Although all honey has been used for fighting infections both internally and externally for thousands of years, active manuka honey is the most potent. Manuka honey is made from flowers from the manuka bush. This bush grows in New Zealand. The antibacterial property that is found in some manuka honey is Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). UMF was discovered by biochemist Dr. Peter Molan who works in Waikato University’s Honey Research Unit in New Zealand. There are different grades of manuka honey. The higher the UMF the stronger the antibacterial properties are. While all honey contains a property of hydrogen peroxide, the honey that has UMF enhances the effectiveness of the antibacterial effect. Thus UMF Manuka Honey has a much higher healing quality.
Some topical applications for UMF Manuka Honey include: first, second, and third degree burns, chemical burns, bites, stings, bed sores, amputation stump wounds, acne, poison ivy , diabetic wounds, scratches, cuts, abrasions, and wounds that won’t heal. But one of the most promising uses of it in this day and age is the topical application in preventing and treating vancomycin-enterococci (VRE) and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It is now thought that MRSA could wind up killing more Americans than AIDS. This virulent form of contagious staph infection used to primarily be contracted in hospital and other medical settings but is now spreading to schools, gyms, restaurants, hotels, public and private swimming pools, military bases, prisons, and shopping cart handles in grocery stores near you.
MRSA used to be fairly easy to treat with powerful antibiotics such as Vancomycin and Teicoplanin which are administered intravenously. However, the very thing that used to cure it now is the cause for the resistant strains that will not succumb to even the strongest antibiotics. The reason for that is that the weaker forms were destroyed by penicillin and other drugs but the old adage, only the strong survive, came into play. Thus the strongest strains were left to multiply and now they are gaining a foothold in the general population.
Staph bacteria, staphylococcus aureus, is virtually everywhere. Approximately 20% to 25% percent of the population has staff colonies in their bodies. This includes healthy people. However, only about 1% of the population will wind up with an infection from it. There are many ways to reduce the risk of developing the super bug, MRSA, such as hand washing, not sharing towels or other personal items, using alcohol based hand sanitizers, and covering wounds with bandages. Here is where manuka honey comes in. When somebody gets a cut or wound, applying manuka honey to a sterile gauze and taping it to the wound may decrease the risk of contracting a super bug infection. The sugar in the honey helps to “feed” the wound and this produces new cells which heal the wound faster. It is painless and has no known side effects. It seems to be very effective in fighting MRSA.
The European Journal of Medical Research in 2003 found that manuka honey had an 85% success rate for treating infected postoperative Caesarean sections. That compared to a 50% success rate when routine treatments were used. Head of the University of Wales Institute, Dr. Rose Cooper, has said that honey has become accepted into conventional medicine. Cooper said, “there have been cases where MRSA has been eradicated from patients’ wounds which have been treated with the honey.” Cooper believes the honey can prevent wound infection from spreading within the body although he does not think it can fight MRSA once it has reached the bloodstream.
In a time when past protocols may no longer work in every case, the time to turn to other methods such as manuka honey may be in order. This old remedy may have a place in modern medicine. Always consult your doctor.