Manuka Honey: What Can It Do For Your Health?
Manuka honey originates from New Zealand and is made from the flowers of the manuka bush. In the last decade has been used as a natural remedy, both internally and externally, due to its antibacterial properties. All honey contains some amount of hydrogen peroxide, an antibacterial chemical, but active manuka honey contains an extra active ingredient that occurs naturally and is known as the ‘unique manuka factor’ (UMF). A UMF rating is given to the honey and it must be a minimum of 10 as the higher the rating, the more potent and effective it is.
You should make sure that you are buying genuine UMF active manuka honey; the Active Manuka Honey Association has issued guidelines that will enable you to check this.
The most common uses of manuka honey are:
The combination of hydrogen peroxide and the additional properties in UMF manuka honey allow it to not only tackle the infection in the wound, but also to stop any additional bacteria from entering it and to protect from further infection by creating a barrier over the wound. Antibacterial and antifungal properties help to soothe and repair the skin, while the high level of sugar suppresses the growth of micro-organisms.
When manuka honey is used to prevent a barrier between the wound and the dressing, the moist environment speeds up healing, causes less scarring and is less painful. This is because the honey stimulates tissue regeneration and the moist environment means dressing does not stick to the wound, preventing the new skin tissue from being torn away. This application of manuka honey can be used on wounds, leg ulcers and burns and has even been introduced into some hospitals as a method of treatment.
Easing digestive problems
The antibacterial and antibiotic properties can help to fight bacterial infections in the stomach, diarrhoea, indigestion, stomach and peptic ulcers, heartburn and acid reflux.
The recommended UMF rating varies depending on what you are using it for, so find out which you need before buying it. For example, UMF 5+ is recommended for maintaining well-being and improving general digestive health and UMF 15+ is for more obvious digestive problems, such as vomiting, ongoing indigestion, diarrhoea or gastric reflux.
For centuries, honey has been used as a natural remedy against sore throats and an active manuka honey is even better because of the extra antibacterial properties. Both bacterial and viral infections can cause sore throats, and a streptococcus infection is one of the most common types of bacterial infection. The antibacterial properties in manuka have been found to kill all of the bacteria, including streptococcus.
It is recommended that you take a teaspoon three times a day, holding the honey in your mouth before swallowing it slowly to get the best result. It is a treatment chosen my many because of its pleasant flavour and completely natural origins, with no known side effects (unless you are allergic to honey of course).
Other uses for active manuka honey include: fighting gum disease, soothing acne, sunburn and eczema, fighting MRSA, providing vocal care and treating cold sores, pressure sores, Athlete’s foot, insect bites and arthritis.
The wonderful thing about manuka honey is that it doesn’t just have to be used to treat wounds or fight medical conditions; it can be taken daily to promote general health and well-being, and tastes yummy on toast too! If you are feeling creative there are many different recipes you can use it in, so why not give it a try?