Honey is truly a gift from the busy bees, and it has numerous uses that we’ve so widely enjoyed. It has played a significant role in cultures around the world throughout the history, both as a desired food and an important medicine.
Manuka trees grow almost exclusively in the Eastern Cape region of New Zealand. Manuka honey is derived from the nectar collected by bees feeding off these trees (Leptospermum scoparium) in New Zealand. This kind of honey has been labeled as a superfood, deservedly. Namely, honey collected from these trees contains a unique set of antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiseptic, digestive, antioxidant, overall health properties.
Manuka Honey As Medicine
Manuka honey has enormous benefits for the health. It has been primarily used in New Zealand by native Maori who considered it to be a native medicine. They valued its numerous medicinal benefits (for the treatment of flu, fever, colds, skin diseases, ulcers and believe it or not it manuka honey can be used for treating some types of cancer).
When Captain James Cook discovered New Zealand, the settlers gave him a drink from the spiny leaves of the Manuka, and later, he wrote in his journal:
“Manuka leaves are used by many of us as tea, which has a very pleasant bitter flavor and aroma, but loses both when the leaves are dry.”
Dr. Ralf Schlothauer, Ph.D., at Comvita, New Zealand’s largest supplier of medical Manuka Honey, states that true medical manuka is sold with a “UMF” label. This marks that the honey contains “unique manuka factor.” According to Schlothauer, this unique factor is a concentration of antioxidant phenols that inhibit bacterial growth. Therefore, before purchasing Manuka honey, make sure it contains an official logo, stating its certification in special UMF (unique manuka factor).
Manuka honey is usually more expensive, but more healing than regular honey. Not only it has special enhanced healing properties that cannot be found in other honeys, but it often has a better effect than the conventional drugs as well.
Doctors maintain that its high sugar content creates a waterless environment in which the bacteria that are infecting a wound are unable to survive. In addition, due to the presence of an enzyme called glucose oxidase, it is acidic, which apparently adds to its unique antibacterial properties.
Also, according to several studies published in the journal Food Chemistry and the journal Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, Manuka honey is abundant in novel proteins known as arabinogalactans, which enhance immune activity and the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines when applied to the wounds.
Uses of Manuka Honey
- colds and flu
- diseases of the eye and throat
- protecting the gastrointestinal tract