Highland honey kills bacteria, Glasgow study suggests
- 30 September 2013
- From the section Highlands & Islands
Honey from bees kept in the Highlands is effective in treating infections, according to new research.
Glasgow University's School of Veterinary Medicine, which did the testing, said it could potentially be used for treating humans and animals.
Manuka honey, which is largely exported from New Zealand, is already used to help treat wounds on horses.
The new study suggests heather honey made by bees in areas near Inverness could be as useful.
Dr Patrick Pollock said supermarket-bought honey was often applied to sores on horses to fight infections.
He said the natural product was also used all over the world as a treatment for human ailments.
The veterinary school's research explored the potential for Scottish produce to be put to similar use.
Dr Pollock said: "We looked at a range of honeys and examined those.
"A heather honey surprisingly came out fantastically well. It was actually killing bacteria at concentrations of less than 2%, which astounded us."
He added: "We are transporting honey all round the world and it is expensive to incorporate it into dressings.
"If we could show that other honeys were just as effective we could potentially open up this treatment to people and animals."
Honey's anti-bacterial properties have been known since ancient times and it is believed it was used by both the ancient Greeks and Egyptians.
Scientists at Cardiff University's school of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences have been analysing honey sent in from across the UK.
They are checking for honey with the potential to counter hospital acquired infections MRSA and Clostridium Difficile.
The National Botanic Garden in Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, is profiling the DNA of the most powerful honeys, checking for the plants which contributed.
The project could allow scientists to create new treatments.