Popular uses of Medicinal Honey
Known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, honey is renowned as one of nature’s superfoods. While medicinal uses of honey date back to ancient civilisations, not all honey is the same.
Raw honey is typically most associated with health benefits, but it isn’t the only type of honey proven to have medicinal effects. Manuka honey may not be raw, however, it is specialised and not to be glossed over. As the product of a New Zealand scrub plant, it contains a higher concentration of methylglyoxal that subsequently produces quite potent honey.
What makes manuka honey so special is the way its potency makes it antibacterial and bacterial resistant. This means that bacteria cannot easily build up a tolerance to its antibacterial effects, keeping you and your body healthy.
What Makes Manuka Honey Different?
While all types of honey have various levels of healing properties, manuka honey has specific components that contribute to its notable medicinal effects.
Most honey gets its antibiotic qualities from hydrogen peroxide, it is the added compound called methylglyoxal (MGO) that gives manuka honey its notable antibacterial qualities. MGO comes from the conversion of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a compound found in high concentrations in the nectar of manuka flowers.
Understandably, the higher concentration of MGO, the stronger the antibacterial effect.
To better understand the potency of manuka honey, honey producers have developed a scale that rates the Unique Manuka Factor (UMFTM) within honey. This UMFTM rating reflects the concentration of MGO, DHA and Leptosperin as the key components found in manuka Honey. To be considered authentic and potent enough for medicinal use, manuka honey must have a minimum rating of UMF 10+.
Why Manuka Honey is Used
With its identifiable antibiotic and antibacterial properties, manuka honey is increasingly being used for a variety of medicinal purposes.
The most popular use for manuka honey is to treat and heal wounds and burns. The acidic properties of manuka honey promote healing by blocking enzymes that break down the proteins and peptides the body needs to repair itself. Ultimately, helping the body act and function optimally.
Honey is also effective beyond spot treatments, and is proven to be helpful for general health and wellbeing. Its components and properties are also used to improve digestive health, manage eczema and dermatitis, and clear skin blemishes.
How to use Manuka Honey
Thankfully, the widespread research into manuka honey’s medicinal benefits means that it is now more readily available for purchase. While this makes the product much more accessible, how exactly does it work?
As manuka honey has shown the promising ability to reduce inflammation, it can be used to reduce irritation associated with acne. This is a relatively simple process, where all you need to do is apply a thin layer of manuka honey directly to the affected area like an ointment.
It is recommended the honey is left on for at least 15 minutes, and for better results, you can extend this to an hour depending on your skin condition and the level of treatment it requires.
When using honey to soothe skin conditions like eczema, research has suggested that combining manuka honey with equal parts of olive oil and beeswax and applying it three times a day can rapidly enhance its healing effects.
Digestion and Immunology
The sweet, syrupy, delicious taste of honey may have you questioning how such a sugary food can be beneficial for your digestive system. However, it is the components within manuka honey that have the ability to balance gut bacteria, subsequently aiding digestion, preventing infections and boosting immunity.
To reap the digestive benefits, simply consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of manuka honey each day. This is where you can get creative and customise the taste for your ultimate enjoyment. You can eat it straight out of the jar, add it to some lemon water, stir it into porridge, or lather it onto some toast.
If you aren’t sick but are consuming honey for preventative purposes, up to 1 tablespoon of manuka honey a day is plenty. This is an excellent way to boost your immune system and prevent you from getting sick.
If you are looking to implement honey into your regular diet to fully reap the benefits, there are a few factors to consider.
While manuka honey is relatively available, its price point is slightly higher than regular, store bought honey. It can be purchased online or at certain health stores, with its price reflecting its benefits.
You may have purchased manuka honey, but are now not sure the best way to regularly incorporate it into your diet. To ensure you are getting the most benefits possible, it is best to consume the honey in its raw state. This means not cooking or baking it into anything, or adding it to boiling liquids. When met with heat, the honey will become sterilised and stripped of its antimicrobial properties.
So, how can you eat manuka honey?
- You can add honey to your hot tea, just make sure you have let it cool down a bit first so that it isn’t still boiling.
- Use it as a natural sweetener in smoothies.
- Combine it with other ingredients such as oil and vinegar for a refreshing and zesty salad dressing.
- Drizzle a teaspoon over your morning porridge.
- Stir some into your yoghurt of choice.
Manuka honey is most renowned for its ability to treat minor wounds, but how exactly should you apply it?
It is important to note that if you have a severe wound or a deep cut, while honey won’t make it worse, it likely needs more attention from a doctor such as antibiotics or even stitches.
However, in instances where you have blemishes, small cuts or minor wounds, adding honey to the affected areas can be extremely beneficial. Depending on the wound, you should be able to determine the amount of honey to add to the affected area. It is ideal to add honey to a bandage and then apply it, rather than lathering honey directly into the wound.
Buying Manuka Honey
It’s one thing to know how to use manuka honey for your specific medicinal purpose, but there are also a few things to consider when purchasing the honey.
As honey is a naturally produced product, it may not come as a surprise that not all manuka honey is the same.
It is important to watch out for branding that labels their manuka honey as ‘active’. This term refers to the antibacterial effects produced by hydrogen peroxide. While it isn’t incorrect, it can be misleading, as these antibacterial effects are found in all types of honey.
What is useful to look out for when selecting a high quality manuka honey is the Unique Manuka Factor rating. The higher the rating indicates a higher level of compounds necessary for healing effects. To get the most benefits from manuka honey, opt for one with a high UMF rating.
The range for UMF scoring is as follows:
- 0 to 4: an undetectable amount is present
- 5 to 9: low levels are present
- 10 to 15: useful levels are present
- 16: superior, high-grade levels are present
To learn more about the benefits of Vallentine’s Manuka Honey, visit our blog, where you can find out all of the answers to your questions and more.
For any specific inquiries do not hesitate to contact us, we would love to hear from you.
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