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Manuka Honey Being Used in Cystic Fibrosis Study

June 03, 2019


There has always been resistance to touting medicinal benefits of Manuka honey. This is mostly due to the fact the results vary dramatically from person to person. For instance, if I were to use Manuka honey because it worked better than OTC acid reflux medication, you may not have the same results. There is also the taboo of classifying a food product as a medicinal cure.

That argument is being challenged very seriously by a research team at Swansea University. The group is conducting a study with cystic fibrosis patients to see how the honey impacts deadly bacteria associated with the disease. So far, they have had enough positive results that the study will continue.

The researchers have mimicked conditions they see in CF patients using lung tissue from pigs. Compared to normal antibiotic treatments, Manuka honey killed antimicrobial resistant bacteria at a rate of 39 percent, compared to only 29 percent when treated with antibiotics. Additionally, the Manuka honey appeared to improve the performance of antibiotics previously used that were either not effective at all or only had limited success. When Manuka honey was used in conjunction with these antibiotics, researchers found it killed the bacteria 90 percent of the time.

Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that impacts people all over the world. Right now, in the UK, it is estimated that more than 10,400 people currently have the condition. That number is expected to rise significantly over the next few decades. Researches have suggested that if they see a continued rise in antimicrobial resistance, we could see as many as 10 million people die every year from this condition.

When the bacteria cannot be treated with antibiotics, doctors are often forced, as a last resort, to proceed with a lung transplant. That obviously presents a significant risk. In addition to organ rejection, there is the danger the original bacteria will still be present in the upper airway. If this occurs, the new lung may become infected with the bacteria.

Needless to say, this new study has given researchers significant hope in that it not only offers another treatment but also allows for the use of previous antibiotics that proved to be ineffective on their own. Dr. Rowena Jenkins (Swansea University) stated, “The preliminary results are very promising and should these be replicated in the clinical setting, then this could open up additional treatment option for those with cystic fibrosis infections.”

Dr. Jenkins continued, “The synergy with antibiotics and absence of resistance seen in the laboratory has allowed us to move into the current clinical trial, investigating the potential for Manuka honey as part of a sinus rinse for alleviating infection in the upper airway.”

Source: Science Daily

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