Manuka honey is produced from honey bees feeding on the manuka bush (tea tree) which primarily grows uncultivated in New Zealand.
This tree produces a dark honey, rich in flavour and packed with a number of manuka honey health benefits.
In fact, it has been found to have antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties!
Manuka Honey Uses
This honey can be used to treat both internal and external ailments and is much more than an old wives tail, having been subjected to scientific testing, most notably by Dr Molan of the Honey Research Unit in New Zealand.
Actually, honey was used to treat wounds for centuries, only falling out of favour in recent years with the advent of modern medicine.
All honey contains a certain level of hydrogen peroxide, an antibacterial chemical, but enzymes creating hydrogen peroxide are broken down by heat, light and contact with body fluids.
In manuka honey however, there is more stable antibacterial effect, separate from any resulting from the hydrogen peroxide.
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is described as a ‘mono-floral’ honey; there needs to be a pollen count of at least 70% from the manuka tree – stopping anyone and everyone saying their honey is manuka!
In addition, a rating system for the antibacterial activity in honey has been created: the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor).
Active manuka honey is honey with a UMF rating of 10+ and honeys with UMF levels of 16+ are those with high levels of antibacterial, antibiotic and antiviral effects.
The substance being measured when doing UMF ratings has more recently been named as Methyglyoxal (MGO), with higher levels resulting in higher antibacterial effects.
Active manuka honey has 400mg/kg and upwards of Methyglyoxal while other honeys contain levels of around 0-10mg/kg – quite a big difference!!
Manuka Honey Health Benefits
This honey can be used in the treatment of multiple internal ailments.
These include: sore throat, gum disease, arthritis, stomach ulcers, diarrhea and constipation.
In fact, manuka honey can be used in the treatment of antibiotic bacteria resistance.
The Honey Research Unit states that no virus or bacteria has been resistant to manuka honey so far.
Dr Molan also states that it is effective even diluted tenfold and is great for those with weaker immune systems.
It is recommended to eat 2-3 teaspoons of manuka honey every day.
It is most beneficial to have the honey just before eating a meal to stop it dissolving into the blood too quickly.
In the case of sore throat you should hold the honey in your mouth for a while before swallowing.
How to Use Manuka Honey
Honey can be used on a whole host of external wounds including acne, eczema, surgical wounds, athletes foot, burns, skin ulcers and pressure sores.
The honey forms a protective barrier around the wound in which bacteria is unable to survive.
Hydrogen peroxide is slowly released, killing germs, and other ingredients produce an anti-inflammatory effect whilst also speeding growth of new tissue.
An enzyme called glucose oxidase adds to its antibacterial benefits while the phytochemical in active manuka honey can remain active inside wounds or under dressings as it does not rely on oxygen.
It is recommended to choose manuka honey with a UMF level of 20+, applying the honey to cleaned affected areas three times a day, gradually increasing the length of time it is applied from 30 minutes upwards.
My Personal Experience
I was recommended to try manuka honey for two reasons, I get eczema on my arms and I was experiencing some digestive troubles.
I began taking a spoonful of manuka honey before each meal and noticed a beneficial effect after the first week, my eczema had improved and I was most definitely feeling better internally – manuka honey gained a place in my heart, and cupboard, from then on!
*Health Tip: If you enjoy sweeteners in your coffee or green tea, substitute this honey instead of using sugar.
Check out this article: Health Benefits of Green Tea. Combining green tea with manuka honey, will make for a very healthy beverage!
So, you’ve heard all the benefits of manuka honey but where can you buy it?
Manuka honey can be purchased online and at health food shops.
It can also be increasingly found at large chain pharmacies.
Read the label carefully to ensure you are buying manuka honey with a UMF level of at least 10+; the best honey being that with levels of 16+.
*This article was written by guest author, Amy Corcoran.