Manuka honey is a honey that is pollinated by bees in New Zealand; the same bees that pollinate the native manuka bush. Scientists and advocates have been doing studies that show manuka honey is effective at treating wound infections, burns, and some other medical conditions.
How Manuka Honey Heals
Manuka honey and its antibacterial qualities were first discovered in the late 19th century by researchers. The honey helps to protect against damages caused by different types of bacteria. It can also stimulate the production of cells that repair tissue damaged by infection, which is why it helps with wounds and burns. Manyka honey also is an anti-inflammatory substance that helps reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Components of Manuka Honey
There are different components of medical-grade manuka honey including hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide is what transforms it from ordinary honey to an antibiotic substance. A major component of manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG), which is a compound found in different types of honey, but typically only small quantities. The higher the concentration of the MG, the stronger of an antibiotic the manuka honey is. The scale of potency is measured with different ratings called Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF. This UMG rating will correspond with the level of concentration of MG in the manuka honey. To be therapeutic and considered medical grade, the manuka honey must have at least 10 UMF on the scale and can then be labeled appropriately.
Studies on Manuka Honey
There have been a variety of studies regarding the healing power of manuka honey for more than wounds and burns, but other medical conditions as well. It is already shown to be effective with promoting healing and fighting infection due to its antibacterial qualities. It is currently listed by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database as “possibly effective” due to the inconclusive results for things such as leg ulcers. The most recent studies are on its effectiveness for preventing gingivitis and treating high cholesterol.
Using Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is most often used to treat a wound as well as minor burns. Other medical conditions Manuka honey can be used for are preventing or treating cancer, reducing cholesterol, reducing systemic inflammation, treating diabetes, treating gastrointestinal problems, and treating infections of the eyes, ears or sinuses. There is limited evidence on the effectiveness of manuka honey for these medical conditions.
Side Effects of Manuka Honey
There are few side effects, though some people may experience things such as an allergic reaction to the substance, especially if they are allergic to bees, a rise in blood sugar, and negative interaction with chemotherapy drugs.