Benefits of Manuka Honey Keep Growing

Russell Faust, PhD, MD boogordoctor, research on Manuka Honey

Image: Research on Manuka Honey (credit: depositphotos.com)

More Research on Benefits of Manuka Honey from 2013:

I’ve talked about the anti-microbial activity of honey – particularly Manuka honey – here before: Recent Research on Manuka Honey Benefits, and  Honey Research Update. In the last few months, additional research has been reported that supports these benefits of honey. The following is simply a rambling account of the highlights from those reports on Manuka honey:

Powerful Antimicrobial

The potential for honey to help combat the growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics is reviewed in this article by Maddocks and Jenkins in Future Microbiology, Honey: a sweet solution to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance? Another review appeared in the journal, Natural Products and Bioprospecting: Manuka honey: an emerging natural food with medicinal use.

Figuring Out HOW

Exactly how honey does its magic is still a matter of intense investigation, and many pieces to the puzzle are still missing. As one example of honey’s antimicrobial tool-box, we know that honey contains hydrogen peroxide as one of its antimicrobial agents – yes, like your mother used to clean your scraped knee when you were a kid. For the other three things that make honey such a great antimicrobial, read this: Honey – Nature’s Antibiotic. Of course, you already know about adding Manuka honey to your nasal saline rinse if you struggle with chronic sinusitis. Click on that last link above – Honey, Nature’s Antibiotic – if you have not tried this for your chronic sinusitis (this is how I cured my own chronic sinusitis)!

MRSA

Perhaps hydrogen peroxide is how honey helps fight MRSA and other nasty bugs. For reasons that are still unclear, exposure of MRSA to Manuka honey causes these bacteria to reduce their production of “virulence factors.” Virulence factors (VF) are molecules that are produced by pathogens (microbes that infect us) that help them to invade, infect, suppress our immune system. To summarize, VF are bad news. Well, a report in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy talks about how Manuka honey benefits us: Proteomic and genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) exposed to manuka honey in vitro demonstrated down-regulation of virulence factors. Cool! This may partially explain the Synergism between medihoney and rifampicin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), also reported within the past few months.

Pseudomonas

Similarly, Manuka honey reduces VF production by Pseudomonas, Manuka honey inhibits siderophore production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a report that appeared in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. Surprise, Surprise

Anti-Cancer

The biggest surprise to be reported this year in the world of honey is outside of the area of infections: The first is a report that Manuka honey inhibits growth of cancer in a mouse model: Intravenous administration of Manuka honey inhibits tumor growth and improves host survival when used in combination with chemotherapy in a melanoma mouse model, reported in PLOS one online. This is HUGE, and we should expect to see more about cancer-fighting honey research in the near future.

Anti-Oxidant

The other exciting news concerns research findings on Manuka honey’s antioxidant activity: Manuka honey protects middle-aged rats from oxidative damage, reported just this month in the journal, Clinics. If you are a believer in the free-radical theory of aging, this suggests that Manuka honey may be a sweet fountain of youth.

Russell Faust, PhD, MD boogordoctor, research on Manuka Honey

Our agriculture depends on bees!
Image credit: www.depositphotos.com

What Does This Mean for YOU?

All this research simply means this: we are now proving what ancient humans knew thousands of years ago – that honey is powerful medicine. Honey is a great natural antimicrobial – topically (applied to the surface) for wound-care. And honey is a strong antioxidant – always good to reduce oxygen free-radical damage to our tissues (that cause early aging and DNA damage). So, add some honey to your life. Adding Manuka honey to my own nasal saline rinses was how I (finally!) eliminated my own chronic rhino-sinusitis, after more than twenty years. I buy mine on Amazon here – affiliate link. If you find a better source of Manuka honey for a better price, PLEASE let us all know in comments! Thanks.

Colony Collapse Disorder and Our Future

Manuka honey anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory

Image Credit: from wikimedia, used under Creative Commons License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Honeybee_landing_on_milkthistle02.jpg

Now, because we’re discussing the benefits of honey in our lives, this is a good place to remind everyone about the demise of our honey bees – the colony collapse disorder. Recent research suggests that pesticide use causes immune compromise in bees, and these pesticides result in increased infection by certain pathogens. This is an extremely complex problem, but we need to get this figured out soon: due to the fact that bees pollinate much of our agriculture, our lives may ultimately depend on bees.  ______________________________________

Hi, I’m Russell Faust, author of this medical education blog. That wonderful photo of me is by Chris Stranad; here is his site: http://www.chrisstranadphotography.com/Index.html

Russell Faust, PhD, MD boogordoctor / healthy children
Image: Dr. Faust and friend

Let me know what topics are important to you and your child’s respiratory health. Join the conversation by leaving a comment / reply below, or email me any time. Thanks for visiting, see you here later. In invite you to subscribe to this blog (it’s FREE). Be sure to type in your best email address (the one that you actually use).  You will then receive an email with a “confirmation link” – click on that link to get weekly updates from this blog in your email. It’s free, it’s convenient, it’s an easy way to stay up-to-date on information to keep you and your family healthy.  You can un-subscribe at any time. Stay informed. Stay healthy. Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor ;~D) _______________________________________

Comments

  1. Kim Starkey says:

    I have been using Manuka honey saline rinses for 4 months and I am infection free for the first time in 2 years. Lots of steroids, antibiotics and surgery wish I would have known about it sooner. The price has gone up $9 a bottle since August at Wegmans it is now $32 for 16+ but still better and cheaper than meds! Thank you so much for letting us know about this fantastic information and treatment. I tell everybody about your website.

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Kim,
      Thanks so much for that! Your kind comments make my day – as does your success after your long struggle!
      That was my experience also. Of course, there are limited suppliers of Manuka honey for a growing market, so we can expect the price to climb. The other concern is the global “colony collapse disorder” causing a decline in honey bees. Let’s hope that gets figured out and corrected soon. If you find a great price on Manuka honey anywhere, please post it here so we can all benefit!
      Thank you for visiting, for your support, and for sharing.

  2. I have suffered with chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis for over 20 years. I have had three surgeries, to no avail. I have tried everything, except Manuka honey. Can you please tell me how I use it and where to purchase it? Thank you so much.

  3. Hi Doc,
    Thanks for this site! It is helpful to learn. I had a sinus infection after a cold complete with teeth pain, etc. The pain came back after one round of antibiotics, so the doc put me on a second. The pain goes away when I am on an antibiotic. But after the second round the pain came back again. Doc orders CT and sends me to an ENT. I thought maybe I had chronic sinusitis or a resistance to the antibiotic or biofilm or something, but ENT says CT is clear and I am actually not congested. But I’m still getting pain especially at night in the middle of the night. ENT does exam and notes a sore on the inside of my nose that is bleeding and I realize that yes it hurts but not that bad. He says he can cauterize if I want. I agree to think about it, but my mind is still on the pain above my eye. I leave agreeing to try moisture (spray, humidifier and Vaseline), continue saline rinses and to let him know if it gets worse. As I’m applying the Vaseline with a qtip to the bloody sore up my nose, I realize it hurts and seems to trigger the pain above my eye. the sore is about 1/2 way up my nose and in the back of my nose. Could that sore be leaving a nerve exposed? If so, would cauterization help that? I have had that sore for about a month and I think it got somewhat better when I was on the augmentin. I also think I caused it using AFRIN when my outer nose was dry). Could the sore itself be infected and not my sinuses? If the sore is infected. would the makuna honey rinse help that, do you think? Could it hurt it? Are there any risks to the Makuna rinse? I do the saline rinses all the time with a neil med squeeze tube. I know this is a lot of questions and you probably can’t answer them all, but if you could answer any (like are there any risks to the Makuna rinse if I have a sore in my nose) at all I would appreciate. Thanks so much,
    Florence

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Florence,

      The goal of using Vaseline or other grease-based ointments is to create a moisture-barrier over the sore so that it remains moist – that helps support healing. But it’s a bit like placing axle-grease in your nose. There are several water-based ointments that are more pleasant; Aquaphor is one that I have used. As at your local pharmacy. Even “surgi-lube” or “KY gelly” are water-based, and are designed to keep tissue moist – these work well to keep a sore inside your nose moist so the tissue can heal. Afrin will not help it heal

      If you continue to have bleeding, cautery can help. But it will be important for an expert to examine you to reassure you that there is nothing more serious (malignancy) going on there.

      Manuka honey is beneficial for wound-healing. Several clinical trials have shown these benefits, and these data have even been the basis for development of a few bio-tech startups over the last couple years: wound-healing products based on Manuka honey. Hospitals have begun using them with success. Benefits include keeping the tissue moist; and powerful inherent antimicrobial activity to help prevent infection of wounded tissues. It’s all good.

      Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Upon thinking of it further, I wonder if I could just put the honey straight on the sore in my nose. Thanks for any thoughts? Florence

  5. Dani Ham says:

    Hi there. Thank you for your site and your efforts. I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for years. I had sinus surgery a few months ago and ended up with a sinus infection a month later. I was on Bactrim for 17 days. The symptoms improved but didn’t go away entirely. Then, when I was done with the antibiotics, the headaches and discomfort came roaring back. I’ve tried baby shampoo for the past week in my pulsatile rinses a couple of times a day and have lost my sense of smell and taste. Now yesterday I tried Manuka honey and also tilted my head back for about 10 seconds and then forward for about 10 seconds and ended up seeing a papery white sediment after I blew my nose. I’m not sure that papery is the word to use. it was almost like white paint that is mostly dry. It didn’t look anything like mucus. What is this?! I can’t find anyone else talking about something like this.

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Dani,

      People with chronic sinusitis will often have “biofilm” formation – a persistent protective film formed by a variety of bacteria. When you rinse that out it can be white, gray, yellow, green, etc. Keep gently rinsing with saline every day (perhaps twice per day for active infection), and you will eventually eliminate the biofilm (and eliminate the need for antibiotics!).

      Thanks for visiting and sharing. Best success.

  6. Gina D. says:

    Hello Dr. Faust,
    I wanted to know how much Manuka honey should I add to the NasoPure bottle? I’m dealing with a third cold/sinus infection in less than 12 months and that combined with Sjögren’s Syndrome leaves me more wiped out than just dealing with sinus issues alone (missing a week of work at a time). I’m happy to have found your website, and am praying for relief between your advice and upcoming appts with my ENT.

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Gina:

      Yeah, rhino-sinusitis can leave even the healthiest person wiped out; SS makes your life that much more challenging.

      The “optimal” amount of Manuka is not well defined. When I have an acute sinusitis I add 3-4 heaping tablespoons to my NasoPure bottle. You might also consider adding Xylitol – or alternating saline with Xylitol / saline with Manuka. The “optimal” amount of Xylitol is 10% by weight. Since I don’t have a gram scale at home, I simply add a couple tablespoons of Xylitol to the Nasopure bottle along with the saline packet.

      Thank you for your kind comments, and please keep me updated!

      • Gina D. says:

        Thank you so much for responding so quickly! I’m going to start the Manuka routine tonight and try to rinse twice a day until this passes and I can reduce to more of a maintenance schedule. I will definitely keep you posted on how I do, and will try the Xylitol as well. Once again, thank you for your quick response!

        • Gina D. says:

          Hi Dr. Faust,
          I did my first round of Manuka honey saline rinses last night and today (1x a day) and the baby shampoo (1X a day). I spent most of the day super congested, but after each round of napping today I felt some improvement. Normally at this point I am feeling significantly worse, but today I already seem to be moving in the right direction. At the worst I might have to stay home again tomorrow, but I honestly think I have good chance of making it to work tomorrow as long as I can sleep tonight. Thanks so much for posting your routine and for all the additional valuable information you provide.

          • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

            Hi Gina:

            Thank you for the feedback, and for your kind comments. One word of caution: be careful with the baby shampoo – it can be very irritating.
            Best success, and please do keep me informed.

  7. Dr. Faust
    I can’t even begin to thank you for sharing all this information. My 12 year old son is scheduled for very invasive sinus surgery in 4 weeks. I don’t know all the technical words, but they are shaving down his turbines, fixing his septum, then widening both maxillary sinus’.

    Years and years and years of trying to battle his chronic sinusitis has been horrible for him, and us. He has a true mold allergy, and we live in the south, which makes his much harder to treat. He has lost most of his sense of smell and his taste is barely present.

    We tried the usual routes, and tried the neti pot with no success. The neti pot was horrible as one side of his nose is swollen around 98% shut, the other around 75% and the pot just couldn’t get it up, in and out the other side by gravity flow. Very frustrating.

    I found your site two days ago and within an hour, I ordered the sinupulse machine. I was going to do the nasopure bottle, but his nostrils are so swollen, I don’t know his own pressure would be enough force to get the rinse where it needs to go. After this huge explanation, I have a very basic question – you give the dosage for the honey and Xylitol for the nasopure bottle, how much of each would I dose using the sinupulse machine? (Not doing them at the same time). The machine is supposed to arrive today (fingers crossed). And if you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them as well. And if you do virtual consults privately, I would also be interested.

    How I had wished we knew of your practice when we were living in Michigan and dealing with his sinus problems then maybe we could have avoided all the misery he’s had all these years. I’d fly on up if you still were practicing (as I see you’ve transitioned out).

    • Russell A. Faust, PhD, MD says:

      Hi Jo:

      I think that the Sinupulse machine reservoir holds 16 ounces, or about 500cc (be sure to check the instruction booklet), so about the same as the Nasopure squeeze-bottle. So you should be able to use the same recipes for the Sinupulse. Check out the the Amazon Sinupulse reviews page for a discussion of recipes.

      Yes, have ‘transitioned out’ of active surgical practice, but thank you so much for you kind comments. And please keep me updated on your health success!

      • Thank you Dr. I will keep you updated.

        I don’t want him to have surgery, so if these washes work, I would be so elated, as would he.

        One more question for you, I have read on your site the biofilm information. The most recent ENT has suggested my son very well could have biofilms or a fungal infection (which I am told is very bad and almost impossible to get rid of). Baby shampoo advisable for his age? I also see your caution of using very little, sparingly. And if you do believe it would be safe to use for him, what’s your general idea of a schedule? Meaning.. for example; honey day 1, xylitol day 2, baby shampoo day 3, etc. I understand you are not giving medical advice, just what you’ve seen work for you. :)

        Of the dozens of ENT’s, your site has proven to be the most beneficial with options aside from an RX. My son is excited to get home from school to start rinsing. He’s desperate to feel relief.

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