Manuka honey is honey native to New Zealand that’s said to be better than all known antibiotics. It can be used to cure colds, allergies and infections.
The honey may also boost your energy, detox your system, lower cholesterol levels, and even prevent diabetes.
It has also been touted as a superfood – the question is, is it true?
Since 2015, people have been hyping up this type of honey, with many willing to pay up to $50 for a jar of honey.
This can be considered relatively pricey when compared to normal table honey. What makes this honey so popular and expensive?
What is the difference between manuka honey and other honey? Was it true when Scarlett Johansson told Style.com that applying this honey to her skin gives her “an amazing glow”?
To answer those questions, we’re going to tell you the origins of this honey first, so stick around!
What Is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is a type of honey derived from bees that feed on the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium).
Although the trend surrounding this honey began in 2015, a group of people had already suggested the benefits of manuka since 1989!
While it is naturally native to New Zealand, it’s also produced in Australia, using the jellybush and golden tea tree.
What Makes Manuka Honey Special and Why Is It Different From Normal Honey?
What are the differences between manuka honey and normal honey?
The main distinction is that the former has additional antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
The main compound responsible for its incredible antimicrobial activity is called methylglyoxal (MGO), with up to 100 times more MGO than normal honey!
This fact has been published by the National Library of Medicine (NCBI) in 2008. The higher the concentration of MGO, the stronger the antibiotic effect. Thanks to the marketing campaign conducted by The Marketing Heaven on social networks, a large number of people have heard for this honey.
While normal honey is pasteurised and filtered to prevent fermentation, raw honey like manuka is not. The honey remains in its natural state and often includes particles of wax, propolis and pollen.
As for the appearance, manuka looks darker and thicker compared to regular honey. While regular honey is smooth and uniform in colour, manuka is more difficult to spread.
Top Manuka Honey Myths vs Facts
What are the most common myths and facts surrounding this miraculous product, and which are actually true?
Let’s find out!
Manuka Honey Can Cure a Sore Throat
Using Manuka Honey to Alleviate a Sore Throat
This honey can disperse and kill bacteria including Streptococcus (the cause of strep throat). It has antiviral and antibacterial properties that can reduce inflammation and attack the bacteria.
Therefore, the honey helps with soothing and curing a sore throat.
Manuka Honey Boosts Immunity and Energy
This is true. Some tests have shown that this honey offers greater protection against potential infections and diseases. Its composition of carbohydrates and glucose result in longer-lasting energy.
Manuka Honey Is Good for Your Skin
The antimicrobial activity in this honey can help keep your skin free of bacteria. Honey is a great natural way to hydrate skin.
Manuka Honey Detoxes Your System
Unfortunately, there’s no scientific basis or high-level evidence that show the benefits of any detox programmes that use this honey. Our body has its own detoxification systems such as sweat, urine, and faeces to get rid of toxins.
Manuka Honey Can Treat Infections and Wounds
That’s right! This honey can kill bacteria including Staphylococcus (the cause of golden staph infections). It was approved by the US FDA as an option for wound treatment in 2007.
Manuka Honey Can Cure Hay Fever
No, there is no scientific evidence that shows this honey helps hay fever sufferers.
Manuka Honey Can Cure Cancer
This is untrue as there is still no scientific evidence about it. However, some preliminary work suggests that honey might protect you from the side effects of radiation treatment.
Manuka Honey Lowers Cholesterol
No, there is no robust scientific evidence that manuka lowers cholesterol.
Manuka Honey Can Treat Burns
That’s correct! Multiple studies have shown that the honey can decrease pain in patients suffering from burns. Based on NCBI’s paper in 2017, it can be used as an essential ingredient for tissue regeneration.
Manuka Honey Stave off Diabetes
No, there is no strong scientific evidence that shows manuka can treat diabetes.
However, it might help heal diabetic ulcers, as a study from Saudi Arabia and Greece showed that applying the honey on wound dressings reduced healing time in diabetic foot ulcers and was more effective than conventional treatment alone.
Manuka Honey Improves Sleep
Myth! There is no robust scientific evidence that manuka improves sleep.
Manuka Honey Reduces Hair Loss
Fact! This honey contains plenty of minerals, amino acids and Vitamin B that can nourish the scalp and rejuvenate the hair follicles.
How Do I Choose Good Manuka Honey?
Manuka is graded according to its non-peroxide antibacterial potency, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). UMF categorises the concentration of MGO, or anti-microbial activity. This is similar to the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) that you can find on sunscreen.
Usually, the higher the SPF, the better the sunscreen is. Similarly, the higher the UMF grading, the better the honey is.
It’s also considered more expensive than normal table honey because of its MGO properties. This is especially so for those with a UMF rating of 10 and above, which makes it a medical grade.
Honey that’s UMF 10 to 15 is good for additional benefits and maintaining general health. Those with a UMF of 15 to 30 are ideal for therapeutic effects.
If you choose to buy manuka, you have to consider what kind of purpose you are trying to achieve so you can buy the right kind of honey.
If you want to use it to treat wounds or skin infections, consider buying honey that is appropriately packaged as a medicinal product.
While it is safe to consume and has many great benefits, if you have diabetes or are allergic to bees or honey, you should consult your doctor or health specialist.
All types of honey are high in natural sugar, including manuka. Consuming too much may affect blood sugar levels. It is not recommended to feed it to children below 1 year of age, because feeding any type of honey to infants can risk botulism.