Manuka honey, the new superhero

I have read numerous articles in the last couple of weeks advocating the healing properties of Manuka honey. Of course, all of us natural-remedy-types have known about these properties for ages haven’t we? But it seems the medical profession is unashamedly catching on, and not before time. It is being recognised that Manuka honey can assist with the speedy exit of MRSA from any open wounds. (National audit data from last year shows that 100,000 people contracted an infection whilst being treated in hospital and, of those, 5,000 people died). It can also help with the healing of uninfected open wounds and ulcers. Manuka honey dressings should now be available on the NHS. If you are wanting Manuka honey for your first aid box GoodnessDirect is the place to come.

We sell several types of Manuka honey with strengths varying from UMF 5+ to 20+.

Let me explain a little about Manuka Honey and what the strengths mean

UMF stands for ‘Unique Manuka Factor’. Although any honey can help treat burns or minor wounds, Manuka honey (UMF 10+ and above) is the only honey with the ability to kill antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria because it contains a unique type of antibacterial activity. The number UMF is the strength of this unknown but highly effective factor in healing wounds. UMF 5 is at the lower end and UMF 20 at the top end. A factor of around 10+ is the strength required for antibiotic action and is fine for most minor wounds. The Manuka 18+ from Comvita does not come in a jar like most honeys, but as an ointment. It has been clinically sterilised especially for dressing wounds. With Manuka you get what you pay for and the higher the potency, the higher the price.

Manuka’s healing properties are not limited to the skin, but clinical trial reports are circulating stating that Manuka is suitable to be taken internally (by the teaspoon, not on toast) to help combat the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori, which can cause stomach ulcers. It is also available for throat infections combined with propolis as lozengers. Trials are being carried out with post operative throat cancer patients, giving them manuka honey to aid and speed up healing in the throat.

So how does Manuka honey work?

All honey, including Manuka honey, contains hydrogen peroxide which is produced when the bees add an enzyme to the nectar. Hydrogen peroxide is an acid, but because of the bees’ enzyme, it’s produced continuously in the honey and at fairly low levels. This means the hydrogen peroxide can be effective the against bacteria, but is not at high enough levels to cause harm to the tissues of the body. In addition to this, Manuka honey contains an additional element still unidentified. Unique to honey produced by bees feeding on nectar from the flower of the New Zealand Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium) or the closely related Australian Leptospermum polygalifolium. Don’t worry too much about that though – all you need to know is that Manuka is great taken internally for general well-being, as a digestive aid, or applied to the wound, and so simple!