Manuka Honey



Before the advent of antibiotics, it was not unusual for an experienced medical professional to slather honey on a wound to prevent infection and hasten healing. Modern clinical observations document honey’s effectiveness in treating cuts, wounds, burns, insect bites, yeast infections, various skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and fungal infections from athlete’s foot to ringworm. Honey is a very effective means of quickly clearing even the most heavily infected wounds, without the side-effects and potential overuse of antibiotics. The manner in which honey heals is a synergistic interaction of five key elements:

1. Hydrogen peroxide, which is produced from an enzyme in honey, disinfects and heals skin wounds and infections due to its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic nature. Scientific evidence has proven that most strains of harmful bacteria cannot survive in the presence of oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the many components that help regulate the amount of oxygen getting to cells and increases oxygenation of tissues.

2. Honey creates a moist healing barrier between wound and dressing with no sticking and no tissue damage – scarring is reduced because skin cells grow without forming a scab. The antibacterial properties and viscosity also provide a barrier to cross-infection of wounds.

3. Honey supplies nutrients necessary for healthy tissue regeneration and stimulates the growth of new blood capillaries. Honey contains all the minerals necessary for sustaining life plus a wide range of amino acids, vitamins, trace elements, and large quantities of readily assimilated sugars. The Vitamin C content of honey is important because of its role in collagen synthesis.

4. The acidity of honey may also assist in healing as topical acidification of wounds promotes healing.

5. Honey’s high sugar content has an osmosis effect on wounds. It draws lymph out to the cells while absorbing moisture and provides an anti-inflammatory action which reduces swelling, pain, and odor. Honey assists in lifting dirt and debris from the bed of a wound and induces sloughing of necrotic tissue. The cleansing effect of the osmotic flow and the enzymatic debriding effect of honey often make surgery unnecessary.

According to a study published by Robert Blomfield in the Journal of the American Medical Association, honey has been proven more effective than silver sulfadiazine and polyurethane film dressings for the treatment of burns. “Applied every 2 to 3 days under a dry dressing, honey promotes healing of ulcers and burns better than any other local application."

MANUKA HONEY – THE NEXT STEP IN HEALING

MANUKA is the Maori name for Leptospermum Scoparium, a native tree of New Zealand. Manuka has been used for centuries in traditional Maori folk medicine for treating fevers and colds and healing skin and stomach ailments. Known as "the Healing Honey of the Tea Tree," Manuka possesses strong curative properties derived from powerful antibacterial agents and high mineral content.

According to studies performed at The University of Waikaito, a few areas of New Zealand produce a Manuka honey which contains a second type of antibacterial activity in addition to hydrogen peroxide activity. This secondary activity is measured in a laboratory on a scale of 1-20 with Manuka honey testing above 10 referred to as “Active Manuka.” Amazingly, this antibacterial activity is unaffected by enzymes in the body that destroy the hydrogen peroxide components. It is also unaffected by light, heat, or time. In fact, experience has shown that some Active Manuka actually increases its level of activity over time.

When used in wound healing, Active Manuka maintains its potency even when diluted over 50 times (as will happen when used on or in the body.) It will also diffuse deeper into skin tissue than the enzymes of other honeys.

Active Manuka has proven to be a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent, killing bugs such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Helicobacter pylori. Active Manuka is highly effective against antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” and is often used when traditional methods fail to heal persistent wounds. Because of its exceptional healing powers, Active Manuka is classified as a Therapeutic Good in Australia (the equivalent to a drug registered and approved by the FDA.)

Honey should not be fed to
infants under one year old

Manuka Honey is a unique form of mono-floral honey which contains methylglyoxal (an active antibacterial compound not found in other honey. This particular honey contains more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants than other honey. From New Zealand, Manuka Honey is a rare type of honey, as the Manuka flowers are only in bloom for about 6 weeks out of the year.

Manuka honey contains unique healing and pain relieving properties, making it ideal for medicinal use. This is mainly the result of a chemical process within honey that produces hydrogen peroxide, a well known antibacterial and cleansing agent. The key differences with Manuka honey are the antibacterial properties not related to hydrogen peroxide (known as NPA or Non Peroxide Activity). This honey has also shown the ability to fight the drug-resistant bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a serious staph infection. MRSA often causes mild skin infections, and can be even more serious and life threatening. It is a difficult infection to treat and can infect the lungs, bloodstream heart valve, bones, joints, or lungs.

Manuka honey contains a high level of additional, non-peroxide, antibacterial components. Although some other types of honey have been reported to have some non-peroxide antibacterial activity, but it is at a very low level. The high level of non-peroxide activity found in honey produced from Leptospermumspecies is unique.

Manuka honey has been researched for over 20 years by Dr. Molan, Senior Lecturer, Biochemistry Department at the Waikato University in New Zealand. Studies show that Manuka honey contains Ellagic Acid and other Phenolic acids and the use of Manuka honey decreases the surface pH of wounds and increases production of cytokines which help promote wound healing. It is excellent for cleansing and clearing the skin from impurities, in helping to draw out wound impurities and remove dead skin cells, and has an anti-inflammatory effect.

High in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and oligosaccharides, active Manuka Honey is excellent in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema, open and chronic wounds, and skin ulcers, Active Manuka Honey helps to protect skin, heal wounds, open cuts, diabetic ulcers, abrasions, and bed sores as well.

Studies show that patients with cancer and undergoing cancer treatments are benefiting from Manuka honey applied to the skin, due in part to its strong antibacterial and healing, soothing, and skin repair properties. Radiation therapy can result in sores and open wounds on the skin. Also, many patients of aggressive cancers, like mesothelioma or colon cancer become bed-ridden, leading to further epidermal blemishes. According to a BBC health news report, Manuka honey can be used to treat the fungating wounds and ulcers, and other side effects, caused by cancer treatments.

Manuka honey's healing and pain relieving properties are simply amazing, and it is known to help heal surgery incisions by controlling the bacteria in the wound. In fact, staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria most commonly found in wound and sore infections, is most affected by the honey’s hydrogen peroxide and glucose oxidase properties, good news since this particular strain of bacteria is penicillin-resistant.

MRSA, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is a strain of bacteria that has developed an antibiotic resistance to penicillin’s including methicillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin and possibly other types of antibiotics. MRSA can cause serious infections such as surgical wound infections, pneumonia and blood stream infections. Once MRSA is in the bloodstream, it can attack vital organs and become fatal in 20-25% of the patients. MRSA was first discovered in the UK in 1961 and was then typically found in hospital settings, therefore MRSA has been nick named ‘Hospital Superbug’ or HA-MRSA = Hospital Associated MRSA.

However, MRSA is no longer exclusively found in hospital environments. MRSA can now also be contracted in community settings and is called CA-MRSA, meaning Community Associated MRSA. You must keep reading to learn how you can protect yourself and your family from being exposed to CA-MRSA in other types of environments. You may not only contract MRSA, but un-knowingly, also ‘help spread’ MRSA – this situation is quite preventable!

Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?

Bacteria have the capability to change, mutate and adapt, which allows them to become resistant to antibiotics that are supposed to destroy them! Sometimes bacteria become so resistant, that no available antibiotic can successfully destroy them. When antibiotics no longer work, doctors have to resort to second or third choice medications, which may result in being less effective, cost more and may have more disturbing side effects.

How is MRSA and CA-MRSA contracted?

Approximately 20-25% of the population is colonized with staph bacteria (staphylococcus aureus). In otherwise healthy people, staph bacteria is commonly found on the skin in form of pimples, minor cuts, scrapes, boils and in the nose. In those areas staph bacteria are present, but only cause an infection in approximately 1% of the people.

MRSA is no longer found just in hospital settings, nursing homes, health care facilities and wound care centers. MRSA outbreaks can now affect anyone, at any age. MRSA outbreaks have been reported from the following community settings and groups of people:

In less than a week, three different research studies have been released about antibiotic-resistant super bugs. Two were issued as nothing less than dire warnings. For example, as News covered earlier, UK scientists are calling for the "urgent need for global action" due to the discovery of a spreading phenomenon -- a gene that is turning bacteria into not just super bugs but SUPER superbugs.

On the heels of that report, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has just sounded the alarm that an impending "health care disaster" is looming unless Big Pharma can find new drugs to combat deadly antibiotic-resistant super bugs.

Tired of all this bad news? Keep reading. Because amid all this gloom-and-doom about the threat of deadly super bugs comes yet another study from a third group of scientists that reaches a new and hopeful conclusion.

It turns out these researchers have found a way to battle life-threatening super bugs naturally with manuka honey. In fact, manuka honey could be an efficient way to clear chronically infected wounds and could even reverse super bug bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Those are the results of a report just presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate in the UK. Professor Rose Cooper from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff is investigating how manuka honey interacts with three types of bacteria that commonly infest wounds: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Group A Streptococci and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). She and her research team have discoveredthat honey can interfere with the growth of these bacteria in a multitude of ways. And that makes honey a strong option for the treatment of drug-resistant wound infections.

The idea that honey has antimicrobial properties is nothing new. In fact, traditional therapies containing honey were used in the topical treatment of wounds by numerous ancient civilizations. Professor Cooper is particularly interested in the super bug-fighting potential of manuka honey, which comes from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand.

Although manuka honey is found in modern wound-care products sold around the world, the anti-infection properties of the honey have not been used much by mainstream medicine. According to a press statement, Professor Cooper's group believes this is because the mechanisms of the honey's germ zapping action haven't been known. So they are working to document just how manuka honey halts wound-infecting bacteria, including super bugs, on a molecular level.

"Our findings with streptococci and pseudomonads suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections. Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections," explained Professor Cooper in a media statement.

"Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin -- effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey."

The researchers believe their findings may increase the clinical use of manuka honey as doctors are faced with the threat of diminishingly effective systemic antibiotics now used to try and control wound infections. "We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance," said Professor Cooper. "The use of a topical agent (manuka honey) to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future. This will help reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from colonized wounds to susceptible patients."

The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, or cure of any illness or disease. For medical advice, you should always consult your physician.