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Traditional medical practice has assumed exalted status in various communities around the world (Mathabe et al., 2006). People living in rural areas prefer using traditional medicines for the treatment of various diseases and disorders to orthodox medicines. According to the World Health Organization (1999), an estimated 80% of people living in developing countries rely on harvested wild plants for their primary health care. Several reports on the antibacterial activities of medicinal plants against pathogenic organisms abound in literatures (Obi et al., 2003; Samie et al., 2009-2010; Eloff et al., 2005; Kaushik et al., 2009; Yasutan et al., 2009). Plant extracts and other natural substances have been in use for the treatment of diseases requiring antimicrobial drugs.
However, there are basically two main types of honey, apiary and forest honeys. Honeys produced by the honeybees, Apis cerana indica and Apis mellifera, in apiaries and collected by the modern extraction method are called apiary honey. They are transparent and free from foreign materials. In contrast, those produced by rock bee, Apisdorsata, or from wild nests of A. cerana indica in forests and collected by the crude method of squeezing the comb are known as forest honeys. They are turbid owing to the abundance of pollen, wax, brood (bee larvae), parts of bees and plant materials. It is therefore necessary to filter the honey to separate the suspended particles (Subrahmanyam, 2007).
Furthermore, honey has been used for its medicinal properties to treat a wide variety of ailments since ancient times. In particular, it has been used in wound dressings (Molan and Cooper, 2000; Kingsley, 2001). Honey in general has high sugar content but a low water content and acidity, which prevent microbial growth (Farouk et al., 1988; Tan et al., 2009). Most types of honey generate hydrogen peroxide when diluted due to the activation of the enzyme glucose oxidase, which oxidizes glucose to gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide (Bogdanov, 1984; Bang et al., 2003). While hydrogen peroxide is the major contributor to the antimicrobial activity of honey and the different concentrations of this compound in different honeys result in their varying antimicrobial effects (Molan, 1992).
Additionally, the bactericidal action could also be ascribed to the normal acidity of honey, its high sugar content, nitrogenous or other compounds (Radwan et al., 1974; Adeleke, 2006; Basualdo et al., 2007; Namias, 2003). Honey can inhibit the growth of a wide range of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses (Molan, 1992; Blair et al., 2005). Microorganisms such as Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli frequently are isolated from skin wounds (Tan et al., 2009). To this effect, there are many reports of honey being very effective as an adjunct in the treatment of wounds, burns, skin ulcers and as an anti-inflammatory agent (Lusby, 2002).
Honey also contains various constituents such as water, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, amino acid, energy and minerals (Abhishek, 2010). It is also known to cure anaemia and improves calcium fixation in infants (Heerng, 1998) and also reduces and cures eye cataracts and conjunctivitis (Ilechie et al., 2012). The bactericidal effects of honey are reportedly dependent on concentrations of honey used and the nature of the bacteria (Adeleke, 2006).
1.1 Statement of Research
Honey has been used as a medicine since ancient time in many culture and Islamic religion and is still being used in “folk medicine”. More discoveries are being made and in recent time honey has been discovered by medical professional as a therapeutic substance and its gaining acceptance as an antimicrobial agent. In many cases it was used on infection not responding to standard antibiotic and antiseptic therapy. It was found to be very effective in rapid clearing up infection and promoting healing.
However, in the ancient use of honey as a medicine there was no knowledge of it having antimicrobial properties, it was just known to work. In more recent times, now that it is known that festering of wounds are the result of infection by micro-organisms, honey is used on the basis of it being an antimicrobial substance, but the nature and extent of its antibacterial activity is not widely known. A large amount of research work has been done on the antimicrobial activity of honey, but the results of this remain unknown to most users of honey because the work is so widely spread over time, and is published in different journals and in different languages. Because it is important to be aware of the research findings to realize the full potential of honey as a therapeutic substance and antimicrobial activity, this research project has been done to bring together what is known about the antimicrobial activity of honey on bacterial and fungal infections.
There are several reports on the antimicrobial activity of different herbal extracts in different regions of the world. However, due to the side effects and the resistance that pathogenic microorganisms have developed against antibiotics, recently much attention has been paid to extracts and biologically active compounds isolated from natural species used in herbal medicine. Thus there is the need for more investigation to explore anti-microbial activity of honey.
The aim of the study was to determine the anti-microbial activity of honey against Eschericia coli and Candida albicans.
1. To evaluate the effect of honey on certain bacterial and fungal species.
2. To compare the effectiveness of honey against standard antibiotics.
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