What Is Manuka Honey? What Are the Health Benefits?

Manuka honey is quite unique as the bees that produce this honey pollinate only the one type of flower on the Manuka bush in New Zealand and some parts of Australia. The special properties found in Manuka honey can be identified via its Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). The key signature factors that give Manuka its uniqueness is the presence of DHA, Leptospermum, and methy glyoxil.

Manuka honey has wonderful health benefits. It has been used historically by many cultures, and is one of the oldest traditional remedies considered to be important for both nutritional & culinary uses.

Manuka honey’s versatility of application allows it to be used for a diverse range of conditions, from sore throats to digestive issues, to grazed knees. Medical grade Manuka honey is also available for doctors to use for infections where antibiotics are not effective.

Manuka honey is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, has wound healing properties, and is helpful for sleep. One of the main healing properties of Manuka honey comes with its antibacterial activity. It retains a high moisture level & viscosity to provide an active barrier against infection. Manuka honey’s significant antibacterial actions may be related to the low pH level of honey, and its high sugar content, which is enough to hinder the growth of microbes.

Raw honey is unfiltered and unpasteurized, and like Manuka honey, raw honey has a range of benefits when consumed in this state. Regular raw honey is nutritionally dense and has some great immune-boosting abilities. Raw unfiltered honey is a rich source of amino acids, vitamins & minerals. Manuka honey is a superior product, having more than 4 times the potency of regular raw honey.

Research has shown there is benefit in regular consumption, providing a protective effect against colds & infections. Manuka honey can be applied topically to support would healing & used in skin care products.

Consumption of Manuka honey is based on what it is being taken for. As a general rule ingestion of 1 to 2 tablespoons on a daily basis for most adults, and 1-4 tsp for children is most beneficial. However, it is not suitable for consumption in some populations. Medical guidance should be sought for people with diabetes and those with bee allergies. Babies & infants under the age of one year should not be fed Manuka honey.

Manuka honey should not be heated over 105 degrees Fahrenheit to retain all of its benefits. When honey is processed & heated it has no benefit. It can be likened to using high fructose corn syrup. In some traditional cultures, particularly Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered toxic when heated above this level. Manuka honey can be added to warm beverages as opposed to boiling.

My favorite way to take Manuka honey is on a spoon a couple of times a day if using it for protection. If it is too sweet, it can be mixed with some cinnamon, cardamom, raw cocoa powder and a pinch of cayenne. At the first sign of a sore throat I recommend that my clients slowly suck on a tablespoon of Manuka honey a couple of times a day. If a cough begins to develop, cut up a red onion & pour 2 tablespoons of Manuka honey over the chopped onion. Cover & allow the onion to release juice over several hours. Sip on this liquid throughout the day. The liquid can also be mixed with turmeric, black pepper & a little warm coconut oil for enhanced anti-inflammatory effects.