In a previous post, the use of honey to treat wounds was discussed. Here is a good review of the antibacterial effects of honey.

Key points

  • Antimicrobial activity is due to more than the osmotic effect of the sugar content
  • The low level of hydrogen peroxide in honey is effective as an antimicrobial agent
  • At least some honey sources also have antibacterial activity not related to peroxide
  • Honey causes increased lymphocyte (white blood cell) and phagocytic (killing) activity
  • Allergic reactions are rare

In another study, 30% to 100% honey concentrations inhibited a wide variety of bacteria. The most sensitive bacteria were Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Haemophilus influenzae. Fungi are less sensitive to honey than bacteria.

7/31/06 15:15 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.