Honey for your wounds?

The benefits of using medical-grade honey to treat and prevent infection in wounds has been confirmed by Sydney researchers.

Dr Nural Cokcetin tested more than 600 Australian honey samples and documented the antibacterial activity, which strongly corresponds to the levels of methylglyoxal (MGO), one of honey’s most active ingredients.

“We have found there are regional and seasonal differences in the MGO concentration in honey from the same hive, so now want to understand whether the plant’s growing conditions effects the composition,” says Nural, a postdoctoral researcher at the ithree institute, University of Technology Sydney.

MGO acts by preventing bacteria attaching and spreading at a site of infection, but that’s not the whole story.

“The reason honey is such a powerful treatment is that it has several modes of action so that, unlike a conventional antibiotic that has one mode of action, bacteria haven’t been able to develop resistance,” explains Nural.

Honey is a complex product that can reduce inflammation and, due to its sugar structure, draws moisture, making the environment less favourable for bacterial growth.

There are also enzymes in the honey that generate hydrogen peroxide—an antiseptic—and several other molecules with antibacterial action that they are still studying. 

The ithree researchers hope that honey-impregnated wound dressings and treatments will begin to gain greater acceptance in mainstream medical practice.

For more information:
ithree institute
Shona Blair
+61 2 9514 4200