Honey is a supersaturated sugar solution derived from nectar gathered and modified by the honeybee and has been used since ancient times for healing. Manuka honey is a special type of honey that has been shown to have even more healing benefits over regular honey. In this article I will explain the best manuka honey for healing since finding quality and true manuka honey can be a challenge.
Manuka honey comes from bees that pollinate the manuka bush. The manuka bush grows predominantly in New Zealand but also grows in Australia too. In fact there is a bit of competition between the two countries for the certification of authentic manuka honey. The world market price of manuka honey has reached incredibly high numbers making it one of the priciest exports coming out of New Zealand and Australia, so you can see why both countries are looking for certification superiority. If New Zealand wins the trademark, they will have a very lucrative product niche.
Manuka bushes also grow in other parts of the world, but the flower bees that pollinate them are not the right kind that produce true manuka honey. The New Zealand manuka bush is the same bush that tea tree oil comes from.
Authentic New Zealand manuka honey has the UMF on it’s side which is an advocacy group. The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMF) is a trademark and works with the growers and producers of the honey to inform the users of the benefits. These quality standards uphold the label by hiring independent companies to check samples of the honey. The UMF is also looking to trademark the Manuka Honey name to protect the authenticity of the product.
How Is Manuka Honey Different From Other Types of Honey?
All honey has natural antibiotic properties due to their hydrogen peroxide content and has been used for centuries for wound healing and it’s ability to kill germs. All honey is acidic with a pH between 3.2 and 4.5 which is responsible in promoting healing.
Manuka honey however, has even more unique qualities making it superior to regular honey. One of these properties is a substance called methylglyoxal (MGO) which is found only in the nectar of the manuka plant. MGO is superior at attacking germs so well that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved bandages infused with Manuka honey for over the counter and prescription use in wound healing.
MGO is not found in such high concentrations in any other food besides manuka honey. The higher the concentration of MGO, the stronger the antibacterial result. High concentration of MGO in manuka honey gives it the power to destroy a large number of viruses and bacteria. In fact, a recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases showed manuka honey killed almost every bacteria and pathogen it was tested on, something traditional antibiotics cannot claim. These bacteria and pathogens include two strains of staph bacteria, MSSA (methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus) and MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) and Pseudomonas aeriginosa (PA).
Manuka honey also has an amazing nutritional profile that far exceeds traditional flower honey. Manuka honey has amino acids, b vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc up to 4 times the amounts of regular honey.
Health Benefits Of True Manuka Honey
Digestion and Immunology – especially SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), low stomach acid and acid reflux or GERD. Any bacterial issue with the stomach can benefit from manuka honey. It can balance the bad bacteria in your gut which can heal and soothe digestion. Manuka honey can help prevent infections with it’s high antibacterial content helping with any bacterial illnesses and building immunity.
Stomach ulcers. Manuka honey is effective in killing the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, due to it’s antibacterial properties.
Chronic sinus infections. Manuka honey is effective at killing off Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas, bacteria responsible for causing sinus infections even better than antibiotics.
Wounds and skin ulcers. Manuka honey may be effective in killing MRSA, a bacteria that thrives on your skin and is commonly found in skin wounds. MRSA can grow and can be life threatening. ScienceDaily reports that 85 percent of bacteria in skin wounds was destroyed by small concentrations of manuka honey. Always check with your doctor for deep wounds or wounds that don’t heal or change in color and swelling.
Periodontal disease. Dental plaque and tartar are caused by bacteria left on your teeth and can cause inflammation and gum disease. Manuka honey was shown in a study to prevent dental plaque and worked better than a clinical anti plaque mouthwash.
Skin Care. Excema, sensitive skin and psoriasis can all be helped with the topical application of manuka honey. Although there is not a lot of science yet behind it, manuka honey’s anti inflammatory properties are added to skincare to soothe and relieve chronic skin conditions.
Diabetic foot ulcers. Manuka honey is reported to be effective in the treatment of diabetic leg and foot ulcers according to a recent study.
How To Purchase Authentic Manuka Honey
At the beginning of this article I mentioned UMF, the Unique Manuka Honey Factor, the trademark group that oversees the authenticity of manuka honey. The UMF is also a grading system which appraises the natural markers found in the honey to assure purity and quality. The UMF protects your rights as a consumer so you are getting what you pay for as the strength and potency of manuka honey as it varies per manuka bush. The UMF is a trademark of licensed users who must be New Zealand company manufacturers. Manuka honey must go through a series of tests to show authenticity and purity
This is the manuka honey grading UMF grading system:
The UMF quality trademark ranges from 5 upwards:
- 0-4 Not detectable
- 5-9 Low levels
- 10-15 Useful levels
- 16+ Superior high grade levels
The Active Manuka Honey Association of New Zealand is the organization responsible for the oversight of testing manuka honey. Below MUST be labeled on the jar, or it is not guaranteed authentic manuka honey.
What will you see on the jar of authentic, trademarked manuka honey?
- Authentic manuka honey will have the UMF® trademark on the jar.
- Along with the UMF will come a number. This number specifies the UMF level of anti-bacterial activity. 5+, 10+, 12+, 16+, 18+, 20+
- It has the UMF licensee’s brand name and license number on the label.
- It is packed into jars and labelled in New Zealand.
- It has a numerical number alongside the UMF trademark. (a number on it’s own without the trademark UMF does not identify genuine manuka honey).
- It is endorsed by the Official UMF Test Certificate which states the batch number test results on the label.
In conclusion, manuka honey is a special honey with superior antibacterial and nutrient qualities above regular honey. The UMF is a trademark for authentic New Zealand manuka honey, protecting the rights of the consumer in getting a quality and authentic product. Manuka honey has many researched and documented health benefits relating to antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Finding authentic manuka honey involves making sure the label has all the required information on it, guaranteeing authenticity.
My favorite brands of authentic manuka honey can be found below. And please comment if you enjoyed this article, I love to hear from my readers.