Tea tree honey ‘could fight MRSA’

Tea tree honey ‘could fight MRSA’

Smearing an exotic type of honey on wounds could help protect against bacterial infections including MRSA, scientists believe.

 6:30AM BST 13 Apr 2011
A laboratory study has found that manuka honey can stop bacteria from establishing themselves on tissue.

Manuka honey is from bees which have collected nectar from manuka trees – better known as tea trees – in New Zealand and Australia.

Tea tree oil has long been feted for its anti-bacterial properties.

However, scientists at Cardiff University say that the honey could also be a useful “topical agent”.

Prof Rose Cooper, of its Centre for Biological Sciences, said: “Our findings with streptococci and pseudomonads [bacteria] suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections.

“Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections.”

She added: “Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin – effectively reversing antibiotic resistance.

“This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey.”

Putting the honey on wounds could be a novel and economic way of reducing infections, she suggested.

“The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future.”


One Response to Tea tree honey ‘could fight MRSA’

  1. annie says:

    When I was working 10 years ago, our hospital phamacy trialed tea tree and the results were very favourable against infections

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