UK scientific study shows manuka honey helps treat cystic fibrosis

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A new study1 by a group of UK bio-medical scientists shows that manuka honey will be likely to do a better job than antibiotics in treating the resistant bacterial strains that afflict sufferers of cystic fibrosis.

According to results from the study published at Frontiers of Microbiology earlier this year, manuka honey was effective in killing some 39% of the anti-biotic resistant bacteria.

Moreover it appears that the manuka honey increases the effectiveness of antibiotic; some 90% of the resistant bacteria were killed when honey was used as well as anti-biotics.

The findings are very significant  because cystic fibrosis is such a debilitating and life-threatening condition, affecting thousands of people in countries like the UK and Australia,

It is an inherited disease and is all too often the eventual main cause of death in those born with the condition.

Typically the condition gives rise to lung infections, but regrettably a growing number of the bacteria causing those infections are now resistant to anti-biotic drugs.

Indeed a major review commissioned by the UK government2 estimated that a continuing rise in drug resistance could, by 2050, see some 10 million people world-wide dying every year from antimicrobial resistant infections.

Dr Rowena Jenkins, Lecturer in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Swansea University, designed the study and was one of its lead authors.

She told Health Europa that the results provide new hope for the treatment of the chronic lung infections so often associated with cystic fibrosis.

 “The preliminary results are very promising and should these be replicated in the clinical setting then this could open up additional treatment options for those with cystic fibrosis infections.”

“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.”

Manuka honey was donated for the trials by medical honey supplier – Integra sciences.

The honey was rated at UMF 12+ or approximately MGO 400+


1, Roberts AEL, Powell LC, Pritchard MF, Thomas DW, Jenkins RE (2019) Anti-pseudomonad Activity of Manuka Honey and Antibiotics in a Specialized ex vivo Model Simulating Cystic Fibrosis Lung Infection. Frontiers in Microbiology. (10) 1-10 

2, Review on Anti-microbial resistance, 2016


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