For thousands of years, honey was used not only for its sweet, sweet nectar but also for its incredible healing properties. People still purchase honey for the same reasons today, however, most of the commercial honey does not provide the latter. We explained the difference between raw and commercial honey in our other article, but this article is about neither. Today, let’s talk about Manuka honey and its incredible benefits.
7 Clinically Proven Benefits of Manuka Honey
1. Natural Antibiotic & Antibacterial
Manuka honey contains two ingredients, MG and hydrogen peroxide, which make it a powerful antibiotic and antibacterial agent. MG (methylglyoxal) is found in most honey, but the highest concentration is found in the nectar of the Manuka flowers. Another study also shows that this type of honey has significant antibacterial properties.  
2. Treats Burns and Wounds
There are several studies that show that Manuka honey can be effective in shortening the healing time of mild burns and wounds. It may be also effective in fighting off some infections and promote overall healing. It’s important to note that anywhere where an infection can occur, medical grade honey (with impurities removed) is used. At home treatments are not recommended for serious burns for wounds.  
3. Improves Oral Health
4. Reduces Inflammation
National Cancer Institute approved a proposal for the use of Manuka honey to help reduce inflammation of the esophagus after chemotherapy. 
5. Lower Cholesterol
Studies show that by substituting sugar to honey, women can effectively lower their LDL cholesterol. Choose Manuka honey for added benefits. 
6. Improves Your Gastrointestinal Health
Honey has been shown to be effective in reducing gastrointestinal pathogens and even found to be potentially effective microorganisms like Salmonella. 
7. Low Stomach Acid, Acid Reflux and SIBO
One study has shown that the bacteria related to all three of these conditions, Clostridium difficile, was found to be susceptible to Manuka honey. This may offer an effective way of treating conditions that are caused by the organism and help balance your digestive system. 
Manuka Honey Origins
Most commercial honey is stripped of its good properties and does not contain any bee pollen. Its benefits are minimal and if taken in large quantities, it may even be detrimental to your health (due to the high fructose and glucose levels).
However, Manuka honey is a different story. First, all real Manuka honey comes from New Zealand. It comes from bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush. Only those specific bees in specific regions of New Zealand can create this powerful honey. Then, this honey is tested and verified by independent labs for its properties and exported all over the world.
From the benefits mentioned above, you can see that Manuka honey is one of nature’s most powerful natural medicines. Manuka honey is the best form of honey available. Its incredible anti-microbial properties have been credited due to the enzyme called methylglyoxal. Manuka honey contains about 100 times more of this enzyme than conventional honey. 
Manuka Honey Nutrition Facts
While raw unfiltered honeys already contain a well-balanced and nutritious profile, Manuka honey is said to contain 4x the nutritional content of conventional honeys. Here’s a profile of raw unfiltered honey:
- Amino acids
- B vitamins (B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid)
How Manuka Quality is Measured, Unique Manuka Factor
For every good product, there are products that are produced of lesser quality. So how do you know if the Manuka honey that you choose is the real deal? Well in 1981, researchers of the New Zealand University revealed that Manuka honey contains higher levels of enzymes than conventional honey. Certain strains of this new found honey were found to be particulary rich in dihydroxyacetone, metgylgloxal and hydrogen peroxide.
This powerful trio is what makes up to what we now know as Unique Manuka Factor or UMF. UMF is the globally recognized standard in identifying and measuring the strength of the Manuka honey. The UMF, similar to some other food labels that we have in United States, essentially guarantees that the honey sold is of medicinal quality.
The UMF rating in comes really handy because not all Manuka honey is created equal and contains both unique properties. Typical Manuka contains only the hydrogen peroxide properties, which are common with most types of honey.However, what makes the UMF honey unique is that it contains both. Natural UMF properties as well as the conventional properties of honey which combine to make something really powerful. These properties also make the honey very stable. And unlike in most honey, the hydrogen peroxide found in Manuka honey won’t be easily destroyed by light, heat or enzymes of the body.
Manuka Honey vs Raw Honey vs Organic Honey
It’s easy to get confused at the store when there are tons of labels. However, the only honeys that really matter are Manuka, raw and organic. But what’s the difference between them? Is one really better than another?
Organic – this label refers to the way the product is made and what ingredients are used. For honey it carries specific meanings such as how the hive is made, how the colony is kept and acquired and more. While this sounds good, thanks to companies like Monsanto and also farms that use fertilizers and pesticides, finding pure uncontaminated honey is pretty tough. Bees can fly for miles outside of the farm and the chances of having 16 square miles of fields with no-chemicals is quite slim. Thus, regardless of the practices of the farm that sells the honey, it hardly guarantees 100% purity of the end product. You can read about all the requirements for organic honey here.
Raw Honey – means that the honey is sold as it exists and was obtained through straining, settling or extraction. It also means that it was not pasteurized and heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit during storage or production. Same issues occur as with organic honey. Many tout this as the highest quality honey available and in some cases it may be true, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee that the honey won’t contain at least one pesticide.
Manuka Honey is honey that was specifically harvested from bees that visit the Manuka flower (Leptospermum scoparium). The honey is then tested by independent labs for its qualities and given a UMF score. The higher score guarantees that the honey is medicinal quality (depending on the score). Just like raw and organic honey, it is certainly not exempt from possible contamination, however its very specific process is what makes it the highest quality honey. No other type of honey offers the same guarantee.
So for every day honey, your best bet is raw honey. As for organic honey, that is still a much better choice than commercial honey, but until USDA places some real regulations and testing on what’s inside (contaminants) the honey, it is no better than raw honey. Of course, there are still exceptions to when organic honey may be your best choice. However, for getting the most benefits out of your honey and for medicinal quality honey, your only choice is Manuka honey.
How to Find Genuine Manuka Honey
The UMF rating essentially rates the level of antibacterial activity in the honey. The minimum rating is UMF5, however, it is not considered “UMF Manuka Honey” or “Active Manuka Honey” until it’s UMF 10+. Anything that is within the range of UMF10-15 is considered effective. UMF16+ is considered of superior quality.
Genuine UMF Manuka Honey will have these four things:
- It will have a UMF trademark clearly labeled on the front of the container.
- It will be 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 number of 5-16+. If it is labeled without the UMF or without a number, then it is not the genuine item.
Here are the general uses for each of the UMF labels:
4-9 Maintenance level with general honey health benefits
10-14 Supports natural healing and bacterial balance
15+ Superior levels of phenols that are highly therapeutic but shouldn’t exceed taking 1 tbsp at a time 
Those with allergies to bee products should also avoid consuming Manuka honey. For others, in moderation, Manuka can be one of the most powerful foods in your home.
Recommended Manuka Honey
Thanks to all its powerful benefits, an addition of a Manuka jar or two can be one of the best purchases you’ve made for your home. The best thing about Manuka honey, that if stored properly (without too much heat) it can be good for years to come! We’ve searched the web for Manuka honey that meets all the criteria and here’s some good options that we’ve found below.
To appreciate our bees even more, also read : The Insane Communication Power of Bees
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