Honey Contains Antibiotic Properties
Many ancient cultures throughout the world discovered the healing effects of honey. It has been used to heal everything from sore throats to wounds. Today, research proves honey to be a broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal agent. It is able to decrease the growth rate of various pathogenic bacteria.
Lately, there are more infections than ever becoming antibiotic resistant according to the medical profession. Many of the infections happen because of the Staphylococcus sp. bacteria more commonly known as staph. When bacteria becomes out of control in surgical incisions or wounds, it can cause serious infections sometimes to the point of life threatening.
Dr. Peter Molan, a reputable New Zealand researcher at the University of Waikato has studied honey over the years to discover more about its antimicrobial properties. It has been documented in numerous published articles that honey cured antibiotic-resistant and antiseptic-resistant infections. Honey even was found to heal wounds quickly where penicillin-resistant and antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus strains were present.
Molan, along with his colleagues studied cultured bacteria, as in Pseudomona sp. and Staphylococcus aureus that they took directly from patients' wounds. Dressings with raw honey were found to keep the bacteria from growing inside the wounds even when the body fluids drastically diluted the honey. The bacteria mentioned here are serious and can cause gangrene when left untreated.
Ways that Raw Honey Destroys Bacteria
Dr. Paulus Kwakman and his team at the University of Amsterdam researched how honey kills bacteria. They discovered five key ways that this happens.
- Honey contains such a large quantity of sugar that the bacteria don't have enough water in which to grow. This hampers the bacteria's ability to thrive.
- Glucose oxidase, an enzyme in honey, creates a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide, when it mixes with water. This helps to destroy bacteria similar to what bleach does on household items.
- When honey is diluted, it measures 3.5 on the pH scale. This is acidic and bacteria grow more slowly in an acidic environment.
- The food provided to the queen bee larva called royal jelly contains bee defensin-1, which is a protein. This protein has been found to be one of the antibiotic elements in honey.
- Medical grade honey that is nurtured in controlled environments of greenhouses and Manuka honey in New Zealand contain the antibacterial compound known as MGO or Methylglyoxal.
More Studies on Honey for its Antibiotic Properties
The FASEB Journal published an article in 2010 that sheds light on how honey destroys bacteria. Research show that defensin-1, a protein contained in honey, could be the answer for skin infections and burns someday and used in new medications to fight infections that have become resistant to antibiotics.
Researcher Sabastian A.J. Zaat, Ph.D. with the Amesterdam's Academic Medical Center discovered honey or components derived from it could be helpful in treating and preventing infections brought on by strains of bacteria resistant to bacteria. He came to this conclusion through testing medical-grade honey on disease-causing bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics in a lab setting.
He and his team developed a way to tell which of the elements in honey contributed to antibacterial action. In the end, they discovered that the protein, defensin-1, is a major contributor to the antibacterial properties of honey. The bees produce this protein in their bodies and add it to the honey.
Manuka Honey for MRSA
Another study published in 2011 showed evidence that Manuka honey is effective in combating MRSA. Also, a team of researchers with the Cardiff School of Health Sciences has shown how effective honey is at fighting Streptococcus pyogenes, serious bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics that many times cause infections in wounds hindering the formation of skin grafts.
How to Use Honey to Treat Wounds
One way to use honey on wounds is first to grab some simple supplies. You will need some raw honey, dry soft towel, a wet washcloth, bandages, and a paper towel. Start off by washing the wound with soap and water, rinse and dry thoroughly.
Pour some raw honey onto a folded paper towel, hold it on the wound for a few seconds, and then lightly rub it in before wiping off the excess honey from around the wound with the wet washcloth. Dry this surrounding area careful not to disturb the honey on the wound. Apply bandage to the honey-treated wound. Change bandage at least on a daily basis reapplying honey. Another way of treating a wound is to pour the honey straight on it, if it is large enough and then apply a bandage.
As research continues, more about honey's antibacterial properties keep being uncovered. The next time you have a cut that does not seem to heal, try some honey on it to see what it will do for you.