Honeybees healing bacteria


Humans have used honey for the treatment of wounds since ancient Egyptian times.
There are three main factors contributing to the antimicrobial properties of honey.
First, honey has a high concentration of dissolved particles and is very acidic, which, together, result in an unfavourable environment for bacterial growth. Second, honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which is produced by the bee protein glucose oxidase. And finally, another bee protein which lends antimicrobial properties is Bee defensin-1.
Bee defensin-1 has broad-acting antimicrobial action and is produced in the bee salivary gland.
Studies have shown that honey inhibits quorum sensing, the bacterial process of using chemical messages to communicate with other bacteria, which inhibits the formation of biofilms (bacterial aggregates which adhere to each other on a surface). These properties, however, do not paint the whole picture.
A research group from Lund University in Sweden has been investigating bacteria found in the honey-producing stomach of bees. The 13 species of bacteria are all lactic acid producers and help protect the bees from harmful microbes.
The beneficial lactic acid bacteria are transferred in large amounts from the bees to fresh, raw honey. These helpful bacteria may yet be another contributor to honey’s antimicrobial properties.
These 13 lactic acid bacteria were exposed to various human wound pathogens in a petri dish culture.
The lactic acid bacteria inhibited the growth of all tested human pathogens, including the antibiotic-resistant strains methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, known as VRE.
The individual lactic acid bacteria species do not exhibit the same degree of antimicrobial action, nor do they produce the same antimicrobial compounds.
When combined, the lactic acid bacteria have the benefit of combatting against an extensive range of pathogens.
An interesting side project the researchers undertook involved the topical application of these lactic acid bacteria. Researchers mixed the lactic acid bacteria in sterile honey and applied them to the persistent wounds of 10 horses who had been treated with a number of unsuccessful methods.
All 10 horses’ wounds healed after the topical application of this mixture.
It is important to note that this was done without proper controls, and would not constitute a proper experiment.
These results are preliminary at best, but it doesn’t make it any less exciting. The lab plans on progressing to properly controlled clinical trials in the future.
Does this mean that the next time you cut yourself you should slather a glob of honey on the wound?
Well, not quite. Not all honeys are created equally. They have different compositions, including their lactic acid bacteria proportions, which depends on factors such as nectar source and honeybee health.
Manuka honey, made from a bush native to New Zealand and Australia, is highly regarded for its antimicrobial properties. Manuka honey has the only commercially available honey with topical medical applications.
The most important thing to remember is that most honey available to us in grocery stores has been pasteurized. The pasteurization process kills almost all of the bacteria found in honey, including the beneficial lactic acid ones.
The honey used to treat the horse wounds was initially pasteurized, and then fortified with bacteria at higher levels than normal. Therefore, in this example, the healing effects observed may not be the same as if raw honey was applied.
So how does the characterization of the antimicrobial properties of these lactic acid bacteria help?
First of all, it gives scientific support to the efficacy of honey as a wound-healer.
“It seems to have worked well for millions of years of protecting bees’ health and honey against other harmful microorganisms,” explained Tobias Olofsson, head researcher at Lund University.
Honey has also been used in human healing practices for thousands of years. Alternative treatments for bacterial infections are becoming more crucial as antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are becoming more prevalent.
Honey may be one of humanity’s options going forward, and how sweet it is.

Find your Pure Manuka Honey here.



Manuka Honey Benefits: Why We Can’t Get Enough Of This Wonder Food

circle spa lady
Manuka honey is great for improving the health of your gut and banishing bloating. ‘It can help reduce inflammation from digestive disorders, relieving abdominal discomfort and bloating. It contains a natural pre-biotic, which is important for nurturing the gut’s good bacteria, and can therefore help the digestive system rebalance itself naturally,’ says Liliana Trukawka.


Pure Manuka honey is an ideal staple to give you a buzz when you’re feeling tired. ‘The honey’s high nutrient density makes it a great natural energy booster,’ says Rick Hay.


Manuka honey has beauty benefits, too. ‘Pure, organic Manuka Honey is the perfect natural alternative for curing acne and skin infections,’ says skincare expert Malvina Fraser. ‘It’s also a natural moisturiser that improves skin hydration because it’s able to absorb moisture directly from the air and draw it into the skin.’

Here are 2 DIY Manuka honey face masks:
Moisturising Mask
‘Manuka Honey can be used on its own as a facial mask by simply applying the honey on a clean damp face,’ says Malvina Fraser. ‘However, my favourite Manuka honey mask includes coconut oil and avocado to intensely hydrate. This delicious smelling mask eradicates any dryness and leaves you with a healthy, luminous glow.’
1: Mash of an avocado in a mixing bowl and once it is smooth add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey. Mix together thoroughly.
2: With slightly damp fingers, apply the mask in a circular motion and then leave on for 15 minutes.
3: Once the mask has done its work, remove it with warm water and then proceed to splash cold water on your face to close your pores.

Exfoliating Mask

‘This exfoliating mask contains three key components: olive oil, brown sugar and Manuka honey. They are all natural and effective ingredients that intensely cleanse the pores. The olive oil is used for softening the skin, the brown sugar for a gentle exfoliation and the honey to soothe,’ says Malvina Fraser.
1: Take 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 table spoon of brown sugar and 1 table spoon of Manuka honey and mix well until your scrub becomes a viscous and slightly sticky mixture.
2: Apply to a damp face for 1 to 2 minutes, concentrating on any problem areas.
3: Clean your face with warm water, and finish up with a moisturiser for a longer lasting effect.

You can also use Manuka honey to get an all-over glow:

Relaxing Bath Recipe

‘This milk and Manuka honey bath recipe is an innovative and yet classic method to get your skin glowing,’ says Malvina Fraser. ‘The unique blend serves to exfoliate and soften the skin, as the lactic acid in the milk cleanses while the honey makes skin supple.’

1: Ensure that you use full-fat milk and pure Manuka honey.
2: Pour 1 to 2 cups of milk and half a cup of Manuka honey into a running bath. Make sure that the water, honey and milk are completely mixed together before getting in.
3: For maximum results, be sure to massage your skin with a washcloth in a circular motion, before rinsing off.
Are there any downsides to using Manuka honey?
‘There are some cons to using Manuka honey,’ says nutritionist Lorna Driver-Davies from The Nutri Centre. ‘It’s expensive, and all honey is a natural form of sugar, so anyone who needs to be careful around sugar (e.g. diabetics) should be aware of this.’

When will we take medicinal honey seriously?

bee & hive

Before you ask, yes, we do sell medical honey at http://www.puremanukahoney.co.uk

Honey is now regularly being shown to kill superbugs in the laboratory and save patient’s limbs on hospital wards, but why is its medicinal use still so limited in the UK?
The antibacterial properties of honey have long been known, both ancient Greek and Egyptian physicians are said to have valued it and it was used in the treatment of wounds right up to World War Two.
Honey’s reputation was relegated to that of an old wives’ tale in the twentieth century after the discovery of penicillin heralded the widespread use of antibiotic drugs to combat infections.
But with antibiotic resistance now high on the global agenda, scientists and doctors are working together to once more prove honey’s effectiveness in battling life-threatening bacteria.
Researchers say honey has been successful in treating severe wounds including ulcers, pressure sores, trauma injuries and infected surgical wounds – reducing the reliance on antibiotics and providing an alternative to antiseptics which can harm healing tissue.

leg ulcer


Engineered honey successfully treated a patient who was facing amputation due to large ischaemic ulcers which had become infected with pseudomonas bacteria.
Filtered or medical-grade honey is used in licensed wound-care products around the world. However large-scale randomised clinical trials have yet to take place in this country so its use remains low compared with other wound treatments like silver and iodine.
Those looking into its curative potential claim this may be due to it being a natural product which attracts scepticism from medical scientists. Organisations which fund medical research say no such stigma exists, grant applications simply need to be robust.
Sam Edwards says Manuka honey dressings healed painful wounds caused by a rare skin condition.
Sam Edwards, a maintenance engineer from Wrexham, Wales, is a recent convert to the power of honey, after developing a rare skin condition caused by a cut from a koi carp infected with Mycobacterium marinum.
“The pain is like having a bath in a deep fat fryer 24 hours a day,” Sam said. “It put me in a wheelchair for a long time as well as meaning long stays in hospital and mechanical dermabrasion.”
Antibiotics caused jaundice and doctors began to talk about multiple amputations so Sam looked around for alternative treatments and tried everything from steroids to maggots but nothing worked.
In December 2012 Sam was introduced to manuka honey dressings by a street doctor from Venezuela. By January 2014 Sam had found a UK supplier and began the treatment.

Prof Cooper’s long-standing research has focussed on honey from the New Zealand manuka plant
“It has turned my life around. It hurts a little bit the first time you use it but in the space of five months I am almost completely healed, it’s amazing,” Sam said.
Manuka honey comes from the New Zealand manuka plant and has been available on prescription in the UK for the last 10 years.
Professor Rose Cooper, from the Centre for Biomedical Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has been at the forefront of its research since the late 1990s.
Using electron microscopy, which can reveal the structure of bacteria, she has shown even low concentrations of the honey stops bacteria including MRSA growing, meaning cells cannot divide and therefore are unable to form infections.
Combining honey with oxacillin and other antibiotics has also been shown to be more effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Professor Rose Cooper shows how honey stops bacteria growing and therefore prevents infection.
She is currently investigating how different bacteria seem to be affected in different ways by manuka honey, believing it to have a wider application than just killing bugs.
Prof Cooper said she has often found it difficult to get her research published but admits the scientific standards of clinical work with honey has been varied.
“One of the problems is a good clinical trial should be a double blind so that neither the patient nor the practitioner will know which of the patients are having the intervention that’s being tested,” she said.
“The trouble with honey is the patients know its sticky, they can smell it, and of course the practitioners know too, so it’s very difficult to achieve that best quality.”
In a clinical setting, research has so far been small-scale, but dramatic results have been reported.
Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant in infection and microbiology at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has seen a number of patients’ wounds transformed by honey.
The smart skills behind honey

He uses an engineered version, called Surgihoney, as a wound dressing after carrying out laboratory tests against bacteria gathered from infected wounds.
Surgihoney killed all of the bugs including multiple drug-resistant ones like MRSA, Ecoli and pseudomonas aeruginos and its effects were comparable to commonly-used antiseptics, which can have adverse side effects.
“There was one man with an ischaemic leg, where it was really a choice between amputating the leg and/or giving him potent systemic antibiotics,” Dr Dryden told BBC Nature.
“The ulcer was heavily colonised with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a nasty, often resistant bug so we put daily (Surgihoney) dressings on the ulcer.
“By day eight the bacteria had completely disappeared and the ulcer had started to get better, so for the time being it had saved his leg, it prevented him from having antibiotics and got him out of hospital.”
Dr Dryden has also shown that the product can reduce infection rates following caesarean sections and also those associated with cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment through intravenous lines.
Like Prof Cooper, Dr Dryden also believes honey products have more potential uses and would like to carry out full randomised trials.
But an application for funding to carry out such research was rejected by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
“Despite all the publicity about antibiotic resistance, using a so-called natural product is not terribly sexy, scientifically,” Dr Dryden said. “There’s a lot of snake oil salesmen out there who claim all sorts of things for all sorts of natural products.

The idea for Surgihoney came from Ian Staples’ bee hives in Chile
“But we’ve actually got more patient data than many wound dressing treatments. I think because its honey it seems a bit alternative and that puts the scientists off.”
High quality trials could also be carried out by big wound care companies. The father and son team behind Surgihoney are talking to several firms about developing it commercially.
The idea began on a farm in Chile owned by former managing director Ian Staples. Having decided to keep bees on the farm he spotted that the honey they produced did not spoil in the hive, suggesting natural antimicrobial activity.
In fact, an enzyme inside honey produces hydrogen peroxide which is a well-known disinfectant.
Ian and his son, Stuart, who now live in West Sussex, commissioned scientists to develop a product which boosted the antibacterial properties of any organic honey.
“When we first started this the doctors we worked with said this was as big a breakthrough as penicillin,” Stuart Staples said. “Whether it is or not that’s why we bet the farm on it.”
New funding

Hive alive

He estimates that health organisations in the UK currently spend less than £3 million ($5.1 million USD) a year on honey dressings, compared with £16 million ($27.2 million USD) spent annually by the NHS on antiseptic silver products.
“Dr Margaret Chan from the World Health Organisation said in the future a scratched knee could kill you and we’re saying ‘no it couldn’t’ because we have a device that no bug can survive contact with,” Mr Staples said.
Organisations which fund medical research in the UK say all grant applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Britain’s reputation as a world leader in science, research and development depends upon innovative approaches to improving treatments and finding new cures.
“The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including in this case, the use of honey as an antimicrobial agent.”
The Wellcome Trust said it has not funded any research into honey but said this could be for a variety of reasons including no bids being made, bids not being relevant to the funding criteria or the science not being of high enough quality.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) said it had also not funded any studies with honey but that did not mean it would not do so in the future.
It added that it is currently inviting bids for funding as part of a new collaboration between all seven UK research councils to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
Hive Alive concludes on BBC Two, Tuesday 22 July 2014 at 20:00 BST.



Are you being conned??

Are you being conned??
Do you know the difference between Active and UMF?
Do you know why UMF honey is more expensive?
Are you spending your hard earned cash on fake or mislabelled honey?

We at Pure Manuka Honey will never mislead you into buying honey that isn’t what it says it is, or that plays on the fact that people are easily confused between Active and UMF rates of honey! NEVER will we take your money for something that isn’t what it appears to be!

If you read the newspaper you will have seen great big adverts for 20+ active honey at cut prices – sometimes even half price and a free prezzie to boot! Bargain you may think – think again!

Do you think the 20+ sign on the front means it has a healing UMF rating of 20+? If so, you’d be wrong! This is an active honey, pretty much the same as Sainsburys active honey, all lovely honey, but it may not be what your looking for.

In fact so interested was I to find out about how their honey is certified ‘20+ active’ I gave them a call and asked. I was told “I’m only in sales I wouldn’t know how they do any of their testing, all I know is that its tested, before its put in the bottles.”*

Really? They make so much money they can place half / full page adds in the newspapers, but not train their staff to answer the simplest – but most critical – of questions. There just there to sell.

Im not happy about this situation and will be sharing more of my finds.

time and date of call (14:26 04/07/2014)