What is Manuka Honey?

I start the day off with a cup of hot tea and a teaspoon of honey stirred in for just the right amount of sweetness. Honey though isn’t only used for making tea sweet or as a healthier replacement for sugar in recipes. Honey actually has a lot of health benefits making it a reasonable staple in any sweet tooth diet. At least I keep telling myself that.

For centuries, cultures around the globe have praised honey for being an amazing healing treasure. Unfortunately, the processed honey I stir in my tea isn’t the honey they are talking about. Traditionally, honey is full of health benefits, from being rich in antioxidants to helping improve cholesterol levels. But my processed honey is not going to offer any of that because it has been cleaned of all the natural healing properties it once had during industrial processing. It might be affordable because it has been processed, but I might be better off not eating it. Processed honey is really no different than high fructose corn syrup (Yuck!). 

In order for me to get those natural healing properties honey can give you, it’s recommend to consume raw honey. Raw honey is expensive, but because it hasn’t been processed, it still offers the long list of healthy healing properties: anti-cancer benefits, suppresses coughs, reduces heart disease by reducing triglycerides, reduce high cholesterol, and if that’s not enough, it’s rich in antioxidants. So in the long run, it may be cheaper to consume raw honey than save a couple of bucks now and buy processed honey.

All raw honeys will be better than processed honey, but not all honey is made the same. Some types of honey offer more health benefits than others. One honey that has been trending as a superfood because of all the health benefits it has, is Manuka Honey. Manuka Honey comes from the East Cape region of New Zealand where bees pollinate Manuka Trees. Though Manuka Honey has a been known as a healing honey for centuries there is a growing body of research that is now supporting thousands of years of folk medicine use. Some of the top uses and benefits for Manuka honey include:

Benefits of Manuka Honey

  • Helps with Low Stomach Acid, Acid Reflux
  • May Help Treat Acne and Eczema
  • Combats Staph Infections
  • When used topically, it helps treat burns and wounds
  • Helps treat Ulcers
  • Prevents Tooth Decay and Gingivitis
  • Improves Sore Throats and Immunity
  • Helps Allergies
  • And of course, it’s a substitute for sugar

The reason Manuka honey is more beneficial is because of the natural occurring compound, MGO (or MG), aka methylglyoxal. Methylglyoxal is an antibacterial component that is found in most honeys, but in Manuka Honey, the level of MGO is higher. This is because the MGO in Manuka honey comes from the conversion of another compound, dihydroxyacetone, which is highly concentrated in the nectar of Manuka flowers. For Manuka honey to be considered medicinal, it needs to have at least a 10 MGO level, but Manuka honey can have a MGO rating of over 800! The higher the MGO concentrate, the stronger the antibiotic effect.

Consuming honey is not the only way you can enjoy the healing benefits of honey. Manuka honey can be applied on your skin as a topical treatment. Although the research is still being collected, Manuka honey has been used to heal wounds because it is full of antibacterial properties. All Honeys have natural occurring Hydrogen Peroxide components in it, but Manuka honey has more antibacterial advantages because of the MGO. When applied, Manuka honey can also be soothing, and help prevent scarring.

Honey is not just used on the skin to heal wounds, it can help hydrate the skin, regenerate and protect skin against dryness, when used in skin care products or as part of a facial mask routine.

The right honey is more than just a sweetener to stir in your tea. The best honey out there, Manuka honey, can not only be soothing part of a hot cup of tea when you are feeling under the weather, but it may help heal that irritating paper cut. When using medicinal honeys like Manuka honey for medicinal purposes, it’s important to enjoy it on an empty stomach, and with a clean plastic spoon, dipping only once to avoid contamination.  

Like with any natural healing alternative to traditional medicine, it’s important to do some research to decide if Manuka honey is right for you, before you start using it regularly. 

Resources to start with

After doing my own research for this post, I’ll have to replace my processed honey for Manuka honey in my next cup of tea!