Manuka Honey for Stomach Problems

The research articles below provide information that suggest that manuka honey may help alleviate digestive problems due to all or a combination of it's unique properties which include: the promotion of probiotic activity; stimulation of the body's immune response in the gut; anti-inflammatory action; and helping to reduce and/or eliminate pathogen growth.  Please note that Clostridium difficile is amongst the bacteria that Manuka Honey has been shown to be effective against (see below), and that bacteria from the Clostridium group are known to be at high levels in autistic children (see articles here). 

Manuka Honey to manage the growth of probiotic and pathogenic gut bacteria 

Manuka honey was the most promising candidate for the inclusion into a concept functional food intended to manage gut bacteria for the purposes of maintaining and increasing gut health. Although the mechanisms of honey on bacteria are still to be fully explored, the antimicrobial data are entirely consistent with the effects of manuka honey currently in the literature.  Manuka honey was particularly effective at increasing probiotic growth and reducing pathogen growth.   Read Full Article  Rosendale, D. I., Maddox, I. S., Miles, M. C., Rodier, M., Skinner, M. and Sutherland, J. (2008), High-throughput microbial bioassays to screen potential New Zealand functional food ingredients intended to manage the growth of probiotic and pathogenic gut bacteria. International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 43: 2257–2267. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.2008.01863.x


Antibacterial effect of Manuka honey on Clostridium difficile  

Manuka honey originates from the manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium) and its antimicrobial effect has been attributed to a property referred to as Unique Manuka Factor that is absent in other types of honey. Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey has been documented for several bacterial pathogens, however there is no information on Clostridium difficile, an important nosocomial pathogen.   (This study found that) Manuka honey exhibits a bactericidal action against C. difficile, a feature which is likely to make Manuka honey highly attractive in the treatment of bacterial infections. Our data adds to the body of research evidence in support of the broad antibacterial spectrum of Manuka honey.  Read Full Article   Eric N Hammond and Eric S Donkor  BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:188  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-188


Some significant research outcomes from Honey Research at the University of Waikato. 

Establishment of the effectiveness of honey’s antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties against many microbial species, including antibiotic‐resistant strains
• Explanation of the variation in level of the special type of antibacterial activity unique to manuka honey
• Proving that methylglyoxal is the component responsible for the non‐peroxide antibacterial activity in manuka honey
• Identification of a synergist in manuka honey that doubles the antibacterial activity of methylglyoxal
• Discovering that honey stimulates the immune response of white blood cells
• Discovering pre‐emptive antioxidant activity in honey, which stops free radicals from forming
• Demonstrating that honey in the diet is healthier than sugar in respect of health of arteries, immunity, mental deterioration with age, and becoming overweight
• Discovering the way in which the anti‐inflammatory activity of honey works

Significant Research Findings  Read Full Article  (2012) Courtesy of P. Molan. 


The controlled in vitro susceptibility of gastrointestinal pathogens to the antibacterial effect of manuka honey

Because of the shortcomings of modern antibiotics therapy such as side effects and the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacterial species, alternative therapies have been increasingly drawing the public’s interest. However, alternative therapies have not been widely accepted by medical professions largely due to their mechanisms not being well understood and also due to the studies on their efficacy usually not being well controlled. In this study, we analysed the antibacterial activity of manuka honey with having both antibacterial potency and the cell density standardized, and this makes the findings from this study of greater value than those from other similar works where this was not done.
The controlled study revealed that most gastrointestinal bacteria are susceptible to the antimicrobial activity of manuka honey but not to artificial honey. Most tested organisms can be inhibited by manuka honey even if it is diluted 10–20 fold, and can also be killed with slightly higher concentration of the honey. The efficacy of manuka honey against gastrointestinal pathogens, and possibly their antibiotic-resistant strains too, seems promising.  The controlled in vitro susceptibility of gastrointestinal pathogens to the antibacterial effect of manuka honey S. M. Lin & P. C. Molan & R. T. Cursons Read Full Article   Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis (2011) 30:569–574 DOI 10.1007/s10096-010-1121-x


The post-antibiotic effect of manuka honey on gastrointestinal pathogens

An increasing number of studies have shown that honey has substantial antimicrobial activity [1]. However, the efficacy of honey taken orally would be greatly affected by dilution in large amounts of body fluids and water from food and drink as well as by a short period of contact with bacterial cells owing to rapid peristalsis in the gastrointestinal tract.  We therefore investigated how long it would take manuka honey to eliminate microorganisms and whether or not honey has a post-antibiotic effect (PAE) similar to other common drugs. (the study found that) Manuka honey at a concentration <8% (v/v) could inhibit most of the tested bacteria. For most of the species, 20% (v/v) manuka honey solution was capable of killing the majority of organisms within 2–6h.   Read Full Article  Lin SM,et al. The post-antibiotic effect of manuka honey on gastrointestinal pathogens. Int J Antimicrob Agents. (2010), doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2010.06.046 

The in vitro susceptibility of Campylobacter spp. to the antibacterial effect of manuka honey 

Campylobacter spp. is a widespread pathogen and has been recognised as a leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide. The objectives of this study were to investigate the antibacterial activity of manuka honey against a number of clinical isolates of Campylobacter spp. from clinical patients with diarrhoea.  Although the data obtained from this study cannot fully represent the profile of the genus Campylobacter, our results establish that the species tested are susceptible to both the antibacterial components and the osmolarity of manuka honey. Manuka honey has been reported to be highly effective against various pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) [34*], and its low pH, low water activity, slowly released hydrogen peroxide and phytochemical antimicrobial components are collectively thought to be responsible for its high efficacy against bacteria [26*]. The result in this work revealed that the efficacy is also observable on Campylobacter, regardless of strain.  The low minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values suggest that honey might still inhibit the growth of campylobacteria after dilution by fluid in the gut, but the actual concentration of honey that can be achieved in the intestine is unknown.   Read Full Article. The in vitro susceptibility of Campylobacter spp. to the antibacterial effect of manuka honey. S. M. Lin & P. C. Molan & R. T. Cursons. 2008  [34*], [26*] - see references in Full Article.

Honey - Scientific Report

Allen, Molan & Reid (1991) conducted a major study of the antibacterial activity of New Zealand honeys.  There was a tremendous range of activities observed, however, depending on the floral source.  Honey derived from manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and vipers bugloss (Echium vulgare) were the only honeys tested that retained significant antibacterial activity.  Further in vitro research on manuka honey by the same group of NZ workers (Willix et al1992) highlighted the pathogen-specific effects of different types of honey. For some pathogens (eg S. aureus, E.coli), manuka honey was considerably more effective at inhibiting growth than other honeys.  The same group of researchers has also studied the inhibitory action, in vitro, of manuka honey against Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium believed causative of human gastric ulcers. Using techniques described previously, Somal et al (1994) found that the growth of a range of isolates of H. pylori was inhibited by a 5% v/v concentration of manuka honey. Ali et al (1991) also studied in vitro inhibition of H. pylori growth in the presence of honey of unstated origin. They found that a honey concentration of 20% was sufficient to inhibit growth of a range of clinical isolates. Read Full Article  Honey - Scientific Report  Therapeutic Goods Administration (Office of Complimentary Medicine) - 1998