Image credit: Siona Watson, used under Creative Commons license
Sara Snow has talked before about using bee pollen to help fight allergies, and honey also features strongly in folk medicine around the Globe. (The antimicrobial properties of honey are part of the reason we can still find 3000-year-old honeycomb.) Now researchers are hoping to use honey to help fight a very modern problem—MRSA, superbugs, and anti-biotic resistance. The Guardian reports that Welsh scientists are collecting honey to help identify new anti-bacterial drugs. The idea is not necessarily to use the honey itself, although the article notes that this is a common enough practice, but rather to identify the plants that bees have been feeding on, and then isolate compounds that may be used to develop new drugs. It's an urgent problem:
Long-term, the research aims to point a way towards creating drugs through the plants rather than the honey itself. Les Baillie, professor of microbiology at Cardiff University, sees tackling bugs such as MRSA with new plant-based products as an urgent matter. "We're running out of ways of treating them," he says. "We're living with the legacy of the past - the inappropriate use of antibiotics through buying them on the internet and using them in animal feed."