What is Manuka Honey and its Health Benefits?
Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
There have been several promising studies of Manuka honey in various areas of preventative care, such as:
- Acid Reflux
- Wound Care
- General Skin Care
Studies have shown that Manuka honey has multiple properties and health benefits, including:
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.
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.
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 MayoClinic.com, 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 for Wound Care
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
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 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.
Manuka Honey: A Superfood
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