Genuine Manuka Honey & It's Benefits
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is native to New Zealand and is a dark, thick honey produced by bees which pollinate the flowers of the manuka bush. Manuka honey contains active compounds, giving it natural antimicrobial properties – and it is this that sets it apart from regular honey. When purchasing manuka honey you should look for the UMF mark on the label. This stands for Unique Manuka Factor and is a quality trademark awarded to licensed beekeepers, producers and exporters of genuine manuka honey from New Zealand. As well as carrying UMF trademark, you’ll also see a number such as 5+, 10+ or 25+, this represents the level of unique signature compounds, methylglyoxal (MG) and dihydroxyacetone (DHA) present in that specific honey, it’s this that gives the honey its purity and quality. The higher the number, the greater the MG and DHA content, and therefore the purer and more potent the honey is considered to be. There are many Manuka Honey products available, with varying quality and strength marks. The MGO mark has become popular in recent years and indicates the level of methylglyoxal (MG) in that batch of product. However, the UMF mark is the only quality mark that requires each batch of honey to have undergone a three stage assurance process, including quality standards, grading and rating .
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Manuka Honey Supports Wound Healing
Manuka honey is probably most renowned for its wound-healing properties. When applied directly to a wound, it may improve the healing process and decrease pain – so much so that the US Food and Drug Administration approved it as an option for wound treatment in 2015. Being collectively antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, studies have shown manuka honey to offer wound-healing support for tissue regeneration, superficial partial thickness burns, diabetic ulcers and eyelid wounds, for example, post-surgery.
Manuka Honey Supports Gut Health
Manuka honey acts as a prebiotic, being a source of non-digestible carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides. We can’t digest these carbs but the bacteria in our guts can. Using the oligosaccharides as fuel helps levels of ‘good’ bacteria in our digestive system, including bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, thrive. Research has demonstrated the potential for manuka honey to help protect against gastric ulcers, by providing an anti-inflammatory effect and potentially helping manage infections such as helicobacter pylori which can cause ulcers and acid reflux. There is also some evidence that manuka honey may help treat other gut infections including those from bacterial strains such as clostridium difficile.
Manuka Honey Soothes a Sore Throat
Honey and lemon is an age-old remedy for a cold and studies support this claim. A study in 2010 found that honey was more effective at alleviating a cough in children than over-the-counter cough suppressants. This was followed by new guidelines in 2018 from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE and Public Health England (PHE) to use honey as a first-line treatment to reduce the symptoms of a short-term cough. Following the recent SARS Cov-2 (Covid-19) outbreak a study is currently looking at the efficacy of natural honey in the treatment of patients infected with Covid-19.
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Manuka Honey May be Useful for Antibiotic Resistant Infections
A 2020 study investigating the application of medical grade honey as an approach to treating multidrug-resistant infections suggests it should be considered as an alternative therapy.
Manuka Honey May off Anti Viral Properties
A 2014 study of manuka honey found that in a laboratory, it efficiently inhibited influenza viruses, and another study found it had significant in activity against shingles. However, more research, including human trials, are needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be drawn.
Is Manuka Honey Safe for Everyone?
Honey is safe for most adults, however, it must be avoided if you are allergic to honey or bees. Those with diabetes also need to be careful around their blood sugar levels when consuming manuka honey, as it is high in sugar. The NHS also advises not to give honey to children under the age of 1 year old as occasionally it contains a bacteria that can be can cause serious illness in infants. There are many health claims made about manuka honey. Some of these are based on limited, small-scale studies which, although promising, can’t be used to draw conclusions about its clinical use. Always check with your GP or other health professional if you have concerns over its suitability for you.
Images sourced from Pixabay.
Article sourced from BBC Good Food