Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Manuka honey in Medicine Part 1

Professor Peter Molan, Honey Research Unit, University of Waikato in New Zealand, looks at the use of manuka honey as a medicine.

Honey has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds, gastroenteritis and eye infections. It was displaced from common usage by the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s.

But now that the widespread and rapidly increasing resistance of microbes to antibiotics has become a major global threat to health, there has been a renaissance in the use of honey to treat infections.

The ancient physicians were aware that some honeys were better than others for treating infections, but this ancient wisdom has survived only in folk medicine.

It was through scientific investigation following up such folk knowledge in New Zealand that manuka honey was discovered to have a unique anti-microbial component additional to the enzymically produced hydrogen peroxide that is responsible for the anti-microbial activity of all honey.

This unique anti-microbial activity is of extremely broad spectrum and is equally as effective against antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria as it is against other strains.

Also, unlike other topical anti-microbial agents used on wounds, manuka honey does not slow the healing process by having adverse effects on the exposed wound tissue.

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