All honey has antibacterial attributes. Some types more then others. The main reason for these variations is the type of flowers the bees harvest the nectar from.
This results in the additional presence of plant-derived antibacterial components in some honey. Already in ancient times people knew of these differences in benefits of honey:
Dioscorides (c.50 AD) stated that a pale yellow honey from Attica was the best, being “good for all rotten and hollow ulcers”.
Also the fact whether or not the environment is polluted seems to be of importance (although less) regarding the quality of the honey.
Honey from nectar of manuka flowers is the most potent honey in the world when it comes to health benefits.
The manuka bush or tree (Leptospermum scoparium), which is an extraordinary plant itself, grows exclusively in New Zealand.
Manuka honey is special because it has something other types of honey do not. Although a lot of research has been conducted the past few decades scientists still do not know exactly what this mysterious component is and how it exactly works. But they are able to test the honey on the presence and quantity of this special component.
The natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties of manuka honey are responsible for mankua honey health benefits.
Manuka honey vs ‘normal’ honey
Another distinction that can be made between health benefits of manuka honey is between scientifically proven effective and useful according to anecdotal reports or no evidence at all.
An increasing number of benefits is shown to be effective by studies and other research. Many reports can be found on the Waikato University Honey Research Unit website.
Health benefits are the treatment of skin conditions such as infected wounds such as MRSA and staph infections, abrasions, ulcers, ringworm, insect bites, rashes, burns, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and possibly acne. Manuka honey has shown to be very effective in boosting wound healing.
Its anti inflammatory action helps reducing pain. Fungi such as nail fungus, athlete’s foot and other fungal infections are exterminated . Gastritis stomach ulcers, peptic ulcers, acid reflux, sore throat, arthritis are examples of internal use benefits.
It is also thought to boost the immune system, treat cold and flu symptoms and is even said to help diminish wrinkles. Probably because of its hydrating properties.
More soon in another post on how this wonderful natural product works. The honey that has shown to treat infections resistant to antibiotics also has no known side effects.
Manuka Honey Health Benefits: Skin Care & Digestive Application
Worldwide recognition of Manuka honey for medical use is increasing. Its medical purposes can be roughly divided into two areas. On the one hand topical applications such as skin care and on the other hand internal use such as the treatment of gastrointestinal conditions.
Revival Medical Use Honey
worldwide accepted historical medicine
The medical use of honey is making a comeback. The Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, Egyptians, Byzantines, actually most peoples used honey for skin care and digestive purposes. This knowledge goes back least 5000 years ago. A Sumerian tablet of 3,000 BC recommends honey for skin ulcers. Honey butter was used as a topical dressing after Ayurvedic surgery in traditional India. And the most well known example of honey as a skin care product are the honey and milk baths of Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
After the invention of penicillin in the beginning of the 20th century the medicinal aspects and uses of honey became oblivious. The instigation of laboratory research on Manuka honey started in the 1980′s and its promising results has led to the revival of honey as a medicine. This rediscovery should be embraced because an increasing amount of types of bacteria is becoming resistant to antibiotics.
Hippocrates wrote: “Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of lips, heal carbuncles and running sores.”
The Koran, Chapter XVI, entitled The Bee, states: “There proceedeth from their bellies a liquor of various colour, wherein is medicine for men.” (The “various colour” refers to the diversified colors of honeys.)
Interesting read on thehistory of honey (pdf)
Medicine vs Dietary Supplement
a critical note to avoid confusion
Considering the extraordinary benefits some batches of manuka honey have displayed it should be emphasized that there is a distinction between honey as a medicine and as a dietary supplement. Most manuka honeys even though they have been tested for their antibacterial and other beneficial properties are technically just dietary supplements. The only manuka honey and products based on this honey, such as Medihoney dressings, are approved by the FDA and are indeed medical devices.
Manuka Honey Health Benefits
topical, digestive but non systemic
According to prof. Molan, the world renowned biochemist, researcher and discoverer of Manuka honey’s additional qualities, this honey is known to heal seemingly untreatable wounds. Surprisingly it is very powerful in destroying harmful bacteria but at the same time it assists in restoring the balance of good bacteria the human body,
“There’s more evidence, clinical evidence, by far for honey in wound treatment than for any of the pharmaceutical products. However, it won’t work once an infection gets in the blood. It’s not a miracle.”
Evidence for its efficacy is provided by ongoing studies and laboratory research. Because there are so many ailments Manuka honey is used for there isn’t proof for the efficacy of every treatment. But for many applications there is clinical evidence. Also the vast amount of positive anecdotal reports is promising.
Topical vs Internal use
The use of this honey for its health benefits is twofold; topical (cutaneous) and internal (digestive). Using manuka honey as a remedy is only useful when it is in contact with the area that must be treated.
Medical Digestive Use of Manuka Honey
Heartburn, Acid Reflux
Acid reflux orGerd (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition in which stomach contents leak back (reflux) into the esophagus. This is caused by a muscle not closing properly.
Among those contents is acid which causes irritation, and possible inflammation which might cause permanent damage to the esophagus. This chronic injury is called esophagitis.
Although there is no clinical evidence for the medical use of Manuka honey on acid reflux, abundant anecdotal reports show it does at least seem to offer heartburn relief. Common medicines are known to offer relief but these have side effects whereas Manuka honey does not.
picture digestive system by LadyofHats | Wikimedia Commons
Stomach Flu, Gastroenteritis
Stomach flu, gastroenteritis, gastro, gastric flu, tummy bug is inflammation of the digestive system involving both the stomach and the small intestine resulting in stomach pain and diarrhea. Although the name flu suggests otherwise this disease is unrelated to influenza.
In one clinical trial honey was used in place of glucose in a re-hydration fluid (solution of electrolytes) and given to infants and children hospitalized with gastroenteritis. The honey treatment showed a statistically significant reduction in the duration of diarrhea caused by bacterial infection (58 hours cf 93 hours). Haffejee and Moosa (1985)
source:Waikato Honey Unit
Peptic, Stomach Ulcers
An ulcer in the digestive system (gastrointestinal tract) is called peptic ulcer. When the ulcer is located in the stomach it is called gastric (or stomach) ulcer. These ulcers can be very painful.
Gastric and peptic ulcers are thought to be caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Waikato University researchers have done trials showing manuka honey is effective in killing Helicobacter pylori. The studies also showed manuka honey to be more effective than other types of honey. A clinical trial on 45 people with upset stomach, indigestion (dyspepsia) were given 30 ml of honey before meals three times a day:
“After treatment with honey the number of patients passing blood (from peptic ulcers) in their feces had decreased from 37 to 4; the number of patients with dyspepsia had decreased from 41 to 8; the number of patients with gastritis or duodenitis seen on endoscopy had decreased from 24 to 15; the number of patients with a duodenal ulcer seen on endoscopy had decreased from 7 to 2.” Salem (1981)
source:Waikato Honey Unit
But, this does not mean manuka honey is a clinically proven cure for stomach ulcers. For more detailed information on the research done visit this post titled; does manuka honey cure stomach ulcers?
Cough and Sore Throat
Pain in the throat, a sore throat (pharyngitis) is caused by an inflammation of the throat. Most commonly this inflammation is caused by viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, or irritants such as pollutants or chemical substances.
This is why manuka honey with its inflammatory, anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal powers is used more and more for a sore throat.
The best honey rating for a sore throat (as for many home uses) is an UMF rating of 10 to 18 (or a MGO honey with compared strength.) as these ratings are recommended for most therapeutic uses.
Manuka Honey and Sinus Infections
A sinus infection (Sinusitis), simply put, is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. This condition is mainly caused by a bacterial, fungal, viral, infection or allergic or autoimmune issues. source: Wikipedia
The pressure and headache caused by a sinus infection are due to the fact that bacteria form layers of living material (biofilms) that coat the surface of the sinus cavities.
photo bymelissaclark | Creative Commons
A study from the University of Ottawa shows manuka honey to be more effective (in many cases) at destroying bacteria that cause sinus infections than antibiotics. The research was restricted to laboratory tests (in vitro).
Manuka honey destroyed bacteria free-floating in liquid. It didn’t completely rid the bacteria in a biofilm, but was still able to kill 63 to 91 per cent of different bacteria types. source: canada.com
Boosts Immune System
Manuka honey can not only kill the toughest bacteria but it is also very useful because it stimulates the body’s immune system. A stimulated immune response results in faster injury repair by an accelerated growth of new cells.
How To Take Manuka Honey Directions
for digestive use
Learn how to keep the honey as concentrated as possible to optimally coat the gastrointestinal tract.
Medical Use of Manuka Honey in Wound Care
Manuka honey has a potent antibacterial activity. Its powerful healing properties have shown to clear infections, remove dead (necrotic) tissue (debriding*) and pus, stimulate closure and tissue growth and decrease scarring. It is also very effective in preventing wounds becoming infected. (* Debriding is the removal of dead tissue which is also implemented by using maggots of certain types of fish)
There is extensive clinical evidence for the supremacy of themedical use of manuka honey regarding wound care. Research has shown it is more effective than several conventional wound care practices. This was concluded from a comparison of 17 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1965 participants, and in five clinical trials of other forms involving 97 participants treated with honey. source:using honey in wound care
“It’s been used on wounds where nothing else will work,”
Research has shown that certain strains of manuka honey used on wounds and ulcers have the following action:
- Its antibacterial properties reduce infection;
- Increases blood circulation to the wound;
- Reduces inflammation, which leads to less swelling and pain relief;
- Its antioxidant activity decreases the amount of destructive free radicals;
- Speeds wound closure by hastening granulation and epithelialization;
- Reduces wound odor by preventing ammonia production;
- Its osmotic effect draws dead tissue, exudate and dirt from the wound;
- Its debriding action allows easy detachment of scabs and dead tissue;
- Provides a moist wound environment which aids healing.
Staph infections and other wound infections are a plague to hospitals nowadays. They are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Manuka honey soaked wound dressings based have shown to be twice as effective as other honey against Eschericihia coli and Enterococci, which are common causes of wound infections. Another notorious staph infection is caused by the MRSA bug.
MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is infamous because it is resistant to various antibiotics resulting in very difficult to treat infections.
Manuka honey can both prevent the MRSA staph infection from infecting open wounds and quickly clear the wound from this dangerous infection. There have been at least 9 papers published in medical journals supporting this last statement. Biochemist Prof. Molan on the medical use of honey in treating MRSA:
“Waikato hospital took up my suggestion to use Manuka honey to try to prevent MRSA infections. In one of the wards, where they had a long history of problems with MRSA, the charge nurse tried putting honey dressings on all patients with wounds when they had an MRSA outbreak. As well as clearing up the wounds that were already infected, there were no cases of cross infections.
“Now, whenever they get a patient with MRSA, rather than putting them in isolation they just put honey dressings on everybody with open wounds and they’ve never had a case of cross infection since. We’ve since tested Manuka honey against MRSA and other super bugs, and they are all very sensitive to it.”
“They (Manuka wound dressings) are being used but I don’t think people have really caught on to the idea that it can be the answer to the MRSA problem. People don’t realize just how much evidence there is and the reason why honey works – it’s not just an antibacterial activity – there are other beneficial healing elements, so even if a wound isn’t infected it’s still the best thing to use to get the most rapid healing without scarring.”
Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Dr. Robert Frykberg, chief of podiatry at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix, said the Medihoney product has worked on about half the patients with diabetic foot ulcers who have used it.
He said the Medihoney dressing can also prevent the dangerous drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA from infecting open wounds.
Burn Wound Care
honey superior to traditional burn treatment
Since ancient times honey has been used to treat burn wounds. In 1998 a study comparing honey with silver sulfadiazine dressings for superficial burns was conducted.
(Subrahmanyam) Silver sulfadiazine has been traditionally considered to be the agent of choice for minor or partial-thickness burns. Especially to prevent and or clear infections. However this clinical trial showed
In 7% of the patients burn wound infections were cleared within 7 days, whereas with honey 91% of the burn wounds were sterile within these 7 days. Healthy new tissue appeared almost twice as fast with honey, and new skin cover developed faster also. Honey also got rid of dead tissue and bad odor accompanying the burns. There was better relief of pain, less exudation of lymph, and less irritation with honey. Honey also gave a lower incidence of raised and contractured scars.
Manuka Honey Wound Dressings and Gels
medical grade honey products for wound care
The recent FDA approval, and the exploding sales of Medihoney products is emblematic for the revival of manuka honey for medical use. Previously exclusively available to hospitals now also available on the consumer market.
“Wound dressings impregnated with Manuka honey (which has a high level of antibacterial activity) were recently approved by the FDA as a medical device. Apart from removing the risk of getting an MRSA infection (or any other infection) in injuries, the use of a honey dressing will have the advantage of getting the wound to heal faster than with any other treatment, and will prevent scarring resulting from the injury.”
Did you already know about the extraordinary health benefits of manuka honey?
A few weeks ago me and a friend were in a shop which has multiple stores all over our country (the Netherlands) when we saw UMF 10+ Manuka honey from the Medibee brand on the shelves.
The shop owner told us that the two jars we bought were the last ones because the firm has taken them out of the assortment! There was not enough demand for this product was the answer of the lady of the store to our astounded reaction.
This example is emblematic to the fact that the big public has yet to discover this great natural product with very effective medicinal properties.
Manuka honey has been effective where antibiotics failed and is even known to cure the superbug MRSA!
Due to unhealthy side effects, topical antibiotics can only be used for a short time but active Manuka honey can be used for long term treatment.
It can be used safely and without side effects. It sterilizes open wounds, speeds up the healing process creating less scar tissue, has anti-inflammatory effects and an antibacterial level 4 times greater than standard antiseptics.
Just to recap, a summary of manuka honey’s proven health benefits, manuka is known to treat:
* stomach ulcers
* sore throat
* cracked lips
* cold and flu symptoms
* eye and throat infections
* relieves eczema and skin irritations
* kills antibiotic resistant infections
* destroys the stomach ulcer bacteria helicobacter pylori
Here some manuka honey reviews and experiences of other users.
Since I had to move this article because the site it was previously on closed down I put it up again here on ManukaBenefits.com.
The comments added there offer a great insight in which benefits other users of manuka honey have experienced. That’s why I added these comments below.
- Eliza O’BrienMay 7, 2013 @ 11:19 am|
- I used manuka honey MGO 400 on a scab that was,nt shifting. I had the scab for about six months on my hairline.
- After using the honey for about 6 weeks daily the scab disappeared. I suspect it was due to sun damage.
- lizzyMar 21, 2013 @ 12:07 pm|
- To clarify my previous comment. I did not use Manuka honey to get rid of the scabies just the eczema. I used medically prescribed lotions to get rid of the scabies. Still, the effect of the honey masque I used was amazing on the excema.
- BeasMar 21, 2013 @ 4:48 pm|delete
- A friend of mine has persistent eczema on his hands and it also improved a lot after using manuka honey. It did not disappear entirely, maybe because he doesn’t use it all the time but combines it with an ointment I don’t know the name of. Thanks for sharing lizzy. Always good to hear how people benefit from this honey.
- lizzyMar 21, 2013 @ 12:09 am|delete
- It cleared my chronic sinus infection. I had picked up scabies from the hospital and then got excema. The honey was slathered on like a masque and the dry skin came off and the excema disappeared. I love this honey. A friend had surgery on his knee which got infected internally. Has not totally disappeared with antibiotics – I wonder if manuka would help him if taken internally.
- KarenFeb 22, 2013 @ 6:10 pm|delete
- I had a very bad steam burn on my hand with blisters under the skin, I put Manuka Honey on the burn & I didnt even lose the skin it was amazing.
- BeasFeb 22, 2013 @ 8:21 pm|delete
- Great to hear Karen. Thanks for sharing. Manuka honey really is something special. Recently a friend of mine complained about a little wound under his foot that didn’t heal. I advised him to put manuka honey on it. When I asked him later on he told me the next day already the wound had almost healed.
- CornellMarComJan 12, 2013 @ 10:41 pm|delete
- This is great. Manuka Honey sounds fantastic. Good info….thank you.
- CindyDec 22, 2012 @ 1:24 am|delete
- I read on the internet that one should take a probiotic if taking Manuka honey since this honey is like an antibiotic. Has anyone heard about this? I know it kills bad bacteria but does it also deplete good bacteria?
- BeasJan 11, 2013 @ 4:52 am|delete
- If I’m correct it only kills harmful bacteria. I can’t find the source right now but you could try the searching the website from the Waikato Honey Reseach Unit, New Zealand or search for Dr. Thomas Henle from the University of Dresden, Germany.
- After a quick search I did come up with this: The Dresden study examined the possible health risks of consumption of naturally-occurring methylglyoxal in manuka honey.
- Professor Henle said the research showed unambiguously that methyglyoxal in manuka honey was not absorbed into the body and did not pose a dietary risk for consumers. Methyglyoxal was rapidly degraded to lactic acid in the small and large intestine.
- “Our research shows that dietary methylglyoxal in manuka honey is stable in conditions of the mouth, throat and stomach where it has antibacterial activity, killing “bugs” that can cause infection and that it is safe to eat.”
- More on PharmacyToday.co.nz
- Healthy Mumma of 4 boysDec 7, 2012 @ 5:53 am|delete
- Manuka honey is absolutely amazing stuff! I use it regularly for the whole family for colds, flu, tonsilitis and just this week it totally cured my ear infection. For chronic throat issues I dissolve a teaspoon of 15+ manuka honey in the back of the throat for a couple of minutes then swallow. Repeat every 2-3 hrs for the first day, administering at the very first sign of a sore throat. Continue a few times daily for the next couple of days til it’s gone. Ear infection treatment: Dissolve a teaspoon of the honey in half a cup of warm water and store in an airtight jar. Use a syringe to put approx .5ml into the infected ear and leave in for a minute. Keep treating as per throat infection above!
- BeasDec 7, 2012 @ 9:56 am|delete
- Hi mumma, I use it for sinusitus as wel. I put a bit of Manuka honey on a q tip and apply it to the inside of my nose. You can also use the syringe technique. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
- OUTFOXpreventionNov 24, 2012 @ 12:45 am|delete
- Great info on honey I need to try. Thanks for the lens.
- Mr. van de LaakNov 14, 2012 @ 11:34 pm|delete
- My seven year old daughter got a nasty infection on her ear’s cartilage. Got antibiotics of the doctor, which didn’t seem to help. Eventually the swelling got bigger and became as big as a marble. Pus came out and it could be drained. The swelling reduced, but the infection still stayed, and my guess is that still some pus was being formed. Also the area was red due to inflammation. After doing some research on the internet I read about honey to fight infections and such. So I bought some (regular honey) and tried to apply that. No effect. Then I bought some 15+ Manuka honey, applied that yesterday night before bed time. Put a gauze on it, and let her sleep. This morning the inflammation and swelling were visibly reduced. I hope that maybe a few more treatments the pesky bacteria will be gone. So far it seems to be working.
- I am going to add this honey from now on, to my organic apple cider vinegar. Super combo.
- BeasNov 19, 2012 @ 4:49 pm|delete
- Great to hear another success story. thanks for sharing!
- VspaBotanicalsAug 3, 2012 @ 1:53 pm|delete
- I love this honey
- MelindaMay 19, 2012 @ 4:01 pm|delete
- After a visit to a health spa, I contracted an antibiotic resistant Staph infection on my back. I tried prescription topical antibiotic ointment, plus two different oral antibiotics. Nothing worked, and the infection grew worse. I read about Manuka honey for treating Staph, so I bought some. It was hard to apply it to my back– it stuck to my clothing and bed sheets. I tried mixing it with some skin cream and it worked better. Within a week the infection was almost gone, and within two it was gone completely.
- I’ve also been using it for toenail fungus, and it seems to be working so far.
- I love Manuka honey.
- GlenMar 24, 2012 @ 10:03 am|delete
- I used to pass lot of gas and after using this honey for a month, my problem is gone for a year. I need to continue taking this. Does this have any side affects?
- BeasMar 24, 2012 @ 10:20 am|delete
- Hi Glen, great to hear how manuka honey worked for you. As far as I know, and I have read a lot of research reports on this honey, there are no side effects. The only thing is that in some people, who have sensitive skin, this honey may cause a little stinging sensation. But that’s upon topical use. Just keep on using manuka honey.
- Linda McGrawJan 30, 2012 @ 9:54 am|delete
- Picked up the stomach flu while caring for my son that had it and, and he really had it. He vomited, and also had severe diarrhea. I started feeling symptoms, and I drank Kombucha, and then took a half teaspoon on Manuka Honey, and also put some in ginger tea, and my symptoms subsided. I only had diarrhea and some chills, however only for a few hours. He is still recouperating today. I’m feeling norma. I am impressed. I use Manuka honey a lot. It is a miracle.
- BeasMar 24, 2012 @ 10:26 am|delete
- Thanks for sharing Linda, I know from experience that you may get the feeling that this honey is a miracle. It certainly has very special health benefits.
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