Honey, otherwise known as “liquid gold”, is one of the oldest sweeteners on earth. It possesses some of the most powerful health benefits known to man, for use both inside and out of the body.
Honey can help soothe a sore throat, get rid of chronic coughing, prevent cancer and heart disease, reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, heal wounds and burns, and also acts as a probiotic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent.
Cultures around the globe have praised honey for centuries, as the ultimate healing treasure. Even unspoiled pots of honey were discovered in the excavated tombs of Egyptian royals from thousands of years ago.
Now, recent studies have determined that one special type of honey, namely, manuka honey, can kill deadly bacteria more effectively than pharmaceutical antibiotics.
The Magic of Manuka
Manuka honey is native to New Zealand, where it is produced by bees who pollinate the manuka bush.
Methylglyoxal, the healing component of Manuka honey, is converted from dihydroxyacetone, which is in the nectar of manuka flowers. All honey contains methylglyoxal, but in quantities much lower than that found in manuka honey.
Manuka honey has an impressive nutritional profile, too. With most raw, unpasteurized honey, you can receive benefits from amino acids, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. With manuka honey, these nutrients are magnified 4-fold, meaning it contains 4 times the amount found in typical raw, unfiltered honey. This is referred to as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).
UMF is now used as a global standard in determining and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka honey. It guarantees that the honey you are buying is of medicinal quality.
Bacterial-Killing Action of Manuka
Honey possesses a variety of different anti-microbial properties and activities. These include:
1. High sugar concentration = high osmolarity
2. Low pH
3. Production of hydrogen peroxide (produced from glucose oxidase originating from bees)
4. Unknown components provided from bees and the flowers they pollinate
Manuka honey has been found to be effective against both antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic susceptible bacteria. According to Dr. Dee Carter of the University of Sydney’s School of Microbial Biosciences, the methylglyoxal found in manuka honey, combined with the other unknown bee and floral compounds, causes “multi-system failure” that destroys the bacteria.
“New antibiotics tend to have short shelf lives, as the bacteria they attack quickly become resistant,” said Dr. Carter. “Many large pharmaceutical companies have abandoned antibiotic production because of the difficulty of recovering costs. Developing effective alternatives could therefore save many lives.”
Manuka Honey and Antibacterial-Resistant Bacteria
According to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (JAC), “Enlarged cells containing septa were observed in MRSA exposed to inhibitory concentrations of manuka honey, suggesting that cell division was interrupted. These changes were not caused by either the sugars or methylglyoxal in honey and indicate the presence of additional antibacterial components in manuka honey.”
This suggests that when it comes to antibiotic superbugs like MRSA, Manuka honey could serve as a potential replacement for pharmaceuticals, which often fail in the face of antibiotic resistance.
Professor Rose Cooper, from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, states that “[their] findings with streptococci and pseudomonads suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections. Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections.” She further explains that “Other work in [their] lab has shown that honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin — effectively reversing antibiotic resistance. This indicates that existing antibiotics may be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey.”
Manuka is so effective, that even some hospitals have begun using it. It helps protect against Escherichia coli (E. coli), Enterobacter aerogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, S. aureus, as well as β-haemolytic streptococci and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE).
Other Manuka Benefits
Manuka honey goes far beyond protecting against just bacteria. It also aids in the following:
– Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
– Low stomach acid
– Acid reflux
– Acne and eczema
– Burns, wounds and ulcers
– Tooth decay and gingivitis
– Irritable bowel syndrome and IBD
– Sore throats
– Allergies and sinusitis
It also helps improve the health of our hair and skin, and allows us to sleep better.
Where To Buy Genuine UMF Manuka Honey
True manuka honey has become increasingly hard to find, due to worldwide demand.
When you are buying manuka honey look for four things:
– UMF trademark clearly labelled on the front of the container
– From a New Zealand UMF licensed company, and labelled in New Zealand
– It will have the UMF company’s name and license number on the label
– It will have a UMF rating of 5-16+. If it is not labeled with UMF or a number, it is not genuine.
Any UMF rating below 10+ is not considered beneficial for clearing bacteria from the body. UMF levels 16 and higher are considered superior quality. Here is a general guideline you can use:
– 0-4 = Non-therapeutic
– 5-9 = Recommended for general health and wellness
– 10-14 = Natural healing and reduces bad bacteria in the body
– 15+ = Superior honey with very high activity and for specific therapeutic use (no more than 1 tbsp. at a time)
KFactor is another form of measurement, which according to the Wedderspoon website, “KFactor 12 guarantees 65 percent of the pollen grains in the honey are Manuka pollen grains, KFactor 16 guarantees 75 percent of the pollen grains in the honey are Manuka pollen grains and KFactor 22 guarantees 90 percent of the pollen grains in the honey are Manuka pollen grains.”