In vitro antiviral activity of honey against varicella zoster virus (VZV): A translational medicine study for potential remedy for shingles

Transl Biomed. 2012;3(2):2. doi: 10.3823/434.


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine the in vitro anti-viral effect of honey on varicella zoster virus. METHODS: Manuka and clover honeys were used at concentrations ranging from 0-6% wt/vol. A clinical VZV isolate was obtained from a zoster vesicle and used at low passage. Various concentrations of manuka and clover honey were added to the tissue culture medium of VZV-infected human malignant melanoma (MeWo) cells. RESULTS: Both types of honey showed antiviral activity against varicella zoster virus with an approximate EC50 = 4.5 % (wt/vol). CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that honey has significant in vitro anti-VZV activity. As, honey is convenient for skin application, is readily available and inexpensive, honey may be an excellent remedy to treat zoster rash in developing countries where antiviral drugs are expensive or not easily available.