For millennia we’ve known that honey is good for what ails us but no one knew why. It was hypothesized that honey’s antibacterial properties came exclusively from the natural hydrogen peroxide it contains. Then researchers in Amsterdam completely elucidated the molecular basis of the antibacterial activity of medical grade honey. They isolated a protein, defensin-1, which is part of the honey bee immune system and is added by bees to honey. The scientists concluded that the vast majority of honey’s antibacterial properties come from this protein.
Isolating this potent antibacterial ingredient from honey may be of great value in medicine for the prevention and treatment of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria as well as in the breading of stronger, healthier honeybee colonies.