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Honey Team Claims Medical First

Honey Team Claims Medical First

Tuesday, March 14th 2006

Te Awamutu company Honey New Zealand (HNZ) has turned a tasty toast topping into a high-value export product for use in medical grade wound dressings.

Chief executive Kerry Paul said the company had achieved a world first, developing an anti-bacterial honey product that could withstand the gamma radiation sterilisation process required of medical-grade dressings.

"This represents a major step forward for the bee-keeping industry," Paul said.

HNZ and others in the sector already sell honey and bee products as health supplements. But this was the first breakthrough in the medical sector, Paul said.

By volume, medical-grade honey has a retail value about 10 times that of the breakfast variety.

Although it costs more to produce, the margins were significantly higher than selling honey as a commodity food product, he said.

Honey's anti-bacterial properties have a long history in folk medicine, but most varieties lose those properties when exposed to high heats.

HNZ and its United States partner, Southwest Technologies, have developed a product using UMF (unique Manuka factor) Manuka honey. UMF honey has additional anti-bacterial properties that remain stable after heat treatment.

A naturally occurring trait found only in some Manuka varieties, it was identified by Dr Peter Molan at Waikato University's Honey Research Institute.

Southwest Technologies has patented a UMF-based gel for dressing wounds. It is a soft gel sheet that allows the dressing to remain continuously in contact with all parts of the wound.

Tests had shown the dressing inhibited the growth of the five major wound-infecting bacteria.

There was huge market interest in medicines which used natural ingredients, Paul said.

"We're expecting strong demand for the products."

Southwest Technologies is manufacturer and marketer of medical products, specialising in gel-based wound dressings.

HNZ would concentrate on providing a consistent supply of UMF honey, Paul said.

The varroa mite pest - which has depleted bee populations around the North Island - was a cause for concern, but represented an additional cost rather than a threat to the business itself.

Sourced from the NZ Herald, Tuesday 9 September 2003, by Liam Dann

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products can be ordered online :

Active Manuka Honey UMF 5+
Active Manuka Honey UMF 10+
Active Manuka Honey UMF 15+
Antibacterial Medical Honey
Aura Manuka Honey Treatment Mask
Medihoney Antibacterial Wound Gel
Manuka Honey Blend
Propolis Tincture PFL15

Related health information can be found here:

Active UMF manuka honey - wound healer
Bee venom with glucosamine to assist with arthritis, aches and pains or migraines
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Common foods that could be a problem
Infections Internal
Looking for a sugar alternative? Try Stevia
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Ulcers - Stomach

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If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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