Sweet Relief: Honey's Bacteria-Fighting Benefits

A new study from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, has found that manuka honey (a derivative of the flowering New Zealand manuka bush) may fight antibiotic-resistant superbugs, including a strain of staph known as MRSA. 

Researchers discovered that manuka honey as a whole -- not its sugar alone -- robs the bacteria of proteins they need to grow and thrive. 

"Manuka honey has long been used by holistic medicine for its antibacterial properties," says licensed naturopathic doctor Cathy Wong, "and this study is evidence that it actually works." 

The U.K.'s National Health Service has added the honey to its list of approved wound care products, and a hospital in New Zealand has successfully prevented the spread of MRSA in hospitals by using manuka dressings on infected patients.

Get Honey's Benefits at Home
While serious topical infections should be treated by a medical professional, cautions Wong, you can reap the honey's bacteria-fighting benefits at home for other uses:

  • To soothe a sore throat or ease heartburn, dissolve a teaspoon of the rich honey in a glass of warm water. 
  • Combat canker sores by dabbing on a small amount of manuka honey with a cotton swab. 

Manuka honey is available at natural foods stores; look for an activity rating of at least 10.

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