Honey has long been used in the treatment of infections and wounds. One reason that honey is not more widely used today is the large variation in antibiotic strength of different batches of honey. Currently, we need more anti-infection agents because of the development of antibiotic resistance, a worldwide threat.
This article is about a product, Revamil (Bfactory), which is medical grade honey. The goal of the study was to see whether medical grade honey could increase the resistance of the forearm skin to colonization by bacteria. Tests were done of the ability of bacteria to colonize on the forearms of healthy volunteers who were treated with honey. The results, among 11 batches of medical honey, were that the variation of antimicrobial activity was under 100%.
Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae and Klebsiella oxytoca were killed on the forearm by the honey in 24 hours. Antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic-sensitive strains of the bacteria were used. The colonization of the skin on the forearm was reduced 100-fold. Methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant bacteria were equally sensitive to the honey. After 2 days of honey treatment, 81% of skin cultures were negative.
The antimicrobial activity of honey may be due the high osmolality, caused by the concentrated sugars, in addition to the natural production of hydrogen peroxide by honey. Significant variations are seen in the anti-infective property of batches of honey from the same location.
CONCLUSION: Medical grade honey (Revamil) was shown to be a reliable topical antimicrobial agent for treating a variety of skin infections. Larger studies are needed to confirm the benefit of honey in preventing infections of catheters and in burn treatment.
NOTE: MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas) could be a good test for the ability of honey to fight infections. MRSA is a cause of serious skin infection which can be fatal.