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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Honey trialled on cancer patients
Beekeeper
The honey's healing powers have been known for centuries
A Manchester cancer hospital is importing manuka honey from New Zealand to treat patients after surgery.

The honey is believed to have healing powers and doctors at Christie Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester, plan to use it on mouth and throat cancer patients.

They hope it may reduce the patients' chances of contracting MRSA and help lessen inflammation.

It has been used on special honey-coated dressings at the Manchester Royal Infirmary since May.

Now 60 patients at the hospital are taking part in a study to see if the honey can prevent infections which can be resistant to antibiotics.

Christie Hospital in Greater Manchester - copyright VT Freeze Frame
The hospital is buying the honey in bulk

Honey has been used as a medicine since the Ancient Egyptians, who regarded it as a cure all.

Dr Nick Slevin, the specialist leading the programme, said: "Manuka honey has special anti-inflammatory and anti-infection properties and is believed to reduce the likelihood of MRSA infection.

"This study has been generously funded by local people and patients - and we are extremely grateful to them."

The honey is produced by bees which mainly feed on the Manuka bush.

It can be expensive - up to 12 for a jar - but the hospital is buying in bulk to help keep costs down.

The hospital has so far imported 400kg of honey for the clinical trials.


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