For years we’ve been told the seemingly never-ending benefits and healing properties of honey, more specifically Manuka honey. Unlike most alternative treatments and trendy superfoods, this one is backed by not only years of use in traditional medicines, but also hefty scientific evidence.
So, we’ve taken a look into exactly what makes this honey so special, how you can use it and what you need to look for to make sure you’re getting the good quality stuff.
Manuka honey is made when honey bees pollinate the flowers from the Manuka bush, which grows solely in New Zealand. The honey produced is more potent than normal honey and contains a very special compound called methylglyoxal (MGO) which, in a nutshell, is the ingredient that makes this honey so special.
Honey has a history in medicine going back over 8,000 years and has even been found depicted in Stone Age paintings. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese and Romans all used honey for a range of varying conditions, including wounds and intestinal disorders, while the Germans were known to use it to prevent infections on injured soldiers during World War Two.
Its benefits include helping heal cuts and scrapes, clearing infections, easing stomach aches and sore throats, improving digestion and boosting the immune system, and unlike a lot of alternatives, the benefits are supported by scientific evidence.
So, what’s the best way to use Manuka honey?
Whether you’re fighting fine lines, soothing small skin irritations or simply love the delicious smell, Manuka should be on your list of essential oils. It’s moisturising, calming, and cleansing.
Made by the distillation of the leaves of the Manuka plant, the oil has been used for years in traditional Maori medicine. It can be used for its cleansing and healing properties, which help with natural respiration, skincare, on cuts and burns and recovery from colds and congestion. Research has shown Manuka Oil displays strong natural anti-bacterial qualities similar to Australian Tea Tree.
Key Uses of Manuka Essential Oil include:
Manuka honey has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can reduce inflammation and irritation associated with a range of skin conditions including acne and eczema.
The superfood is also an absolute winner when it comes to everyday use in your skincare regime. With its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, it helps balance the skin’s normal, healthy bacteria, calms inflammation, locks in moisture and provides a healthy boost of antioxidants.
Now, you can choose to smear your skin with the sticky goodness or opt for a moisturiser or cleanser that includes Manuka honey as an ingredient. We love Juventas Manuka Honey Natural Face Cleanser with Manuka honey, frankincense, bergamot, cedarwood, extracts of cucumber and aloe vera for the ultimate in soothing skincare.
You can also incorporate Manuka into your all-over skincare by using this deliciously scented Manuka soap.
Mum always said honey was good for you, and she was not wrong!
It’s suggested to reap the most benefits on your digestive health, you should aim to eat about 1 to 2 tablespoons of Manuka honey per day. Delicious on toast, or tea or even on natural yoghurt, it’s not hard to meet that daily requirement.
Manuka honey has been discovered to help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and proven to reduce inflammation in rats with both IBS and ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It’s also been shown to help bacterial infections and (as mum said) sore throats.
For a sore throat try taking 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey each day. Even if you aren’t sick, Manuka honey has been suggested to help boost your immune system and prevent you from catching colds.
With its proven status as a superfood, Manuka honey can be found far and wide, but it’s good to know before making your purchase that you’re getting the very best product possible – because when it comes to Manuka, not all products are equal.
To ensure you’re getting medicinal grade honey, you’ll need to look out for a reference to a UMF or MGO rating, in both cases the higher number the better. You should be looking for a UMF 10+ or MGO 200+.
Q: Who shouldn’t take Manuka honey?
A: Those with diabetes should talk to their doctor before incorporating Manuka into their diet, as with other honeys, it has a high sugar content and may cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
If you’re allergic to other types of honey, consult your doctor.
Q: UMF or MGO?
A: While it’s been used for thousands of years by Maoris, it took scientists a little while to figure out exactly what it was that made this honey so special. Finally, they named this something special, Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF.
UMF-graded honey is tested to rigorous standards and to show that the honey is pure Manuka Honey, and the higher the UMF, the better the honey. Later on, scientists discovered methylglyoxal (MGO) which is unique to Manuka honey and is the compound behind the medicinal properties. It doesn’t matter which rating you go by, the higher number of either UMF or MGO is better.