Honey is more than a sweetener for herbal tea. It’s an incredibly popular home remedy for improving the overall health of your skin. From reducing acne to improving the symptoms of eczema, honey is a superstar in the world of alternative remedies. It exhibits powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties, making it excellent for topical application.
It’s estimated that there are about 300 different types of honey, due to the variety of flowers from which honeybees gain nectar. The type of honey and the processing of it will dictate how beneficial it is for the body. When it comes to topical application, most natural remedies use organic raw honey or Manuka honey, which seems to be the most beneficial.
What Is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is made by bees that pollinate the Manuka flower, which is native to New Zealand. The reason Manuka honey is expensive is because the flower only blooms for two to six weeks out of the year, so it’s not abundant and neither is its production. What makes Manuka honey different from other types of local honey is the Manuka flower itself. It exhibits non-peroxide activity and active compounds that set it apart from regular honey. When you purchase Manuka honey, make sure to look for a UMFTM mark on the label. Standing for Unique Manuka Factor, this trademark indicates that the honey came from licensed beekeepers, producers, and exporters of genuine New Zealand Manuka honey.
Can Manuka Honey Treat Eczema?
Certified dermatologists explain that, while there is no cure, Manuka honey has the potential to help reduce eczema symptoms and severity. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity helps to minimize swelling, redness, and other skin issues when they arise, for example, during a flare-up. According to 2018 research, the non-peroxide and antimicrobial activity in Manuka honey have calming effects on inflamed skin. Additionally, the concentration of methylglyoxal, its active ingredient, releases hydrogen peroxide. This may aid with wound repair, which would accelerate the healing of eczema patches.
A separate 2018 review found that Manuka honey exhibits properties that help promote tissue healing. It works to stimulate macrophages, which aid the removal of dead cells and encourage the production of new, healthy cells. A smaller 2017 study determined if Manuka honey was able to heal atopic dermatitis lesions. Participants in the study found that the lesions improved after regular application. The honey also helped to reduce inflammation in those individuals.
How Does It Work?
First of all, should a person want to use Manuka honey to help remedy eczema, it’s best to use medical-grade honey. This ensures that the honey is free of contaminants. Medical-grade Manuka honey stimulates an inflammatory response that establishes a protective barrier between the skin and the environment. Experts believe that Manuka honey has increased antimicrobial activity against numerous microorganisms. The natural chemicals in Manuka honey, which aren’t present in other honey varieties, can help fight bacteria.
- Dihydroxyacetone: is only found in the nectar of the Manuka flower and it becomes methylglyoxal during the honey-making process.
- Methylglyoxal: is a natural chemical that has powerful antimicrobial activity.
- Other Active Components: include a series of compounds and properties that also exhibit antimicrobial properties. Some of the most notable include hydrogen peroxide, hyper-osmolality effect, bee-defensin-1, and the naturally acidic pH level.
How To Use Manuka Honey For Eczema
Wash hands thoroughly and then pat dry. Apply a thin layer of Manuka honey to the affected area in the evening. Cover the area using gauze or a bandage and leave the dressing on overnight. Gently remove the dressing and clean the area in the morning. It’s important to note that Manuka is not a cure for eczema and you should not apply it if you are sensitive to honey or have an allergy. Results may vary from person to person or depending on the severity of the condition. Manuka honey is also pricey, so it can be an expensive natural remedy for people. It’s best to buy medical-grade Manuka honey for safety reasons, though.