Tuesday, February 27, 2007

UK Hospital Uses Honey to Treat Heart Surgery Wounds

How a Spoonful of Honey Can Make Toast of the Superbugs
By Julie Wheldon, Daily Mail (UK), 2/27/2007

Doctors are using honey from a particular colony of bees in Australia to clean wounds infected after heart surgery

It has long been used to dress wounds by the Aborigines, who trusted its anti-bacterial powers.

And after watching them at work, doctors have combined sterile honey from Australian bees with seaweed to clean wounds infected after heart surgery.

Medihoney is already being used on patients at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

It is combined with a gum extracted from the seaweed, which helps draw out and absorb harmful bacteria. The ingredients are then placed on dressings which are applied to the wound.

If successful, the treatment could eventually be used in hospitals to help fight bugs such as MRSA that claim around 5,000 lives and cost the Health Service £1 billion a year.

Previously, honey has been combined with anti-bacterial compounds and used on patients with catheter infections in a kidney unit at a hospital in Brisbane.

Doctors found that as well as fighting bacteria the mixture was not met with the resistance commonly seen when conventional anti-bacterial medicines are used. All honey contains hydrogen peroxide from an enzyme that bees add to nectar. The chemical is known to kill bacteria…

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