As science begins to understand the many powerful truths that Nature has always held — we are able to use the natural world to bolster our health and immunity. One natural property that is currently gaining wellness fame is manuka honey. In our research and experience, manuka honey lives up to the buzz (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves). However if you’re often a bit of a skeptic on the latest superfood “trends” —we get you and appreciate your discernment.
To help you uncover if manuka honey has a space in your wellness practice, we’ve rounded up some evidence backed answers to some commonly asked questions about one of nature’s sweetest healers.
What makes manuka honey different from other raw honeys?
Firstly, manuka honey hails from New Zealand. It’s produced by bees who pollinate the flower commonly known as the manuka bush. Outside of its origins, it’s manuka honey’s antibacterial effects that set it apart from standard honey. It’s also antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and has antioxidant benefits. A lot of its healing properties are attributed to its active compounds that include leptosperin, DHA, and methylglyoxal (MGO) that are not found in standard honey.
Are all manuka honeys the same? What should I look for on the label?
The purity of manuka honey is dependent on its MGO levels so look for manuka honeys that have the highest MGO possible. Most manuka honey lines will have their MGO rating labeled but if not, choose the darkest colored option as that indicates a higher MGO content. The other rating systems that can help you identify the most potent option for you and your family are the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) and NPA (Non-Peroxide Activity) ratings. Lower numbered ratings are suitable for flavor and cooking, while higher numbered ratings are medical grade and best for therapeutic use.
I’ve heard manuka honey is good for sore throats and coughs. Why?
As mentioned, manuka honey is antiviral and antibacterial — meaning it can reduce both inflammation and it attacks the bacteria that causes the pain. But one of the reasons you’ve probably heard manuka honey is an amazing salve for a sore throat is because as well as reducing the bacteria, it also coats the inner lining of the throat creating a soothing effect and acts as a natural cough suppressant.
How does manuka honey support my gut health?
The importance of gut health has grown over recent years. If you experience any gut health challenges especially SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), low stomach acid, and acid reflux, then try adding a tablespoon of manuka honey into your day. It is said that it can balance the bad bacteria in your gut and that, in turn, heals and soothes digestion. It also helps reduce infections and has been proven to kill the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. It can even break down E. coli, the bacteria that causes food poisoning.
Can it make my skin clearer?
Manuka honey is a powerful skin healer and has both beauty and dermatological benefits. If you are looking to add manuka honey topically, you’ll want to find the highest MGO honey possible, and if available — choose a medical grade standard. Manuka honey’s unique topical benefits include support for wound healing, combatting staph infections, and in the treatment of acne prone skin and scarring. Plus with all those nutrient-dense properties, it just gives your skin an amazing glow when applied for aesthetic purposes.
Do manuka honey’s antibacterial properties also apply to oral health?
In terms of holistic dentistry ingredients, manuka honey is multi-talented. Methylglyoxal diminishes biofilm, which is the primary cause for plaque build-up on and around your teeth and gums. Therefore, applying this powerful remedy can help keep tooth decay and gum disease under control. Plus, methylglyoxal is full of natural antioxidants that protect your teeth from unwanted toxins and in doing so, reduce inflammation in your mouth. One other dental benefit of manuka honey is that it produces a natural hydrogen peroxide that you can use to cleanse your mouth as an alternative to more toxic forms of peroxide.
What are some ways to incorporate manuka honey into my wellness practice?
Along with manuka honey’s multiple health benefits, it can also be used in multiple ways. Here are a few options to help you add manuka honey into your natural healthcare arsenal.
- Add it to your food or smoothies: we love spreading ours on a piece of organic glyphosate-free bread. The recommended dose is 1-2 tablespoons a day for ultimate digestive healing.
- Use it topically on wounds: apply honey to sterile cotton gauze with clean hands, then apply dressing to skin, place a clean, dry dressing over the wound, and change as necessary.
- Make a manuka honey DIY face mask: mix one tablespoon of manuka honey with ½ tablespoon of baking soda and a pinch of salt. Massage onto a clean, wet face, in a circular motion. Perform once a week for an amazing glow.
- Replace your mouthwash with manuka honey: add 1 tsp of manuka honey, 2 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp coconut oil, a pinch of cinnamon, ½ cup filtered or distilled water and 3 drops organic clove essential oil. Shake well in a glass container and swish a mouthful for 1-2 minutes.
- Use as an immunity tonic: explore tonics that contain manuka honey to keep illness at bay — we love our Mindful Immunity™ Super Protection Syrup that contains manuka and other impressive immunity boosting ingredients such as barberry and elderberry.
Although we’re huge believers in manuka honey and other natural healing alternatives, please note that the information here is not given as medical advice. If you have any serious health conditions or injuries, please seek the custom advice from your preferred health and well-being practitioners.