Before the advent of science and lab tests, our ancestors used honey to treat wounds, boils, and burns. While our ancestors believed the substance has natural healing properties, it was not until the 19th century that scientists were able to prove this. Today, as our ancestors did, we still use it for its many health benefits which of course include the treatment of wounds, mild burns, and boils.
Since researchers discovered that this bee-produced substance has natural antibacterial qualities, several other studies have been carried to uncover other health benefits that humans can enjoy from it. People that regularly consume it are protected from damages that are caused by bacteria.
Some types have been found to boost the production of special cells that repair tissue damages caused by infection. While most honey is known to have health benefits, the Manuka honey itself is thought to be more potent than other types.
What is Manuka Honey and Where is it Sourced From?
Manuka honey is a dark variety produced by bees that pollinate the flowers on the manuka plant. This plant is native to Australia and New Zealand which is why the honey is mostly produced in these two countries. That said, both Manuka honey from Australiaand those from New Zealand may vary slightly because of factors like the method of extraction.
Where it is produced is not its only distinguishing factor. The nectar of the flowers of the Manuka bush gives it its distinct non-peroxide activity properties. Like we said earlier, the Manuka is believed to be more potent than other types of honey because it has active compounds that are responsible for its stronger antibacterial properties. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), Methylglyoxal (MGO), and Leptosperin are the key compounds present in the Manuka that give it its unique antibacterial properties.
Since several factors can affect the potency of this naturally occurring substance, the Manuka inclusive, honey producers created a scale which they use to rate its potency. This rating is known as the ULF rating. The rating reflects the concentration of the three key compounds we mentioned earlier.
For this variant to be used for therapeutic purposes, it must have a ULF rating of 10+. So, the higher the rating, the higher its potency, and cost.
The following are some of the health benefits of the Manuka:
Helps Wound to Heal Faster
As mentioned earlier, our ancestors used honey to treat wounds sores, boils, and burns. Today, it is still used effectively for such. In fact, in 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Manuka honey for wound treatment.
Aside from the antioxidant and antibacterial properties it offers, its use keeps the wound moist which prevents microbial infections. Several studies have revealed that this honey amplifies the regeneration of tissue, thereby enhancing the healing of wounds. They also show that it even decreases damage from burns.
For instance, one study was carried out for two weeks on 40 participants who had non-healing wounds. It aimed to investigate the effects of the substance on their wounds. The results of the study revealed that an impressive 88% of the wounds decreased in size. Also, it created an acidic wound environment which is known to favour healing.
Treatment of Sore Throat
The Manuka honey may be effective in the treatment of a sore throat. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties can kill off the bacteria that cause the pain and reduce inflammation, thereby soothing the sore throat. You will find it interesting to know that it not only attacks the bacteria responsible for the discomfort but that it also soothes the pain by coating the inner lining of the throat.
A study done on patients receiving chemotherapy for head and neck cancer aimed to observe the effects of Manuka honey consumption on Streptococcus mutans, a certain type of bacteria that causes sore throats. The scientists found that the number of Streptococcus mutans decreased significantly after the patients began consuming it.
Furthermore, it decreases the oral bacteria that are known to cause mucositis. Mucositis is a side effect that people suffer from chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Improves Oral Health
Reports from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that nearly 50% of Americans suffer from some form of periodontal disease. This is largely caused by harmful oral bacteria that are not effectively gotten rid of.
To prevent tooth decay and maintain overall good oral health, we must minimize the growth of these harmful bacteria that cause plaque to form on our teeth. However, we must take caution as we do so because there are good oral bacteria that help to keep our mouths healthy.
Research has shown that this honey fights those harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum inflammation, and plaque formation. They reveal that it effectively inhibits the growth of bad oral bacteria like actinomycetemcomitans and gingivitis.
Acne is one of many skin problems that people experience. It can be caused by several things including stress, poor diet, hormonal changes, bacteria growth, or reaction to certain skincare products. Manuka honey has antimicrobial properties which when combined with a low-pH skin product is believed to combat acne.
Since it is known to attack bacteria, applying it topically can rid your skin of all acne-causing bacteria and speed up the healing process. Aside from attacking the bacteria responsible for the condition, it also has anti-inflammatory properties. What this means is that in addition to getting rid of the bacteria, it will help to decrease the inflammation that comes with acne.
Combat Digestive Problems
Many people suffer from digestive problems, especially irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Common symptoms that are associated with this condition include diarrhea, constipation, irregular bowel movements, and abdominal pain. Research suggests that regularly consuming this honey may help to decrease these symptoms.
Research shows that it effectively reduces inflammation and improves antioxidant status in rats suffering from ulcerative colitis and IBS. It also attacks Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff, a bacterial infection that causes severe bowel inflammation and diarrhea.