Manuka honey is a honey native to New Zealand. Produced by bees that pollinate the manuka bush, manuka honey is considered the most unique and beneficial type of honey because it has a lower GI index than sucrose. Manuka honey’s benefits range from helping with sore throats to treating skin irritations to some medicinal uses. You can apply it topically or consume it on a regular basis. Like every type of honey, the best option is to find raw honey from a local shop.
To get an understanding of all of the manuka honey benefits, we just need to look at its nutritional profile. Regular raw honey is already a healthy product, but manuka honey takes things to the next level thanks to its even better nutritional profile. Manuka honey has a nutritional content that is four times better than regular flower honey.
Here are some ingredients you can source from manuka honey:
- Amino acids
- B vitamins
In 1981, researchers at the New Zealand University of Waikato conducted a study. The result was that manuka honey has a higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These enzymes create natural hydrogen peroxide, which is one of the two main compounds of manuka honey. The other is methylglyoxal.
When purchasing manuka honey, be it from a store or a local shop, check the UMF rating (the rating is clearly labeled on the front of the container). The UMF rating goes from 0 to 16+, and anything less than five is not something you should buy.
Here is a breakdown of UMF values:
- From 0 to 4, non-therapeutic.
- From 4 to 9, maintenance level with general honey benefits.
- From 10 to 14, manuka honey that supports natural healing and has a great bacterial balance.
- 15 and more is a honey with superior levels of phenols. However, you should not take more than 1 tablespoon per day.
That being said, let’s take a look at manuka honey’s health benefits.
1. Stomach problems
Manuka honey has antibiotic properties, which makes it a great asset when fighting common stomach problems. In that group, we include small intestine bacterial overgrowth, low stomach acid, and acid reflux. All of these go hand-in-hand. Manuka is great for all bacteria-related disorders, but let’s start with stomach bacteria. Consuming one tablespoon per day will balance your digestive system and eliminate stomach problems.
2. Acne and eczema
I said at the beginning that you can consume honey on a daily basis or apply it topically to reap the benefits. Well, in this case, you need to apply it topically. I’ve heard numerous stories of people saying that manuka helped with their eczema. For this treatment, you need to apply honey on the affected area. Let it stay for a few minutes, and then wash it off with soap and water. Repeat the treatment on a daily basis.
3. Burns and wounds
Speaking of topical uses for manuka honey, we must remind you of burns and wounds. I said honey has healing effects, and that it’s best for wounds, burn relief, and decreasing inflammation. And what is even more impressive is that manuka honey can be used to prevent infection in people with venous ulcers. The most common usage is for wounds. So when you have a wound on your skin, apply manuka honey for accelerated healing.
4. Tooth decay
This goes back to the antimicrobial properties of honey. Because of that, consuming it on a daily basis will prevent, but also treat, gingivitis and tooth decay. People suffering from gingivitis will experience rapid improvement after chewing manuka honey. The bleeding will be gone, and soon the plaque too. When we talked about nutritional value, I said manuka contains high amounts of zinc, calcium, and phosphorus. All those minerals are important ingredients for healthy teeth.
5. Sore throat
One of the most common uses for honey, manuka included, is for sore throats. The common cold is something we all experience at least once per year. Manuka helps by stopping the growth of the bacteria that causes a sore throat. Just take one spoonful of honey, and you’ll instantly feel better. To make matters even better, consuming honey on a regular basis will vastly improve your immune system. That means that when the cold season comes, you’ll be well prepared. Prevention is the best medicine!
6. Beauty treatments
You can say that manuka honey is a beauty elixir. By boosting energy and enhancing your quality of life, manuka honey boosts vitality and improves skin tone and texture. All of that is key to making you look more beautiful and providing you with a natural look.
For beauty treatments, you can use manuka honey for homemade face wash recipes to exfoliate your skin. This will help you get rid of free radicals and dead skin cells.
7. Improves sleep
For the world we live in, this might be the biggest of the manuka honey benefits. We live in a stressful and dynamic environment. Sleep is a luxury few of us can afford on a regular basis. We must remember, however, that good sleep is essential for good health. By promoting restful deep sleep, manuka honey is crucial for better health. Add a tablespoon to your milk at bedtime to release melatonin into your brain.
8. IBS and IBD
I said a few times that manuka honey has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which come in handy when suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. Even doctors can’t say for sure what causes IBS and IBD, but most of them agree that there is a connection to the imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Manuka honey, since it reduces inflammation in the colon, balances the bacteria in the gut. And by doing that, honey prevents IBS and IBD. There have been no clinical trials on the subject, but many people claim that honey has helped them.
9. Prevents colon damage
I know I’m repeating myself, but manuka honey has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of that means that consuming it on a regular basis prevents colon inflammation. In addition, manuka honey helps repair colon lining damage caused by inflammatory bowel disease.
Another condition that’s caused by inflammation. In this case, tonsillitis is caused by inflammation of the tonsils found on either side of the throat. Tonsillitis not only causes a sore throat, but also difficulty in swallowing food. You can even experience a fever sometimes. A common treatment for tonsillitis is antibiotics and drugs that contain ibuprofen. But manuka honey can also help, since it offers properties similar to antibiotics.
You can also treat sinusitis with manuka honey, a condition some people can’t resolve even with the use of antibiotics. Honey has a drying effect on the mucosal lining. This helps with sinus congestion and eliminates bacteria. Manuka honey is extremely potent against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, one of the most common causes of sinusitis.
12. Athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot is one of the most common fungal infections. I noted several times that manuka honey kills off bacteria, and the same applies for fungal infections as well. Just apply honey on the affected area to relieve itching. You can even use it as a bandage.
13. Hair treatments
Two of the most common hair problems are dandruff and scalp problems. Manuka honey improves the health of your scalp. As for dandruff, whether your scalp is oily or dry, manuka honey can help. Apply honey on your scalp to draw out dirt from the skin pores. Honey also keeps the skin hydrated, a crucial aspect for good scalp health.
And most importantly, consuming honey will prevent premature thinning and hair loss. In most cases, hair loss is a result of a deficiency of minerals and vitamins. Manuka honey solves that problem.
Precautions and side effects
A with everything in life, there’s a good side, and a bad side. Therefore, I recommend you follow some of the precautions regarding manuka honey. The number one rule is that any kind of honey is not suitable for babies under 12 months of age. People who are allergic to pollen and other bee-related allergies should avoid honey.
WebMD states that there are possible side effects to consuming honey, and the first one is an allergic reaction. There is also the risk of a rise in blood sugar (especially if you overconsume it), and a possible interaction with several chemotherapy drugs.
There haven’t been many studies on manuka honey, and most of them were conducted on a small group of patients. More research is definitely needed.