Manuka Honey: An Alternative Natural Healer?
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral and even anticancer 4 are words often attached to Manuka honey. Could Manuka honey really be the best alternative, natural remedy for our bodies?
For decades, there have been claims of Manuka honey’s ability to kill bacteria, treat wounds and soothe a sore throat – and the studies have proven them correct. This therapeutic effect comes from its high methylglyoxal (MGO) content – a naturally occurring compound found in Manuka honey 3.
How safe is Manuka honey?
Applied topically, Manuka honey can kill bacteria living in biofilms which are communities of cells that adhere to surfaces on bodies such as teeth and wounds. There have even been case reports where Manuka honey was found to be more effective in improving non-healing wounds and ulcers than conventional antibiotics.1 The same effect was also found in another study on the efficacy of Manuka honey on treating animals with wounds – specifically horses.1
Is it safe for children?
Before using Manuka honey as an alternative remedy for various causes it’s important to note that raw Manuka honey (or any kind of raw honey) isn’t safe for infants under the age of 12 months and young children. This is due to the small risk of infant botulism – a toxi-infection caused by ingesting botulinal spores.5 These are naturally found in honey (as well as soil) and while not all Manuka honey is raw, any kind of raw honey is very susceptible to carrying these botulinal spores. Any honey considered as ‘raw’ is unpasteurised, meaning it hasn’t been heat-treated for partial sterilisation. An infant’s digestive system is still very sensitive and isn’t able to combat botulism spores as of yet, unlike older children and adults.
Though the studies have shown the positive and therapeutic effects of Manuka honey on the human body as well as animals, special caution needs to be taken with infants and young children. However, older children and adults don’t need to worry about this.
Manuka honey for topical use: Calm redness and breakouts
Manuka honey can have a very distinct and strong taste, depending on its MGO strength. Some may enjoy it with tea, on toast or as an alternative sweetener to various dishes and recipes. But, if you’re not a fan of the taste, Manuka honey can also be used topically as a soothing and moisturising face mask.
Its anti-inflammatory properties can help calm redness and breakouts while its antibacterial effect can help cleanse dirt and impurities. Try making one of these amazing and simple DIY Manuka honey Face Masks with our Medi Manuka Honey:
Manuka Honey to a Soothe Sore Throat
Manuka honey has an inherent and potent antibacterial activity and antibiotic properties which makes it a great natural alternative remedy for sore throat and as a coughing sedative.1
To soothe a sore throat, simply add a tablespoon of Manuka honey (or more to taste) to warm water with the juice of half a lemon. Try adding ginger for an extra antioxidant boost.
With so many products in the market for simple cures containing all kinds of harmful chemicals, we can often forget that the precious, natural resources Mother Nature has to offer are just as good, if not – even better. Superfoods such as Manuka honey provide an incredible number of benefits due to their high contents of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s no wonder why Manuka honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy and as a therapeutic resource.
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- Carter, D. A., Blair, S. E., Cokcetin, N. N., Bouzo, D., Brooks, P., Schothauer, R., & Harry, E. J. (2016). Therapeutic Manuka Honey: No Longer So Alternative. Frontiers in microbiology, 7, 569. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00569
- Cianciosi, D., Forbes-Hernández, T. Y., Afrin, S., Gasparrini, M., Reboredo-Rodriguez, P., Manna, P. P., Zhang, J., Bravo Lamas, L., Martínez Flórez, S., Agudo Toyos, P., Quiles, J. L., Giampieri, F., & Battino, M. (2018). Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(9), 2322. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092322
- Cokcetin, N. N., Pappalardo, M., Campbell, L. T., Brooks, P., Carter, D. A., Blair, S. E., & Harry, E. J. (2016). The Antibacterial Activity of Australian Leptospermum Honey Correlates with Methylglyoxal Levels. PloS one, 11(12), e0167780. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167780
- Johnston, M., McBride, M., Dahiya, D., Owusu-Apenten, R., & Nigam, P. S. (2018). Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey and its components: An overview. AIMS microbiology, 4(4), 655–664. https://doi.org/10.3934/microbiol.2018.4.655
- McCurdy, D. M., Krishnan, C., & Hauschild, A. H. (1981). Infant botulism in Canada. Canadian Medical Association journal, 125(7), 741–743.
- Watanabe, K., Rahmasari, R., Matsunaga, A., Haruyama, T., & Kobayashi, N. (2014). Anti-influenza viral effects of honey in vitro: potent high activity of manuka honey. Archives of medical research, 45(5), 359–365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2014.05.006