MAY 15, 2016 11:14 AM PDT

Honey As A Supercharged Antibacterial Agent


Honey is one of the most ancient medicinal agents, dating back at least to the Egyptians who used honey to dress wounds. Today, honey is hailed as one of nature's best multi-purpose remedies, as scientists have found many anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in this simple sugary substance.

Applied to wounds, honey's thickness provides a physical barrier to stave off infections. Chemically, honey has enzymatic activities that imbue it antimicrobial power. The high sugar content in honey is also thought to impede the growth of bacteria. In lab settings, researchers found that honey hinders food-borne pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella. In particular, manuka honey which is derived from native bees in New Zealand, has been reported to have antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). As such, many people tout this honey as a promising treatment of wounds or stomach ulcers, though more research is still pending.
About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at
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