Sep 16, 2013 11:45 PM EDT

Honey: Viciously Effective Against Drug-Resistant Superbugs, Scientists Say [VIDEO & REPORT]


Besides being used as sweeteners and as additional ingredient to a variety of sweet treats, honey has been used in the ancient times to treat bacteria.

And now, scientists believe that honey could be the key to unlocking the Achilles heel of several threatening drug-resistant bacteria that are responsible for hundreds of flu-related deaths all over the country. Several bacteria have evolved to become resistant to the antibiotics prescribed to kill them, due to overprescription, exposing the bacteria to develop immunity.

However, studies have revealed that a type of honey, called Manuka honey can fight these superbugs: it can kill the bugs and also prevent them from evolving a resistance to prescribed antibiotics.

The bacteria has been seen in the medical community as a threat to upcoming generations, leaving millions of people vulnerable to germs that have become "untreatable."

An study from the University of Technology, Sydney, offers a likely solution to this problem. Several types of honeys had been put under tests, particularly Manuka, Kanuka and various other clover honeys. The objective had been to determine which of the honeys treated wounds exacerbated by bacteria. Scientists have since found that the Manuka honey, which is manufactured by bees by foraging on Manuka trees in New Zealand, prevented bacteria from gaining resistance, especially when combined with common antibiotics.

This is a crucial development in antibiotics, as no new types of antibiotic have been successfully developed since the 1980s, and with bacterial infections getting more and more difficult to treat.

Manuka honey has been shown to be viciously effective at more than 80 types of bacteria, including deadly hospital superbug MRSA.

The overuse of antibiotics has been blamed for the bugs developing resistance. Medical institutions have been asked to prescriber fewer antibiotics to patients. And while Manuka honey has proven effective, any supermarket-bought honey will not be deemed efficient, as it requires sufficient medical sterilization in order to work. 

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