NHS Choices has conducted an assessment of press reports about the ability of manuka honey to inhibit various types of bacteria, including MRSA. The new research involved laboratory studies examining the effects of manuka honey on the molecular structure of three bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA-15), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A streptococci).
The studies found that manuka honey affected the structure and activity of these bacteria. One of the studies also indicated that combining honey with certain antibiotics may improve effectiveness against drug-resistant MRSA. The assessment notes that the laboratory research is of particular interest as it also highlights the growing concern about the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.
However, the effectiveness of honey in combination with antibiotics has yet to be tested in clinical trials and further research is still needed to assess whether it could be used to treat drug-resistant infections. It stresses that the honey used in the trials was filtered, medical-grade honey with all impurities removed so people should not try using honey bought from supermarkets to treat wounds at home.