Sunday, July 12, 2009

Honey the better antibiotic

Honey the better antibiotic

HONEY has been shown to be a more useful antibiotic for treating wounds and infections than some pharmaceutical antibiotics, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by the ­University of Sydney, appeared in the June issue of the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Researchers tested medical ­variations of New Zealand Manuk and Australian Jelly Bush honeys and found that they were more effective than antibiotics in treating bacteria, including highly resistant superbugs that infect hospitals.

The bacteria also did not adapt or develop resistance to the honeys as they did to the antibiotics.

Honey-based products could replace conventional antibiotic products used on wounds and to disinfect medical equipment, and their intermediate use could also prolong the life of antibiotics, the researchers said.

“Most bacteria that cause ­infections in hospitals are ­resistant to at least one ­antibiotic, and there is an urgent need for new ways to treat and control surface ­infections,” said Assoc Prof Dee Carter, from the ­University of Sydney’s School of ­Molecular and Microbial Biosciences who led the research.

“New antibiotics tend to have short shelf lives, as the bacteria they attack quickly become resistant.”

The honeys that were tested were produced by bees that feed on native Australian and New Zealand tea trees (Leptospermum plants).

The honeys also worked on ­pathogens known to have a high level of resistance, including superbugs such as flesh-eating bacteria, or MRSA, the study said.

Carter said: “We don’t quite know how these honeys prevent and kill infections, but a compound in them called methylglyoxal seems to interact with a number of other unknown compounds in honey to prevent infectious bacteria developing new strains that are resistant to it.” – AFP-Relaxnews

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