Most people have heard that even in ancient Egypt, honey has been used for both its tasty flavor and its medicinal properties being found even in the tombs in the pyramids. Research has shown that honey can speed up wound healing, sooth a sore throat, and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. It can also be an excellent natural sweetener for those who want to avoid processed sugar as it has a higher glycemic index, breaking down to glucose at a much slower rate. Manuka honey is gaining recognition because it provides all the great benefits of regular honey while also containing some unique advantages.

What’s so great about Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is produced by bees utilizing pollen from the flowers of the Manuka tree. This tree grows primarily in Australia and New Zealand, and it is also known as a Tea tree. Essential oil from the Tea (Manuka) tree has long been used as a disinfectant, antiseptic, and health aid due to the many beneficial chemicals in the trees. Tea Tree essential oil, also known as Melaleuca or Melaleuca Alternifolia oil, is one of the most widely used and extensively researched essential oils, making it a must-have for every home.

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Manuka Honey is made when a European honey bee uses nectar and pollen from the small white flowers on the Manuka tree. In order to officially count as Manuka honey, at least 70 percent of the pollen in the honey must come from Manuka flowers. While the honey has similar properties as the essential oil, its uses are obviously different.

One naturally occurring compound in Manuka honey is methylglyoxal. This compound is produced in unusually high levels from the dihydroxyacetone that is found in Manuka flowers. Manuka honey has some special proteins and colloids in it that give it its distinctive texture and promote healing. Most of the benefits of Manuka come from the methylglyoxal, an organic compound helps to fight against some types of particularly harmful and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Studies have found that it may help to inhibit growth of both E. coli and staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This means that Manuka honey can be a great way to lower levels of harmful bacteria in a person’s body.

Another possible benefit of Manuka honey is that it contains naturally occurring amounts of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is another disinfectant compound that degrades organic compounds and, in the human body, can be both ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Though hydrogen peroxide is frequently used as a disinfectant and sterilization method for wound treatment, inside the body it serves to help kill pathogens. It is an oxidizing agent that can readily form free radicals so it also has great potential to do harm.

Honey that is labeled New Zealand Manuka honey has been carefully tested and regulated to ensure that it is actually made from Manuka flowers. Shoppers can find particularly potent and pure Manuka honey by looking at the UMF rating on the honey. This is a special scale called the Unique Manuka Factor that measures the amount of methylglyoxal and other beneficial compounds in the honey. People who want to use Manuka honey for therapeutic reasons normally need honey with a UMF of at least 10. Other rating systems include the Total Activity Rating (TA). TA Manuka honey measures the Total Activity (TA) of the honey predominantly due to the Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) activity of the honey. The Total Activity is measured using Staphylococcus aureus NZRM 87 (ATCC 9144) and expressed as the equivalent % phenol as referenced in The University of Waikato Honey Assay Method under the Determination of Honey Activity by Bioassay Method. The highest rating is 24+.

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Help with Wounds?

One of the primary uses of Manuka honey is topical application to help in healing wounds. It seals the wound and helps to fight off bacteria that would otherwise lengthen healing times, and it also provides beneficial proteins and other healing compounds. Never apply it to a deep wound, but the honey can be spread over a mild burn or smaller abrasions. Even after a new scar has formed over the wound, people can continue to apply Manuka honey. Its moisturizing benefits will keep skin flexible and prevent a thick scar from developing later.

 

Help With Digestive System?

The antimicrobial effects of Manuka honey may be excellent for keeping the digestive system healthy. Ingested in moderation, it may help kill off harmful bacteria while providing natural glucose that boosts the production of beneficial bacteria. This can help to ease bloating, stomach pain, excessive bowel movements, and acid reflux after eating. People with irritable bowel syndrome or stomach ulcers report that taking a couple tablespoons of Manuka honey each day can help to calm their symptoms.

Help with Sore Throat and Coughing?

The healing properties of Manuka honey make it ideal for calming a sore throat. It also helps to get rid of nasty bacteria lingering in the mouth and throat, so people may be able to ease their cold or flu symptoms. Try making this recipe to soothe a scratchy throat and reduce coughing. In addition to Manuka honey, it also contains thyme, which helps to ease respiratory or bronchial infections.

Homemade Manuka Cough Syrup:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 8 Tbs. chopped, fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. grated, fresh ginger
  • 1 cup Manuka honey

Instructions:

  1. Put the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and let it come to a boil.
  2. Remove boiling water from heat, add thyme and ginger, and let the concoction steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Pour in the Manuka honey and stir until thoroughly dissolved.
  4. Pour mixture into an airtight, glass jar, straining if desired.

This cough syrup will be good for at least three weeks if refrigerated, and a spoonful each time the throat feels rough can be very helpful.

Use as a Regular Sweetener

Manuka honey is used even by those who do not have any specific health concerns to address. It contains plenty of manganese, iron, copper, potassium, zinc, and calcium, so Manuka honey can be an excellent part of a healthy diet.

Since honey is higher in fructose than glucose, it provides a sweeter flavor. This means that people can use a smaller amount while still getting a taste as sweet as sugar. Manuka honey easily dissolves in oatmeal, coffee, yogurt, and other foods, so individuals can easily enjoy the great tastes and healthy properties of Manuka honey.