Monday, January 22, 2018

Honey May Help Treat Diarrhea

Role of Honey in Topical and Systemic Bacterial Infections 

Hussain Muhammad Barkaat. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. January 2018, 24(1): 15-24

Background: The development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics has made it more difficult and expensive to treat infections. Honey is getting worldwide attention as a topical therapeutic agent for wound infections and potential future candidate for systemic infections.

Objectives: The purpose of this review was to summarise different antibacterial bio-active compounds in honey, their synergistic interaction and their clinical implications in topical and systemic infections. In addition, contemporary testing methods for evaluating peroxide and non-peroxide antibacterial activity of honey were also critically appraised.

Design: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Pub Med, reference lists and databases were used to review the literature.

Results: Honey contains several unique antibacterial components. These components are believed to act on diverse bacterial targets, are broad spectrum, operate synergistically, prevent biofilm formation, and decrease production of virulence factors. Moreover, honey has the ability to block bacterial communication (quorum sensing), and therefore, it is unlikely that bacteria develop resistance against honey. Bacterial resistance against honey has not been documented so far. Unlike conventional antibiotics, honey only targets pathogenic bacteria without disturbing the growth of normal gastrointestinal flora when taken orally. It also contains prebiotics, probiotics, and zinc and enhances the growth of beneficial gut flora. The presence of such plethora of antibacterial properties in one product makes it a promising candidate not only in wound infections but also in systemic and particularly for gastrointestinal infections. Agar diffusion assay, being used for evaluating antibacterial activity of honey, is not the most appropriate and sensitive assay as it only detects non-peroxide activity when present at a higher level. Therefore, there is a need to develop more sensitive techniques that may be capable of detecting and evaluating different important components in honey as well as their synergistic interaction.

Conclusions: Keeping in view the current guidelines for treatment of diarrhea, honey is considered one of the potential candidates for treatment of diarrhea because it contains a natural combination of probiotics, prebiotics, and zinc. Therefore, it would be worthwhile if such a combination is tested in RCTs for treatment of diarrhea.

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