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Author Topic: Honey- the better antibioitic  (Read 11155 times)

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Offline alisenjafi

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Honey- the better antibioitic
« on: August 27, 2006, 06:34:21 AM »
Just read this from RadioNetherlands


Honey as an alternative to antibiotics
by Thijs Westerbeek

For centuries honey has been the home remedy of choice for many afflictions. It soothes the throat, it's good for the stomach, it improves our natural defences against microbes - there's no end to its beneficial uses.
Click to listen to this edition of the Research File
(originally broadcast in 2005)

Little wonder, then, that every neighbourhood pharmacy sells a whole range of products containing honey. Now researchers at the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC) intend to use honey as a real medicine and maybe even as an alternative for antibiotics.

Honey is already being used as standard issue medication in the treatment of wounds. Recently, a honey-based ointment has been introduced on the market, which is remarkably effective on slow-healing wounds that resist normal treatment. The honey in this special ointment has an anti-microbial and soothing effect and also keeps the bandages from sticking to the wound.

Tineke Creemers
Constant quality
This ointment has been developed by the Dutch company Bfactory, an enterprise which closely cooperates with the University of Wageningen. Dr Tineke Creemers, General Manager of Bfactory, explains what standards honey has to meet to be acceptable as regular medicine:

"The trick is to make sure the honey is the same quality at all times and that its enzyme levels are as high as possible. This is because the natural enzymes in the honey give it its anti-bacterial properties. Furthermore, doctors cannot use a medicine that varies in strength, hence the need for constant quality."
Keeping the quality constant is surprisingly simple: the bees of Bfactory follow a strict diet. This is easily controlled by only allowing the bees to forage in closed surroundings, in this case glasshouses. What's more, the little worker bees only get to eat the nectar of flowers that guarantee the very highest concentration of enzymes. All other plants are banned. Accordingly, most of the research efforts are directed at the hunt for those plant species that give the best results.

Revamil is a honey-based hydrophilic gel which stimulates healing and protects the wound against infection.
Internal medicine
While the researchers at the AMC agree that honey-based wound dressing is a success, they now intend to take another step forward; using honey as an effective alternative for antibiotics, especially in the treatment of bacterial infections of the stomach and the lower intestines. As researcher Dr Paul Kwakman explains:
"There is an end to the use of antibiotics. Resistance is becoming an ever bigger problem so we really are desperate for an alternative". Dr Kwakman is lucky in that several plant species have pollen that naturally contains very special proteins. These proteins closely resemble peptides, human proteins that play a crucial role in our natural defences against illness. Through genetic modification, these plants can be made to produce proteins identical to human peptides. When bees then make honey from this genetically modified pollen, the peptides end up in that honey and are perfectly preserved.

There is no risk of bacterial resistance against this type of medicine because the working principle has nothing in common with antibiotics. No toxic agent is introduced in the body, but instead our natural defences are given an extra dose of peptides to fight off disease. Since these peptides are identical to human proteins our body won't regard them as 'foreign' and thus they remain as effective as the first time they were applied.

Letting bees do the work
But why does it have to be so complicated? Why go through all the trouble of first getting plants to produce peptides, bees to only eat peptide-laden pollen, and then to harvest this very special honey? Why not simply put the peptides in a pill? The suggestion makes Dr Paul Kwakman smile a little:

"Bees can do the job far better than we could ever hope to do. They extract far purer peptides from the pollen at much lower costs. Besides, the high sugar level in honey is not only an excellent means of preserving the peptides for a very long time, it also tastes good. Taking your medicine in this way is so much nicer than swallowing pills, not to mention getting an injection. It's only logical that the first patients who will benefit from honey-therapy will be babies with antibioticsresistant infections of the intestines."


Published online: 19 November 2002; | doi:10.1038/news021118-1
Honey kills antibiotic-resistant bugs

Kendall Powell

Chronic wounds could benefit from traditional medicine.

Some companies are already making honey-impregnated bandages for treating wounds.

© GettyImages
Honey could help to treat wounds that refuse to heal. Researchers seeking scientific support for honey's legendary medicinal properties have found that it stops bacteria from growing - even strains that are resistant to some antibiotics1.

Records of people covering wounds in honey stretch back to ancient Egypt. Until recently it was believed that honey's syrupy consistency kept air out of wounds, and that its high sugar content slowed bacterial growth. The new evidence suggests that honey must also have other properties that kill bacteria.

Compared with an artificial honey solution of the same thickness and sugar concentration, natural honey kills bacteria three times more effectively, Rose Cooper, a microbiologist at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, and colleagues have shown. They are not sure what the active ingredients are.

Some types of honey, when diluted, form hydrogen peroxide, which kills bacteria and can be used to clean wounds. But Cooper's team rules out the possibility that hydrogen peroxide is the only force at play.

Both pasture honey, which generates hydrogen peroxide, and manuka honey, which does not, stop bacteria from growing in the lab, they demonstrate. They used strains of Staphlyococcus and Enterococcus that can withstand 'last resort' antibiotics, such as methicillin and vancomycin. The microbes were collected from wounds and hospital surfaces.

Honey may be antimicrobial because of enzymes secreted by the bees that make it; alternatively, its activity could be due to its acidity or to chemicals from the original plant nectar, Cooper speculates. "It's a traditional remedy that has been overlooked," she says. "To reintroduce it, we must have evidence to support its antibacterial and healing properties."

Andrea Nelson, a nurse researcher who has worked on chronic wound healing at the University of York, UK, agrees. To convince sceptical doctors, clinical trials must be carried out applying honey to patients' wounds, she says.

Infected wounds cause pain, result in extra time in hospital, are costly to treat and can lead to complications and even death. Treating them has become a problem, as prolonged use of antibiotics can result in the emergence of resistant strains of bacteria.

For this reason, other alternative remedies are also being explored, says Nelson. These include iodine, silver-based compounds and 'larval therapy', in which maggots are applied to the wound to eat away dead tissue and break down bacteria.

 Clinical trials must be carried out 

Andrea Nelson

University of York

While scientists continue to scratch their heads over honey's secrets, some companies are already making sterilized tubes of honey and honey-impregnated bandages for treating wounds.

Cooper is careful to add a warning: "We're not suggesting that anyone should rush out and buy honey in supermarkets to treat wounds." The heat-processing of store-bought honey would probably eliminate any antibacterial properties, she says - anyone with a stubborn wound should seek professional treatment.

Cooper, R. A., Molan, P. C. & Harding, K. G. The sensitivity to honey of Gram-positive cocci of clinical significance isolated from wounds. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 93, 857 - 863, (2002). | Article |

« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 06:44:40 AM by alisenjafi »
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Offline penguin

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Re: Honey- the better antibioitic
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2006, 03:12:34 PM »
another site you might be interested in http://bio.waikato.ac.nz/honey/

manuka honey is best, i think, highest umf you can get hold of.
always helps if i have mouth ulcers or oral thrush, very soothing and healing.

Thank you for those links.


Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Honey- the better antibioitic
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2006, 04:21:31 PM »
I have a friend in France who just quit his office job in the last couple of years to retire to the countryside and raise bees for honey.  He just sent me two jars of honey (one kind of a normal color and the other a very light color) and it's so delicious that I just eat a spoonful here and there.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline hypozsc

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Re: Honey??
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2006, 02:06:28 PM »
I recently posted a question about honey on two different HIV/AIDS info sites. I asked if honey should be avoided by HIV+ folks because infants are not supposed to be given honey as they do not yet have a fully developed immune system. The doctor on one site said that in theory the botulism spores sometimes found in raw honey could be problematic in HIV+ people and like many raw foods it might need to be avoided.

On another site the doctor replied that honey is fine and safe.

What will the reply be on this site? ???

Offline alisenjafi

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Re: Honey- the better antibioitic
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2006, 05:08:52 PM »
This is one of the problems when dealing with homeopathic medicines as there is no standard. Then again look at the spinach debacle.
You need to factor in your t cell count and  do some research on different brands,. Then talk with your doc.
Also I don't take honey as it would raise my triglycerides, I go with bee pollen and propolis.
And this article is more on using a specifically treated honey and not store bought honey
It is a complicated issue that might not fit everyone's needs or be beneficial. I would suspect that if your t cells are low then don't, but if your t cells are over a certain point  ( not being a doctor- I would imagine 400 or higher) your immune system would be okay, then again makes sure you aren't allergic to bee products.
Here is another link to help you in your decision;

 Again you should do research and see if your doc can recommend a nutritionist, or at least bring this up with the doctor. Many people here do take honey if that helps.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2006, 02:17:58 AM by alisenjafi »
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
The Smiths


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