Can manuka honey heal impetigo?

Can manuka honey heal impetigo?

Can manuka honey heal impetigo? Or is it better to directly use antibiotics? They may be cheaper but not always recommended.

History proved that natural products can heal us.  While emergency medicine makes wonders when it comes to saving lives, natural remedies are more and more used to heal chronic conditions. Oftentimes even do wonders where conventional medicine cannot anymore. See the case of superbugs and antibiotic resistance.

Impetigo, aka infantigo, is a contagious skin infection that appears mainly at infants and young children,  most commonly at ages 2 to 5.  (Older adults, people with diabetes or with a weakened immune system are also more likely to get it.)

First, there are reddish sores on the face, especially around the nose and mouth, they ooze for a few days  and in a week they develop honey-colored crusts.  The sores can spread to other areas of the body, through touch, clothing and towels. For young children, they are itchy and painful.

What causes impetigo?

Bacteria. One or even both of group A Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. Without treatment, impetigo may be recurrent, develop into severe disease, or have serious, life-threatening sequelae.

Group A Streptococcus can cause many other diseases: scarlet fever, strep throat, cellulitis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, rheumatic fever, necrotizing fasciitis or post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Complicated words with the power of terrifying anybody. What we need to know is that people may commonly carry this strep in the throat and on the skin and not become ill.

The same happens with Staphylococcus aureus. A gram-positive bacteria that can be peacefully hosted in our bodies. It is said that 1/3 of all healthy population is having this bacteria. But when infection happens, the treatment remains challenging due to the emergence of multi-drug resistant strains such as MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

To prevent becoming resistant to antibiotics, it is always better to try natural remedies first. And impetigo can be healed naturally.

What are the natural ways to heal impetigo?

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract. A remedy confirmed by scientists in A 2004 study from the Department of Biological Sciences at the Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, UK, found a combination of grapefruit seed extract and geranium oil that showed the “greatest anti-bacterial effects against MRSA.”  (study)
  • Ginger – an Ayurvedic remedy that speeds healing
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – dab pure apple cider vinegar on blisters and lesions to fight the bacteria and ease the inflammation.
  • Turmeric – has powerful antibacterial activity against staphylococcus aureus (study)
  • Olive, garlic, and coconut oils, Green tea, Tea Tree oil and, of course, Manuka honey. 

Does manuka honey heal impetigo?

It does. Manuka honey is well-known as a powerful antimicrobial honey. Clinical trials have found that manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as: MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), MSSA (methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci). It is probably the best remedy for skin infections. And sinus infections.

 Medihoney dressings – the best wound care dressing products;
Medihoney wound dressing review.

From all honeys, manuka has the highest and broadest antibacterial activity. And for this, it is not only the content of MGO that it’s important. Many other components of this honey are. Read here what gives manuka honey its antibacterial power.

Interested in giving manuka honey a try? First, make sure you buy genuine manuka honey, because this market is suffocated by scams. Check the brand/license you want to buy on this list of UMF to take manuka honey for health

Are there studies to support the idea that manuka honey can heal impetigo?

• Yes. A study published in 2022, analyzed the “In vitro antibacterial activity of Western Australian honeys, and manuka honey, against bacteria implicated in impetigo”. It was run by Ayushi Chhawchharia and colleagues, from The University of Western Australia and Cooperative Research Centre for Honey Bee Products Limited.

The study was done on six monofloral honeys (jarrah, marri, red bell, banksia, wandoo, and manuka), a multifloral honey and artificial honey . Against S. aureus, S. pyogenes, and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS).

The results showed that Jarrah, marri, red bell, banksia and manuka honeys were highly effective at inhibiting S. aureus and CoNS.S. pyogenes was also inhibited at higher concentrations.

The scientists concluded: “Our pre-clinical data indicate that honey may be a potential therapeutic agent for the routine treatment of mild impetigo, and we suggest that clinical trials would be appropriate to further investigate this.”

Unfortunately the clinical trials will not come soon. The Big Pharma is not that interested in finding a replacement for their synthetic antibiotics.

• A 2011 study “Effect of manuka honey on the expression of universal stress protein A in meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” conducted by Rowena Jenkins from University of Wales Institute, UK, sponsored by The Waterloo Foundation (Cardiff, UK) studied the way of action of manuka honey and its conclusions encouraged medical stream to accept manuka honey as first-line treatment.

“Removal of a part of the general stress response of MRSA may explain how honey is able to eradicate bacteria from colonized wounds and limit wound infections. “

“It raises the question of whether, in combination with antibiotics, honey could make MRSA more susceptible to antibiotics by removing the general stress endurance response.” (Honey was always advised to be taken with other medicine. Synthetic or natural. It enhances their therapeutic properties.)

Honey is today generally recognized as a powerful therapeutic product. Humans took it and upgraded it to Medical Grade Honey:
Activon, Revamil, Medihoney, Surgihoney, Purao or LifeMel honey, Meloderm are only some of them.  And from these, Activon, Purao, Meloderm and Medihoney and made from manuka honey.

Featured picture source: Wikimedia Commons 

Laura Bujor

Laura Bujor is the author and founder of She built this website as a personal journey to discover the power of honey and share it with the world. She learned directly from beekeepers and took a course in apitherapy. From a hobby, honey and apitherapy turned into a professional career. You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and X.

View all posts by Laura Bujor →

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