Medicinal use of honey.
Honey may help in the battle against superbugs!
H OSPITALS DO MORE THAN HOUSE SICK PATIENTS WHILE THEY ARE TREATED. THEY ALSO PROVIDE CONVENIENT HAVENS FOR DANGEROUS BACTERIA.
Cramming infirm peopie into one place creates the ideal breeding ground for disease. Add a sprinkling of antibiotics and drug-resistant strains emerge—the superbugs that are endemic in many places.
One doctor, however, thinks he has rediscovered an old weapon that could be useful in the fight against these nasfies . It is honey.
Honey was commonly used in medicine before antibiotics became wide-spread. It is still used in the Antipodes; an Australian company makes a product called Medihoney for medicinal use.
This formulation is a certified medicine in Europe, but has not been much used there because doctors developed a taste for prescribing conventional antibiotics.
Arne Simon of Bonn University Children’s Clinic in Germany is now leading an international study to compare honey with existing drugs. The investigation will involve 150 patients in several countries including Britain, Germany and Australia
Dr . Simon has already used honey on 150 patients who were not responding to treatment, with some promising results. The patients were often children whose immune systems had been weakened by chemotherapy, which left their wounds from surgery vulnerable to infection. Aound a third of them were also given some antibiotics at the same time as having their wounds dressed with honey. One patient, whose wounds had become infected by the potentially fatal strain of Staphtflococcus aureus that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin (MRSA), and who failed to respond to other drugs, was free of this superbug within 48 hours of receiving the honey treatment.
Research in Australia and New Zealand suggests that honey heals because it attacks bacteria in several different ways at once. Because honey is composed of saturated sugars, it sucks up water, depriving bacteria of the liquid they need to survive and multiply.
As bees make honey they secrete glucose-oxidase, an enzyme that releases the bleach hydrogen peroxide when it comes into contact with wound liquids. The low-level but frequent release of this chemical ensures regular anti-bacterial washes of the wound.
Although honey is not about to usurp antibiotics, Dr Simon thinks it should be brought back into conventional medicine--—and not only to sugar the pill.
The Economist Magazine
April 28t h , 2007 - (pg. 92)
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