Research on honey

Dr Peter Molan founded the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato. It was set up in 1995, with funding from the New Zealand Honey Industry Trust, in recognition of the expertise in the therapeutic properties of honey that had developed there following the discovery in 1981 by Dr Molan and Kerry Simpson that manuka honey had an unusual type of antibacterial activity. The large body of research work done since then by Dr Molan with collaborators is outlined on, an independent academic website. The research has been primarily on the antibacterial properties of honey and its use as a dressing to heal wounds.

Dr Molan’s research on the therapeutic usage of honey has involved a large amount of searching and reading the scientific and medical literature published on the subject. He has made his knowledge gained from that also available on

The topics covered on the website include:
  • Some significant research outcomes from Honey Research at the University of Waikato
  • Publications from Honey Research at the University of Waikato
  • Theses from Honey Research at the University of Waikato
  • The nature and composition of honey
  • The antibacterial activity of honey and its role in treating diseases
  • What's special about Active Manuka Honey
  • How the antibacterial activity of manuka honey is rated
  • Selection of honey for use as a medicine
  • The anti-inflammatory activity of honey
  • The antioxidant activity of honey
  • The immuno-stimulatory activity of honey
  • Use of honey in wound care by medical professionals
  • Why honey works well in healing wounds
  • Honey wound-care products available as registered medical devices
  • How wounds are dressed with honey

A bibliography has been included on the website, produced from his collection of papers published in the following categories: reviews of medical publications, honey in folk medicine, treatment of cancer, dental aspects, anti-inflammatory activity, clinical trials, experiments on animals, gastro-intestinal usage, nutritional aspects, antimicrobial activity, medical case reports, veterinary usage, ophthalmological usage, antioxidant activity.

Dr Molan has developed various materials for administering honey for therapeutic use on wounds and in the mouth and throat, many of which have been patented by the University of Waikato. These materials include:
  • Impregnation of honey into an absorbent dressing pad for use on wounds
  • A coating for honey dressing pads that makes them not sticky to handle
  • Gelling of honey to form a sheet of rubbery consistency for use on wounds
  • Combination of honey with a super-absorbent to keep honey in place on exuding wounds
  • Tableted spray-dried honey powder for use as confectionery that is safe for dental health
  • Solidified honey in the form of lozenges for treating gum disease and sore throats