Antibacterial interactions between two monofloral honeys and several topical antiseptics, including essential oils

Brayden H. Gray, Kathryn J. Green, Robbie R. Haines, Katherine A. Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Honey has broad spectrum antibacterial activity against clinically important organisms and may be suitable for treating superficial bacterial infections. However, very little data are available describing potential interactions between honey and other topically applied agents such as antiseptics or essential oils. Methods Interactions between pairs of antibacterial agents were investigated by performing checkerboard assays and determining the fractional inhibitory concentration indices (FICIs). Interactions between the two monofloral honeys marri (from Corymbia calophylla) and manuka, and the antiseptic agents benzalkonium chloride, chlorhexidine digluconate, silver (I) nitrate, tea tree oil, and Eucalyptus polybractea oil were investigated against Staphylococcus aureus ATCC (R) 43300 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC (R) 27853. Results Additive or indifferent interactions (FICI 0.5-2) were observed for all combinations against both organisms tested, with the exception of chlorhexidine and honey. Chlorhexidine and marri honey showed an antagonistic relationship against S. aureus (median FICI 2.00, range 1.25-4.83). Similarly, chlorhexidine and manuka honey showed antagonism against S. aureus (median FICI 2.33, range 2.00-2.67). Conclusions With the exception of chlorhexidine, these data indicate that honey does not interfere with the antimicrobial activity of the tested agents, and that honey may be suitable for combination therapy with other topically applied antibacterial agents for treating superficial bacterial infections.
Original languageEnglish
Article number228
Number of pages10
JournalBMC complementary medicine and therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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