The Sweet Golden Treat that Can Help Wipe Out MRSA
- Certain types of honey, such as Manuka, have been shown to be more effective than antibiotics in the treatment of serious, hard-to-heal skin infections
- The only types of honey you should ever attempt to use for wound care are Manuka honey or raw (unprocessed) honey. Conventional “Grade A” type honey found in most grocery stores may actually worsen infection and should never be applied to wounds
- Clinical trials have found Manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as MRSA
Article By Dr. Mercola from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/20/the-natural-way-to-speed-wound-healing.aspx?e_cid=20120220_DNL_art_1
Honey was a conventional therapy in fighting infection up until the early 20th century, at which time its use slowly vanished with the advent of penicillin.
Now the use of honey in wound care is regaining popularity again, as researchers are determining exactly how honey can help fight serious skin infections.
According to their findings, certain types of honey might be more effective than antibiotics!
After any skin injury, bacteria that live on your skin can infect and penetrate the wound site.
One particularly common type of strep (Streptococcus pyogenes) can result in wounds that refuse to heal.
But honey, especially the kind made by bees foraging on manuka flowers, was found to destroy these bacteria.
Scientific American recently reported i:
“In lab tests, just a bit of the honey killed off the majority of bacterial cells — and cut down dramatically on the stubborn biofilms they formed.
It could also be used to prevent wounds from becoming infected in the first place.”
According to the authors of the study,
“These findings indicate that manuka honey has potential in the topical treatment of wounds containing S. pyogenes.” ii
Should You Dress Your Wounds with Honey?
As long as you use the right kind of honey, science does back up its use for wound treatment, which is especially relevant today as antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are on the rise.
Five years ago, the FDA authorized the first honey-based medical product for use in the US. Derma Sciences uses Manuka honey for their Medihoney wound and burn dressings, which can be found online from medical supply stores. Amazon.com also sells them. These products can also be found in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
When considering using honey for the treatment of wounds, it’s extremely important to understand that there’s a major difference between raw honey—and especially Manuka honey, which is in a class of its own—and the highly processed “Grade A” type honey you find in most grocery stores. The latter is more akin to high fructose corn syrup, which is more likely to increase infection, and should never be used to treat topical wounds! (It also will not offer you the same health benefits as raw honey when consumed.)
Manuka honey, on the other hand, is made with pollen gathered from the flowers of the Manuka bush (a medicinal plant), and clinical trials have found this type of honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as:
- MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
- MSSA (methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)
- VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)
Compared to other types of honey, Manuka has an extra ingredient with antimicrobial qualities, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). It is so called because no one has yet been able to discover the unique substance involved that gives it its extraordinary antibacterial activity. Honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities, but Active Manuka honey contains “something else” that makes it far superior to other types of honey when it comes to killing off bacteria.
The level of UMF can vary between batches, so each batch is ranked and priced accordingly. The higher the concentration of UMF, the darker, thicker, and more expensive it is.
To determine its rating, a sample of the honey batch is placed on a plate with a bacterial culture. The area where the bacterial growth stops is then measured. This area is compared to a similar area produced by a solution of phenol and water. The UMF number refers to the equivalent percentage of phenol in water, so, for example, honey with a UMF rating of 10 has the same antibacterial strength as 10 percent phenol. A rating of UMF 10 or higher is recommended for medicinal use.
Evidence Supporting Use of Honey against Infectious Bacteria
Aside from the featured study, many others confirm the soundness of using good-old-fashioned honey for the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections. For example, a 1992 study found that honey sped up the healing of caesarean sections iii, iv. Another study found that honey cured the intractable wounds of 59 patients, and it’s been known to help heal everything from ulcers to sunburn. According to the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds, positive findings on honey in wound care have been reported from v:
- 17 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1965 participants
- Five clinical trials of other forms involving 97 participants
- 16 trials on a total of 533 wounds on experimental animals
A study published in the summer of 2009 also found that chronic rhinosinusitis sufferers might benefit from honey vi. In 11 isolates of three separate biofilms, honey was found to be significantly more effective than commonly-used antibiotics in killing both planktonic and biofilm-grown forms of pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) and staphylococcus aureus (SA), two important factors in chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).
The findings may hold important clinical implications in the treatment of CRS, which affects 31 million people each year in the United States alone, and is among the three most common chronic diseases in North America.
Helpful Additions to Your Home First Aid Kit
If you’re considering using honey to treat a mild burn, sunburn, or small wound at home, make sure to use either Manuka or raw honey. Like the Manuka honey, high quality RAW honey will help draw fluid away from your wound and suppress the growth of microorganisms. Part of what gives raw honey its antibacterial properties is an enzyme called glucose oxidase, which the worker bees excrete into the nectar. This enzyme releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with your wound. A chemical reaction between the honey and the tissue also makes your wound smell good. Heated honey will destroy this perishable enzyme, which is why you want to only use raw honey for this application.
For your home care kit, two other natural wound dressings that offer impressive results without drugs are Duoderm and HemCon bandages. The HemCon bandages are made from a natural protein found in shrimp shells, which not only promotes clotting, but also offer an effective antibacterial barrier against microorganisms such as MRSA and VRE—two common antibiotic-resistant strains.
While the focus of this article is on the topical uses and benefits of honey, it also has numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation.
Unfortunately, bee populations are rapidly declining. Farmers are forced to import bees from other countries or truck them across the states for different seasons of produce. Toxic chemicals, genetically engineered crops, overuse of antibiotics in animals (their waste is typically used as fertilizer) and monoculture farming are likely the primary contributors to the collapse of the bees.
The collapse of bee colonies should be looked at as yet further proof of our unsustainable farming methods.
i Scientific American January 31, 2012,
ii Microbiology January 31, 2012 [Epub ahead of print],
iii Topical Application of Honey in Treatment of Abdominal Wound Disruption, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, November 1992, Volume 32, Issue 4, pages 381–384, Winit Phuapradit MD, Nopadol Saropala,
vi Effectiveness of honey on Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms, Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery, July 2009;141(1):114-8,
Huffington Post is full of good ideas today on improving your immune health naturally through YUM! foods and simple remedies……
Yes! finally we return to what makes sense in our daily lives…. look at all the ways that choosing local benefits You!
From Dr Weil’s website, www.drweil.com, two brief articles sharing conclusions on how specific diet changes and lifestyle adjustments can make a significant difference in quality of life by preventing specific conditions:
Diet, Lifestyle Can Reduce Macular Degeneration Risk
Macular degeneration is a debilitating eye disorder generally considered to be irreversible, and it remains the leading cause of blindness in individuals over the age of 55. Risks for the disorder commonly run in families, but a new study suggests that the risk can be reduced by not smoking and by a diet high in vitamin D plus the nutrients betaine (found in fish, grains and spinach) and methionine (found in poultry, fish and dairy foods). Researchers from Tufts Medical Center identified cases of elderly, male identical twins, where one brother had late stage macular degeneration and his sibling’s disorder was at an early stage. The researchers found that the more severe cases were found among the twin who was the heavier smoker and that disease progression was slowest among those who had higher intakes of vitamin D from dietary sources such as fish or milk and betaine and methionine. The study was published in the July 1, 2011 issue of Ophthalmology.
Folate May Cut Colon Cancer Risk
A higher dietary intake of folate from produce and folic acid from fortified foods and supplements may lower the risk of colon cancer. This news comes from a study involving more than 99,000 participants in a cancer prevention study who were followed for eight years. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is found naturally in spinach, green vegetables, beans, asparagus, bananas, melons, lemons, legumes, yeast and mushrooms. Foods fortified with folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) include orange juice, baked goods and cereals. This isn’t the first study to show that high folate intake reduces the incidence of colorectal cancer, but it is the first to show that the risk is lower regardless of whether the vitamin comes from natural folates in unprocessed foods or as folic acid in supplements or fortified foods. In addition, the study found no evidence that fortification of foods with folic acid increases the risk of cancer as has been suggested. The researchers reported that no increased risk of colorectal cancer was found even at high levels of folate intake. The study was published in the July, 2011 issue of Gastroenterology.
This Fourth of July holiday, collectively Americans will eat some 150 million hot dogs, according to industry analysts. Lined up, that substantial serving of frankfurters would stretch from sea to shining sea—several times.
As of last year, franks made by industry stalwart Oscar Mayer (from Kraft) got knocked out of first place for most-consumed dogs by Sara Lee’s Ball Park brand, according toAdweek (excluding sales data from Walmart).
So just what’s in these wieners? Here’s a quick look at the ingredient list:
Ball Park Franks:
Mechanically separated turkey: As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) describes it, this “paste-like and batter-like poultry product [is] produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sive or similar device under high pressure.” Unlike mechanically separated beef or pork, it can be present in hot dogs in “any amount.”
Pork: Per 1994 USDA rules, any “meat” can be taken off the bone by “advanced meat recovery (AMM) machinery” that separates the edibles from the inedibles without smashing the bone.
Water: Hot dogs must be less than 10 percent water, according to the USDA.
Corn syrup: This common food ingredient—which is made differently from high-fructose corn syrup and has not been linked to the same health concerns—is often used to add texture and sweetness.
Beef: After the outbreak of mad cow disease, the USDA stopped allowing any mechanically separated beef in food.
Salt: A necessary mineral; each of these hot dogs contain about 20 percent (480 milligrams) of the recommended daily allotment.
Potassium lactate: Made from neutralized lactic acid, it’s a common meat preservative because of its properties as an antimicrobial, capable of killing off harmful bacteria.
Sodium phosphates: Any of three sodium salt of phosphoric acids that can be used as a food preservative or to add texture.
Flavorings: Under current U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, most combinations of flavoring agents are okay to just be listed as “flavor” rather spelled out individually.
Beef stock: Meat stocks are usually made by boiling water with pieces of muscle, bones, joints, connective tissue and other parts of the carcass.
Sodium diacetate: A combination of sodium acetate and acetic acid, it helps to fight fungus and bacterial growth and is often used as an artificial flavor for salt and vinegar chips—and in the sodium acetate form, it’s found in instant hand warmers.
Sodium erythorbate: A sodium salt of erythorbic acid, it has replaced the use of sulfites in many foods and serves as a preservative and to help keep meat-based products pink. Some people report side effects, including dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, headaches and, if consumed in large quantities, kidney stones.
Maltodextrin: A compound made from cooked starch (often corn in the U.S. and wheat in Europe) that is used as a filler or thickening agent in processed foods. Brewers also often use it in beer.
Sodium nitrate: This common preservative helps meats retain their color and also keep foodborne illnesses, such as botulism, to a minimum. Animal studies have linked sodium nitrates to an increased risk of cancer. It’s also frequently found in fertilizers and, yes,fireworks.
Extractives of paprika: An oil-based extract from the paprika plant, it can give processed food color and increase shelf life.
Served bunless on its own, one of these doggies will cost you about 180 calories and include about a quarter of your suggested daily amount of fat (15 grams of total fat, five grams of which are saturated).
Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners have a similar ingredient list: Mechanically separated turkey, mechanically separated chicken, pork, water, salt, ground mustard seed, sodium lactate, corn syrup, dextrose, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium acorbate, sodium nitrate, and flavor.
With a fast-growing concern among consumers about processed food ingredients, hot dog-makers are introducing alternative products (while keeping the heavy hitters on the market). Last year, Kraft launched a campaign promoting its Oscar Mayer Selects line of hot dogs, which are made sans artificial preservatives. According to Advertising Age, Sara Lee fired back by promoting its Ball Park Deli Style Beef Franks that have no by-products or artificial flavors.
And the hot dog battle doesn’t show signs of slowing. The two top companies now offer at least 34 hot dog varieties between them, ranging from Ball Park’s Cheese Franks to Oscar Mayer’s XXL Premium Beef Franks. And in the fight for a slice of the processed meat pie, a lot of dough is at stake. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council industry group, U.S. supermarkets alone sold more than $1.6 billion worth of hot dogs last year. That’s a lot of beef—and pork, and turkey, and chicken.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto/Camrocker