8.07.2007

Kill More MRSA With Honey...

FDA recently approved the use of honey as a topical antibacterial, according to this article in the Washington Post. Of course honey was used for thousands of years for this purpose before antibiotic came along. That said, there are some logical reasons why honey is effective in wound care unlike some other medicinal claims.
"All honey is medicinal to some extent. Its low water content allows it to draw fluid away from wounds; its high sugar content makes it difficult for microorganisms to grow. What's more, worker bees secrete an enzyme, glucose oxidase, into nectar, which releases low levels of the disinfectant hydrogen peroxide when honey makes contact with a damp surface such as a wound.

Not all honeys are equal, though. Manuka appears to have a poorly understood antimicrobial ingredient, dubbed its Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)."

Honey has been in use as a wound application for several years in UK and New Zealand hospital and seems particularly useful in treating MRSA and post surgical infections. Antibacterial resistance is a growing problem and it is hoped honey can fill the void, according to the Washington Post.

"The European Journal of Medical Research reported in 2003 that honey had an 85 percent success rate in treating infected post-op Caesarean wounds, compared with a 50 percent success rate for conventional interventions.

At the May meeting of the European Wound Management Association, researchers presented the results of a small Irish study that compared the effects of manuka honey and a commonly used hydrogel dressing on 100 patients with chronic leg ulcerations. Those patients treated with manuka dressings experienced a higher rate of cleansing and faster healing than those who used the hydrogel dressing. Ten of the patients had ulcers colonized with MRSA. After four weeks, seven of those 10 wounds no longer showed the bacteria's presence."

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