Turmeric & Honey: The Powerful Antibiotic That Not Even Doctors Can Explain

The combination of honey and turmeric would form "the most powerful natural antibiotic" and recipes for preparing it at home abound on the internet. But is this blend as potent as claimed? Rumor Detector checked.

The origins of the rumor
With its high concentration of sugar, honey constitutes a hyperosmotic medium which hinders microbial growth. It also contains molecules that also inhibit the growth of bacteria, such as hydrogen peroxide. Manuka honey, which has been the subject of several researches, is particularly rich in it.

Honey, regardless of the flower or plant from which it comes, derives its antimicrobial properties from its composition, but also from its texture. Its viscosity and ability to absorb moisture make honey, when properly prepared, an effective treatment for chronic wounds, surgical wounds and burns, creating an environment conducive to tissue healing.  However, the honey must be pure and free of contaminants. Dressings and honey-based preparations are used in some hospitals in France.
 These properties come to it, according to its promoters, from its active compound: curcumin.
Truly Antimicrobial Ingredients?
The problem is that these claims find little support in scientific research. Literature reviews show that the most promising antimicrobial activity has been obtained against Helicobacter pylori and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), when curcumin is used in combination with other antibacterial agents. The researchers conclude, however, that further research will be needed.

In addition, the association with antibiotics presents a problem. Antibiotics are only used to treat infections caused by bacteria, parasites, and certain fungi or yeasts. They will fight, for example, meningitis or urinary tract infections, but they will not be effective against viruses, such as the flu, or fungal infections such as mycosis.  However, several of the sites that promote the mixture of honey and turmeric indiscriminately defend it as a defense against colds, flu, coughs or sinusitis, uses that do not correspond to those of antibiotics. 

No other medical properties of turmeric, used alone, have been proven. On the other hand, science clearly shows that its regular consumption, in doses higher than those of a simple seasoning, can cause indigestion, nausea or diarrhea and worsen gallbladder problems. 

If honey has recognized antibacterial properties, those of turmeric remain to be proven. And there's no scientific data showing that mixing the two can fight bacteria like an antibiotic. Ironically, even the followers of the honey-turmeric mixture recommend it for uses that are not those of antibiotics.