Manuka honey is a special type of honey made by bees in New Zealand that frequent the Manuka bush ( Leptospermum scoparium) that is also native to New Zealand. The special thing about Manuka honey is it’s antibacterial properties.
What is special about Manuka honey?
All honey has antibacterial activity because of the hydrogen peroxide formed by an enzyme in the honey. However, Manuka honey has high level of “non-peroxide” antibacterial component called methylglyoxal (MGO) and an unidentified synergistic component that is unique to the Manuka plant.
For normal honey, the enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide loses its activity in the presence of heat and light. This enzyme is also inactive in the presence of stomach acid and is destroyed by protein digesting enzyme. Therefore, normal honey does not give antimicrobial activity in the digestive system.
In Manuka honey, the non-peroxide MGO is stable to heat and light and is twice as effective against E.coli and Enteroccoci, the 2 common bacteria that cause wound infection. It can diffuse into the skin cells and tissue to provide the antibacterial effect to infected skin cells. Hence, it is excellent in wound healing.
It is also effective against Helicobacter pylori, the bacterial that cause peptic ulcer.
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)
“Active Manuka Honey” is distinguished from the other honey by the MGO content. The potency of the “Active Manuka Honey” is measured by the activity of the MGO that is equivalent to the concentration of phenol that kills Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) represents the potency rating. UMF 10 means the MGO activity that kills S.aureus bacteria is as effective as 10% phenol solution. You can find Manuka honey in UMF 5, 10, 15, 20, 25.
Numerous evidence has been reported of Manuka honey antimicrobial properties that is effective in promoting wound healing. It prevents microbial growth in moist environment, thus, keeping the wound sterile without the need for antibiotics.
Clinical observation reported that wound infection rapidly cleared, inflammation, swelling and pain greatly reduced and healing occurred with minimum scaring. There was no tissue damage compared to other topical antiseptics.
The acidity in Manuka honey is the key to stimulating wound healing. It is also used to tackle antibiotic resistant strain of bacterial, which is a growing problem in the hospitals around the world.
Chris Graham was bitten by an Alsatian. It grabbed his hand and gave a five-stitch bite. At the doctor’s clinic, they solely used Manuka honey and no other treatment. There was barely any scar after 3 weeks. Now, the medical kit in his truck consist of Manuka honey and bandage and nothing else.
Other Benefits of Manuka honey
When taken orally:
- Improve oral health such as tooth decay and gum disease
- Sooth sore throat
- Improve digestive problems such as ulcer, heartburn, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis
- Protect the liver against damages caused by oxidation and inflammation.
- Supports the body defense due to its high antioxidant content.
When applied topically:
- Fight infection and promote wound healing
- Burns, acne, eczema and skin ulcers
Be careful when you are buying “Active Manuka Honey” as some suppliers claim the product as “Active Manuka” which antimicrobial activity is from hydrogen peroxide. You should use the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating as a guide to the antibacterial activity.
Have you tried Manuka honey? Share with me how does it help you in the comment box below.
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