With the growing incidence of antibiotic resistance infections, there is a need to consider non-antibiotic antimicrobials agents as alternatives. An antimicrobial is any substance of natural, semi-synthetic or synthetic origin that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms but causes little or no damage to the host. All antibiotics are antimicrobials, but not all antimicrobials are antibiotics. Many Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies such as Naturopathy, Ayurveda and other Traditional Medicine systems, advocate the use of honey in treatment of bacterial associated diseases.
Honey is a natural and effective antimicrobial agent. Most honeys work as antimicrobials due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. However, ‘Manuka’ honey mechanism of action may be related to its low pH and its high sugar content (high osmolarity). These factors contribute to inhibiting the growth of microbes. Medical grade honeys have shown potent in vitro bactericidal activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but efficacy is dependent on the spatial and temporal variation in sources of nectar.
A 2015 complementary medicine research study by Francis et al showed that medical-grade honey was as effective as a topical antibiotic cream when administered around catheter sites to stop infections starting in kidney dialysis patients.
Honey has been used since ancient times for accelerating wound healing and is now gaining widespread acceptance in conventional healthcare for the treatment of ulcers, bed sores and other skin infections resulting from burns and wounds.
Therefore, development of antimicrobial agents and nanoparticle technology is extremely important in the continued fight against the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria and fungi.