New study backs manuka honey as healer
Wed, 01 Feb 2012 1:28p.m.
The New Zealand honey industry could be in for a boost with the release of a new study showing manuka honey could help clear – and even prevent – chronic wound infections.
Researchers at the Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales have found further evidence of manuka honey's antibacterial properties, suggesting it could be used clinically to treat infections that often fail to respond to antibiotic treatment.
The study's results, just published in the journal Microbiology, show that manuka honey destroys a particular skin bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes, which is associated with wounds.
The bacteria clumps together to form "biofilms", which promote infection and act as a barrier to drugs.
The study found that manuka honey not only destroyed these biofilms, but also prevented the bacteria from binding to parts of the wound tissue in the first place.
The new research could have positive flow-on effects for New Zealand's honey industry, the chairwoman of the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, Moira Haddrell, says.
The manuka tree that provides the pollen for manuka honey is native to New Zealand.
Ms Haddrell says the release of such research could generate more overseas interest in the unique Kiwi product.
"We've got top companies who are producing good quality product and the overseas interest is high already," she said.
"It's an icon product that we have."
A New Zealand industry worth more than $100 million a year has been developed since researchers at Waikato University discovered anti-bacterial qualities unique to manuka honey.
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