Imagine going to the supermarket to buy a jug of honey. Now, one thing is for sure; you will definitely be confused from all those different brands and variety of choices. How would you know which one is the right choice?
The answer is: Manuka honey
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush. Advocates say it treats wound infections and other conditions.
Here comes a follow up question: Why is Manuka honey better than the other types of raw honey? We offer you some information that will provide you all the answers.
Components of Manuka honey
Hydrogen peroxide is a component of honey. It gives most honey its antibiotic quality. But some types of honey, including Manuka honey, also have other components with antibacterial qualities.
Another antibacterial component in Manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.
In Manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound–dihydroxyacetone, that is found in high concentration in the nectar of Manuka flowers.
MG is thought to give Manuka honey some of its antibacterial power. The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect. But, there may also be other compounds involved in the medicinal effect of Manuka honey.
Honey producers have developed a scale for rating the potency of Manuka honey. The rating is called UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor.
The UMF rating is thought to correspond with the concentration of MG and other compounds. Not all honey labeled as Manuka honey contains significant levels of antibacterial factors. To be considered potent enough to be used for therapeutic purposes, Manuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF. Raw honey at or above that level is marketed as “UMF Manuka Honey” or “Active Manuka Honey.”
Manuka honey benefits
This raw honey has been used since ancient times to treat multiple conditions. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that researchers discovered that honey has natural antibacterial qualities.
A study conducted at the University of Waikato, New Zealand reached a conclusion that Manuka raw honey has unique antibacterial benefits for medical and health purposes, rather than those in the highly processed regular generic honey, where all the active ingredients are lost.
Nevertheless, the origin of the honey is very important as it is the single proof of how that particular jar reached the shelf of the supermarket.
Manuka honey will not consist of artificial sweeteners, sugar or other honey types, so what you see is what you get. You should bear in mind that every Manuka honey will have slight differences according to the season and the country of production.
So, whenever you have the chance you should get the top quality produced in the country of its origin – New Zealand.
For which medical conditions will you find Manuka honey beneficial?
It doesn’t mean that you have to have some kind of a problem in order to consume one spoonful raw honey a day. On the contrary, you can be in perfect health, and you can still use it on a daily basis to maintain your immune system in a ‘top notch’ form.
However, as we all know, most of the people have the habit to turn to healthy food only after they have experienced some ailment. Here are the problems that Manuka honey will help you solve:
- fungal infections
- digestive problems
- chronic bronchitis
The main medical use for Manuka honey is on top of a wound. So, whenever you have a skin problem ( a wound or a burn) you should just put a layer of Manuka honey which will disinfect the wound, absorb the water from it and heal it faster.
On the other hand, if you have problems with the internal organs, you should consume 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey 3 times a day, or for severe inflammation consume 1 tablespoon every hour.
Is Manuka honey better than antibiotics? The answer is a resounding YES!
In a study conducted by the University of Sydney, Manuka honey destroyed all types of bacteria in the experiment. It has been shown to be effective against H. pylori, E.coli and Streptococcus pyogenes.
Afterwards, in 2004, its medical use has been licensed by the British Government health institutions, as it works on superbugs, which are resistant to antibiotics.
Ways to use Manuka honey
There are various ways to use the Manuka honey: oral, topical, for skin care and cooking, and we offer you a few suggestions for its use.
- Manuka honey lemonade: You should mix 2 teaspoons of ginger, lemon juice, Manuka honey in 0.75 liters of water and there you’ve got your super tasty lemonade!
- Manuka honey mask for acne: Before going to bed, apply a layer of Manuka honey on your problematic skin spots. Wash the areas with warm purified water and repeat this procedure every night until there is a visible improvement.
- Manuka honey mask for facial moisturizing: Spread a layer of Manuka honey on your face, after having it thoroughly washed and cleaned. You can rinse your face with water after 20 minutes or so.
You can also try other natural types of honey, such as Clover honey (it is honey produced by bees that feed primarily off of clover nectar) and Buckwheat honey (it is a robust, dark honey gathered from the nectar of the delicate, white flowers of the buckwheat grain).
What makes organic honey different?
No matter what type of honey you choose to put in your shopping cart, make sure it is organic honey. It’s pretty obvious that organic honey is fast gaining a strong foothold in the honey market.
For honey to be certified organic, manufacturers have to meet a set of organic standards and conditions during the honey production (set by a organic agriculture certification body), which include source of the nectar, honey bees foraging area, bees management, honey extracting process, transportation, processing temperature, and packaging materials.
Honey that claims to be organic has to be tested to guarantee that it does not contain any residues of pesticides or environmental pollutants.
Farming of organic honey is also supposed to meet rigorous and extensive monitoring and testing criteria of the certification body, for instance, the documentation of, and consultation with every land user within a five kilometer radius of the organic hives to ensure they are free of chemical residue; regular analysis and testing of honey samples; and hives have to be proven free of non-organic honey, sugar and antibiotics.
However, the catch is these certification requirements vary from country to country, with some being less stringent than others. And dealing with different standards for organic honey from different sources can be confusing for consumers.
I have been warned that some honey which has been packaged and proclaimed as organic may not be truly organic. It takes a lot of resources to ensure against contamination, either by wind or by bee travel, of the bees’ forage by non-organic pollen.
Many beekeepers find it unfeasible for them to keep up with the stringent organic guidelines specified by the government.
Other than the reason that organic honey is a healthier choice, some ardent consumers of organic foods also feel that honey produced by organic farmers has a more superior taste than conventionally produced honey, and hence are more ready to pay for the extra cost. I personally also consume such honey but so far could not tell any difference in terms of taste superiority.