA, which have infected 3,000 patients so far this year. Earlier this year, scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published research showing honey contained antioxidants, which are beneficial in lowering cholesterol. The Centre of Bio Medical Sciences in Cardiff has conducted tests on bacteria gathered from infected patients and from hospitals, which proved highly resistant to antibiotics. Project leader Dr Rose Cooper led the two-year research programme, using tests involving pasture honey and Manuka honey, from New Zealand, in treating ulcers and abscesses. They discovered the high sugar content slowed bacterial growth, while the honey's texture acted as a seal against outside infection of wounds. In its undiluted form, honey had the effect of killing off bacteria, which researchers believe could be linked to enzymes in the bees themselves or present in pollen.
Manuka honey can help fight superbugs
A type of honey could be a key weapon in the war against superbugs such as MRSA, says research unveiled yesterday. Extracts from manuka honey are already used in dressings because of its antibacterial properties. Now scientists are saying it could also stop the rate at which superbugs are becoming resistant to antibiotics. And using such a product instead of drugs costing millions to develop could be a money-saving answer to a health nightmare. Professor Rose Cooper, of University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, said: “The use of an agent like this to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may improve future antibiotic therapy.” Manuka honey comes from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand, also know elsewhere as tea tree. Prof Rose told a microbiology conference in Harrogate, North Yorks, yesterday: “Our findings suggest manuka honey can hamper an essential step in the initiation of acute infections – the attachment of bacteria to tissues. This also blocks the formation of the biofilms which can protect the bacteria from antibiotics.” Antibiotic-resistant bacteria claim an estimated 25,000 lives a year across Europe.
Honey Helps Problem Wounds
A household remedy millennia old is being reinstated: honey helps the treatment of some wounds better than the most modern antibiotics. For several years now medical experts from the University of Bonn have been clocking up largely positive experience with what is known as medihoney. Even chronic wounds infected with multi-resistant bacteria often healed within a few weeks. In conjunction with colleagues from Düsseldorf, Homburg and Berlin they now want to test the experience gained in a large-scale study, as objective data on the curative properties of honey are thin on the ground. The fact that honey can help wounds to heal is something that was known to the Ancient Egyptians several thousand years ago. And in the last two world wars poultices with honey were used to assist the healing process in soldiers' wounds. However, the rise of the new antibiotics replaced this household remedy. "In hospitals today we are faced with germs which are resistant to almost all the current anti-biotics," Dr. Arne Simon explains. "As a result, the medical use of honey is becoming attractive again for the treatment of wounds."
Reference: Science Daily
New Zealand Honey Could Be Handy In Fighting Superbugs
As patients all over the world increasingly suffer infections with MRSA and other drug-resistant bacteria, honey is getting another look from mainstream medicine. Microbiologist Rose Cooper of the University of Wales Institute has been on the cutting edge of honey research for the last few years. But her report this week at a big microbiology conference that just a tiny amount of Manuka honey seems to help fight MRSA — at least in a petri dish — is creating a bit of a buzz. Now, before you reach for the honey pot, know that the MRSA experiment hasn't been tested in people — or animals, for that matter, Cooper says. And just any old honey won't do: Manuka honey is a specific kind of honey from bees that gather nectar from the Manuka (or tea tree), which is native to New Zealand. Previous studies have shown that Manuka honey decreases the surface pH of wounds and can promote healing by helping to drain wounds and keep bacteria out. Other honeys have shown some promise in fighting bad bacteria as well, and there are many medical products on the market containing honey, but they all seem to have different modes of action, Cooper says. For example, some honeys produce hydrogen peroxide when diluted — that's what gives them antimicrobial properties — but Manuka honey produces a different antimicrobial substance called methylglyoxal. Cooper cautions that her research is preliminary but promising.
Reference: National Public Radio
Honey trialled on cancer patients
A Manchester cancer
hospital is importing manuka honey from New
Zealand to treat patients after surgery. The honey is believed to have healing powers and doctors at Christie
Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester, plan to use it on mouth and throat
cancer patients. They hope it may reduce the patients' chances of contracting MRSA and
help lessen inflammation.
Reference: BBC News
Honey found to soothe children’s coughs
Before the advent of modern medicine, traditional methods of healing using food and herbs were all the rage. Despite the fact that such folk medicine has become overrun by high-tech and drug-oriented health care, a few homespun remedies survive. One natural concoction that appears to have endured is honey and lemon ” a traditional elixir that is reputed to relieve sore throats common at this time of year. The presence of lemon juice in this brew makes sense as the vitamin C it contains is known to have immune-stimulating and anti-infective effects in the body. However, at first sight, the honey component is harder to make a case for. However, the fact that honey’s use as a natural remedy dates back to the ancient Egyptians suggests there might be something in it. Recent scientific evidence suggests that honey has real medicinal power in the body, and may help hive off sore throats and other infections. Sore throats can be caused by both viral and bacterial organisms. Most sore throats start out as viral infections, against which antibiotics are quite ineffectual. Antibiotics do have their use, however, for bacterial organisms. Bacteria might be the first germ to take up residence at the back of the throat, though commonly they superimpose themselves on top of a viral contamination. The most common species of bacterium known to cause sore throats is Streptococcus pyogenes. Because this germ can lead on to problems such as rheumatic fever and inflammation in the kidneys, treatment with antibiotics is important. However, laboratory experiments have found that honey has the ability to inhibit Streptococcus pyogenes. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that sipping honey and lemon at the first sign of a sore throat may help keep the potentially hazardous Streptococcal bug at bay. Another organism that honey has been shown to help combat is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This bacterium was discovered 20 years ago and is now well-recognised as a causative factor in ulcers that affect the stomach and duodenum (the part of the digestive tract immediately after the stomach). Manuka honey, a particular brand of honey hailing from New Zealing, has been shown kill H. pylori in the testtube. While conventional treatments for H. pylori exist, two or three teaspoons of Manuka honey incorporated in the diet each day can only help to rid H. pylori from the body and reduce the risk of re-infection. Anyone considering using Manuka honey for this purpose should opt for a brand labelled as UMF 10+. UMF stands for unique Manuka factor, the substance in Manuka that is believed to give it its bacterial-killing potential.
Study: Honey can kill superbugs
Honey has been used to treat wounds since ancient times, but recent years have seen a surge of medical interest in the sticky stuff. Manuka honey has been the subject of particular interest, with the results of a study just published by Sydney University finding that it has powerful antibacterial properties, and is even effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Associate Professor Dee Carter, from Sydney University's School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences said: "Our research is the first to clearly show that these honey-based products could in many cases replace antibiotic creams on wounds and equipment such as catheters. Using honey as an intermediate treatment could also prolong the life of antibiotics." "Most bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one antibiotic, and there is an urgent need for new ways to treat and control surface infections." She added: "We don't quite know how these honeys prevent and kill infections, but a compound in them called methylglyoxal seems to interact with a number of other unknown compounds in honey to prevent infectious bacteria developing new strains that are resistant to it." Honey is a complex substance, containing up to 800 compounds and its complexity means it has been difficult to pinpoint exactly how it kills bacteria. Manuka is a type of honey that is made by bees pollinating the flowers of the Manuka bush, a member of the Leptospermum family that grows naturally in New Zealand.
Honey may take the sting out of the NHS superbugs
Honey has the power to defeat the hospital superbugs which claim up to 5,000 lives a year, scientists have discovered. Renowned for thousands of years for its medicinal properties, it is able to kill off mutant bacteria, including MRSA which has defeated all but the strongest antibiotics. The latest discovery by researchers at the University of Wales in Cardiff comes at a time of growing scientific interest in the substance's healing properties. Honey contains natural antibacterial agents which experts have discovered can prevent the growth of a number of hospital-acquired wound infections, even at very low concentrations. Outbreaks of the infections cost the Health Service £1billion a year in extra treatment. They kill 5,000 British hospital patients a year and are a factor in a further 15,000 deaths. Honey was revered by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians as a powerful medicinal agent and used to help heal burns and sores. During World War I, German physicians mixed it with cod liver oil to use as a surgical dressing for battle wounds. But widespread use of antibiotics to combat infections in the latter part of the last century left it back in the kitchen cupboard. The latest findings followed laboratory experiments on bacteria gathered from infected wounds and hospital surfaces, including MRSA. The team at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff found honey attacked the bugs even when it was diluted in another medium. Microbiologist Dr Rose Cooper explained: 'I have found that even at concentrations as low as 3 per cent, honey is able to inhibit the growth of the bacteria. 'It is probable that at higher concentrations the honey would destroy the MRSA. This is very encouraging news and a good start.' Varieties of honey from Australia and New Zealand have proved most effective. Their high sugar content creates a waterless environment in which the bacteria cannot survive. The honey is also highly acidic due to the presence of the enzyme glucose oxidase, adding to its antibacterial properties. Dr Cooper said this enzyme produces a secret weapon - hydrogen peroxide, which was once used as a wound disinfectant in hospitals. Honey is primarily composed of fructose, glucose and water. It also contains enzymes, vitamins B and C, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, silica, manganese and potassium. Dr Cooper said supermarket honey was not suitable for treating wounds. 'The honey we used was irradiated and had not been exposed to high temperatures like pasteurised runny honey you get in the shops,' she said. 'Even honey you might buy in health food shops could contain bacteria spores which you would not want to introduce to wounds.' Another trial involving 20 patients at Aintree Hospital in Liverpool found dressings soaked in Manuka honey from New Zealand were effective in treating wounds infected with drug-resistant bacteria. Manuka is made from one of New Zealand's native plants and has long been used in folk medicine. A larger trial has now been ordered.
Reference: Daily Mail
QUESTIONER: "Dear John. My father, who is 81, has an ulcer near his left ankle which is refusing to heal despite regular nursing care. Swabs show no MRSA infection. What might help speed the healing process." DR. JOHN BRIFFA: "Leg ulcers are common in the elderly, especially in those suffering from varicose veins or diabetes. Tissue healing can be helped by supplementing the diet with nutrients such as vitamin C and zinc. In addition, these stimulate the immune system, and this will help to clear any infection that may slow the healing process. suggest your father takes 1g (1,000mg) of vitamin C twice a day, along with 30-60mg of zinc a day, for two to three months. Another natural substance, the herb Gotu kola (Centella asiatica), contains saponins, which stimulate wound healing through the production of a tissue protein known as collagen. I suggest your father takes this in pill or tincture form for two to three months. Studies show that honey can assist wound and ulcer healing. I recommend that Manuka honey (from New Zealand) is applied every time your father has a change of dressing."
Reference: The Guardian
Doctors turning sweet on healing with honey
Peter Molan, Ph.D., likes to tell the story of the 20-year-old wound. Infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, an abscess oozed in an English woman's armpit long after it had been drained. Nothing seemed to help, and the pain prevented her from working. Then in August of 1999, she read about the remarkable wound-healing properties of honey. She convinced doctors to apply some to the dressing to her arm, and a month later the wound healed. Now she's back at work. Novel as this treatment sounds, it would have inspired yawns among doctors in ancient Egypt, according to May Berenbaum, Ph.D., a University of Illinois entomologist. "Honey has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of medical problems like wounds, burns, cataracts, skin ulcers and scrapes," she says. "And now various researchers worldwide are also studying -- and finding -- strong antimicrobial properties in some honeys." Honey fell from favor as a wound dressing when antibiotic dressings were developed during World War II. But the new research -- and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria -- are putting this old-time folk remedy into the contemporary medicine chest. Last year, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration -- the equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration -- approved honey as a medicine. A company in Australia this year began marketing medical honey as a wound dressing in pharmacies there. It's available in the United States through the Internet. Honey helps wounds in several ways, says Molan. Its thickness provides a protective barrier. The hydrogen peroxide it contains is released slowly, killing germs in the wound. Some as-yet-unknown ingredients reduce inflammation, while others, perhaps amino acids and vitamin C, speed the growth of healthy tissue. Honey even makes wounds smell better, possibly because when bacteria in wounds eat honey's sugars, they give off sweeter-smelling gases. Dozens of studies, in animals and humans, have documented such benefits. One of the most convincing reports, published in the 1998 issue of the journal Burns, tells how researchers from the Dr. V. M. Medical College in Maharashtra, India, compared honey with silver sulfadiazine, the standard treatment for superficial burns. The researchers first smeared honey on gauze and used it to dress the burns of 52 patients. Another 52 patients got the same treatment but with silver sulfadiazine in place of the honey. In the 52 patients treated with honey, 87 percent healed within 15 days, compared with 10 percent of those treated with silver sulfadiazine. The honey-treated patients also experienced less pain, leaking of wound fluid, and scarring. Molan, a biochemist at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and other researchers have found special bacteria-killing properties in honey made from the nectar of the tea tree (Leptospermum). In laboratory experiments, reported in the November 1992 Journal of Applied Bacteriology, Molan and his colleagues found that it was particularly effective in slaying staphylococcus aureus. This so-called "Golden Staph" -- which infested the English woman's 20-year-old wound -- sometimes survives the most potent antibiotics, killing its victims. "Manuka honey has worked in very desperate cases where nothing else has worked," says Molan.
Honey Can Reverse Antibiotic Resistance, Study Suggests
Manuka honey could be an efficient way to clear chronically infected wounds and could even help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate. Professor Rose Cooper from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff is looking at how manuka honey interacts with three types of bacteria that commonly infest wounds: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Group A Streptococci and Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Her group has found that honey can interfere with the growth of these bacteria in a variety of ways and suggests that honey is an attractive option for the treatment of drug-resistant wound infections. Honey has long been acknowledged for its antimicrobial properties. Traditional remedies containing honey were used in the topical treatment of wounds by diverse ancient civilisations. Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand and is included in modern licensed wound-care products around the world. However, the antimicrobial properties of honey have not been fully exploited by modern medicine as its mechanisms of action are not yet known. Professor Cooper's group is helping to solve this problem by investigating at a molecular level the ways in which manuka honey inhibits wound-infecting bacteria. "Our findings with streptococci and pseudomonads suggest that 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 biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections," explained Professor Cooper. "Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin -- effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey." This research may increase the clinical use of manuka honey as doctors are faced with the threat of diminishingly effective antimicrobial options. "We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. We have already demonstrated that manuka honey is not likely to select for honey-resistant bacteria," said Professor Cooper. At present, most antimicrobial interventions for patients are with systemic antibiotics. "The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future. This will help reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from colonised wounds to susceptible patients."
Reference: Science Daily
Try this, honey
There’s a buzz about manuka honey as a wonder treatment for everything from wounds to digestive disorders. Is it the bee’s knees? The healing powers of honey have been well known since Pythagoras’ time. We suck honey lozenges to soothe our throats, we stir in a spoonful to sweeten hot drinks when we’re sick. Now, some scientists believe that one particular kind, manuka honey, has antibacterial properties that can be used to treat everything from skin conditions to digestive disorders. And the buzz about the honey’s healing properties is growing. Once regarded as about as effective as chicken soup, manuka honey is increasingly being used to treat everything from eczema to tummy upsets. Sonia Forde, a Pilates teacher with two children, Maia, 7, and Ruben, 4, became convinced of its healing properties when it cleared up Molluscum contagiosum spots on Ruben’s face. The jelly-like spots are harmless but unsightly and Forde had tried various remedies without success. Her GP had told her that they would eventually disappear of their own accord, but then she heard about a friend who had successfully treated her son’s Molluscum contagiosum by applying manuka honey. Forde tracked down a high-strength honey in her local health-food shop and began dabbing it on Ruben’s spots every night. “Within a few days they were getting smaller,” she says. “Two weeks later, they had completely cleared up.” Made by bees that collect pollen from the manuka bush, Leptospermum scoparium, which grows wild in New Zealand, manuka honey has a slightly medicinal flavour and when applied to skin has been found by some studies to effectively treat wounds and ulcers that have failed to respond to standard medicine. So strong is its anti-bacterial component, that it has been given its own classification, the unique manuka factor (UMF). Strengths range from UMF5, which is believed to be equivalent to a 5 per cent solution of a standard antiseptic, to UMF20, which is equivalent to a 20 per cent solution of antiseptic. Different strengths are recommended for treating different conditions. The honey not only fights infection and aids tissue healing but has been found in clinical trials to reduce inflammation and scarring. It has also been used successfully, when taken orally, on digestive problems, from diarrhoea and indigestion to stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis. Its healing properties appear to be due to the presence of the enzyme glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide — an antiseptic — and its high sugar concentration, which inhibits bacterial growth. But researchers are unable to pinpoint any one particular constituent to explain why manuka honey has such strong antibacterial qualities. A study published in the European Journal of Medical Research in 2003 discovered that manuka honey — when compared with conventional treatments for infected postoperative Caesarean sections and hysterectomy wounds — had an 85 per cent success rate compared with 50 per cent for routine treatments. Before Forde applied the honey to her son’s spots, she had already been giving both her children a daily teaspoon of UMF10 honey to ward off common colds and to treat the occasional bout of constipation: “The beauty of it is that they both love the strong honey taste,” she says. “I used to spread it on toast or give them a teaspoon in the morning. It was easy, unlike taking the herbal remedy echinacea, which I have to bribe them both with sweets to get them to swallow.” Last year, manuka-honey wound dressings and sterilised manuka-honey creams were licensed for use in NHS hospitals. And scientists at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), are investigating whether it could help to combat MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant “superbug”. “In the past year, honey has become accepted into conventional medicine,” says Dr Rose Cooper, the head of the University of Wales Institute research team. “When I embarked on this work eight years ago, it was dismissed as an ancient remedy and an alternative therapy. But there have been cases where MRSA has been eradicated from patients’ wounds which have been treated with the honey.” Cooper believes that although honey cannot combat MRSA once it has reached the bloodstream, it can stop the initial wound infection spreading within the body, and can also halt the spread of the bug to other patients. And while she acknowledges that more clinical trials are needed, she is cautiously optimistic: “It could be very effective preventatively,” she says. “It could be used as a form of infection control.” Meanwhile, in the Forde household, even Sonia’s honey-sceptic husband has become a convert: “Initially he thought it was dubious,” she says. “But when he saw Ruben’s spots disappear it made him think that it must have some sort of healing property. Now if he has a cold coming on, I see him having a teaspoon for himself.”
Reference: Times Online
Sweet Honey for Healthy Teeth
It may sound like a paradox if not a downright contradiction, but honey--sweet, sweet honey--protects against tooth decay, according to a new study presented this week at the "Functional Foods for Oral Health" symposium, part of the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research in Chicago, Illinois. Researchers in New Zealand conducted laboratory research to test the effect of honey on several species of dental plaque bacteria. Researchers tested unprocessed honey with midrange antibacterial potency and found that honey protects against tooth decay. "By using average-potency honeys, the growth of bacteria is stopped completely," says lead researcher Peter Molan, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. "Honey has components that prevent dental plaque from forming." The bacterial species responsible for dental caries--including Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus sobrinus, and Lactobacillus caseii--were tested in a lab. Researchers measured the amount acid produced by these bacteria and found that honey sharply reduced the quantity. "It almost cut the acid production down to zero," says Molan. "Honey also stopped the bacteria from producing dextran, which is a component of dental plaque." The researchers say that unprocessed honey contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide. The guess is that it is mainly responsible for the unlikely antimicrobial activity of honey. The researchers also say that the honey also made a difference in fighting inflammatory infections of the gum, and they say that honey could be used in treating periodontal disease and gingivitis, which are inflammatory conditions resulting from infected gums. The anti-inflammatory abilities of honey were potent, removing swelling and pain rapidly. "Honey has shown fantastic results in healing wounds," says Molan. "It has good anti-inflammatory components, which clears the infection."
Reference: CBS Healthwatch
QUESTIONER: "A friend has just had his appendix out - can you give me the name of the honey that you advised to put on wounds to guard against MRSA." JAN DE VRIES: "The worry about hospital infection is a real issue now. So many people ask me about what they should do to avoid this. Keeping out of hospital is the obvious answer! However, since this is not a sensible answer when operations are needed the next best thing to do is try and keep the wound site as clean as possible. If you can get access to the site apply some Manuka Honey Cream (UMF-18) around the margins of the incision. This will not delay the healing but could help retard any bacterial invasion..."
Reference: BBC Radio Cornwall
The treatment that's the bee's knees
Medicine may be increasingly high-tech, but the latest wonder treatment which is being offered to patients is - honey. Last week, it was announced that bandages soaked in manuka honey are to be given to mouth cancer patients at the Christie Hospital in Manchester to reduce their chances of contracting the MRSA superbug and to lessen wound inflammation following surgery. This is just the latest study investigating this particular type of honey's healing powers. It is used routinely at the Manchester Royal Infirmary for dressing wounds, and other research has found it can fight gum disease, ease digestive problems and soothe sore throats. All honey contains hydrogen peroxide, a substance once used as a wound disinfectant in hospitals - it comes from an enzyme that bees add to nectar. It also contains the enzyme glucose oxidase, which boosts its anti-bacterial properties. This was recognised by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, who used honey to help heal burns and sores. But manuka honey - made by bees that collect pollen from the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), which grows wild in New Zealand - has other, yet to be identified, ingredients which appear to have health benefits. Professor Peter Molan, director of the honey research centre at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, has called these 'unique manuka factors' (UMFs) and uses this to classify its various strengths. For example, a UMF5 product is thought to be equivalent to a 5 per cent solution of a standard antiseptic; a UMF20, the highest strain, is equal to a 20 per cent solution of antiseptic. The honey costs up to £12 a jar, and some doctors recommend one teaspoonful before meals for general health and digestive problems or it can be applied neat to the skin for rashes and wounds. Here is a guide to manuka honey's other benefits: FIGHTS SUPERBUGS In separate studies, researchers at Aintree Hospital in Liverpool and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, found manuka honey could help to combat MRSA, which kills 5,000 British patients a year. Outbreaks of the superbug are estimated to cost the health service £1 billion a year in extra treatment. 'Our research found that even at concentrations as low as 3 per cent, honey is able to inhibit the growth of the bacteria,' says Dr Rose Cooper, the head of the Cardiff team. 'It is probable that at higher concentrations the honey would destroy the MRSA.' Another study published in the European Journal of Medical Research found manuka had an 85 per cent success rate - compared with 50 per cent with routine treatments - when used to treat infected caesarean and hysterectomy wounds. FIGHTS GUM DISEASE Despite its sweetness, manuka honey has been found to disrupt three types of bacteria in the mouth which cause tooth decay. In laboratory tests, it sharply reduced the acid levels produced by Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus sobrinus and Lactobacillus caseii. Research by Professor Molan has shown that reducing the amount of acid stops the bacteria from producing dextran, which sticks dental plaque to the surface of teeth. He recommends rubbing manuka into the gums after brushing or, since it retains its anti-microbial properties even when diluted up to 50 times, it can be used as a mouthwash. Because it is not known exactly what are the honey's powerful properties and as it is so sweet, it should not be given to children aged under two. SOOTHES SORE THROATS Manuka honey with a high UMF rating could help fight infections, such as the bacteria streptoccous pyogones, that causes sore throats. Professor Molan found that taking a teaspoon three times a day, and keeping it in the mouth for as long as possible before swallowing, prevented most throat infections from developing to the point where a trip to the doctor is necessary. EASES DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS Lower UMF manuka honey can help maintain general health and good digestion. They have helped to treat problems ranging from diarrhoea and indigestion to stomach ulcers. A teaspoon on bread or toast three times a day can also ease acid reflux and heartburn. SOOTHES ACNE, ECZEMA & SUNBURN Trials at the University of Waikato are looking into the effects of manuka honey on acne and eczema. It is suggested it is applied neat to the skin as a face pack and left for 15 to 20 minutes before washing off. The honey is already used by many acne sufferers, and naturopaths recommend anyone prescribed antibiotics for acne to take the honey orally as it will help to balance bacteria in the intestine. Diluted or neat manuka can also be applied to soothe sunburned skin. BOOSTS ENDURANCE Using honey, including manuka of various UMFs, during exercise was found to be as successful at improving performance and power among athletes as specialist energy drinks. Researchers at the exercise and sport nutrition laboratory of the University of Memphis found three to five teaspoons of honey reduced the time to complete a 64km time trial by more than three minutes and improved cycling power by 6 per cent compared to a placebo. 'In the quest for that extra advantage, endurance athletes at all levels turn to carbohydrate sources, such as the many sports drinks on the market, to fuel strenuous exercise,' said Professor Richard Kreider, who led the study. 'We were pleased to find that honey, a cocktail of natural sugars, performed just as well.'
Reference: Daily Mail
Manuka honey is a superbug buster
Manuka honey could be used to beat antibiotic-resistant bacteria including MRSA, studies have shown. The much-hyped health food, made by bees collecting nectar from New
Zealand’s manuka trees, has long been feted for its antibacterial
But its true potential as a bug buster could now be fulfilled, according to a University of Wales Institute team.
Manuka honey’s interaction with the streptococci, pseudomonas
aeruginosa and MRSA bacteria, which commonly infect wounds, was tested.
With the first two bugs, the honey hampered the bacteria attaching to tissues and stalled serious infections. But
it also blocked the formation of ‘biofilms’, which protect bacteria
from the effects of antibiotics and give bugs their ‘super’ properties. ‘Other
work has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics
such as oxacillin,’ said study leader Prof Rose Cooper.
‘This indicates existing antibiotics may be more effective
against drugresistant infections if used in combination with manuka
honey.’ As bacteria evolve, concerns have been raised at the falling number of antibiotics available to treat them.
But manuka honey could be a cheap and effective solution, said Prof Rose, because the bugs would not become ‘honey-resistant’. She
added: ‘We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound
infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased [antibiotic]
‘We have already demonstrated that manuka honey is not likely to select for honey-resistant bacteria.’
Reference: Metro.co.uk, 12th April 2011, by Aidan Radnedge
Traditional honey remedy 'could fight MRSA in hospitals'
A type of honey used for centuries to treat wounds may be the ultimate weapon against drug resistant bacteria, research suggests. Manuka honey fights three types of bacteria that commonly infect wounds, including the notorious MRSA 'superbug'. The honey prevents microbial growth in unusual ways and may even be able to reverse resistance to antibiotics, say scientists. Traditional remedies containing honey were used to treat wounds by many ancient civilisations. Bees produce manuka honey from the nectar of the manuka tree in New Zealand. Experts have recognised the value of this type of honey, leading to its inclusion in many modern wound-care products. However, the secrets of its healing powers are still largely unknown.A team led by Professor Rose Cooper, from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC), found that manuka honey prevents the attachment of bacteria to tissues - an essential step in the infection process. Prof Cooper said: 'Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections. 'Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin - 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 findings were presented today at the spring conference of the Society for General Microbiology in Harrogate. Prof Cooper said the research may increase the clinical use of manuka honey as doctors are faced with increasingly resistant microbes. 'We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance,' she said. 'We have already demonstrated that manuka honey is not likely to select for honey-resistant bacteria.' She added: 'The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future. 'This will help reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from colonised wounds to susceptible patients.'
Reference: Daily Mail