Honey is well known for its curative properties for eons. It is just that the mechanism of Manuka honey in healing wounds, epithelial regeneration, and ulcer treatment has been revealed recently.
The benefits of honey have been celebrated for centuries. Manuka honey was first brought into usage by the Maori community from New Zealand in the early twentieth century. It has remarkable antibacterial and healing properties.
So, what is Manuka Honey?
The honey made by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush in New Zealand is better known as Manuka Honey. One of the unique varieties of honey, this variant, has the capacity to cure bacterial infections like sore throats, digestive problems, and aid gingivitis.
Research says that unlike raw honey, which is associated with health benefits, Manuka honey is not raw, but the benefits are proven. It is a specialized honey that comes with antibacterial properties and is bacteria resistant. What is, however, considered a disadvantage, is the price of Manuka honey. It doesn't come cheap. The honey costs anything between 45 dollars and 2775 dollars, which is a considerable amount.
The major components of Manuka Honey:
Apart from hydrogen peroxide, which is present in all variants of honey and gives it its antibiotic quality, Manuka honey also has methylglyoxal (MG), which is found in other honey variants in minimal quantities (1). MG comes from converting dihydroxyacetone in Manuka honey, which is found in high concentration in the nectar of Manuka flowers. The high concentration of MG gives Manuka honey a strong antibiotic effect.
The benefits of Manuka Honey are based on research
When we talk of superfoods, raw honey has a lot of health benefits. Manuka honey though not raw honey, is antibacterial and is also bacteria resistant. It means that bacteria are unable to build any resistance to the antibacterial properties of Manuka honey. Manuka honey is considered to be an effective treatment for clearing skin blemishes to cure sore throats.
Scientific research supports the healing qualities of Manuka honey. The healing benefits include:
Scores of bacteria are sensitive to Manuka honey. That includes Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. Manuka honey is equally effective against Clostridium difficile (2), which is considered to be a very difficult micro-organism. Scientists are actually fascinated by the fact that Manuka honey attacks bacterial infections that form a biofilm. Biofilm is a thin sheet of bacteria which, once created, is considered to be untreatable.
To this day, there has been no evidence of microbial resistance to Manuka honey. It means that this honey is successful against bacterial resistance and cures such wounds that do not heal with traditional antibiotic remedy(5).
Like all honey, Manuka honey also helps to cure wounds (4). Manuka honey is acidic in nature and has a pH between 3.2 and 4.5. These acidic properties help to heal the wounds. The acidic properties also help block enzymes that break down the proteins and peptides needed to repair the body by itself. Since there is a high proportion of sugar in Manuka honey, it also helps to protect wounds.
Manuka honey contains low moisture and draws the wound fluids, which in the process removes the waste material and speeds up healing activity. It also removes water from the bacteria cells since bacteria need water in its cell to survive, draining of the same kills it.
The natural antibiotic properties of honey have been known for ages. Recent studies have found out that Manuka honey's capacity to eliminate germs comes from hydrogen peroxide combined with the enzymes produced by bees. Manuka honey also has MGO, a substance derived from the nectar of Manuka flowers, and it attacks the micro-organisms with more power and helps to heal both chronic and minor wounds.
The proven remedial qualities of MGO have made the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) to approve bandages with Manuka honey for both prescription and OTC (Over the Counter) sales.
It is proven that Manuka honey can reduce irritation and inflammation in the skin caused by acne. To get the best results, the honey should be applied on the acne(3) in a thin layer and kept on for a minimum of fifteen minutes. The honey mask, if kept for a more extended period, gives better results.
Manuka honey is also used to soothe eczema. Apply Manuka honey in equal proportion with beeswax and olive oil at least three times a day to get the desired result.
There are digestive benefits from taking one to two tablespoon of Manuka honey every day. The honey can be eaten with your food or directly. If added with food, consider eating it as a spread over a slice of whole-grain bread or by adding it to your yogurt. You can also have Manuka honey added to your tea.
Manuka honey cures your sore throat. If you want to be cautious about your immune system, take a tablespoon of honey every day.
The process of using Manuka Honey:
All Manuka honey manufacturers have a unique Manuka factor rating, also known as UMF, on their products. This rating describes the level of MGO and a forerunner, dihydroxyacetone.
The UMF scoring pattern is mentioned below.
0 to 4 - The amount present is undetectable
5 to 9 - The amount is present at deficient levels
10 to 15 - The amount of MGO and the precursor is of adequate levels
16 - The amount present is of superior levels.
The more the rating, the superior is the quality of the Manuka honey, and more is the healing power.
Risks associated with Manuka Honey
In general, Manuka honey is safe to consume. However, if you have diabetes or have shown the same symptoms, you must consult your doctor before including Manuka honey in your meal plan. Since Manuka honey has high sugar content, it can lead to elevated blood sugar levels.
Even if you are allergic to other variants of honey and not Manuka honey, you should still consult a doctor before deciding on Manuka honey because you could still be exposed to allergic reactions.
What to check while buying Manuka Honey:
Manuka honey is available in health stores as well as online stores. While making a purchase, ensure to read the product description properly because not all Manuka honey is similar.
Look for "non-peroxide antibacterial activity (NPA)," or the UMF rating while purchasing Manuka honey with healing powers. Also, buy the variant that has MGO, the unique antibacterial feature in Manuka honey. More the MGO, the better is the product.
All said Manuka honey has more benefits than the other variants available. Moreover, studies have also proven that it has therapeutic properties that make it a popular superfood worldwide.