Unique manuka honey is obtaining increasing worldwide fame for the healing properties that are found in some batches of this New Zealand produced honey.
With more people trying it, and using it for many different purposes, there is growing anecdotal evidence that it does help in many of them. Here though we will look at five of the most common uses of the properly tested ‘UMF’ active manuka honey, including those that have the most supporting research.
To start, lets quickly summarize what we are referring to: UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) labled manuka honey is solely that which has been authoritively tested in New Zealand and proven to contain sufficient levels of the extra antibacterial activity to meet the criteria to use the ‘UMF’ logo on their label. This does not refer to all manuka honey, only that which actually has the ‘UMF’ label on the jar!
The common uses we will look at are: wound healing; leg ulcers; burns; digestive system; coughs.
The area receiving the major attention from researchers. Although all honey has some antibacterial activity in the form of hydrogen peroxide, it is the additional properties in some batches of the manuka variety which make it so good for wounds. Not only can honey attack existing infection in a wound, but by creating a barrier over the wound area further bacteria are prevented from entering.
Newly growing replacement tissue in the wound benefits from the nutrient effect of the amino acids, vitamins, trace elements and assimilable sugars found in the honey. Also important for new tissue growth in wounds, is the process of changing dressings. Using honey prevents direct contact between the dressing and new tissue, reducing damage caused in the change of dressings.
A recommendation: place some honey directly onto the wound area, then also some to the dressing before applying it to the wound.
The same healing properties that make active manuka honey useful for wounds in general also apply to leg ulcers due to their similarities. Accepting that additional clinical evidence is required, with several studies around the world underway, there is quite a bit of support from anecdotal reports of active manuka honey helping for those leg ulcers not improving under normal treatment. This honey’s effect on reducing bad odour that can come from leg ulcers has also been appreciated.
Another area with many similarities to wounds in general. The ability of honey to act as a barrier to prevent infection getting in can be important here. Improved relief from pain has also been reported. Plus, as part of its ability to keep a wound area moist together with its positive nutrient effect on tissue regeneration, it also helps in reducing scarring.
Having a properly functioning and healthy digestive system is important for overall health. Manuka honey’s use in this area has so far received less research attention compared its use for wounds. It is therefore predominantly anecdotal support of its usefulness. However the natural antibacterial and antibiotic properties available in UMF manuka honey will help to fight bacteria infections in the stomach too. As a completely natural product, and very few people suffering an allergy to honey, it is an option for many people without having to worry about possible side effects often associated with conventional antibiotics.
Some of the areas people are making use of it are: helping with acid reflux; bacterial infections in the stomach / digestive tract; stomach and peptic ulcers; diarrhea – those occasions you have eaten something that hasn’t agreed with you and you get the onset of diarrhea soon after, a couple of teaspoons of high UMF level honey can help settle things down again with in an hour or two.
Why is it often suggested that you have a drink of lemon and honey when you are suffering from a cough or cold? Because historically it is a home remedy people have used, and found to help them. Using an active manuka honey is even more beneficial because you will be getting its extra antibacterial properties. Manuka honey’s quite distinctive strong honey flavour also make it a pleasant tasting remedy (like any flavour, there are always some people who will not enjoy it, but most do.).
Another possibility are combination natural remedies for coughs and colds that make use of manuka honey, such as combining it with propolis, another bee product that is known for its healthy qualities – after all the bees use it to protect their hives from disease.
This article has been provided by UK manuka honey supplier The New Zealand Honey Shop. Their website contains further information on active manuka honey and links to some of the university research.
Robert works with The New Zealand Honey Shop promoting the use of manuka honey by providing people with information to enable them to make their own choices.