By Simone Barrance
Adv. Diploma Naturopathy
Manuka honey has been used for centuries by the Indigenous people of both Australia and New Zealand as part of their traditional medicines. More recently, Manuka honey has made quite a name for itself, with laboratory studies being conducted in Australia and New Zealand to determine the healing properties of Manuka honey, and to better understand this wonderful natural healer.
More and more people are switching to Manuka honey for its long list of reported health benefits. These health benefits range from assisting wound healing, boosting the immune system, soothing digestive complaints and reducing inflammation.
Even the medical field has picked up on Manuka honeys healing properties, with it now being used in some hospitals and burns wards to promote wound healing and to assist prevention of infections. Manuka honey is not only gaining attention from the medical field, but is also gaining interest in the beauty world, with more and more beauty products containing Manuka honey for its long reported healing and anti-inflammatory actions. It can also provide a barrier which may assist in preventing wounds from becoming infected.
Manuka honey has a rich, earthy, herbaceous taste making it nice and easy to take. Here are some ways to try it!
• Straight off the spoon for soothing the throat and upper respiratory tract.
• Mix with water and fresh lemon juice and drink to assist boosting the immune system.
• Mix with water and cinnamon powder to assist with the digestive tract.
• Apply a thin layer directly to a wound and cover with a bandage for wound healing.
• Use in place of regular honey such as in foods and drinks for general health.
As Manuka honey is heat stable, you may add it to your hot drinks without impacting on its activity too much.
So what is Manuka honey?
Manuka honey is a special variety of Australian or New Zealand honey made from bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium). This native plant is commonly known as ‘Jelly bush’ in Australia.
How is it different from regular honey?
All honeys naturally contain hydrogen peroxide, which has antibacterial properties, however it is not very stable and is greatly diminished by heat and storage. Where Manuka honey is different is that it not only contains hydrogen peroxide, but other antibacterial agents that are much more stable than hydrogen peroxide. This ‘Non Peroxide Activity’ is then rated and its score placed on the label.
Things to watch out for when buying Manuka Honey!
UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) – The trademark grading system that appropriates the natural markers ensuring quality and purity. The potency of the ‘Non Peroxide Activity’ is:
• 0 – 4 = Not detectable
• 5 – 9 = Low levels detected
• 10 – 15 = Useful amounts detected
• 16+ = Superior/High levels detected
To guarantee you are getting a good quality Manuka honey, ensure the front label has a Trademarked UMF and number, and that it is sourced from Australia or New Zealand. The higher the UMF the higher the healing properties.
Why not swap to Manuka honey?
Using a natural antibacterial such as Manuka honey is likely to add value to your home remedies kit and your kitchen pantry. Not only will you reap the benefits of this wonderful, natural product, it also does not damage any of the beneficial bacteria found in your gut. So next time you are out buying honey, why not swap over to Manuka honey and enjoy the vast uses and health benefits this wonderful honey can give you and your family.