Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Honey could be a wonder drug

From correspondents in Ottawa

September 25, 2008 02:45am

HONEY, used for generations to soothe sore throats, could soon be substituted for antibiotics in fighting stubborn ear, nose and throat infections, according to a new study.

Ottawa University doctors found in tests that ordinary honey kills bacteria that cause sinus infections, and does it better in most cases than antibiotics.

The researchers have so far tested manuka honey from New Zealand, and sidr honey from Yemen.

"It's astonishing," researcher Joseph Marson said of bees' unexplained ability to combine the nectar of flowers into a seemingly potent medicine.

The preliminary tests were conducted in laboratory dishes, not in live patients, but included the "superbug" methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, which is highly resistant to antibiotics.

In upcoming human trials, a "honey rinse" would be used to "flush out the goo from sinus cavities," said Marson.

The two killed all floating bacteria in liquid, and 63-91 per cent of biofilms - micro-organisms that sometimes form a protective layer in sinus cavities, urinary tracts, catheters, and heart valves, protecting bacteria from normal drug treatments and often leading to chronic infections.

The most effective antibiotic, rifampin, killed just 18 percent of the biofilm samples in the tests.

"As of today, nobody is sure what in the honey kills the bacteria," Marson said, noting that "not all honeys have the same potency" and calling for more research to determine the mechanism behind the healing.

Canada's clover and buckwheat honey did not work at all.

Previous studies have shown honey's healing properties on infected wounds.

The results of the study were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, in Chicago.


Honeymark said...

Manuka Honey destroys bacteria by drawing moisture out of the bacterial cells, making it impossible for them to survive. It does this by osmosis. This is why Manuka Honey is becoming a popular ingredient in antiseptic products.

Anonymous said...

Was there any mention of what type of Buckwheat Honey that was used? Lighter buckwheat honey's don’t have the same antimicrobial properties as darker ones.

This is very interesting because research with dark buckwheat honey and children’s cough is very promising.

Jeffery L. Chamberlain M.D.
CEO of Honey Don’t Cough