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Healing Honey

May 10, 2011

A kind of honey from New Zealand may reverse antibiotic resistance in wound infections.



Sweet treatment for infections…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Manuka honey, from New Zealand, is prized for its dark color and rich flavor. But it’s also a potent antibacterial agent – one that may even reverse some kinds of antibiotic resistance. Microbiologist Rose Cooper and her colleagues at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff have been exploring that. One study involves methicillin-resistant staph, or MRSA.

ROSE COOPER (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, U.K.):

The bacterium, in the presence of honey, loses its resistance to methicillin. So it reverses that antibiotic resistance.


Another study of staph infections found that the honey slowed the formation of sticky bacterial masses called biofilms, which also contribute to antibiotic resistance. The work suggests that adding manuka honey to wound dressings could not only fight infections directly, but also help other antibiotics do their job. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.