What is Manuka honey?
Manuka Honey is a medicinal honey produced in Australia and New Zealand. It has a wide range of health and healing benefits from topical wound healing to gut health. When bees forage on the beautiful pink and white blossoms of the Leptospermum genus of plants they produce this exceptional honey.
Golden manuka honey is harvested from the pristine coastal forests and then cold extracted and processed with high standards of quality control. The much sought-after and prized Manuka honey, renowned for its significant healing benefits, is then ripened and matured over time to attain its full medicinal potential.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
1) Manuka Honey heals wounds
The primary use of manuka honey, and why it is so beneficial, is that it contains a highly antimicrobial compound called methylglyoxal (MGO) that is able of kill so many of the bacteria that cause infections. MGO in high concentrations is only found in manuka honey which comes from a group of plants of the Leptospermum genus. With 35 years of research, it is proving to be one of the rising stars in the battle to control the antibacterial resistant superbugs that have become difficult to treat. Manuka honey is useful in treating a range of wounds including cuts and abrasions, damaged tissue, burns and ulcerated sores.
Manuka honey also contains an enzyme that releases hydrogen peroxide that is antibacterial in nature.
These two antibacterial substances work synergistically to reduce infection and kill bacteria that can interfere with the wound healing process.
Other valuable compounds found in manuka honey are Arabinogalactan proteins that stimulate the wound healing process and the anti-inflammatory response. With these compounds it creates a winning team to quickly remove infection and create a clean environment for rapid healing.
Other substances in manuka honey such as gluconic acid which give an acidic quality – a low PH between 3.2 to 4.5 – makes it a hard for microbes to survive. Along with the natural sugars found in manuka honey they help to clean the wound and remove dead and damaged tissue. The result is a clean wound site with reduced scarring due to the level of protection the honey offers to the healthy tissue that grows to replace the old and damaged tissue that is present at the wound site.
Regulated and approved medical grade honey is important to use on deeper wounds as it has been sterilised during the production process. The sterilisation does not interfere in any way with all its healing abilities and makes it safe and useful for infants under 12 months old.
How to treat a minor wound or cut:
- To a clean and dry wound, prepare a plaster by covering the whole pad with Manuka honey.
- Place a little of the honey on the cut and then attach the plaster.
- Change the plaster as often as necessary. Use an MGO honey with a minimum rating of 550+ to keep the wound free from infection and to help healing. We recommend 850+ MGO honey for a faster healing effect.
2) Healing skin infections
Research has found that 850 + manuka honey supports open wounds to heal faster when contrasted with wounds treated with no honey or just with regular honey.
One of the health benefits of Manuka honey, and one of its greatest attributes, is its ability to kill bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotic drugs. Recently some of these infectious bacteria such as Staphylococcus Aureus, commonly known as “Golden Staph” have become harder to treat and have the potential to cause an urgent and grave medical threat.
“What makes these honeys really interesting is that they can kill superbugs, like Golden Staph. Superbugs are bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections and are resistant to most of the antibiotics that we have available to us currently,” says Dr Nural Cokcetin, a researcher at University of Technology, Sydney.
Here, Manuka honey stands alone in that its effectiveness remains uncompromised because bugs and superbugs do not develop resistance to its protection.
What to do if a wound becomes infected
- While making sure the area is clean and dry, prepare a plaster by covering the dressing pad with Manuka honey.
- Put an adequate amount of the honey on the affected area directly then affix the dressing. Change the plaster as required.
- Make sure that the honey is 850+ MGO or greater to maximise the antibacterial properties that will work on the area to heal while minimising scarring. Higher MGO like 1200 and 1500 MGO will super charge the healing process if you are looking for a faster result.
3) Alleviates skin burns
First and second-degree burns respond very well to the topical application of Manuka honey.
First degree burns (superficial skin burns) cause reddening and pain to the outer layer of skin. Often sunburn falls into this category but can be classified second degree in severe cases.
Second degree burns affect the outer layers of the skin but with the added complication that they also reach a little deeper, affecting the lower layers causing pain, swelling, and blistering.
It is here that the Manuka honey benefits can be clearly felt. The TGA (Therapeutic Goods Association) recommends Manuka honey for mild burns for its soothing and relieving effect, adding that it also helps with the healing process. Manuka Honey also acts an analgesic by helping to reduce the pain.
How to treat a mild burnImmediate treatment should consist of the rapid application of cold water for a suitable period of time before applying Manuka honey to the burn site. Manuka Honey is recommended for the first-aid treatment of minor burns only and medical advice should be sought for the treatment of more serious burns.
- Use a saline solution to clean the affected area
- Select a honey with at least 550+ MGO (we suggest the 850 MGO that comes in our tube packs) and cover the entire burn site liberally. The higher rating honey sterilises the burn and promotes healing
- Cover the treated burn with a dry gauze dressing. Change the dressing at least once a day.
- Check the healing process daily.
Remember for more serious burns, do not hesitate to contact a qualified medical practitioner.
4) Soothes sore throats and inflammation
Honey has long been regarded as a go-to for soothing sore throats, but Manuka honey has proven to have superior and excellent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, so it is now the preferred choice for relieving sore throats. Manuka honey heals as well as soothes.
All honey has some antimicrobial honey due to its ability to release hydrogen peroxide, but Manuka honey provides an additional healing and cleansing effect due to the presence of MGO (methylglyoxal).
The synergy of these two powerful healing compounds gives manuka honey a more potent and longer lasting effect.
How to treat sore throats, colds, and flu with Manuka honey
- Take a half teaspoon of 550+ MGO Manuka honey and allow the honey to remain at the back of the mouth while it forms a film on the throat.
- Repeat at least 3 times daily, keeping the honey in place for as long as possible.
- The antibacterial effect is reduced by heating, but warm honey drinks can also be soothing.
5) Manuka honey can improve digestion and gut health
Amongst the Manuka honey health benefits this quality is less well known, but just as important if you are a sufferer of indigestion. Good gut health is vital for good overall health and wellbeing.
Manuka honey is a superfood and can be a tasty addition to most foods. It has an anti-microbial effect in the stomach, while sparing the ‘good’ bacteria – in fact manuka honey acts as a prebiotic, that sets up the conditions for good bacteria to thrive.
Added to toast, breakfast cereals, juices, smoothies and warm teas, a spoonful or more of the honey is a welcome addition. Be careful not to heat the honey, in order to maintain its healing qualities – drizzling it onto cooked food opens a world of delightful possibilities. Your digestion will thank you.
6) Supports healthy sleeping patterns
It sounds counter-intuitive because we usually associate sugars with an energy boost, but we need energy to sleep too.
One or two teaspoons of raw Manuka honey just before bed can help promote a deep and restful sleep by slowly releasing the glycogen needed for essential bodily functions while you sleep. Manuka honey also has a low glycaemic index which may assist in regulating blood sugar before bedtime.
7) Treats acne and scarring
Sceptical? This young woman says it better than we can:
How to use Manuka honey as an acne treatment
Used as a face mask application, first lightly dampen the face with a misting of water.
Using a honey with a minimum rating of 550+ MGO to ensure the antibacterial action, gently apply the honey. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes then just wash it off. Apply twice a day until your skin clears up.
8) Natural energy booster
Need some energy before or after a workout? Raw and natural, Manuka honey provides a sustained energy boost from the fructose content, while the glucose looks after the instant energy kick. Both ends of the workout are covered.
And because the sugars are natural, Manuka can support you to maintain a healthy weight.
9) Fights oral bacteria
Manuka honey benefits are many when it comes to dental care due to its antibacterial action, its anti-inflammatory power, its antiviral qualities, and the ability to reduce bad breath through its antioxidant properties.
From the ability to reduce plaque build-up by reducing biofilm, to its positive action against halitosis by fighting bacteria of all kinds, to its effectiveness against gingivitis and general gum disease, this honey can do wonders for your oral health.
10) Healthier alternative to sweeteners and sugars
Manuka honey is positively oozing nutrients and enzymes that can be of benefit to the body, unlike other sweeteners that have been stripped of all their goodness through over-refining.
This honey, although sweeter than sugar, has a lower glycaemic index as well as an array of B vitamins, amino acids and other antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Australia’s Manuka is rich in organic elements while being free of contaminants and pesticides.