When you think of honey, you might not think ‘medicine.’ But with antibiotic resistance on the rise, the therapeutic uses of honey are going mainstream. First with local honey, then raw honey, and now the buzzy ingredient is Manuka honey. Which, by the way, isn’t new. It has been used in healing for hundreds of years!
What It Is:
Manuka honey is produced from bees that take nectar from the flowers of the Manuka tree, which only grows in New Zealand.
Manuka honey is made a bit differently than regular honey. The best Manuka honey keeps the Manuka flower ‘alive’ from the hive to you. That means the honey is exposed to less heat and filtration so the vitamins, minerals and potent healing ingredients are protected and preserved.
The only downside to Manuka is that it’s quite expensive. A small jar can easily cost more than $50. But this liquid gold is worth it!
What It Does:
You’ve probably heard that raw honey can speed healing of small cuts or burns. That’s because honey naturally has a mild antiseptic effect when it comes in contact with skin. In studying that effect, researchers found something else at work exclusively in Manuka honey which makes it a potent antibacterial agent.
It’s so potent that in research studies, Manuka honey was effective at fighting dozens of bacterial strains, including antibiotic-resistant varieties like MRSA. The antimicrobial actions are due to its high methylglyoxal (MG) concentration. What that is and how it works is complicated, but the simple explanation is that the more MG the honey has, the stronger the antibiotic effect.
One incredibly useful thing about this honey are the standards for production and effectiveness. The potency of genuine Manuka honey is rated via the unique Manuka factor or UMF rating. The higher the UMF rating the more MG it contains and therefore the more antibacterial power it has. Look for a UMF of at least 10.
Don’t guess or waste money on shady stuff! Look for brands with a UMF rating or that say ‘active’ manuka honey, like Comvita, so you know you’re getting a product with strict quality standards.
How To Use It:
So what do you do with this magic elixir? Here are some of its best uses, inside and out:
1. Wound Healing
Skip the Neosporin and slather honey on small boo boos. Its antimicrobial properties kill bacteria and help wounds heal faster.
2. Cough & Sore Throat
Honey is excellent for soothing the pain and inflammation of a sore throat. Use it to make your own cough syrup or just take a couple spoonfuls at the first sign of a cough (or any illness). You’re immune system will get a boost along with its antibacterial and antiviral power. Manuka is so good for oral health that it fights plaque and gingivitis, too.
3. Acne + Skin Conditions
Manuka honey is a popular beauty treatment because it fights acne-causing bacteria and inflammation on the skin. It also has tons of antioxidants, balances the skin’s pH, and soothes dry skin by drawing moisture from the air and into the skin.
“Long used as a natural remedy for targeting various health conditions, UMF Manuka Honey is also rapidly gaining popularity for its use as both a daily superfood and as a core ingredient in DIY face masks,” says Corey Blick, Vice President of Comvita North America. A brightening face mask is as simple as two ingredients:
- 2 tablespoon Manuka honey
- 2 drops of tea tree oil
- Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- Spread a thick layer over face and rest for 10-15 minutes. Read a book, close your eyes, plan your day, journal.
- Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Here’s a prescription that’s easy to take. A dose of about 1-2 tablespoons of Manuka honey a day can treat mild digestive upsets, indigestion and bloating. Manuka brings its anti-inflammatory effects to your digestive system, and it contains a natural prebiotic, which improves digestive health by giving the gut’s good bacteria an assist. Manuka honey is even being researched as a treatment for stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Have you tried Manuka honey? Let us know your favorite uses!
Disclosure: This isn’t a sponsored post, but we partnered with Comvita to provide product placement.