A possible role for honey in the treatment of wounds

New research carried out by scientists at partner institutions UWIC (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff), University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) in Cardiff and the University of Waikato, New Zealand, has found sensitivity to honey of wound infecting bacteria.

In a report published in the November 2002 issue of Journal of Applied Microbiology, Dr Rose Cooper (UWIC), Professor Peter Molan MBE (University of Waikato) and Professor Keith Harding (UWCM) explain: “In laboratory tests, 2 New Zealand honeys and an artificial honey solution were tested for their ability to inhibit bacteria with the potential to cause wound infections. Eighteen strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococus aureus (MRSA), 7 strains of vancomycin-sensitive enterococci (VSE) and 20 strains of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) were tested.

For all of the strains tested, the lowest inhibitory concentrations of the two natural honeys were at least three times lower than that of the artificial honey, and sometimes ten times lower. This showed that the mode of inhibition was not exclusively due to the osmolarity of the sugars present. Comparison between the ability to inhibit antibiotic sensitive bacteria and antibiotic resistant bacteria showed no significant difference.”

This study indicates a possible role for honey in the treatment of wounds colonised by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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