The antimicrobial activity of honey against common equine wound bacterial isolates

Honey can help with healing of wounds in horses

Source: R. Carnwath, E.M. Graham, K. Reynolds, P.J. Pollock
Equine Veterinary Journal vol 45 noS44, September 9 2013 pp 13-14

Honey can be applied to equine wounds to help with healing, and it seems to work, though it is unclear why. One theory is that honey can protect horses from bacterial infections. Research to test the efficacy of shop-bought honey in wound healing found 18 of 28 honeys to be contaminated with fungi or bacteria. Eleven uncontaminated honeys were studied to assess their efficacy against ten types of bacteria found in equine wounds. The bacteria included methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and Streptococcus equi.

Eight of the eleven honeys inhibited the growth of all ten of the bacteria, with concentrations of between 4% and 16% Manuka 20+ and Heather as the best performer.

This study indicates that honey can help with wound healing by controlling bacterial growth, including bacteria resistant to antibiotics, at concentrations lower than would be found when infected wounds are treated using honey. Honey bought from shops is often contaminated, so could contaminate wounds with microbes that are potentially pathogenic.