If you are a believer in natural healing methods, you should seriously consider getting yourself some Manuka honey; it has considerable health benefits when it is eaten and when it is topically applied. Lots of people have used it successfully to treat infection. But what is Manuka honey and how does it work to heal infections?
Manuka honey is a kind of honey that is produced by bees that feed off the nectar of the Manuka tree. Manuka trees, scientifically named Leptospermum Scoparium, are native to New Zealand and some parts of Australia. These trees flower in early summer and bees then feed on the nectar and then make honey in hives that are put out by bee farmers. The honey that is produced has high antibacterial properties.
Generally speaking, all honey has antibacterial properties; it can be applied to wounds and eaten to reduce infection. What sets Manuka honey apart is its potency; it can be as much as 100 times stronger than other honeys when it comes to healing and fighting infection. Let’s have a look at honey in general when it comes to healing.
Healing properties of honey
Honey has been famous for its healing qualities since ancient times. When researchers tested it in the early 19th century, they were able to confirm its antibacterial properties. It works in two ways: it protects damage caused by bacteria and it also stimulates production of cells that reduce tissue damage. Remarkably, it also contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain and inflammation in wounds.
Honey is also great when you are trying to lose weight. A lot of the excess weight that we gain is as a result of eating sugar. A good alternative, if you still want to take your drinks sweet, is to use honey. A teaspoon of sugar contains more than 20 times the calories that are found in honey.
What makes Manuka honey so special?
All honey has hydrogen peroxide which in itself is used to fight infection. What makes Manuka honey different is the additional properties. It contains Methylglyoxal (MG) which aids in reducing infection and repairing tissue. MG is the result of the conversion of another compound, dihydroxyacetone.
Even between Manuka honeys, you will find different concentrations of MG. This has led to the development of a scale, the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) to measure the potency of Manuka honey after harvest. Research shows that its osmolarity and its pH also aid in healing.
Different levels of MG in different honeys means that consumers have to be careful when they are buying. There are many honeys masquerading in the market as the real thing. Manuka honey for medicinal purposes has a UMF of 10 and above and it should be labeled UMF Manuka Honey or Active Manuka Honey. Some come with a UMF and a + sign. This means that the honey may be a little more potent than is indicated. The reason for this is that Manuka honey becomes more potent over time. In fact, all honey seems to increase in medicinal and health benefits the longer it sits.
There are certain producers of Manuka honey who are known for the best product and they are certified by the UMF Association. Currently, there are 44 members, and their product has a UMFA sticker. If you can find Manuka honey with this sticker, you are buying the best of the best.
Different uses of Manuka honey
Manuka honey is used to heal wounds and burns, but there are several other things that it is good for:
– It can be used to treat certain kinds of cancer. That said, it should not be used in place of cancer treatment.
– It is excellent for reducing blood cholesterol.
– We already mentioned that it is an excellent alternative to sugar for those who are looking to lose weight.
– It reduces inflammation and pain.
– It helps diabetics maintain normal sugar levels.
– Manuka honey, (and almost all kinds of honeys), are used for skin care. Applying honey to your face for 15 minutes will leave you with a smooth, soft skin. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the skin and it can help avoid pimples.
– It is also used to condition hair and soften it. It helps get rid of dandruff as well.
– It is used for sinus infections. It is also excellent for treating eye and ear infections.
– It treats gastrointestinal conditions like diarrhea. The bacteria that cause diarrhea is very sensitive to honey – they die off almost right away.
– It is used to improve physical endurance; people often carry it on walking expeditions and other such activities. It is also often used to help invalids get their energy back.
– It is perfect for healing mouth sores when applied before bed.
– An additional benefit of Manuka honey is that it doesn’t cause bacteria resistance unlike antibiotics. If you take antibiotics for a long time, you develop resistance to some antibiotics and it can be extremely problematic to treat bacterial infections. Manuka honey will kill bacteria without causing resistance.
– A study showed that Manuka honey is effective in preventing gum diseases such as gingivitis; it works by reducing plaque buildup.
– The National Cancer Institute approved the use of Manuka honey for chemo patients to reduce inflammation in the esophagus.
Does science support the healing qualities of Manuka honey?
Generally, research does not lend much support to natural healing methods and it is easy to understand why; if they supported the use of Manuka honey for the uses that we have just mentioned, for example, it would mean that people would not rely on medication. That said, research shows that Manuka honey is highly effective when applied to wounds and burns. There is contention as to whether it is effective for treating stomach ulcers.
There are authorities that agree that honey, not necessarily Manuka honey, is effective in treating some conditions. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, honey is listed as effective for treating burns and wounds. The Cochrane Review also states that honey is more effective in healing mild burns than traditional dressings. Although they don’t specify Manuka honey, they make the case for the healing property of honey. Because of the amount of MG in Manuka honey, it is easy to conclude that it is highly effective in fighting bacterial infections.
Does Manuka Honey cause side effects?
The answer is yes, you can get side effects from eating too much Manuka honey. The most common ones are:
– If you are allergic to bees, you should not eat any kind of honey; you may risk an anaphylactic reaction.
– People who are on chemotherapy should clear it with their doctor before consuming Manuka honey.
– There is a risk of increased blood sugar in some individuals.
To conclude, you should have some Manuka honey handy; you can use it every day in your beverages or you can use it for medicinal purposes only; either way, the benefits are great.