Manuka Honey is renowned for its unique flavour and health benefits. It is sourced from bees that pollinate the Manuka trees which is native to New Zealand. Manuka honey possesses strong antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. Research has shown that Manuka honey kills every type of bacteria scientists have thrown at it, including the antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”.¹
It can be taken internally for general health and wellbeing or applied topically for wound healing.
Though most honey contain some type of antibacterial qualities, not all honey is the same in terms of therapeutic value. Scientific research confirms that the antibacterial properties of honey vary according to the plant it was derived from.
Honey from the manuka plant (also known as New Zealand tea tree) is widely recognised as one of the most potent medicinal honeys in the world, and has been the subject of extensive clinical research. The antibacterial properties of honey have been attributed to a number of characteristics, including its acidity (low pH) and its osmolarity (thick consistency).
Manuka honey contains more antibacterial properties than any other variety of honey and is the only one that is tested for its antibacterial activity.
The tested strength of Manuka honey can be determined by the activity factor, which is represented by a number. The higher the number, the stronger the anti-microbial ingredient and more powerful the anti-bacterial effect on the body.²
Most honeys contain a naturally occurring active agent, which is thought to support good health but is easily destroyed when exposed to heat and light. Manuka honey contains an extra, naturally occurring active ingredient, which makes it distinct from other honeys. This additional component is stable and doesn’t lose its potency when exposed to heat, light or dilution. Its special quality is known as UMF and the higher the UMF, the more potent the honey and its powers.³
What Is UMF?
UMF means Unique Manuka Factor, and is the name of a very beneficial antibacterial property found in some strains of manuka honey. (UMF is not in all manuka honey.)4
Range of Manuka Activity Levels:
0 – Not detectable
5+ – Table grade level (not recommended for specific therapeutic use)
10+ – Maintenance level (recommended for increased vitality and immunity)
15+ – Useful level (high antibacterial activity)
20+ – Superior level with very high activity (for specific therapeutic use)
Due to the limited flowering period of the manuka plant (two months) and limited production, manuka honey is quite expensive compared with regular honey.
What are some of the common manuka honey health benefits?
- Cold & flu symptoms
- Skin ulcers, wounds, boils
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Sore throats, strep throat
- Gum disease
- Acid reflux disease
- Stomach aches, ulcers and related conditions
- & more
Manuka Honey for Ulcers and Wound Care
Manuka honey is best known as a topical treatment for cleaning out leg ulcers and other chronic wounds such as bed sores and burns, and helping to prevent them becoming infected, or clearing up infection if it’s already present. In a recent study comparing the effects of different methods of wound debridement (wound cleansing) published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, manuka honey was the only natural treatment tested that was more effective than standard medical treatment at reducing wound surface area.
Manuka Honey and Gastrointestinal Infection
Research suggests that taken internally, manuka honey may also inhibit certain disease-causing bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori (the cause of many stomach ulcers), Campylobacter and Salmonella (responsible for many cases of gastroenteritis).
Manuka Honey and Oral Health
Used as a mouthwash, manuka honey dissolved in water can be applied to mouth ulcers, gum disease (periodontal disease) and minor oral infections. Some people also report that it helps relieve the symptoms of sore throats.
Since the antibacterial activity of manuka honey can vary from batch to batch, it is recommended that only honey with a certified UMF™ (unique manuka factor) rating be used for medicinal purposes.
Manuka Honey Side Effects
Manuka honey is unsuitable for use by people who are allergic to bees or bee products, and, like other honeys, should not be given to children less than 12 months old.
What does Manuka honey taste like?
I recently bought Comvita 15+ Manuka honey 250g. It cost $30 for a 250g jar, which is very expensive stuff! My first impressions of Manuka honey is that it looks more like caramel than honey, kinda grainy. It has a distinct taste, kind of like carmel but with a twist. It is not runny like regular honey and not as easy to spread on toast.
1.John Stapleton, The Australian – Honey I killed the superbug. June 18, 2009
2. GNC live well, Manuka Honey
3. Alice Hart-Davis. The Telegraph – The benefits of Manuka honey
– http://www.gnclivewell.com.au/product.asp?id=253&- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/wellbeing/5979247/The-benefits-of-Manuka-honey.html
4. What is UMF?
– http://www.gnclivewell.com.au/product.asp?id=253&- http://manukahoney.com/resources/umf.html