Honey can be used to fight infections, including the ones that are antibiotic-resistant, a new study says.Thien Gretchen/Flickr

Honey can be used to fight infections, including the ones that are antibiotic-resistant, a new study says.

In an antibiotic-resistant infection, bacteria becomes resistant to certain antibiotic medications. The study, presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on 16 March found that certain properties in honey - hydrogen peroxide, polyphenols and high sugar concentration helped to destroy the bacteria very early. Researchers also found that the high sugar in honey is particularly capable of dehydrating and destroying bacterial cells.

"The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance," lead author of the study, Dr Susan M. Meschwitz, from the Salve Regina University said in a news release.

Honey works by disturbing quorum sensing, a method of communication between the bacteria that leads to the formation of biofilms, and its ability to release toxins and cause diseases. On the other hand, conventional antibiotics work by targeting essential growth process of bacteria, a process that often makes bacteria develop resistance to the treatment.

Meschwitz and team also listed some antioxidants in honey including ellagic acid, caffeic acid, phenolic acids, p-coumaric acid, flavonoids that they identified during their research. "We have run standard antioxidant tests on honey to measure the level of antioxidant activity," Meschwitz explained. "We have separated and identified the various antioxidant polyphenol compounds. In our antibacterial studies, we have been testing honey's activity against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, among others."

The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey are well-known. Studies in the past have shown that honey can be used to manage cough and sleep difficulties associated with upper respiratory tract infections in children, and treat wounds and destroy superbug infections including MRSA.