Honey and Ginger Beat Antibiotics in Inhibiting Superbugs

Honey and Ginger Beat Out Pharma Antibiotics in Inhibiting Superbugs

Honey, and combinations of honey and herbs have been used for thousands of years to counteract various ailments including infections. And honey and ginger has been used as a healing combination for many conditions. But few realized just how antibiotic honey was - until recently.

Researchers from Ethiopa's College of Medicine at the University of Gondar have determined that a combination of honey and ginger extract powder will inhibit the growth of superbugs such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae  - some of the most lethal 'superbugs' known.

The researchers conducted a laboratory study to test the inhibition ranges – using a standardized approach of measuring mean inhibition after culturing the bacteria in a broth solution and then using agar as a medium for measurement. The broths were cultured with the antibiotics for 20-24 hours to measure their effect upon the bacteria.

The researchers separately tested Ethiopian honey, ginger powder and a combination of the two against three different antibiotics. The researchers also tested a water extract of the ginger.

The antibiotics tested were methicillin, amoxicillin and penicillin – three of the most successful antibiotics in our pharmaceutical arsenal.

The researchers conducted five tests for each treatment. These included the following bacteria:

  • Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA and non-MRSA)
  • Escherichia coli (two different strains)
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae

The research determined that both the honey and the ginger extract powder (alcohol extract) independently had greater inhibition levels than any of the antibiotics. The only antibiotic to come close to the inhibition of either of these was amoxicillin – which was close to the ginger extract. And this was only on the non-MRSA S. aureus. The ginger and the honey – each alone – beat out all three of these antibiotics in terms of mean inhibition levels.

The numbers tell it all. Honey and ginger extacts each had an average mean inhibition of 19.23 among all five bacteria – ranging from 13 to 24.

Meanwhile the methicillin had an average mean inhibition of 4.00 (ranging from 0 to 13), amoxicillin had an average inhibition of 12.25 (ranging from 7 to 22) and penicillin had an average inhibition of 13.25 (ranging from 9 to 20).

And the combination of the ginger extract and the honey had even greater antibiotic properties, with mean inhibition levels averaging 25.62 and ranging from 19 to 30 – beating out all the pharmaceutical antibiotics by a landslide.

How was the ginger extract made?

The ginger extract powder was made by slicing ginger root and drying at 37°C for 24 hours. These dried ginger pieces were then ground and blended with methanol and ethanol. A 50% solution of ginger was the result.

The ginger extract powder was then blended with 100% honey at a one-to-one (50/50) basis.

The water extract of the ginger had no inhibition of the bacteria. This what other research has indicated – that alcohol apparently extracts the antibiotic constituents from the ginger.

The implications of this research are vast

The implications of this study are great. Both honey and ginger repel dangerous superbugs more than our most lethal antibiotics. These 'superbugs' have specifically armed themselves to counteract these overused antibiotics.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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Honey contains or generates hydrogen peroxide and contains numerous antioxidants which facilitate oxygen delivery.  This could be part of the answer.

Honey and Ginger Article - no scale or frame of reference??

Love your articles in general - but this one has no frame of reference, no scale. Yes, obviously ginger and honey work considerably better than the outdated drugs. You use numbers to compare to drugs and their effective/ineffectiveness. But are we talking on a scale of 50 or 100? If so, then while ginger and honey with a combined effectiveness of 25.62 is better than drugs, it is not exactly a cure either. An overall scale would certainly be useful!


Hello - Thanks for your question. The number is actually the mean inhibition distance in millimeters. It is a used to compare the bacteria inhibition levels of different antibiotics. How much an antibiotic will inhibit the bacteria. Not really a scale, it is a distance.

The fact that the combo inhibited the bacteria more than the antibiotics in this study should in itself define the efficacy of the ginger-honey combo. Inhibition levels can be different among different bacteria - not only species by species, but as the bacteria of a species evolve and become more resistant.
Probably wisest to leave it as just a relative comparison in a particular lab study. Apples to apples so to speak. But suffice to say that 25 mm is a pretty good MIC compared to antibiotics - half that in some cases - making the combination an active antibiotic.
Note that antibiotics can also hurt our gut probiotics if ingested.

honey and ginger

Thanks for the explanation! I would go for the honey and ginger every time over the antibiotics! Pretty hard recovering from the antibiotics! Next season plan on growing lots of ginger! I look forward to your articles.

Reminds me...

Case, Flipside of killing pathogens might be to document missing probiotic strains and cross reference pathogenic strains. This is being done with successful apps in agriculture/fishfarming...See; ecomicrobials.com

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