Cardiff University research has showed that manuka honey makes it more difficult for bacteria to take over wounds, by preventing them from forming impenetrable ‘living film’. In tests, the honey eased and prevented hard-to-treat wound infections.
Just two hours of honey treatment killed 85 per cent of bacteria, the journal Microbiology reports and though honey’s healing powers have been touted in the past the science behind it has not been fully understood.
The study focused on manuka honey, made from nectar collected by bees foraging on New Zealand’s manuka trees, and a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes. A bacteria that is harmless when on the skin but can causes major problems when in a wound.
Once inside, the germ forms films that prevent antibiotics from getting to work and stop the wound from healing. The study showed that very small concentrations of the honey stopped these films from forming and was even effective in cases in which the bacteria had already formed the film. There, just two hours of treatment killed more than eight in ten bugs.
Researcher Dr Sarah Maddocks said: “There is an urgent need to find innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. No instances of honey-resistant bacteria have been reported to date, or seem likely. This is significant as chronic wounds account for up to 4 per cent of health care expenses in the developed world.”
Manuka honey is effective against more than 80 different types of bacteria, including superbug MRSA. While all types of honey have some antibacterial properties, the ingredients of manuka honey make it particularly powerful. However, supermarket honey will not do. Any honey used be must be sterilized to make it of medical grade.
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