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Honey: Its Medicinal Property and Antibacterial Activity

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Honey: Its Medicinal Property and Antibacterial Activity

The medicinal importance and health benefits of honey has been documented in the world's oldest medical literature, and since ancient times, it has been known to possess both antimicrobial and wound-healing properties.

Antibacterial Properties

The healing properties of honey are due to its antibacterial activity, its ability to maintain moist wound conditions, and its high viscosity which helps to provide a protective barrier against infection. 

The ability of honey to enhance the body’s immune system further supports wound repair. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. Medical grade honeys have potent in vitro bactericidal activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can cause life-threatening infections in humans. There is however a large variation in the antimicrobial activity of some natural honeys, which is due to geographic and climatic variation in the sources of nectar.

The antibacterial properties are attributed to its high concentration, acidity and hydrogen peroxide content. The antimicrobial agents in honey are predominantly hydrogen peroxide, of which the concentration is determined by relative levels of glucose oxidase, synthesized by the bee and catalase originating from flower pollen. Most types of honey generate H2O2 when diluted, because of the activation of the enzyme glucose oxidase that oxidizes glucose to gluconic acid and H2O2, which in turn contribute to the antimicrobial activity. In some cases, the peroxide activity in honey can be destroyed easily by the heat of pasteurization or the presence of catalase.

Medical-grade honey which has the potential to be a topical antibacterial prophylaxis because of its broad-spectrum bactericidal activity, or to be a treatment for topical infections caused by antibiotic-resistant as well as antibiotic-sensitive bacteria, should be considered for therapeutic use. 

The importance of locally sourced honey

Mountain, manuka, capillano and eco-honeys have exhibited inhibitory activity against H. pylori bacteria which live in the human gut and can cause ulcers, thus demonstrating that locally produced honeys possess excellent antibacterial activity comparable to commercial honeys.


The numerous benefits of honey have been well documented and known for centuries. Whether you’re interested in honey for its antibacterial properties or as a gut health regiment. NRGY honey products can help you get started in your journey to a healthier lifestyle.


This paper, published by Mandal & Mandal in the Asian Pacific Journal of Biomedicine, has been summarized by NRGY Honey. NRGY Honey does not own the rights to the research.