El Dr Rose Cooper, de la Universitat de Wales Institute Cardiff ha estat estudiant els possibles usos de la mel com un tractament per les ferides. En seva la investigació el Dr Cooper i el seu equip van presentar dues troballes interessants:

  • La primera és que la mel és eficaç com a tractament per les ferides cròniques o infectades. La seva utilització per via tòpica, ens ajuda a prevenir la unió dels bacteris en el teixit, permetent d'aquesta manera el procés de curació, accelerant-lo i evitant possibles brots infecciosos.
  • La segona, i potser la més novedosa, és que la mel té propietats que podrien restablir la sensibilitat als antibiòtics per part d'algunes bactèries que s'havien tornat resistentes. La mel interferiria en les capes i pel·lícules protectores que generen les bactèries davant dels tractaments antibiòtics, i que transformen determinades patologies en cròniques.

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 In his great work of ancient science, The Natural History, naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote a good deal about the nature of honey and how it was used in the ancient world.  In that work, one of the three types of honey that Pliny was what he called “summer honey”, which he described as “a gift sent from heaven for the cure of diseases of the eyes, ulcers, and maladies of the internal viscera.”

As it turns out, ancient wisdom can be modern wisdom as well.
Dr. Rose Cooper of the University of Wales Institute Cardiff has been studying the potential uses of honey as a treatment for wounds for several years, now, and her research has been published in several journals since 2002.  Dr. Cooper’s research as of late has focused on manuka honey — a variety of honey produced from flowers in New Zealand. In research presented at the Society for General Microbiology‘s Spring Conference, Dr. Cooper and her team presented two intriguing findings.
The first is that, when properly processed to a medical grade, manuka honey is effective as a treatment for chronic, infected wounds.  Used topically, the honey can help prevent the attachment of bacteria to tissue, thereby allowing the healing process to accelerate and the infection to clear.
The second is that the manuka honey has properties that may restore antibiotic sensitivity to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA.
Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections,” explained Professor Cooper. “Other work in our lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin – effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey.”
This research may increase the clinical use of manuka honey as doctors are faced with the threat of diminishingly effective antimicrobial options. “We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance. We have already demonstrated that manuka honey is not likely to select for honey-resistant bacteria,” said Professor Cooper. At present, most antimicrobial interventions for patients are with systemic antibiotics. “The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future. This will help reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from colonised wounds to susceptible patients.”
In writing about the medicinal uses of honey, Pliny the Elder stated that if “summer honey” was taken “at the rising of Sirius, and the rising of Venus, Jupiter, or Mercury should happen to fall on the same day, as often is the case,” then “the sweetness of this substance, and the virtue which it possesses of restoring men to life, are not inferior to those attributed to the nectar of the gods.”
If Dr. Cooper and her team are successful at refining their work, hopefully the strict timing the Pliny prescribes will prove to be unnecessary.