Can Manuka Honey Really Kill More Bacteria Than Antibiotics?

Manuka Honey. Better than antibiotics?

Can Manuka Honey Really Kill More Bacteria Than Antibiotics?

It turns out Aussie honey is a wound healing powerhouse!

There are lots of things to love about Manuka honey. It’s a delicious natural sweetener, it’s incredibly healing for a sore throat and it works wonders as a natural face cleanser. You probably have at least one Manuka-loving friend who relies on it to treat digestive issues and promote a healthy gut, too!

Still, we guarantee you’ll never look at Manuka honey the same way again after hearing what four researchers from The University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney recently discovered. Hint: there’s a sweet new reason to buy Australian honey!

A comprehensive study published by the research team in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases found that Manuka honey killed almost every bacteria and pathogen it was tested on. Including eight species of problematic wound pathogens with high antibiotic resistance.

Translation? Manuka honey may be a more effective method of killing harmful bacteria than traditional antibiotics. Mind = blown!

What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is produced by bees that forage on the nectar of Leptospermum Scoparium, or New Zealand’s Manuka bush, as well as tea trees, which are only native to Australia and New Zealand.

Did you know?

Manuka honey is 4 times more nutrient dense, in terms of its healing compounds, than regular floral honey.
(Dr. Josh Axe)

Manuka honey and the fight against superbugs

You might not think of sweet, sticky honey as a wound healing powerhouse, but the antibacterial power of Manuka honey is so strong it could be the antidote doctors need to wipe out superbugs and help patients recover from infections faster.

What are superbugs, you ask?

Superbugs are strains of bacteria that are resistant to the majority of antibiotics commonly used today. In other words, they’re mutated strains of drug-resistant bacteria with ‘bulletproof vests’ that deflect our antibiotic ‘bullets’.

Imagine lying in hospital with a bacterial infection that doctors can’t stop from spreading. Sounds like something out of a scary Sci-Fi movie, doesn’t it?

The word ‘superbug’ certainly evokes the image of a giant, slimy creature rampaging through city streets destroying everything in its path! But, while this scenario is definitely more Hollywood blockbuster film than world health concern, superbugs are without a doubt a real and *serious* issue.

Superbugs are on track to kill more people than cancer by 2050

According to a report commissioned by former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2014, antibiotic resistance is as serious a threat as terrorism.

So serious, in fact, that if it were allowed to grow unchecked—that is, if there were no successful efforts to control it or no new drugs to combat it—the number of deaths worldwide per year would explode to 10 million by 2050.

To put that in perspective, that’s more than the 9.6 million people globally who will die of cancer in 2018.

"If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine"

(David Cameron, former UK Prime Minister)

Could Manuka honey be the answer?

Dr Nural Cokcetin, one of the researchers involved in the Sydney honey study, says this research is a significant discovery, as scientists and governments look at ways to combat "the global crisis of antibiotic resistance”.

"One of the main reasons we are interested in the antibacterial activity of medicinal honey is because the honey not only kills bacteria on contact, but the bacteria don't become resistant to honey."

According to the research team, there are particular compounds in Manuka honey, like methylglyoxal, that cause multi-system failure in the bacteria, killing them off before they’re able to adapt and build up immunity.

These benefits are noteworthy, Cokcetin says, because Manuka honey is long-lasting (up to several years), “which is in contrast to conventional antibiotics”.

What to look for when choosing Manuka honey

All honeys are not created equally. There’s a pretty big difference between high-quality and low-quality Manuka honey, both in antibacterial qualities and in price.

The antibacterial quality of your manuka honey isn’t a huge concern if you’re using it non-medicinally. For example, for things like sweetening tea, baking, face masks, etc.

However, if you are using it medicinally for things like acne treatment, healing wounds and fighting bacterial infections, you’ll want to look for a UMF or MGO high-grade honey.

UMF grades start at 5+ and go as high as 25+. Grades below UMF 10+ don’t have significant levels of antibacterial activity, so look for something like our Mt Somers 20+ for medicinal purposes.  

MGO starts at 30+ and goes above 900+. For medicinal purposes, you’ll want something above the MGO 260+ range, like our Berringa Honey MGO 400 or our Berringa Honey MGO 900.

Want to shop our full range of Manuka Honey products? Head right this way!

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