What Is Manuka Honey : Benefits & Side Effects

It surprises me at the thought that how mother nature never fails to amaze us. The moment that we thought that we have used honey to its full potential and there is no other way that it can get any better, Manuka honey got introduced to us. 

 Manuka honey, the new superfood in the block, is proclaimed as the new go to germ fighter in the era where most of the microorganisms have developed a resistance against their potential antibiotics. Sounds intriguing…right? Well, let us learn something more about what is manuka honey and its benefits and side effects, if any!

What is manuka honey?

Manuka honey is a variant of the natural honey and is considered more potent than the standard honey available in the market. We generally know how honey is formed. Bees collect nectar from the plant and disgorge and store the nectar in their honeycomb. It slowly breaks down into sugar over time and thus honey gets formed.

 Manuka honey is also formed similarly but the only difference being that the nectar is specifically extracted from Leptospermum scoparium or the manuka bushes which are predominantly native to just New Zealand and Australia.

Manuka honey is a bit dark, more pigmented and thicker in texture than the normal honey. This variant of honey came into light in the 19th century but its popularity slowly gained momentum in the later years when series of researches were conducted upon it and was found that due to the presence of high amounts of methylglyoxal in it, manuka honey is a powerful medicine to fight against bacteria.

Benefits of manuka honey:

Manuka honey is a very unique type of honey. It has a whole lot of specialised characteristics attached to it. Due to it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, Manuka honey can be an antidote against a wide range of difficulties be it a sore throat or clearing up blemishes from your skin.

Healing cuts and wounds- There are a lot of medicinal uses of Manuka honey but healing cuts and wounds have been the most prominent out of them. Honey has generally been used as a potent remedy against cuts and wounds since ages and Manuka honey is no exception. With its acidic pH, it is considered to promote healing and also boost the process. When applied to a wound it blocks the enzymes, breaks down the protein and speeds up the recovery period. Due to a high concentration of sugar present, it also protects the wound from further damage.

 Fight against bacteria and virus-Honey are generally considered potent against microorganisms because of the presence of hydrogen peroxide in them due to a bee enzyme but Manuka honey is considered extra special. It has rich concentrations of methylglyoxal (MGO) which can completely cure minor and chronic wounds.

Not only bestowed with antiviral properties, but Manuka honey also put up a strong fight against bacteria as well. It has been scientifically proven that Manuka honey has been able to cure infections even when bacteria has created a biofilm( generally, the formation of biofilm in infection is considered incurable).

Time for a change in the medicinal world it seems.

Digestion and Immunology- Due to the presence of anti-inflammatory properties, Manuka honey can cure severe diarrhoea and also reduce inflammation of bowels. Through numerous researches, it has been has seen that it can prevent gastric ulcers and also improve gut health and reduce digestive ailments. Constipation,  abdominal pain and irregular bowel movement can effectively be cured by this superfood.

Promotes oral health- Researches have shown that Manuka honey can prevent decaying of tooth and also keeps your gum healthy. It minimizes bad oral bacteria without removing the good ones.

For beautiful skin and hair- As quite evident from the above, there are numerous medical uses of manuka honey but that is not the end to it. When applied on skin and hair, Manuka honey visibly reduces inflammation and irritability and also helps in soothing down eczema, acne or clogged pores. By massaging onto hair, one can get rid of problems like dandruff, scaly scalp and much more. It revitalises your hair making it bouncy, radiant and healthy.

Some manuka honey side effects:

As we all know, everything has a fair share of pros and cons. Till now we have seen the benefits, now let’s see some of its cons.

  1. Manuka honey should not be offered to diabetic patients as due to the presence of natural sugar in it, it can spike the blood sugar level of that person.
  2. It is not safe for people who are allergic to honey or bees as it may cause severe allergic reactions and in some extreme cases can even lead to death.
  3. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, infants less than one year should not be prescribed Manuka honey as it may cause infant botulism in them.
  4. Further research should be done on Manuka honey as it has been found that alone MGO(the key component of manuka honey) can be a potential threat for the living cells.
  5. As Manuka honey is extracted from the Manuka bushes which are native to New Zealand, the honey formed is rare and very expensive. Sometimes a single jar can cost up to 150 euros per piece. Damn costly right?
what is manuka honey

How to buy manuka honey?

To get a hold on a jar of Manuka honey, you have to either depend upon your local health stores or place an order online. However, be aware of what you buy.

Do not go for those jars that are labelled with ‘Active Manuka Honey’ written on them instead go for those which have ‘Non-Peroxidacion Antibacterial Activity’ (NPA) labels upon them or have a  ‘Unique Manuka Factor’ (UMF) marking. Also, don’t forget to check the UMF rating. Higher the UMF rating, higher is the quality of that Manuka honey.

How to use manuka honey?

  1. Manuka honey can be used in your food or directly ingested but make sure to have twice a week at best. Manuka honey is generally thicker than the raw honey available, therefore if taking a spoonful of it then consider having it as prescribed.
  2. Manuka honey is great to reduce inflammation, therefore directly apply a thin layer of the honey on the irritated area for 45 minutes, or 1 hour can show amazing results. Rinse it off with cold water after some time.

To soothe eczema, mix honey, olive oil and beeswax in equal proportions and apply a thick paste on the skin and wait for some time. Wash it off with some lukewarm water.

  1. For lustrous hair, mix Manuka honey and coconut oil and massage it on your scalp, keep it overnight and then wash it off the next day and pat dry.

Hopefully, this article on what is manuka honey was able to quench all your curiosities about this amazing superfood. Who knew that a variant of honey only native to New Zealand and Australia would be able to dominate the world’s nutritional and medicinal charts one day.

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