MANUKA HONEY – IN THE NEWS

Manuka honey hit the headlines again this week.

Several national newspapers reported that British scientists at Porton Down lab plan to use Manuka honey's antibacterial qualities to create specialised chemical attack resistant gas masks.

According to the Daily Telegraph, scientists plan to harness the antibacterial qualities of Manuka honey by creating a 'manuka gas mask' to defend against airborne biological and chemical attacks.

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The story continued that UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has lodged a patent application that the honey could be used as 'glue' to 'capture and neutralise' poisonous toxins such as Covid-19.

Regular customers will know that Manuka honey is the result of bees foraging on the Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), a native plant from New Zealand that produces a compound with strong antibacterial properties (Methylglyoxal or MGO).

The story explains that Manuka honey could be deployed as one of several 'sticky' layers applied to filters fitted to masks or personal protective equipment (PPE), according to the 22-page government document.

The document also explains that 'maze-like zigzags' fitted within the gas mask filter can be coated with 'adhesive layers' of Manuka honey which will 'neutralise the threat'.

The patent has yet to be tested yet and is only at the concept stage, but in another possible design the Manuka honey could be coated onto 'an absorptive tissue'.

The document says: 'Passing the dynamic airflow over the absorptive tissue ensures particulate matter in the dynamic airflow is captured by the Manuka honey, thus filtering the dynamic airflow.'

Researchers have previously found that Manuka honey holds 'great promise' in fighting Mycobacterium abscessus, the nasty bug it was tested on.

A-listers Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Katherine Jenkins have all extolled the virtues of 'liquid gold' Manuka honey in the past few years.

Despite the honey being mainly used for domestic consumers, the MoD application says it is a relatively cheap product compared with manmade chemicals used to combat airborne threats.

The patent document says it could prove particularly useful for poorer countries struggling to cope with a viral pandemic.

The report finishes by saying that numerous health benefits have been attributed to Manuka honey. In 2014, Swiss researchers said that if it was consumed in moderation it could help improve oral health because it can target bacteria in plaque which can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.

 

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