Honey Isn't Sweet to Bacteria

Honey fights bacterial infections such as MRSA, strep throat, and pneumonia

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Honey is known to fight infections. It was even used to heal wounds in ancient civilizations. Now, researchers have found that a certain type of honey can help fight infections that are resistant to drugs.

In a recent study, researchers looked at how manuka honey - a honey from New Zealand - could fight three different types of bacteria that cause infections such as strep throat, meningitis, MRSA, and pneumonia among others.

The researchers found that manuka honey not only fights infection, but can also help antibiotics fight bacteria that are resistant to drugs.

"Honey can treat infected wounds."

According to Professor Rose Cooper from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, these findings show that antibiotic drugs could be more effective if they are used in combination with manuka honey.

Bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to certain drugs. However, bacteria do not appear to become resistant to honey.

The researchers found that manuka honey can prevent infection by keeping bacteria from being able to attach to tissues. Blocking bacteria from tissues also stops the formation of biofilms - a layer of microorganisms that can protect bacteria from antibiotic drugs. 

Cooper concludes that honey is also likely to be a much cheaper way to fight infected wounds.

In Depth

  • For their study, Cooper and colleagues looked at how manuka honey interacted with three types of infection-causing bacteria: pseudomonas aeruginosa (pneumonia, urinary tract infection, gastrointestinal infection, and skin infection), Group A Streptococci (strep throat, vaginitis, tonsillitis), and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 13, 2011
Last Updated:
April 18, 2011