Manuka honey is native to Australia and New Zealand. The honey is produced by bees pollinating the manuka bush, also known as Leptospermum scoparium.
One of the characteristics that set Manuka honey apart from the traditional ones is its antibacterial properties. Its active ingredient, methylglyoxal, is responsible for the antibacterial effects.
Manuka honey also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral benefits. Traditionally, this honey was used to soothe sore throats, improve digestive disorders, healing wounds, and tooth decay prevention. Regardless of your location, you can purchase a bottle or two from reputable online stores.
See below seven science-based health benefits of Manuka honey.
1. Aid Wound Healing
In 2007, Manuka honey received the USA FDA approval as a wound treatment option.
For a long time, honey has been used to treat burns, boils, sores, and wounds. This is because honey offers antioxidant and antibacterial properties while keeping the wounded area moist and providing a protective barrier preventing the injury from microbial infections.
Studies have confirmed that manuka honey enhances the healing of wounds, alleviate pain from burns, and amplify tissue regeneration.
Manuka honey was applied to 40 people with non-healing wounds in a two-week study investigating its effect. As a result, 88 percent of injuries reduced in size, and the honey created an acidic environment that facilitates healing.
In Saudi Arabia, a study found that Manuka honey is useful in the treatment of diabetic ulcers than conventional medicine. Another Greek research showed that honey not only heals but reduces the healing time as well as disinfecting wounds in patients.
2. Promote Oral Health
CDC reveals that about 50 percent of Americans suffer from some periodontal disease. Manuka honey prevents gum inflammation, tooth decay, and plaque formation by attacking harmful oral bacteria. Its high antibacterial activity effectively inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria like A.actinomycetemcomitans and P.gingivalis.
Unlike refined sugar and candy, manuka honey cannot contribute to tooth decay and cavities due to its potent antibacterial effects.
3. Soothe a Sore Throat
Manuka honey helps to provide relief when suffering from sore throat. The antibacterial and antiviral properties reduce inflammation by attacking the pain-causing bacteria and further coat the inner lining of the throat.
Head and neck cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy observed that consuming manuka honey is effective on bacteria responsible for sore throats known as Streptococcus mutans. The bacteria levels significantly decreased after patients consumed manuka honey.
Manuka honey combats harmful oral bacteria that cause mucositis that occurs as a radiation and chemotherapy side effect.
4. Help Prevent Gastric Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are sores that form on the stomach lining, are among the most common illnesses that affect humans. Ulcers cause nausea, stomach pain, and bloating. H. Pylori, a common bacterium, is responsible for most gastric ulcers.
Though there is still a need for more research on this, some studies suggest that manuka honey may help treat gastric ulcers that are a result of H.pylori. A survey carried out to see the effects of manuka honey on biopsies of gastric ulcers. The positive results implied that manuka honey is an active anti-bacteria agent against H.pylori.
On the contrary, a two-week small study in 12 people who consumed one teaspoon of manuka honey every day did not decrease H.pylori bacteria. There is a need for more research to establish the effectiveness of manuka honey on H.pylori.
Further studies showed that manuka honey prevented alcohol-induced gastric ulcers.
5. Improve Digestive Symptoms
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) with associated symptoms like diarrhea, irregular bowel movements, and constipation is a common digestive disorder. According to studies, regular consumption of manuka honey will address IBS by decreasing the symptoms.
Studies on rats with ulcerative colitis and IBS reduced inflammation and improved antioxidants status after the ingestion of manuka honey. Manuka honey has also been proven to attack and kill Clostridium difficile (C. diff) strains, making it a likely effective treatment. Further studies to effectively conclude on manuka honey influence on bacterial infections of the bowel are necessary as the findings are test tube research on rats.
6. May Treat Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that affects the digestive system and can damage the lungs, among other organs. Manuka fights bacteria responsible for upper respiratory infections, which are common in people with cystic fibrosis.
Vulnerable populations’ record high numbers of acute upper respiratory infections caused by Burkholderia spp and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. According to research, manuka honey is vital in the treatment of upper respiratory infections.
7. Treat Acne
Though the common cause of acne is hormonal changes, it can also be as a result of poor diet, bacteria growth in clogged pores, or stress. A combination of a low-pH product and manuka honey is marketed to fight acne effectively.
Manuka honey’s antimicrobial activity keeps bacteria off the skin, which expedites the healing process of acne. The anti-inflammatory properties in manuka honey reduce acne associated inflammation.
While research on manuka honey’s ability to treat acne is minimal, a study revealed that both the honey and antibacterial soap are effective in improving acne.
How Safe is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is safe for consumption for most people. However, people with the following conditions should consult a doctor before use.
Diabetes patients: Consuming manuka honey may spike sugar levels in people with diabetes, given the high level of natural sugar found in all types of honey.
People with honey or bees allergy: People allergic to bees or other types of honey may experience an allergic reaction after consumption or application of manuka honey.
Infants: Infants below one year are at a higher risk of a foodborne illness known as infant botulism; hence the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend feeding honey to the little ones.
The Bottom Line
A notable attribute of the unique manuka honey is its effect on healing and wound management. It is also vital in the treatment of numerous ailments like gastric ulcers, periodontal diseases, upper respiratory infections, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Though more research is needed to support manuka honey beneficial properties, it remains an effective treatment strategy. Manuka honey can accelerate the healing process when combined with more conventional therapies. Every household needs a bottle or two of honey.