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What is Manuka Honey - Health Benefits of Manuka Honey and How it Can Heal You

Updated on December 20, 2015

What is Manuka Honey and Where it Originated

Manuka honey is a native to New Zealand. It is produced by the bees that feed on gorgeous aromatic flowers of tea tree also known as Manuka bush. This honey is also produced in Australia but Manuka honey from New Zealand is the mostly priced honey at the market. The primary reason for this is because not all honeys are created equal and Manuka honey does stand out.

Honey has been known to humans for many thousands of years. In the "dark ages" when medicine just began to take off, honey had many uses as a unique remedy for healing wounds, treating colds, gum diseases, stomach problems and other types of sickness. Local tribes of New Zealand, however, have noticed that honey collected from Manuka trees was indeed something special. It healed the wounds much faster than the regular honey. It has also proven to be effective for burns, ulcers, cough and many other diseases.

Some of the unique healing properties of Manuka honey may be due to the fact that it is collected by bees from the blossoms of tea tree bushes. Tea tree oil has lots of great uses and benefits for human health. For example, tea tree oil is recommended as a first aid topical antiseptic for bacterial or fungal infections. Tea tree oil also treats a variety of skin diseases, acne and so much more.

New Zealand Tea Tree - Manuka
New Zealand Tea Tree - Manuka | Source

Why Manuka Honey is so Special

As the medical science advanced, more and more researchers became interested in studying this mysterious honey to find out what makes it so special.

Every honey has a component called hydrogen peroxide which gives honey antibacterial properties. Along with hydrogen peroxide, Manuka honey also possesses another important antibacterial component called MG. It stands for methylglyoxal. MG in Manuka honey is generated by conversion from another antibacterial compound which is found in very high quantities only in Manuka flowers. In fact, Manuka honey contains the most MG that any known honey.

The other interesting fact about Manuka honey is that the antibacterial components of Manuka honey behave differently than regular honey when they come in the contact with bacteria. The regular honey is not stable and can lose the antibacterial properties once it comes in contact with heat, light or undergoes other changes like dilution. Manuka, on the other hand, when it comes in contact with the body heat, releases its antibacterial hydrogen peroxide slowly which helps to destroy bacteria. In other words, the honey collected from the nectar of Manuka bush flowers has enzymes that are very stable in comparison with the regular honey.

What is UMF Rating

It appears that not all Manuka honey is the same. The honey collected from two bushes growing few feet apart from each other can be completely different and one can be not as good as the other. Don't take this the wrong way. Manuka honey is still a very powerful honey but how powerful are different batches of honey?

This is how the grading system for Manuka honey was created. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor which measures active, unique and natural properties of Manuka. UMF was created to protect the rights of consumers and determine the best quality of Manuka Honey. The UMF Honey Association tests hundreds of batches every year to insure the authenticity and safety of each batch. The manufacturers of Manuka honey have to be licensed and even audited from time to time to be able to put a certain UMF stamp on their label.

The UMF grade, which is also the measurement of bioactive healing properties in Manuka honey, will determine the price of this unique honey. The Manuka honey has to be totally undiluted, pure and of the best quality to receive the highest standard UMF on its label.

But not only UMF grading goes on the label of Manuka honey. The jars of the highest quality Manuka honey will have the brand name and the license number on them. The genuine Manuka honey has to be manufactured and packaged in New Zealand.

Health Benefits of Manuka Honey

Manuka honey can be used to help your body fight very many diseases. The best practical use of Manuka honey is to treat the broad range of skin conditions such as bacterial infections, fungal infections, eczema, rashes, dry and cracked skin, rosacea, burns, cuts, ulcers, athlete's foot, scars, sores and much more. Manuka Honey has proven to be great for treating acne. You may use Manuka honey on the areas infected by acne as well as take a teaspoon of Manuka 3 times a day for better results. Applying Manuka honey as a facial mask daily will help clear the skin from acne.

Manuka honey is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps reduce wide range of inflammations in our bodies such as joint inflammations.

Manuka honey is also used for treating common colds, flu, cough, sore throat, sinus infections, and tonsillitis. Many people find it effective when treating gastritis, stomach ulcers and colon inflammations due to bacterial infections. Manuka honey works miracles when it comes to treating bacteria - it kills bad bacteria in stomach and colon and promotes the growth of good bacteria. Manuka honey is also used to treat acid reflux, diarrhea, gastritis and heartburn.

It is also recommended to use Manuka honey externally for treating skin conditions in dogs and cats.

Overall, Manuka honey, when consumed daily, will help you build strong immune system and treat the broad range of conditions associated with bacterial or fungal infections. Your overall health will improve greatly from using this amazing completely natural honey. The cost of Manuka honey is considerably low in comparison with getting the prescriptions and using the medications.

How to Read the UMF Rating and How to Choose the Best

There are few scales of the UMF strengths of Manuka honey. For example, you may find UMF 10, UMF 15, UMF 16, UMF 20, UMF 25 and more. The higher the UMF, the more expensive is the honey. Manuka honey with the UMF rating on the label is packed by licensed companies only. The honey is always tested in the lab prior to establishing the UMF scale and, believe it or not, each batch has to be tested independently.

There is also the NPA label that is placed on Manuka honey as well. NPA stands for Non Peroxide Activity. The NPA 15, for example, is supposed to be the equivalent of UMF 15 and so on. Also, sometimes you may see the label reading "Manuka Honey with MGO 400" and this is the equivalent of UMF 10.

Now that we know how the rating system works and what is considered to be the best, let's talk about how to choose the best Manuka honey. When choosing Manuka honey, make sure to check if it is packed by the licensed company. Make sure you choose the right UMF strength. If you are going to be using Manuka honey to heal some condition, choose the UMF 15 or higher. If you are going to be taking Manuka honey to support your good health, UMF 10 will do well for you.

Side Effects - None

The most amazing thing about Manuka honey is that it is a very powerful natural medicine for many diseases and it has no side effects. Contrary to any medicine with the long list of side effects which can treat one disease but potentially create the other during this treatment, Manuka honey can only heal you and make you feel better.

Of course, just like any honey, Manuka should not be given to infants under 12 month and should not be consumed by people allergic to honey.

Honey Question

Have your tried to substitute sugar with honey in your tea or coffee?

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