The healing properties of Scottish heather honey

Issued: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:57:00 GMT

A new study has revealed that Scottish heather honey rivals Manuka honey for its healing properties.


Honey has long been used in veterinary medicine as a wound dressing, in particular Manuka honey. Senior lecturer in equine surgeryand keen bee-keeper, Patrick Pollock, was interested to know if other honeys might also make effective antibacterial wound dressings.

‘Honey helps to promote healing, cleaning the wound and keeping it infection-free,’ says Patrick. ‘Although Manuka has been the most studied honey source to date, other honey sources may have valuable antimicrobial properties too.’

Patrick and colleagues at the School of Veterinary Medicine looked at 29 honey products, including commercial medical grade honeys, supermarket honeys and honeys from local bee-keepers. 

Of the 29 honeys tested, eight were found to be effective against all the bacteria at concentrations ranging from 2% to 6%. Heather honey from the Inverness area was shown to be particularly effective – killing MRSA microbes and three other types of bacteria. 

‘Honeys derived from one type of flower were shown to be the most effective, and while Manuka is currently the only medical grade honey, the study reveals that other honeys may be just as suitable for such purposes,’ explains Patrick. ‘In many regions of the world access to expensive antimicrobial drugs is limited, therefore locally sourced honey may provide an inexpensive alternative.’

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