The popularity of Manuka honey has ballooned worldwide as word about its health and beauty benefits spread further and further.
What is manuka honey? And, curious to know where this honey comes from?
It is from New Zealand. This honey is specifically produced by bees that pollinate the flowers of the Manuka bush (Leptospermum Scoparium).
The Manuka Bush
The Manuka Bush is a native plant thriving in southern Australia and New Zealand.
New Zealand is home to cultivating this bush specifically for honey. The bees gather nectar from the flowers of the bushes. It is then processed for its medicinal benefits in the pharmaceutical industry.
Hence, some beekeepers cultivate this tree for the honey.
What is so Special about Manuka Honey?
Most honey acts as antibiotics because of the presence of hydrogen peroxide in them. This includes manuka honey.
What is Manuka honey?
But this variety has other ingredients having more antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Glycerone or Dihydroxyacetone, a simple saccharide, is found in the nectar of manuka flowers in high content. Converting this compound produces methylglyoxal (MGO).
While other honey varieties have MGO, it is higher in manuka because of the high concentration of glycerine.
What Do MGO and UMF mean in Manuka Honey?
Beekeepers rate the potency of manuka honey based on the presence of MGO. The higher the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), the higher the MGO.
MGO indicates the levels of methylglyoxal in Manuka honey. The higher the MGO number, the higher the antibacterial quality and health benefits.
UMF is a grading method measuring the quality of Manuka honey. A globally accepted grading system helps identify manuka products as genuine. The UMF rating is the measurement of the potency of the medicinal properties of this honey. When the rating is high, the more potent it is.
UMF grading starts at 5 and goes up to 25. The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA) in New Zealand manages this rating to keep track of the authenticity of manuka honey in the market. The UMF stamp can only be used after quality standards laid out by the UMFHA are met.
If you are purchasing this kind of honey for its fast healing properties, then choose one with a higher rating.
What are the Benefits of Manuka Honey?
Although regular honey is healthy in itself, the anti-bacterial properties of manuka honey bring it to another level from other types of honey. This has been the perception and claims of most users who have tried and tested its benefits.
Over the years, honey helps treat some medical conditions due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
But with manuka, these qualities are more potent.
What is Manuka honey used to treat?
Manuka honey’s benefits include treating cuts, wound infections, and burns. Some even used them in treating wounds in pets.
Some people use it to improve skin conditions due to its antioxidant activities. Others choose this as a sweetener for those with diabetes, as a remedy for sore throat, coughs and colds, and many other medical conditions. It boosts the immune system, too!
This kind of honey has also been presented for use in lowering body cholesterol. Additionally, treating gastrointestinal and digestive problems, flu and sinus infections, and even inhibiting cancer cells are also some perceived benefits one can attain from it.
There are also claims of this honey being effective in the treatment of acne and inflammatory diseases. While these claims are unsubstantiated by research and medical studies, the testimonies of those who have tried using them seem to be enough for those wanting and looking for solutions to their health problems.
What is manuka honey good for?
Different types of honey are versatile ingredients for various recipes. Honey is used for everything from baking to bathing. So, it comes as no surprise that Manuka honey benefits the skin too.
Manuka Honey is good for skin and hair care too!
Manuka Honey For Eczema And Acne
Studies have shown that Manuka honey can help treat lesions and scars. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, Manuka honey may soothe the painful and itchy lesions caused by eczema and acne.
Here’s how Manuka honey may help with eczema and acne:
- Test a small area first to check you have no allergic reaction.
- Keep the jar completely sanitary by sterilizing a spoon or spatula. Never put your finger into your jar of Manuka honey.
- Apply each evening before you go to sleep.
- Using clean hands, use your fingertips to apply the honey to the area of eczema or acne.
- Use a light gauze dressing to cover the area before sleeping.
- In the morning, remove the gauze and use warm water to clean the face.
- Repeat each evening.
Manuka Honey As A Face Mask Or Face Wash
Fans of this honey swear by its glow-inducing qualities for facial care. It can also act as a moisturizer by helping your skin to retain moisture. Use this type of honey daily to wash your face. To do this, simply follow these steps:
- Rinse your face with warm water.
- Smooth Manuka Honey onto your face (don’t expect a lather).
- Massage your face for 30 – 60 seconds.
- Rinse off with warm water.
Or use it as a weekly face mask by following the first three steps above and leaving it on your face for 15 – 20 minutes before rinsing off.
Manuka Honey For Hair
As well as skincare, Manuka honey is excellent for keeping your hair luscious and healthy-looking. Its emollient properties can help your hair retain moisture too. Handy for anyone who has dry, damaged, or frizzy hair.
Here’s how to use Manuka honey on your hair:
- Use it by itself or mix it with coconut oil.
- Smooth the honey (or honey mixture) from root to tip until all your hair is covered.
- Leave on the honey hair mask for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wash off with your regular shampoo.
Regular Manuka honey hair masks will leave your hair noticeably softer and easier to manage.
How To Choose The Best Manuka Honey For Skin and Hair Care
Any certified Manuka honey will have beauty-boosting benefits for use as part of your daily skincare or regular haircare routine.
Always look for a jar with the UMF rating (more on this later).
All honey is a little different. For use on hair and skin, you might prefer a thinner type that is easier to apply. Thicker honey will work too. Warm it gently before use to make it easier to smother on.
However, be very careful not to overheat the honey as this could damage your skin or hair, besides damaging the medicinal properties of your honey as well.
Manuka honey’s benefits include its natural antibacterial activity. Popularly used to boost immune systems naturally, it treats mild viral infections like colds and flu.
When planning to treat colds, sore throats, and flu with Manuka honey, always consult with your doctor first. In most cases, using this honey to ease symptoms is entirely safe and beneficial.
Use a teaspoon of this liquid gold for sore throat and cough. Alternatively, mix it with ginger and hot water for a soothing sweet drink for an itchy and raspy throat.
To use Manuka as an immune booster, take up to a tablespoon worth each day. As delicious alternatives, spread Manuka honey on yogurt, fruit, or toast. You can, of course, just eat it off the spoon.
Manuka Honey For Wounds
The health benefits of Manuka honey caught the attention of doctors and healers centuries ago. Its antibacterial ability and soothing nature hasten the wound healing process and reduce inflammation.
Keep these five tips in mind for wound healing with Manuka honey:
To use Manuka honey at home for treating small cuts and infections, make sure that the jar is sterile. Using an existing open jar from the pantry could lead to germ-contaminated content that can get into the wounds and cause an infection.
- Always clean your hands thoroughly before and after dressing a wound.
- Ensure dressings are in date and hygienically package.
- Use a sterile spatula to apply honey to the wound in a thin, even layer.
- Replace the dressing regularly.
- Seek medical advice if you notice signs of infection or the patient experiences dizziness, breathing problems, or feelings of nausea.
How To Choose The Best Manuka Honey For Acne and Wounds
Choosing the best Manuka honey for use on irritated or wounded skin starts with the UMF rating. For wound care, a higher rating means that the honey has better antibacterial properties.
Speak to your medical practitioner for advice on which Manuka honey they would recommend.