Manuka Honey As a First Line of Defense Against Infection
Manuka Honey, found in New Zealand and certain parts of Australia, is made from a plant known as Leptospermum scoparium or more commonly known as the Manuka tree. Honeybees use the nectar that is produced from the flowers of the Manuka tea tree to make this special type of honey that has been found to have extraordinary healing properties. Studies show that this Manuka Honey is effective against many different drug-resistant clinical isolates, including the notorious Golden Staph/MRSA bacterium.
There has been evidence for the medical use of honey throughout history. Almost every culture that had access to honey has utilized it as a therapeutic agent, with its use as a wound dressing being particularly common across many different cultures. The use of honey as a wound dressing stems from its antibacterial activity, usually due to the production of hydrogen peroxide. However, Manuka Honey has additional antibacterial activity due to plant-derived components such as UMF and Methylglyoxal. These additional antibacterial and antimicrobial components make Manuka Honey ideal as a topical solution for the treatment of bacterial infections, fungal infections, dermatitis and other skin conditions.
In addition to possing significant antimicrobial properties, Manuka Honey has also been shown to actively promote healing. Researchers have discovered that Manuka Honey directly stimulates human cells that are important in the immune response and in wound healing. When used topically on the skin, Manuka Honey repairs damaged skin and regenerates new tissue. It also has the ability to diffuse into the depth of skin tissue where its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce pain.
Because Manuka Honey is indigenous to New Zealand, reports of its ability to heal have penetrated the Asian and European markets and is being regularly used in hospitals and by consumers. Recently, the word has been spreading into the U.S., predominately because of its ability to completely wipe out the MRSA bacterium and efficiently heal Staph infections where antibiotics have completely failed. Even doctors who historically prefer the use of pharmaceuticals are beginning to warm up to the idea of using this natural substance for therapeutic use.
“Despite the ancient and modern evidence suggesting an enormous potential for honey as a wound dressing, it is largely underutilized in the U.S.,” says Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International, a manufacturer of skin care products containing active Manuka Honey as a healing agent. “With antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria emerging, Manuka Honey may become the only viable treatment solution for severe infections.”