Manuka Honey – Health Benefits and Healing Powers
Where does Manuka Honey come from?
It is a monofloral honey produced in New Zealand and Australia by bees that pollinate the native and uncultivated manuka trees. That’s right, bees produce this amazing honey from the nectar of this tree (Leptospermum scoparium, a.k.a. New Zealand tea tree).
What are the components of Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey is Known for its Antibacterial Components
- Hydrogen peroxide is a common component of many types of honey and is the one that gives a honey its antibiotic properties.
- Methylglyoxal or MG in short. It’s an organic honey compound also common for many types of honey, but usually in small quantities. Luckily MG content in manuka honey is quite sufficient due to another honey compound:>
- Dihydroxyacetone – a simple carbohydrate found in high concentrations in the nectar from the manuka tree flowers
It’s the MG component that gives manuka honey the unique antibacterial properties. The higher the MG concentration the stronger the antibiotic properties of the honey are.
In fact there is a scale for rating the actual manuka honey potency regarding the content of MG. This rating is called Unique Manuka Factor or UMF in short. The UMF Grading system assures the purity and quality of this New Zealand/Australian honey.
- UMF 5 = MG 83+ mg/kg
- UMF 10 = MG 263+ mg/kg
- UMF 15 = MG 514+ mg/kg
- UMF 20 = MG 829+ mg/kg
- UMF 25 = MG 1200+ mg/kg
In order to be considered potent enough the manuka honey should have rating greater than UMF 10. UMF 10+ means the honey is good enough for therapeutical use, i.e. it’s active.
Manuka Honey Benefits
- It is popular for its use on top of wounds because of its potent healing powers for such injuries. But don’t be mistaken that just any manuka honey can heal an wound…. No, the honey used for that purposes is a specially sterilized medical-grade honey.
- Reduces inflammation and shorten healing times in mild burn injuries
- Reduces high cholesterol
- Aids Type 2 Diabetes
- Helps treating gastrointestinal problems
- Prevents gingivitis and other periodontal diseases
Unfortunately, most of the studies conducted to reveal possible benefits of manuka honey, have been done on an insufficient number of patients and can not be conclusive.
However there is one major benefit of manuka honey regarding its usage as a sweetener in hot drinks:
Active manuka honey is heat stable, i.e. if you use it in your tea, coffee or other hot drinks, then you’ll still be getting the benefits of the unique manuka factor (UMF).