December 13, 2018
Honey. Its sweet taste has been satisfying people for centuries. Always a family favourite, honey is delicious on toast or spooned into a bowl of warm porridge. It works wonders as a sugar substitute in cakes and tops off a cup of tea like nothing else can. But there is more to honey and in particular, more to manuka honey, than meets the taste buds!
Dr. Peter Molan from the University of Waikato in New Zealand has been researching manuka honey and its health benefits since 1995. His research has shown that manuka honey, from the manuka bush in New Zealand, is extremely unique as it possesses rare healing properties.
Honey has been used as a healing agent for thousands of years. All honey has some level of antibacterial activity, but manuka honey has much stronger antibacterial qualities than most other honeys. Also known as ‘active manuka honey’, it is said to contain “the best natural antibiotic in the world”, and is now being used both internally and externally to treat a range of different conditions.
What conditions can be treated with manuka honey?
Many medical practitioners are turning to high-potency active manuka honey, where traditional medicine is not having the desired effect. Some infected wounds which have not responded well to antibiotics alone, have also been treated with high-grade manuka honey. Used as a dressing, active manuka honey can help prevent the growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi and also speed up the healing process, once the infection has been treated.
Honeymark, a company that makes products from active manuka honey believes that, “Antibiotics are indiscriminate killers. When taken orally, antibiotics kill all bacteria, both good and bad,” the company said. “For reasons that are currently unknown, manuka honey does not affect good bacteria in the body and only destroys harmful, infectious bacteria. This is something that pharmaceuticals have not been able to accomplish.”
In addition to having antibacterial characteristics, active manuka honey is also:
- An antioxidant – manuka honey has qualities that protect against free radicals, which cause cell damage and accelerated aging. Manuka honey is used with great success in some anti-aging skin products.
- Anti-carcinogenic – manuka honey contains properties that are said to reduce the occurrence or severity of some cancers. There have been some studies that indicate manuka honey may inhibit the growth of bladder cancer.
- Anti-inflammatory – manuka honey is a natural anti-inflammatory which means it can help to reduce swelling and pain.
Active manuka honey has proven and potent healing qualities, some of which are yet to be discovered. Research is constantly ongoing in this area, to try and fully understand the scope of this natural wonder. Today, manuka honey has already helped to successfully treat conditions such as:
- Acne, eczema and other skin conditions
- Stomach ulcers and other digestive issues
- Sore throats and colds
- Burns and insect bites
- Arthritis, muscle and joint pain
- Nail fungus and athletes foot
Manuka honey is a relatively inexpensive way to treat common ailments. And perhaps one of the biggest advantages of using active manuka honey is that there are no known harmful side-effects.
How do I know if I am buying genuine manuka honey?
In the late 1990s an industry classification standard was created to rate honey according to the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). The UMF relates to the amount of manuka nectar found in the honey, as not all manuka honey contains the same amount. Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 10 is the lowest of the rated active manuka honeys considered appropriate for healing purposes. The higher the UMF rating, the more potent the honey is said to be. Only licensed products that meet the strict UMF criteria are allowed to display the UMF trademark on its packaging.
This article was written by Jo Harris for Kidspot, Australia’s best family health resource.