Friday, April 6, 2012

Local Honey More Effective than Manuka

It's great to see this kind of regional research into Apitherapy. There are unique qualities for all well-prepared honey and this finding is promising not only for developing countries but for advanced wealthy nations who are losing the battle against drug-resistant bacteria... 

Regional honey and Ca-MRSA (Community Acquired Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

MRSA infections are a well recognized problem in everyday medical practice. Many of these infections involve the skin and can form abscesses. Occasionally, MRSA infections can become invasive and involve the central nervous system, bones, lungs and other body organs. Currently these infections have become resistant to antibiotics that previously were effective. A major concern of the medical community is that resistance patterns might spread to antibiotics in current use such as Vancomycin and others.

Given the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, a research group in San Juan County New Mexico over the last 9 months has been exploring the role of honey in the treatment of these skin infections...

Honey has been used for wound healing for over a thousand years. In ancient Egypt and Greece it was used in various types of wound poultices... Most of the honey used in wound care (Manuka) comes from Australia and New Zealand and it originates from plants of the Leptospermum species.

In recent years, in vitro studies have been done on natural honey samples from Northern Ireland and various locations in Africa. These samples have been tested against Ca-MRSA isolates and other Staphylococcal specimens. Results were favorable demonstrating activity against these organisms...

Our in vitro testing, in which we impregnated sterile paper discs with five different honey varieties and the antibiotic Vancomycin, indicates that the varietal honey from Northwest New Mexico has favorable bactericidal activity against MRSA... the organism, in this case MRSA, is killed as it is exposed to the substance. Vancomycin is the prototypical intravenous antibiotic used in the hospital setting for more serious MRSA infections.

The bees and hives from which this Lot 1 and Lot 2 honey come have been managed in a certified naturally grown manner. That is, at no time during the year are the bees exposed to antibiotics, miticides, or chemical treatments of any kind...

The hives are located in the vicinity of Farmington, New Mexico. The principal honey flow is in late June through most of July. The honey is dark and apparently the nectar source is a wild drought-resistant weed that blooms every year at this time. There is very little exposure to cultivated fields such as clover.

Given the favorable bactericidal activity, we propose to further investigate the use of this honey in superficial skin abscesses that are found to be positive for MRSA. Patients will be recruited from area Urgent Care Clinics, Emergency Rooms, and physician offices. FDA application is currently in progress.

We think that further clinical investigation may provide another alternative treatment to conventional antibiotics for wounds that are infected with MRSA. There also may be other regional honey sources that could be tested for bactericidal activity against MRSA and other organisms. This approach may facilitate the reduced use of antibiotics and the inherent problem of resistant organisms.

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