Honey may help bring sweet relief to chronic sinusitis sufferers. Scientists say natural germ fighters in honey attack the bacteria that cause the discomforting disorder. "Honey has been used in traditional medicine as a natural anti-microbial dressing for infected wounds for hundreds of years," noted study co-author Dr. Joseph G. Marsan, from the University of Ottawa. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the activity of honey on so-called "biofilms," which are responsible for numerous chronic infections, Marsan explained. "Certain bacteria, mainly Staph aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, have found a method of shielding themselves from the activity of anti-microbials by living in substances called biofilms, which cannot be penetrated by even the most powerful anti-microbials," he said. The report was to be presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation's annual meeting in Chicago.
In the laboratory, Marsan's team applied honey to biofilms made up of the bacteria that cause sinusitis. They found that honey was more effective in killing these bacteria than antibiotics commonly used against them. "Our study has shown that certain honeys, namely the Manuka honey from New Zealand and the Sidr honey from Yemen, have a powerful killing action on these bacterial biofilms that is far superior to the most powerful anti-microbials used in medicine today," Marsan said.
The Canadian findings echo research published last year in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, by a team at Penn State College of Medicine. That group found that honey worked better than commercial cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DM) in easing children's cough.