Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Of bees and superbugs

One of my favourites podcasts is NPR’s Science Friday [1]. On last Friday’s program was a segment – titled ‘The Buzz on Bees’ – about bees and honey. (To listen to or download it, go to the top left of this webpage [2]). I’ve long known peripherally that bees are remarkable creatures, and honey’s remarkable stuff. ‘The Buzz on Bees’ reinforces this via fascinating info about bees and honey that I didn’t know. Including that Manuka honey’s effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA], i.e. the so-called superbug [3], and that the US’s FDA has approved its use [4]. It’s approved by the Australian and UK authorities too. Manuka honey [5] is made by bees in New Zealand that frequent the manuka bush, Leptospermum scoparium (pictured) [6]. In 2006 it was shown that Manuka honey’s active ingredient is methylglyoxal [7]. Tests have found that a minimum of 150mg/kg of methylglyoxal’s needed required for the honey to have significant benefit [8]. Isn’t that astounding: a bug that’s resistant to most of the most potent antibiotics known to man, is sensitive to a chemical in one type of honey [9]. It has other medical uses too [10]. For a honey, Manuka’s expensive [11]. But it’s a whole lot less expensive than powerful antibiotics. And a whole lot safer too, with no known adverse effects. The closer one looks at Nature, the more she reveals her beauty and wonder.

1 comment:

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

That is amazing about the Manuka honey, I'm going to see if I can send that article to my ex sister in law who raises bees in Cornwall England She was also a nurse.