Manuka Honey Benefits: 8 Amazing Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
Manuka honey has gathered a chorus of fans over the last few decades. People are not just excited by its rich, earthy taste, but also about the health benefits of Manuka Honey.
But exactly what are the benefits of manuka honey? What is Manuka honey good for? And, what is it that makes Manuka so good for our health? This article explores some of the health claims related to Manuka honey, and explains why scientists and consumers are so enthralled by this natural product.
What are the general health benefits of Manuka honey?
Manuka honey has strong antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These are all valuable when it comes to treating a range of diseases.
Thanks to high levels of hydrogen peroxide, all raw honey has antiseptic properties. That means they are great at killing germs. Research shows that Manuka honey can destroy a wide range of bacteria, including those resistant to antibiotics.
- Manuka has powerful antimicrobial effects allowing it to treat a range of skin conditions caused by mould and fungi.
- Manuka contains antioxidants that hunt down dangerous free radicals. These can damage tissue, leading to cancer and aging.
- Manuka is great at helping with tissue regeneration.
With all the purported Manuka Honey benefits, it is no wonder this honey is growing in popularity around the world.
What leads to the Health Benefits of Manuka honey?
Raw honey is an incredibly complex product and contains around 200 substances. But Manuka honey is even more remarkable.
In the mid-1980s, a New Zealand Professor, Peter Molan, discovered that Manuka contains unique chemicals in addition to the bacteria-fighting properties of hydrogen peroxide. He showed that high levels of MGO in Manuka Honey produces strong antibacterial effects.
Manuka honey can have MGO levels up to 100 times that found in other raw honeys. The amount of MGO has become an important way to rate the purity and strength of Manuka. These days, all Manuka exported from New Zealand must be tested by a government approved lab. NZ Manuka must also bear a UMF or MGO rating to show that it is genuine.
Research into Manuka honey is still ongoing. There is still a great deal to discover and the complexity of this product makes it difficult to study. While scientists have shown that Manuka does work for certain ailments, their findings are sometimes inconclusive. This is because of the variations between honeys. Manuka is not a drug that can be consistently made in the lab. Even the purist monofloral Manuka has variations between different batches and seasons. That’s why if you are buying Manuka honey, you should always check the label.
The Top 8 Manuka honey benefits
Based on the current research, we’ve listed the top eight health benefits of Manuka honey. It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list as there are many uses for Manuka Honey. It’s also likely that other Manuka Honey benefits will be found in the future.
1. Manuka honey on wounds
Manuka honey’s ability to heal wounds is no longer seen as alternative medicine. In fact, Manuka is approved for clinical use in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the USA, Canada and Hong Kong.
Manuka honey has a number of advantages when it comes to dressing wounds. It works very rapidly, due to its high levels of sugar which act to draw fluid out of the wound. Applying Manuka honey on wounds helps to remove any diseased matter and clear the wound of dirt and debris.
Also, the anti-inflammatory effects of Manuka reduce tissue swelling. Not only that, Manuka seems to stimulate the immune system to regenerate tissue more quickly. No wonder manuka honey wound care is on the rise.
2. Manuka honey on burns
Research suggests that Manuka honey has some unique advantages when it comes to treating burns. As well as being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, honey creates a physical barrier and a moist environment. This is particularly good for healing burns because burn wounds heal faster if kept moist. Also, using honey means that bandages are less likely to stick to the wound. That means dressings are less painful to change and more gentle on regenerating tissues.
As well as acting as a barrier that prevents reinfection, Manuka honey also has a nutritional action. This nutritional benefit helps wounds heal more quickly. Honey also has a soothing effect for most patients, reducing the pain of burns. This is partly because Manuka can reduce inflammation that sensitizes nerve endings.
With all these positive effects, medical grade Manuka honey can be an effective way to fix skin grafts. With no need for suturing, Manuka is quicker, easier and cheaper than other methods.
3. Manuka honey for skin infections
The ancients have long understood the advantages of applying honey to the skin. They used honey both as a beauty treatment and to treat serious skin disease. Now modern science is exploring the specific advantages of manuka honey skincare. According to research, a number of skin disorders respond well to Manuka, although, these studies are often quite small.
Trials have shown that Manuka honey, and its cousin Kanuka Honey, is effective in treating rosacea. Rosacea is a red skin rash that can be chronic. Manuka’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties likely play a role. This is great news for sufferers of this condition. Facial creams and oils - especially those containing steroids - can worsen Rosacea.
The antifungal properties of Manuka honey make it an effective treatment for fungal diseases such as ringworm and tinea infections. Scientists put this down to the complex nature of honey’s antimicrobial effect.
Manuka honey can also improve stubborn skin disorders like dermatitis. Scientists suggest that Manuka is able to ‘tweak’ the immune system, which helps ease these conditions. Research is just beginning but so far findings are positive.
There is growing scientific evidence that points to a range of Manuka honey benefits for skin diseases. Always bear in mind that the strength and purity of the Manuka counts. Most of the studies are based on medical grade Manuka honey.
4. Treating acid reflux, heartburn and GERD
A range of studies now suggest that honey is effective in treating stomach conditions. These include oesophagitis, heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Honey's natural viscosity means it can stay longer in the oesophagus as a protective, anti-inflammatory coating.
5. Manuka honey for stomach ulcers
Honey is also effective in treating peptic ulcers. Honey contains flavonoids that produce antioxidant effects. These flavonoids can help prevent the formation of gastric ulcers. Flavonoids have a range of health benefits, and Manuka is packed full of them.
Early research points to the potential for Manuka Honey to treat the ulcer-causing bacterium, H pylori. Amazingly, H pylori are able to live in the acid of the stomach. Honey has been used as a natural remedy for stomach ulcers for centuries. But scientists did not really understand why it worked until recently.
The 1994 study showed that Manuka honey was able to inhibit the growth of H pylori in vitro (i.e. In a petri dish). However, more research is needed to test whether Manuka can inhibit H pylori in real life patients.
6. Manuka honey for sore throats and coughs.
The age-old remedy of honey to treat coughs and sore throats makes complete sense now. Manuka honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling and kill germs. The honey creates a soothing coating on the throat which eases irritation, killing bacteria at the same time.
7. Manuka for treating acne.
With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, many people are using Manuka honey in face-masks and to treat acne. Research from Massey university suggests that Manuka, and its cousin Kanuka Honey, could be an effective treatment for acne. The research showed that both honeys inhibited the growth of the bacteria that causes breakouts, P. acnes. Interestingly, Kanuka honey appeared to be just as effective and high strength as Manuka (MGO 829+ or UMF 20+).
8. Using Manuka honey for oral health
It might seem odd, but Manuka honey has shown an ability to fight oral bacteria. It can also reduce plaque formation. Medical-grade manuka has even been used to treat symptoms of stubborn gum disease like gingivitis with great success.
Scientific research now largely supports the health benefits of Manuka honey. By far the most conclusive evidence is related to wound healing and skin conditions. However, it’s important to note that research is still in its infancy. If you’re considering using Manuka to treat an illness, it’s best to consult with your doctor.
Considering all the above Manuka Honey Benefits, it really does seem like a miraculous product. But nothing beats the fact that Manuka Honey is not created in a lab. It is made by bees, in the wilderness of New Zealand. And that is a miracle in itself.