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 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 it 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 can be eaten to treat esophageal, stomach, and duodenal 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. Other conditions for which manuka honey has been successfully used internally include: periodontal disease; sinusitis, bronchitis & laryngitis; canker & cold sores; throat infections; heartburn & hiatal hernia; celiac disease; and colitis, IBS & Crohn’s.
Successful external uses include: animal bites; poison ivy rash; infected surgery scars; diabetic leg ulcers; bed sores; stubborn infectious wounds; acne, rashes & eczema; and burns. 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 reduces inflammation and pain.
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.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.
Ed. Note: this is a repeat of #59 from April 2010.