Have you ever picked up a small jar of honey, only to realize that it cost $30? If you experienced this phenomenon, then you encountered manuka honey, which is a luxury honey that comes from the manuka bush in New Zealand. From soothing sore throats and relieving digestive discomfort to reducing the risk of gingivitis and getting rid of acne, manuka honey is well worth the price tag.
Before we continue, we must detail that all honeys are not created equal. Honey isn’t what it used to be, and industrialization is to blame for this. To obtain the health benefits of honey, you must either purchase raw, organic unpasteurized honey or manuka honey.
What Makes Manuka Honey So Special?
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, manuka honey is derived from one specific plant, but that’s not the reason why it is special. Manuka is rich in natural sugar and has a low pH level, which helps to get rid of bacterial growth. It also contains a diverse group of antioxidants that give manuka honey its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. Additionally, manuka honey contains a chemical compound known as methyglyoxal (MGO), which has potent antibacterial activity.
Manuka honey is unique because it is an excellent source of enzymes, antioxidants, phenolic compounds, and vitamins. It also contains complex carbohydrates, alkaloids, flavonoids, trace minerals, B vitamins, and organic acids. You can find more about manuka honey and its health benefits below.
Soothes Sore Throats
The antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of manuka honey work to attack the bacteria that cause irritation in the throat. In addition to fighting the bacteria, the honey also coats the lining of the throat to provide a soothing effect. Researchers found that manuka honey helped decrease the presence of Streptococcus mutans bacteria in head and neck cancer patients, who received chemotherapy treatment.
Promotes Oral Health
To piggyback off the previous benefit, manuka honey may help to reduce the risk of periodontal disease and gingivitis. The antimicrobial properties of manuka honey were studied at the School of Dentistry at University of Otago in New Zealand. The results indicated that sucking on manuka honey reduced plaque by 35%, and reduced gum bleeding in people with gingivitis by 35%. The calcium, zinc, and phosphorus in manuka honey are also beneficial for maintaining healthy teeth.
Improves Digestive Health
The natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties of manuka honey are beneficial for reducing bacterial overgrowth in the digestive tract. This is great news for people with low stomach acid, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or acid reflux. Several studies have found that manuka’s bactericidal effects improve intestinal imbalances and promote stomach healing.
Treats Burns & Wounds
Some over-the-counter bandages actually contain manuka honey, and the reason for this is because it provides pain relief for burns and moderate wounds. In 2007, the U.S. FDA approved manuka honey as an option for wound healing. The antimicrobial properties help to reduce the risk of infection and it helps to create a moist protective barrier for better healing. A two-week study examined a group of 40 people who applied manuka honey to non-healing wounds. Roughly 88% of the participants reported that their wounds decreased in size.
Helps Prevent Gastric Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are very common sores that form in the lining of the stomach, and they cause digestive pain, bloating, and nausea. H. pylori is the most common bacteria that is responsible for the development of gastric ulcers. New research found that manuka honey may reduce the presence of gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori. In test tube studies, the antibacterial properties of manuka honey proved to be useful for reducing the size of ulcers, but more research needs to be done to support this study.
Gets Rid Of Acne
As mentioned many times in this article, manuka honey has powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. The combination of these, along with the low pH level, is beneficial for fighting acne. Manuka honey works to keep the skin free of bacteria, accelerating the healing time for people with acne. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce the redness associated with acne.