DR.Ihsan S. Rabeea....The antimicrobial Effects of Honey

The antimicrobial Effects of Honey  

The antimicrobial Effects of Honey  

            Honey has long been known to possess antibacterial properties and has an established usage as wound dressing, The topical application of honey has been reported to clear existing wound infection rapidly. It acts against several bacteria such as pseudomonas, staphylococci, streptococci and E. coli. Even some antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA   and VRE are reportedly sensitive. Several properties are attributing to its antimicrobial effects: 

1. Honey has a low water content, thus facilitating an “osmotic effect” which leaves very little water molecules for microbial growth. However, the rate of inhibition of growth varies with the species of bacteria, the antibacterial activity and the source of honey.

2. Honey has a low pH between 3.2 to 4.5, and this acidity is low enough to inhibit the growth of most microorganisms.

3. Production of hydrogen peroxide, as result of   glucose oxidase activity, has a very potent bactericidal activity, similar to those produced by the macrophages. This reaction occurs after the honey has been diluted in the wound. The gradually released hydrogen peroxide has an adverse effect on bacteria but not on the normal cells, thus creating no cellular damage.

4. Several still not fully characterized phytochemicals with antibacterial activity are present in honey.

However, not all these antibacterial activities need to act simultaneously, for example the osmotic effect is possibly the first to come in play and with subsequent dilution with wound fluid hydrogen peroxide is generated and takes over this role. The phytochemicals do not lose their antibacterial activity therefore can act at later stages of wound infection. The combination of this antibacterial activity makes honey a special natural product that withstand test of time. In addition to that prolonged use of honey does not lead to development of drug resistance as those experienced with antibiotics used, principally because the actions of honey are not mediated via a single mechanism thus limits the ability of resistance factors to gain success in controlling the growth of the microbes.   

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