When Antibiotics Fail, Nurses Turn to Maggots and Manuka Honey to Beat Superbugs
By David Gutierrez, Natural News, 11/12/2009
(NaturalNews) Faced with a growing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, hospitals in the United Kingdom are adopting traditional medicinal techniques to fight infection, such as maggots and honey.
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug-resistant infections kill or hasten the death of 8,000 British patients per year, while MRSA now kills more people in the United States annually than AIDS.
At the Royal United Hospital in Bath, England, many wounds are now being disinfected with Manuka honey rather than pharmaceutical antibiotics.
"Honey has been used in healing for centuries, but now new products have overcome the problems associated with using conventional honey and bring it into a modern healthcare setting," said the hospital's Kate Purser.
Honey is one of the oldest forms of medicine known, and was employed both as food and antibiotic by the ancient Egyptians and, more recently, by German doctors during World War I. Its high sugar content means that the water in honey is almost chemically inert, making it unavailable for the growth of bacteria, fungi or viruses. A naturally occurring enzyme known as glucose oxidase also makes honey acidic enough to create a hostile environment for most bacteria.
The honey used by Royal United Hospital is not the same as the honey found on supermarket shelves, however. The honey is a variety known as Manuka honey, which is produced from the manuka plant, native to New Zealand. This honey is then irradiated to kill any trace bacterial spores...