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What is Manuka Honey and its Health Benefits?

Updated on July 14, 2017
Heath Benefits of Manuka Honey: Manuka honey has both anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities that have been proven to heal the body of skin ailments, digestive issues and infection. Also identified as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Heath Benefits of Manuka Honey: Manuka honey has both anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities that have been proven to heal the body of skin ailments, digestive issues and infection. Also identified as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. | Source

Health Benefits of Manuka Honey

There have been several promising studies of Manuka honey in various areas of preventative care, such as:

  • Acid Reflux
  • GERD
  • Ulcers
  • Acne
  • Wound Care
  • General Skin Care

Studies have shown that Manuka honey has multiple properties and health benefits, including:

  • antibacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • anti-fungal

The manuka flower grows on the manuka tree, most commonly found in New Zealand. Bees love the nectar and in turn produce manuka honey.
The manuka flower grows on the manuka tree, most commonly found in New Zealand. Bees love the nectar and in turn produce manuka honey. | Source

What is the manuka flower and plant?

The Manuka flower blooms on the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium). The Manuka tree is a shrub or small tree native to New Zealand and southeast Australia. The flowers range from white to pink in color.

The Manuka is a bushy shrub seldom more than 12–15 ft high. It commonly referred to as both a tree or a shrub.

Beekeepers strategically place hives around Manuka Trees.
Beekeepers strategically place hives around Manuka Trees. | Source

What is Manuka honey?

Manuka honey is derived by bees that collect nectar from the Manuka flower. This flower is found on the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium).

Beekeepers strategically place beehives around groves of Manuka trees. The honey that is produced in the beehive is known as Manuka honey and has been shown to have impressive health benefits in both clinical and laboratory studies.

Manuka honey has both anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities that have been proven to heal the body of skin ailments, digestive issues and infection. In addition, it has also been identified as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Try a spoonful of Manuka honey on bread or toast as a healthy snack. Keeps acid reflux symptoms tamed too!
Try a spoonful of Manuka honey on bread or toast as a healthy snack. Keeps acid reflux symptoms tamed too! | Source

Manuka Honey for Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is caused when stomach acids move backward into the esophagus. This is usually caused by a weakness of the lower esphogeal sphincter. When the muscle becomes too weak or does not function properly, stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, throat and sometimes the mouth. The result is a painful burning sensation in the chest, commonly known as heartburn. Some patients diagnosed with acid reflux may even feel a burning and sour taste in the back of the throat. Continued studies are needed to prove Makuka honey can deter some ulcer-causing bacteria. However, it is not uncommon for Manuka honey to be used as a home remedy for various digestive problems. Studies are promising in providing positive support of what several Manuka honey users have reported.

Try a spoonful of Manuka honey on bread or toast as a healthy snack and see if it also helps you keep indigestion and acid reflux at bay.

Manuka Honey, H. Pylori and Ulcers

According to, about 50 percent of the world's population may be infected with H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori bacteria), which is known to cause ulcers and various digestive problems.

Research has demonstrated that manuka honey may be effective in treating some digestive infections caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. H. pylori infection is the cause of peptic and gastric ulcers. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, studies have shown that Manuka honey is able to prevent the bacteria from thriving in the gastrointestinal tract.

Speak with a medical professional before attempting to use honey to treat ulcers.

Manuka Honey and Cancer


More research is still needed in the areas of Manuka honey and its effect on existing cancer cells. However, flavonoids are in fact present in honey and show anti-cancer properties with in vitro experiments (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center). There have also been promising studies, which show an increase in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are highly beneficial and help armor the body against various cancers; making Manuka honey a nutritious addition for cancer prevention.

Disclaimer - Cancer is a very serious condition that is life threatening and should not be self-treated without the appropriate supervision of a doctor.

Wound Care with Manuka Honey

Video Description: New Zealand active Manuka Honey is well-known for it's antibacterial properties and is ideal for the natural wound healing. Professor Peter Molan, a pioneering biochemist and expert on natural honey wound care explains the benefits of using medical grade Manuka honey for wound management.

Manuka Honey is thick and does not drizzle like liquid clover honey.
Manuka Honey is thick and does not drizzle like liquid clover honey. | Source

Manuka Honey for Wound Care

Wound Healing

The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of Manuka honey may potentially promote the body to heal wounds and to prevent infection. In fact, prior to modern medicine honey was commonly used for treating infection.

Manuka honey has a high hydrogen peroxide content. Due to its hydrogen peroxide content, acidity and osmolarity its chemical makeup encourages wounds to heal. Studies are still being conducted in this area, but look very promoising.

Before using manuka honey to encourage a wound to heal, consult with a medical professional who can advise you on its use.

"The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, as well as nutritional and physical properties of honey, make it a logical and accepted natural agent for wound dressing." Honey for Wound Healing, Ulcers, and Burns; Data Supporting Its Use in Clinical Practice, The Scientific World Journal (2011)

Manuka Honey and MRSA

Treating Infections

Similar to its use in healing wounds, manuka honey's antibacterial and antimicrobial properties may make it effective in treating bacterial and fungal infections. In particular, studies have demonstrated that it may be effective against MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Infections such as MRSA can be deadly, but studies have found that Manuka honey lowers the production of the MRSA bacteria. Please refer to the reference list at the bottom of this hub for links to related studies.

Do not self-treat with manuka honey. Instead, consult with a trusted health practitioner who can help you decide on a proper course of treatment.

Manuka honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can reduce symptoms of eczema.
Manuka honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can reduce symptoms of eczema. | Source

Manuka Honey is an anti-inflammatory and may aid in treating eczema


Manuka honey has been shown to reduce inflammatory responses in the skin. Therefore, calming the skin of the uncomfortable effects of inflammation. Manuka honey stimulates the release of cytokines. Cytokines modulate the body's immune response and not only help with wound healing, but may also improve the negative effects of scarring.


Eczema is a common skin disorder causing itching, dryness, redness and scaly skin. The itching can result in excessive scratching, resulting in broken, inflamed skin. Manuka honey is a natural moisturizer. In addition, Manuka honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which may reduce the bothersome symptoms and effects of eczema.

Manuka Honey for Acne and Skin Care

Acne can be both mentally and physically painful. Manuka honey has been found to provide positive results as a means of skin care for acne sufferers. It is already known that Manuka honey is antibacterial and provides anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey is also a natural softener. All of these elements help promote a healthy and balanced skin care regimen. Some users use Manuka honey directly on the skin, while others use products which incorporate the honey into its ingredients. The added benefits are the vitamins and antioxidant properties in Manuka honey. The added perk? The vitamins and antioxidants in Manuka honey may also aid in preventing and reducing wrinkles.

Related Research and Clinical Studies of Manuka Honey

Cooper, R.A., Lindsay, E. & Molan, P.C. (2011). Testing the susceptibility to manuka honey of streptococci isolated from wound swabs. Journal of ApiProduct. Manuka honey has been shown to inhibit many of the bacteria commonly associated with wounds, such as staphylococci, pseudomonads, coliforms and anaerobes.

Rowena Jenkins, Neil Burton and Rose Cooper (2011). Manuka honey inhibits cell division in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of manuka honey, artificial honey and an antibacterial component (methylglyoxal) on cell division in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Aidan G. Leong, Patries M. Herst, Jacquie L. Harper (2011) Indigenous New Zealand honeys exhibit multiple anti-inflammatory activities Recent evidence suggests a potential role for honeys in mediating clinical inflammation and tissue damage

© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares


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    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Blond Logic, what an incredible story and testimony. I am genuinely sorry to hear about the amputation. I do hope he has progressed well through physical therapy. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      cclitgirl, hi Cyndi! glad to see you came back. Ohhhh, I know all about cravings too! I hope you have been able to give it a try.

      jackie, wow! Honey and yogurt sounds great. What a wonderful story and no colds either. Thank you for sharing your testimony.

      AudreyHowitt, thank you for reading and commenting.

      Victoria Lynn, glad to know I introduced it to you. Happy to see you came by for a read.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      I don't have manuka honey, yet, but now I have to go make another cup of tea and put some local sourwood honey in it because you gave me a craving. And we all know that when I get a craving, it's all over til I get it. So, I'll see ya later, HONEY! LOL

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I've never heard of Manuka honey! Great job of outlining the health benefits!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Such an informative hub! Thank you!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I`ve suffered with chest infections for many years. I stated taking one teaspoon of Manuka honey a day mixed in with my yogurt, and for the last year i have`nt had as much as a cold. Try it.

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Very wonderful hub... I didn't know there's such a flower or a honey made from it. Nature is really really amazing. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      Wonderful hub with lots of great information. I didn't know about manuka honey, let alone all its benefits. :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      6 years ago from Brazil

      Hello Miss Olive,

      You are correct, the benefits of manuka honey are astounding. Before my husband's leg was amputated, he had an open wound that wouldn't heal. The doctors tried anti-biotic treatments and still it wouldn't heal and close . It was only the honey that closed the wound. Unfortunately, bone rot had already set in and it had to be amputated. If we had tried this first, the result could have made such a difference.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Hi Teresa - Sorry for my late response. Clover honey has many wonderful benefits; topical and taken orally. Manuka honey is slightly higher ranking due to its stability. I hope to hear a great testimonial from you. Please let me know if you or your boys give it a try.

      Thank you for reading and commenting - I appreciate it :)

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent hub Marissa. I am not a big fan of eating clover honey. But I have boys at home who do like it and two who suffer from acne and eczema. Looks like Manuka honey might be worth a try. Voted up!

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      prasetio30 - I'm glad you stopped by to learn about Manuka Honey and its health benefits. I'm glad to share my research with you. I appreciate your ratings :)

      InTuneWithCooking - Good to know! I'm going to have to order my Manuka honey online. It is very expensive at my local market. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • InTuneWithCooking profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Great Hub. Manuka Honey is fantastic, and is always in my pantry at home.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub. I had never know about Manuk Honey. I am glad to know that this honey has a lot of benefits for health. You have done a great job by writing and share with us. Rated up and useful. Take care!


    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      ishwaryaa22 - thank you for your wonderful comment. Regular honey has many benefits as well. I'm glad to share the research I have done on Manuka honey. Thanks for the votes.

      RealHousewife - Hi Kelly! The fact that this honey can combat bacteria is truly impressive. Give it a try to let me know how you like it.

      Global-Chica - I was comparing the regular honey with Manuka honey in the store. Manuka is definitely thicker and needs to be spooned out of the jar. It is also pricier, but the benefits are incredible. From everything I have researched it looks like just a little bit goes a long way.

      Peggy W - Thanks for sharing and voting. Natural is better and if this can help rid the body of various ailments then why not? Please note that I listed the most recent studies for each of the claims. This product is definitely very promising and impressive. Again, thank you very much for sharing on the various social networks - it is greatly appreciated.

      livelonger - I read some interesting stories about how staph infections were cured with honey. These are promising and wonderful testimonials of how Manuka can destroy bacteria. Having studies that back up these claims makes it all the more impressive. Staph infections are scary - good to know honey worked for your friend.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Don Bobbitt - Thank you! I appreciate the votes. I'm glad to do the research and share my findings.

      Chris Achilleos - Hi Chris! Thank you for reading, commenting and voting. I was going to buy Manuka honey this weekend, but it was $28 for a small jar. Looks like I'll need to start ordering it online.

      Melovy - Let me know how the Manuka honey helps your husbands acid reflux. A natural alternative that removes the acid and bacteria would be wonderful. Thanks for the votes and lovely comment.

      rajan jolly - Hi Rajan! You took the words right out of my mouth. I'm going to be adding a paragraph that describes the UMF. I know you are wonderfully informed on the various health benefits of several wonderful foods and I highly recommend your hubs. Thanks for the added information and wonderful comment. I appreciate the votes and the sharing.

      cloverleaffarm - Great question! My understanding is that groves of Maunuka trees/shrubs are created and the hives are place throughought. It might be possible that bees visit other areas, but it would seem the majority of the nectar is coming from the Manuka flower.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Really interesting. I think bees and honey are fascinating. A friend with a recurrent staph infection said that he was considering using manuka honey on the wound, since it has strong antibacterial benefits. It is extremely expensive (something like $16 per small jar) but I guess cheaper than medicine!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Like others, I knew of some of the wound healing effects, antibacterial effects, etc. of regular honey but had never heard of Manuka honey. Thanks for this in depth article. Hope that they keep studying it and actually use it in medical practice. Often the natural things work just as well at lower cost and with no side effects. I am all for that if proven effective. Voted up, interesting, useful and plan to share this with my followers, tweet and FB it. Thanks!

    • Global-Chica profile image


      7 years ago from New York, NY

      I've seen Manuka honey at the health food store before but had no idea how it differs from other honey. Thanks for clarifying it and I think I'll give it a try the next time I'm buying honey.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey MO! I have never heard if this brand, I'm glad I did though I think I'm going to try to find it. Had no idea it could help with bacteria and some of the other stuff you listed! Very beautiful!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      7 years ago from Chennai, India

      I have not heard of Manuka honey though I & my parents use regular liquid and drizzling honey. Your research on this type of honey is well-explained and detailed - its benefits are well-stated by you. I will give it a try. Thank you for introducing us to unusually healthy foods!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful. Voted up.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 

      7 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great information. How can one be sure that the bees only visit the Manuka plant? Just curious.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Very informative hub, Marisa. Manuks honey is better than the regular honey because of a phtyochemical factor unique to it alone. This is often referred to as the unique manuka factor(UMF) which is extremely stable even in the presence of heat, light, water even blood serum.

      Voted up and all the way across. This hub needs to be SHARED.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      7 years ago from UK

      I love Manuka honey and use it often for its health benefits and taste, but I’ve learned a lot more from your hub. I didn’t know it was good for acid reflux, and my husband has a lot of bother with that, so I may see if I can persuade him to try Manuka instead of pills.

      You’ve clearly done a ton or research for this hub, and it’s great to see it presented in such a clear way. Thanks for this very impressive hub! Voting up, U, A & I!

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 

      7 years ago

      This is a very interesting hub missolive. I have seen a Manuka flower before and have tried Manuka honey. Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      miss olive- Another fantastic and inte resting Hub on a fascinating Health Food. Voted up and interesting. Thanks so much for sharing this great collection of information.

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      2besure - Hi there! I'm glad to hear you find Manuka honey to be 'an amazing food'

      I'm very impressed with the research I have found. Thank you for sharing your info and for reading. :)

    • missolive profile imageAUTHOR

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 

      7 years ago from Texas

      homesteadbound - Hi Cindy, in one of the studies I reviewed it showed that Manuka honey seemed to show greater sensitivity in reducing bacteria; especially with bacteria found in h. pylori and MRSA. I was pleased to find recent, supportive and interesting research on Manuka honey. Great benefits.

      Thank you for reading and for your great question.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I just found out about this last year. It is an amazing food. It's about 31.00 in the health food store.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Very interesting. Many of the properties that you state are common to honey in general. Are there some things that Manuka honey does that normal honey found elsewhere does not? Honey definitely has many powerful medicinal uses.


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