Superbugs, that possess antibiotic-resistant powers, are now a real and present danger in the world around us.

In fact, antibiotic resistance has been labeled an epidemic and according to the CDC, “More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year.”

It’s a fact that I’m now all too familiar with first-hand: I recently had a bout with strep throat, and before it was done with, I had to take three rounds of three different kinds of antibiotics to recover.

Scary, right? You betcha, what with all the damage those medications can exact on your gut.

Well, it’s possible that I could have avoided all of the trouble, days turning into weeks of sickness, and danger if I had simply known about a natural antibiotic powerhouse that has been shown to be effective against strep.

Blocking bacterial biofilms

The natural antibiotic that may now become part of my regular routine is Manuka honey.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it did to me at first too.

After all, while I love to add honey to my tea, as anything more than an alternative to sugar, it’s been off my radar.

But, when a friend of mine told me that she had heard that honey had the power to stop strep, I couldn’t help but research further.

And, you know what?

She was right!

In fact, as far back as 2011, scientific studies have been proving that honey could be the answer to killing off superbugs, including Streptococcus pyogenes — the kind of strep that causes strep throat.

And, with strep, in particular, the studies show that honey actually blocks the biofilms that allow the bacteria to cling to each other.

Even better, when you compare honey to traditional antibiotics, honey has a lot going for it.

According to Dr. Susan Meschwitz, assistant professor of chemistry at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island, “What makes honey effective is the fact that honey works to fight bacteria on multiple levels, by various mechanisms, involving its antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties — not just by attacking the growth of the bacteria, which is the bactericidal mechanism most conventional antibiotics use.”

Why Manuka?

So, what is Manuka honey and why is it better than regular honey for killing off bacteria that can become antibiotic-resistant?

Well, if you haven’t heard of it before, Manuka is a special type of honey more common in New Zealand and is made by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush.

And, this gives it some special qualities when it comes to antibiotic power

Studies show that compared to types of honey common in the U.S., Manuka possesses higher antimicrobial activity that experts say could be due to two things:

  • Its high levels of certain phenolic compounds that come from the Manuka bush
  • The fact that the honey contains methylglyoxal (MGO) – a compound that is supremely antibacterial

So, while other types of honey could be beneficial against the germs that make you sick, like strep, if I was going to bet my health on one, it would be Manuka.

But, there is something you should know…

According to Dr. Meschwitz, when you purchase Manuka, you should look for one that is as raw, unheated, and minimally processed as possible since that is the type that has been shown in the studies to be so amazingly effective.

And, the good news is that on top of being so effective, Manuka (despite the fact that it sounds exotic) is easy to find online. In fact, I was able to order my honey and have it sitting on my pantry shelf, ready for the next time an infection strikes.

Will I still use an antibiotic?

If my doctor thinks that’s best, I certainly will. He understands my hesitancy surrounding improper antibiotic use, so I feel I can trust him when he feels they are necessary.

But I’ll add Manuka to my regimen, especially since studies in other types of superbugs have shown that adding honey along with a course of antibiotics made the bacteria less resistant. In fact, during cold and flu season, in addition to sweetening my tea, I may try a spoonful a day and try to put that biofilm strength to work to keep my throat protected.

Sources:

  1. Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance (AR / AMR) — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Can honey fight superbugs like MRSA? — nhs.uk
  3. Sweet solution: Can honey help in the fight against antibiotic resistance? — Pharmaceutical Technology
  4. Manuka Honey — WebMD
  5. Manuka honey makes bacteria less resistant to antibiotics — The Conversation

Many thanks to Dr. Adria Schmedthorst and Easy Health Options for this information!!

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