Whether you have heard about the healing powers of honey or not, manuka honey does it better. It gets the name from the manuka bush and its honey is produced by hard working bees in New Zealand.
It is a monoforal honey, which gives it a unique taste, however, it is the healing, antibacterial properties of manuka honey that makes it stand apart. Several studies have analysed it’s potential to treat wounds and other bacterial-related diseases. In it’s unrefined form, it will also have several benefits found in raw honey.
Some traditional uses of manuka honey includes treating sore throat, coughs, acid reflux, scars and baldness. There is limited or no evidence supporting manuka honey for these conditions. However, you may have some luck with treating a sore throat or a cold caused by bacteria.
It’s Rich in Nutrients
Like natural honey, manuka contains a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. Its also a source of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Its relatively low in calories with 21 calories in a teaspoon.
Wound healing is more complex than most are aware of. There is a relationship between the level of acidity (pH) surrounding the wound and its ability to heal quickly. Manuka honey has the ability to reduce the acidity around a wound to speed up the healing process.
Its antibacterial properties also helps further by reducing the chances of the wound becoming infected.
The “International Wound Journal” set out to determine how effective manuka honey is in healing wounds. The study consisted of eight men and nine women with a combination of 20 ulcers. The results showed that manuka honey produced a statistically significant reduction in wound acidity and size.
In another study with horses, researchers compared manuka honey gel and manuka honey with an unspecified gel. The results showed that both the manuka honey and its gel reduced the wound size and healed much quicker than the unspecified gel.
This evidence suggest that wrapping a wound with manuka honey or its gel is a safe and effective method of treatment.
Helps Fight Off Gum Disease
Manuka honey has antibacterial properties that are effective for wound healing, but how about plaque and gingivitis? In 2004, the “International Academy of Periodontology” conducted a study to determine if UMF 15 rated manuka helps reduce plaque and gum bleeding after a meal, when compared to sugarless chewing gum.
The results showed that manuka honey was more effective and greater reductions were seen in plaque and gum bleeding sites than with those who chewed gum. The participants in the study either sucked or chewed on a manuka honey product, referred to as a “honey leather” in the study. There is no mention as to whether chewing or sucking the manuka product garnered different results.
An Aid in Treating an MRSA Infection
MRSA (meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureusis) a type of bacterial infection that spreads from skin-to-skin contact, clothes, towels, a cut or any object from someone with MRSA. It is resistant to several forms of antibiotics, which can make it difficult to treat.
A study published in a 2011 issue of “Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy” set out to discover the effect of manuka honey antibacterial properties on MRSA. The study compared the effect of manuka honey and artificial honey.
The results found that manuka honey stopped the growth of MRSA bacteria by up to 20 percent. There were large cells with septa in MRSA exposed to manuka honey. The larger cell size and septa — which is the boundary formed between splitting cells — suggest that manuka honey slowed down or completely stopped the spread of the bacteria. It was concluded that additional anti-bacterial properties unique to manuka honey were responsible for the effective treatment.
Gets Rid of C. diff Toxins
Clostridium difficile infection, or C.diff is a bacterial infection that usually affects people who have been treated with antibiotics. C. Difficile has several symptoms, including diarrhea, stomach pain and high temperature. It could be life threatening as well and you should consult a doctor to treat it.
In 2013, the “BMC Research Notes” evaluated the effects of manuka honey on three different strains of C.diff. The results found that manuka honey was equally effective on all three strains. It stopped the growth of C.diff toxins with a maximum of 50 percent inhibition. Manuka anti-bacterial effect lasted over a week. The researchers concluded that manuka honey could be an effective way to treat a C.diff infection. However, you should consult a doctor before trying this as a first line of treatment.
Does it Really Help With Digestion?
The “British Journal of Nutrition” published a study in 2010 evaluating the effects and safety of manuka honey UMF 20 in healthy people. Over 20 middle-aged participants consumed manuka honey or placebo for about a month. Although the aim of the study was to demonstrate manuka honey’s safety, test on faecal matter found that manuka honey did not benefit, nor harm gut bacteria.
Gut flora play an important role in digestion and manuka honey may not influence digestion and synthesizes of vitamins and minerals. I cannot find any evidence that suggest manuka honey could help alleviate constipation or indigestion. However, considering its prolific effectiveness as a anti-bacterial agent, it is likely to aid in bacterial digestive infections.
Does Manuka Honey Treat Acne?
There are reports that honey could help treat eczema, acne psoriasis and dandruff, but there is limited evidence supporting this. However, in theory, due to its minerals, antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties, there is no reason why you can’t try using a face mask with manuka honey for acne and other bacterial related skin conditions.
There is one small study that a mixture of Honey, beeswax and olive oil helped inhibit the growth of psoriasis and eczema. Manuka honey wasn’t used in this case, but it could be more effective than regular honey.
Buying Manuka Honey
The UMF system is unreliable and there are several brands out there with manuka honey that isn’t worth the money. Look for products with high reviews, as well as “active” and a UMF of over 20. Only buy brands produced in New Zealand without any added ingredients.