What is Manuka honey and what are the health benefits? Why this type of honey is so good to consume and where did it comes from?
These are the topics that we will introduce to you in this article today.
Not all honey is created equal. While the benefits of raw, unprocessed honey have been well-documented over the centuries, Australian researchers have found one type of honey, called Manuka honey, to be better than all known antibiotics.
Manuka honey is produced by bees that forage on the nectar of Leptospermum Scoparium, or New Zealand’s Manuka bush, as well as tea trees, native to Australia and New Zealand only.
This remarkable type of honey not only effectively kills bacteria, but none of the bugs killed by it have been able to build up immunity.
In a world where many of the last resort antibiotics are failing against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, Manuka honey may hold the key to fighting resistance issues, saving thousands of lives worldwide.
What Is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey, produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka tree, is one of the most unique and beneficial forms of honey in the world.
It has a rich, earthy flavor and has been associated with several health benefits. There are also many Manuka honey uses that range from healing sore throats and digestive illnesses to curing Staph infections and gingivitis.
These days, Manuka honey is available in many different forms. In addition to being added to herbal antibiotics and creams, you can also find plenty of Manuka honey face masks and skincare products.
Like other types of honey, such as sour honey, it’s also used medicinally and combined with other herbs and spices to help promote healing.
Components of Manuka Honey
Hydrogen peroxide gives most honey its antibiotic quality. But some types, including manuka honey, also have other ingredients with antibacterial qualities.
The major antibacterial component in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG).
MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.
In manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound, dihydroxyacetone, that is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers.
The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect.
Honey producers have a scale for rating the potency of manuka honey. The rating is called UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor.
The UMF rating reflects the concentration of MG. To be considered potent enough to be therapeutic, manuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF.
Honey at or above that level is marketed as “UMF Manuka Honey” or “Active Manuka Honey.” But doctors and researchers aren’t sure if this rating means anything from a medical standpoint.
Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
Manuka honey benefits have been touted in the natural health world for a long time and even more in recent years because a growing body of research is starting to support thousands of years of folk medicine use.
Some of the top Manuka honey benefits include:
1. Helps with SIBO, Low Stomach Acid, and Acid Reflux
Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), low stomach acid and acid reflux go hand in hand. Because of the natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties found in Manuka honey, it is great medicine for any bacteria-related digestive disorder.
In fact, in a recent study, one dangerous bacteria related to all three conditions, Clostridium difficile, was found to be quite susceptible to Manuka honey’s bactericidal effects.
Thus, taking Manuka honey is very beneficial at reducing acid reflux and balancing your digestive system to heal stomach and intestinal imbalances.
2. Promotes Skin Health
The internet is filled with patient testimonials that Manuka honey works marvelously for acne and eczema patients.
At this time there are few clinical trials to support these claims, but taking into account its proven antimicrobial and healing properties, it’s believed honey can help with these skin conditions.
One recent review of clinical and cellular studies on Manuka honey’s effects in treating atopic dermatitis found that it “is potentially effective in the treatment of AD lesions based on both clinical and cellular studies through different mechanisms. This needs to be confirmed by randomized and controlled clinical trials.”
Looking for how to get rid of milia? Milia are small, white bumps that appear on the skin.
Adults often develop milia under the eye or around the cheeks. Manuka honey is widely used as a milia treatment and is believed to be an effective natural method for how to remove milia.
Manuka is often mixed with cinnamon and applied in a thin layer to the skin for 10–15 minutes before rinsing off.
Most people claim that applying honey on wounds or affected areas for a few minutes and then washing off with gentle soap and water usually does the trick. Repeat this every day or every other day for the best results.
3. Combats Staph Infections (MRSA)
You’ve probably heard of the superbug that has plagued hospitals over the years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Overuse of over-the-counter antibiotics (OTC antibiotics) and drug ineffectiveness have caused certain strains of Staph to become virtually indefensible using typical hospital and nursing home medical protocols.
Spreading so rapidly, many people affected by MRSA end up getting so infected that they require invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, artificial joints or intervenes tubing, to save their lives against these dangerous superbugs — as antibiotics often don’t work.
However, U.K. researchers from Cardiff Metropolitan University offer some natural hope.
They discovered that Manuka honey downregulates the most potent genes of the MRSA bacteria. Some scientists now suggest that regular topical use on cuts and infections (especially in the hospital and nursing home setting) may keep MRSA naturally at bay.
4. Treats Burns, Wounds, and Ulcers
According to research published in the Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products, “The use of honey leads to improved wound healing in acute cases, pain relief in burn patients and decreased inflammatory response in such patients.”
Moreover, because of its rich antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics, Manuka honey has been shown to prevent infection in rats with ulcers and may even block the growth of a specific type of bacteria that causes stomach ulcers in humans.
It has also been used quite effectively as a wound dressing to promote rapid, improved healing.
5. Prevents Tooth Decay and Gingivitis
Several studies have come out describing how Manuka honey can help treat and prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Due to its superior antimicrobial activity, researchers from the School of Dentistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand discovered that chewing or sucking on a Manuka honey product not only caused a 35 percent decrease in plaque, but it led to a 35 percent reduction in bleeding sites in people suffering from gingivitis.
The calcium, zinc, and phosphorus found in Manuka honey are all important nutrients for healing teeth.
Also Read: How To Regrow Receding Gums Naturally
6. Aids IBS and IBD Treatment
When evaluating the effect that Manuka honey has on experimentally induced inflammatory bowel disease in rats, researchers from Chandigarh Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research discovered several astounding findings:
- Manuka honey at different doses protected against TNBS-induced colonic damage.
- All the treated groups showed reduced colonic inflammation, and all the biochemical parameters were significantly reduced compared with the control in the Manuka honey treated groups.
- Manuka honey at different doses restored lipid peroxidation as well as improved antioxidant parameters.
- Morphological and histological scores were significantly reduced in the low dose Manuka honey treated group.
- In the inflammatory model of colitis, oral administration of Manuka honey significantly reduced the colonic inflammation.
- Manuka honey not only treated intestinal inflammation and pain but also repaired free radical damage and protected against further damage.
7. Improves Sore Throat and Immunity
In 2007, data published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggested that “A 5.8-kDa component of Manuka honey stimulates immune cells via TLR4.”
This is interesting because previous studies have indicated that honey stimulates cytokine production from human monocytes.
Coupling with this 2011 in vitro research showing how Manuka stops the growth of sore throat-causing Strep bacteria, it is no wonder that so many people benefit almost instantly from taking a spoonful of honey when they don’t feel well.
Recently it has even been approved by the National Cancer Institute to be used to treat inflammation in the throat from chemotherapy.
Also Read: Sore Throat Natural Remedies
8. Helps Allergies
A study conducted by the South Karelia Allergy and Environment Institute in Finland examining the effects of honey and birch pollen on allergies had remarkable results.
The participants were given regular honey, honey with birch pollen added to it and some used only their allergy medicines as a control group.
The results were impressive:
…patients reported a 60% lower total symptom score, twice as many asymptomatic days, and 70% fewer days with severe symptoms, and they used 50% fewer antihistamines compared to the control group.
The researchers also found that there was very little difference between the birch pollen honey users and the regular honey users.
Thus, taking Manuka honey regularly may help your seasonal allergy symptoms and lessen your need for medications.
9. Beauty Treatment and Health Booster
Taken daily, Manuka honey has an elixir effect that boosts energy and enhances your quality of life. Because of its nutrient-dense profile, it boosts vitality, youthful energy, and has been known to improve skin tone and texture.
Use it in a homemade face wash to exfoliate and fight free radicals in the skin. Use it in your shampoo or make a Manuka honey mask to boost the shine of your hair.
One of my favorite uses is in a detox drink to get the most benefits inside and out.
10. Improves Sleep
Manuka Honey helps promote restful deep sleep, working as a natural sleep aid. It slowly releases the glycogen needed for essential bodily functions during sleep.
Adding honey to milk at bedtime helps the body release melatonin into the brain, which is necessary for deep sleep.
There are many health disorders associated with poor sleep, such as heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, and arthritis.
Since honey is proven to aid in quality sleep, it could potentially help reduce the risk of these and many other health problems.
Possible Side Effects of Manuka Honey
These can include:
- Allergic reaction, especially in people who are allergic to bees
- Risk of a rise in blood sugar
- Effects on certain chemotherapy drugs
Wondering how to take Manuka honey?
To experience the most benefit for skin health, immune function or milia removal, you should use a Manuka honey dosage of about one to two tablespoons per day.
The easiest way is to just take it straight, but if it is a little too sweet for you, then you can add it to your favorite herbal tea, drizzle it over yogurt or spread it on sprouted grain toast.
If you want to enhance the immune-boosting effect or heal a sore throat, add one teaspoon of cinnamon.
Research shows that the antimicrobial properties of cinnamon and Manuka honey are so powerful that they can help you recover fast.
Conclusion: As we can see from the text above Manuka honey benefits for health are numerous. It is the best natural antibiotic known today. It is recommended to add it to your diet even if you don’t have any health problems. Plus it is sweet and tasty and you can use it as a substitute for sugar in your tea and other beverages.