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Is Manuka Honey yet another miracle cure?
The Honey Bee
Manuka Honey, another miracle superfood?
Just as we thought that every possible ancient and hidden secret miracle medicine had been 'rediscovered', branded, repackaged and launched in the health market place as an amazing cure, another one hits the shelves of our stores.
Let's face it, the big difference between the snake oil salesmen and responsible marketing people is how a product stands up to their claims.
If we take a natural organic product that has been around for hundreds of years, used by it's native people without even questioning how and why it works as it does ...pretty much how we take aspirin and some tourist chances upon it, immediately spotting the marketing potential not just because of its healing properties, but the whole history, heritage and even secrecy. All powerful selling points.
Manuka Honey is a good example of this phenomenon. We are only just beginning to fully understand why this honey is vastly different to any other honey. There are powerful claims that in most cases Manuka honey has proven powerful antibacterial properties that outperform many pharmaceuticals as well as traditional forms of medicine. Now that is some claim and should be justified.
Benefits of Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey as an Alternative Medicine
Manuka honey is one of those unusual products that can be taken internally just like any other type of honey, but the difference with Manuka is that it can also be applied externally.
This means it can be used on infected wounds and skin conditions including acne and eczema. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral.
Spread Manuka Honey over wounds!
It might sound strange or unorthodox to put honey on a wound or infection but we don't think twice about using chemical based lotions and potions.
When taken internally Manuka honey can help with stomach ulcers (H. pylori), ringworm, gastrointestinal disorders, acid reflux, sinus infections, irritable bowel syndrome, even the common cold and flu symptoms.
It has also been know for patients to try it as a last resort and when all else fails, yet experience positive successful results. On that basis it won't be long before people try it first.
A rather astonishing point is that expert medical research has shown that there is no known bacteria that has been able to develop a resistance to Manuka honey, if that isn't enough it is also capable of eradicating the MRSA bug, despite medical research there has been no reports of any side effects from using Manuka honey as an alternative medicine.
Swarm of honey bees
Manuka honey, good and bad bacteria
As a general rule doctors will prescribe some form of antibiotics but, however, there is a downside in that antibiotics taken orally will kill all bacteria, the good and the bad bacteria. This is because antibiotics do not discriminate.
In actual fact there are some forms of bacteria that our body needs, friendly bacteria is crucially important for our health and digestive system.
When the antibiotics eliminate the good bacteria it causes problems with our system's balance and could eventually present negative side effects.
Despite medical research there still is no real explanation as to why Manuka honey does not affect the good bacteria, yet it obliterates the infectious bacteria.
Skeptics can become believers
Many of us readily accept branded, marketed chemical based pharmaceuticals. If you frown upon alternative medicines, consider this; Manuka honey is pure and organic, it is what it is and not a by-product of a natural ingredient or some medicinal chemical.
If you enjoy eating honey anyway, and have it on toast, sandwiches, on ham, use it in cooking, why not simply use Manuka in conjunction with whatever you are taking as a medicine.? This allows to to test it without changing your habits.
If you have not yet been prescribed any medicines, why not try Manuka honey first?
Let's face it, if you find yourself getting better quicker without taking any form of medication, and don't accept that Manuka honey made any contribution to the rapid healing process, at least you can say it was just pure coincidence that you happen to take Manuka honey and got better.
Just by swapping your regular honey with Manuka honey - you could make a lot of difference and if you are still not convinced, try it on another family member!
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Research Confirms Manuka Honey is a Healer
Dr Peter Molan, MBE is an Associate Professor in Biochemistry at The University of Waikato, New Zealand, he decided to embark upon research into the ancient healing properties of Manuka honey in 1981.
The research confirmed that Manuka honey does indeed have healing properties because of a natural hydrogen peroxide antibacterial agent. This is an ingredient in most honeys but in varying levels. of quantity and quality.
It is a known fact that bees gather the nectar from pollen, we all learned this at school. We probably didn't learn that they then introduce an enzyme called glucose oxidase to the nectar, this is what preserves the honey.
During the research it was discovered that when Manuka honey makes contact with the natural moisture of the human body and the glucose oxidase enzyme slowly releases the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide at sufficient levels to fight bacteria, this natural healing process doesn't damage the body tissue.
A question in the laboratory was “If the hydrogen peroxide was removed, would Manuka honey still have significant antibacterial activity?”. Dr, Molan continued his experiments by added catalase to Manuka Honey samples, this is one of the most potent catalysts known and removes the hydrogen peroxide. The sample honeys were once again tested for evidence of any remaining antibacterial activity. Results of this experiment showed some Manuka honey samples still had significant antibacterial activity.
An important issue here is that there is such a varying range of hydrogen peroxide antibacterial activity in honey, some batches would have better healing qualities than others and this inconsistency would not be acceptable
The level of hydrogen peroxide antibacterial activity in the honey depends on how it has been handled; the glucose oxidase enzyme for example is easily destroyed by fluids, heat and sunlight.
Some nectars depending on the pollen, produce a catalase that destroys the glucose oxidase enzyme.
The hydrogen peroxide can also be destroyed by a catalase enzyme present in body tissues this and reduces the antibacterial potency when used on a wound or infection.
Because not all honey is effective in this non-peroxide anti-bacterial action and healing properties, there is a vast variability between different batches which can vary as much as 100 fold, it was misleading as to the 'strength' of Manuka honey.
In order to standardise the classification of antibacterial honey activity TradeNZ was created in 1996 in conjunction with the Honey Research Unit.
Following this unification an industry standard was set called the UMF® , standing for Unique Manuka Factor.
A UMF® rating of 10 is the minimum activity to gain a rating and is commonly referred to as Active Manuka Honey.
Check the label for the strength; 0-4: Not detectable , 5-9: Maintenance levels only (not recommended for special therapeutic use), 10-15: Useful levels for therapeutic uses, 16-30:Superior levels with very high potency.