In recent years, honey has stolen the spotlight as one of those extraordinary superfoods out there. It’s a natural sweetener that can ease a cold, soothe the skin, and help with tons of other things. One kind, in particular, has been making waves. Say hello to manuka honey!
The Queen Bee Of Honeys
Manuka honey is made by bees who feed on the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), a plant native to New Zealand. Like all honeys, manuka honey is composed mainly of sugar and water. It also has amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial bioactive compounds like flavonoids which give it an antioxidant effect.1
It doesn’t stop there, though. Manuka honey boasts a significantly higher concentration of methylglyoxal than regular honey, contributing to even stronger antibacterial properties.2 It’s even rated according to its antibacterial activity through the unique manuka factor (UMF). The higher the rating, the more potent it is.
Let’s take a look at all the remarkable things this impressive honey can do.
1. Cures The Flu
Manuka honey can keep you safe during the flu season. Research had found that it is a potent inhibitor of the influenza virus. It also works well with anti-influenza virus drugs. If you’re especially worried about this flu season, dip into some manuka. It might be exactly what you need to stay away from those achy muscles and dry cough.3
2. Fights Cancer
Lab studies show that manuka honey can stop cancers like melanoma and breast cancer from proliferating by inducing cancer cell death. An animal study found that intravenously administering manuka honey encouraged the death of tumor cells by 33 percent. There was also a dramatic improvement in survival rates when the treatment combined chemotherapy and manuka honey. This superfood may also have a crucial role in reducing chemotherapy-induced toxicity.4
3. Combats Infection
Overusing antibiotics can be a dangerous habit. This causes bacteria to evolve into “superbugs” that are resistant to drugs, resulting in infections that are harder to treat. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the largest threats to health in the world today.5 However, honey is effective against a wide range of microbes and can act against more than 80 pathogens. Paired with its low water content, its high levels of sugar, hydrogen peroxide, and phytochemicals can inhibit microbes.
Manuka takes this up a notch thanks to its high level of dihydroxyacetone. This chemical produces methylglyoxal, a compound that has antibacterial qualities. But that’s not all – manuka honey has also been found to work against drug-resistant superbugs. For instance, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria that commonly infects wounds, has developed resistance to antibiotics. Yet, it has been found to be susceptible to manuka honey. This wondrous superfood can prevent infection by blocking the attachment of MRSA to tissues. Moreover, combining manuka honey with certain antibiotics makes them work even better. This lead to a reversal of drug resistance.6
4. Heals Wounds
Aside from protecting a wound from infection, manuka honey can also promote healing by stimulating the growth of new tissue. Additionally, it encourages the formation of new blood vessels when applied directly to wounds.7 However, do keep in mind that medical grade manuka honey is used to treat wounds so it’s not a good idea to apply store-bought honey to an open wound. You should also check with your doctor before using honey on wounds or infections.8
5. Soothes An Upset Stomach
Honey has traditionally been used as a remedy for indigestion. Now research also shows that manuka honey is effective against several common gastrointestinal bacteria9 such as Helicobacter pylori.10 Sometimes, grandma’s remedies are truly the best.
6. Improves Skin
Manuka honey is outstanding for your skin. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It even works as a moisturizer. Try using it as a face mask for a quick pick-me-up.
- If you have dry skin, mix 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Apply to your face, taking extra care around your eyes. After 15 minutes, rinse off the mask. The honey soothes and moisturizes, while the vinegar has a balancing effect.
- For oily skin, combine 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 egg white, and 1 teaspoon honey. Allow to dry for about 15 minutes and rinse with cool water. The egg white will tone your skin while the lemon acts as a blemish fighting astringent. The manuka honey brings in moisture.11
7. Helps Your Pet
You’re not the only one who can benefit from this amazing honey. It can help your four-legged friends, too. Manuka honey can also work as a treatment for your dog’s skin problem or upset tummy.12
A Word Of Caution!
Do keep in mind that it is not a good idea to give honey to babies and very young children. Raw honey may cause botulism poisoning in children below 12 months. Also, honey may slow blood clotting. So, it may not be a good idea to have it if you’re already on medication such as anticoagulants to control blood clotting.13
|↑1||Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi. “Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences 16, no. 6 (2013): 731-742.|
|↑2, ↑7||Manuka honey, National Cancer Institute.|
|↑3||Watanabe, Ken, Ratika Rahmasari, Ayaka Matsunaga, Takahiro Haruyama, and Nobuyuki Kobayashi. “Anti-influenza viral effects of honey in vitro: potent high activity of manuka honey.” Archives of medical research 45, no. 5 (2014): 359-365.|
|↑4||Fernandez-Cabezudo, Maria J., Rkia El-Kharrag, Fawaz Torab, Ghada Bashir, Junu A. George, Hakam El-Taji, and Basel K. Al-Ramadi. “Intravenous administration of manuka honey inhibits tumor growth and improves host survival when used in combination with chemotherapy in a melanoma mouse model.” PLoS One 8, no. 2 (2013): e55993.|
|↑5||Antibiotic resistance, World Health Organization.|
|↑6, ↑8||Can honey fight superbugs like MRSA? National Health Service.|
|↑9||Lin, S. Molan, Peter C. Molan, and Raymond T. Cursons. “The controlled in vitro susceptibility of gastrointestinal pathogens to the antibacterial effect of manuka honey.” European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases 30, no. 4 (2011): 569-574.|
|↑10||Al Somal, N., K. E. Coley, P. C. Molan, and B. M. Hancock. “Susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to the antibacterial activity of manuka honey.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 87, no. 1 (1994): 9-12.|
|↑11||Rodino, Heather. Household Hints: Amazing Uses for Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda. Wellfleet Press, 2015.|
|↑12||Rees, Wendy Nan, Kristen Hampshire, and Kendra Luck. Dog Lover’s Daily Companion: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Living a Rich Life with Your Dog. Quarry Books, 2011.|
|↑13||Honey, National Institutes of Health.|