Manuka honey is an example of a mono-floral honey – a honey made from a single type of flower. Manuka honey has a distinct flavor and a rich dark color, but its medicinal properties are what make this honey so special.
Manuka honey is made from the flowers of the Manuka shrub, Leptospermum scoparium, which grows in New Zealand and southeast Australia. Leptospermum is related to the Australian Tea Tree from which Tea Tree Oil is made.
Some manuka honey, called Active Manuka Honey, has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties (in addition to the effect from hydrogen peroxide which is found in all honey). This property, unique to manuka honey, is called (surprise!) the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). Manuka honey is graded on the basis of its antimicrobial strength using a standard which compares its antimicrobial strength to a phenol solution. For example a UMF of 10 is equivalent to a 10% phenol solution. Honey rated between 10 and 18 is ideal for therapeutic purposes.
Manuka honey is eaten to treat stomach ulcers and other internal infections. Some stubborn bacterial infections which have become resistant to antibiotics – including Staph and MRSA – have been effectively cleared up with manuka honey.
When used as a dressing for open wounds, manuka honey has been shown to clear and prevent infection, speed healing, and reduce scarring. It also has anti-inflammatory property and reduces pain. It is often effective on deep stubborn hard-to-heal wounds when conventional methods have failed.
Some of the conditions for which manuka honey has been successfully used internally include: periodontal disease; sinusitis, bronchitis & laryngitis; canker & cold sores; throat infections; heartburn & hiatal hernia; esophagus, stomach, & duodenal ulcers; celiac disease; and colitis, IBS & Crohn’s.
Successful external uses include: animal bites; infected surgery scars; poison ivy rash; diabetic leg ulcers; bed sores; stubborn infectious wounds; acne, rashes & eczema; and burns.
Manuka honey from New Zealand is available in Canada. It is of course more expensive than regular honey, but think of it as a medicine, not just something to mix with peanut butter on your breakfast toast.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.