Depending on the floral source from which the honey bees gather honey there are different varieties of honey. Each of these varieties have unique flavor and slightly vary in the benefits offered. Here is an overview of properties and benefits of manuka honey that is derived from Manuka tree.
What is Manuka honey?
This honey variety is derived from the nectar of flowers of manuka tree that grows in dry lands of New Zealand and Southeast Australia. This tree bears pink or white colored flowers from which the honey bees collect the nectar. Presence of Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) and the enzyme glucose oxidase make it unique and beneficial compared to other varieties. UMF indicates that the honey has high antibacterial, anti inflammatory, anti septic and anti fungal effect. Honey varieties with high UMF can exert their antibacterial action even after diluting the honey ten times.
Varieties and properties of Manuka hone
Depending on the extent of UMF present, manuka honey is divided in to two categories. They are the:
- Ordinary manuka honey: This is just like ordinary honey with sweet taste and very less anti-bacterial properties.
- UMF Active honey: this is active form containing the unique manuka factor that is responsible for various properties. It is resistant to heat.
Some of the most important properties of Manuka honey are:
- Dark in color.
- Contains strong flavor similar to other products obtained from Manuka tree. It leaves a pleasant after taste.
- Has a thick texture.
- Composed of nutrients such as sugars, vitamins, minerals and water .
Benefits of Manuka honey
Manuka honey has amazing and variety of health benefits. Some important and popular ones are:
Helps in wound healing : Manuka honey is highly renowned for its wound healing (including stings, scratches, etc.) ability. Like other honey varieties the high sugar content in this honey absorbs all the moisture near the wound making it hard for the bacteria to survive. An added advantage is it also contains an enzyme glucose oxidase that is acidic in nature and adds to the anti bacterial properties of the honey. Because of this antibacterial property it is widely used in wound dressings so as to prevent the attack of germs and also to prevent fungal growth. One can follow a simple process to dree a wound using manuka honey, just apply it on a clean gauze and keep it on wound. Keep changing the dressing at regular intervals.
Stomach and digestion related benefits : Manuka honey has been long used to treat various stomach disorders such diarrhea, indigestion, ulcers in stomach, gastritis, acidity, heartburn, etc. One of the best ways to treat stomach disorders using manuka honey is to take one spoon of honey 3-4 times a day. Just make sure you take it before meals and do not eat anything for sometime after it. One very important benefit of Manuka honey is treating digestive infections caused by H. pylori. This bacteria is cause of gastric and peptic ulcers. Based on various researches, manuka honey prevents this bacteria from developing in gastrointestinal tract.
Fungal diseases and pain : Manuka honey is well known from its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It is helpful to use it in conditions such as jock itch, athlete's foot, etc.
Skin benefits of Manuka honey : Manuka honey is great for skin. It can be used to face massage as it cleanse the skin, makes it soft and glow. It is also found beneficial in scars, skin ulcers, bed sore etc.
Benefits in eczema : manuka honey helps in eczema too. This again is because of its amazing antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in reducing skin dryness and itching and helps in healing broken and inflamed skin.
Serves as a source of energy : The high sugar content makes it a good source of energy. Regular intake of just two spoons of this honey will boost your energy levels and even strengthens the immune system.
Offers relief from common cold : Daily dose of this honey helps to fight against common cold and cough very easily. The anti bacterial property helps to prevent the bacterial infections and even let the body heal. Hence, this is considered as a best remedy for those who fall ill frequently.
Reduces acne : One of the most interesting benefits of manuka honey is its role in treating acne. Regular application of manuka honey after washing the face early in the morning will treat acne efficiently. Apply the honey and leave it for twenty minutes to enjoy clear skin. Even cuts and minor abrasions observed in case of insect bites can also be healed with this honey.
Rich source of antioxidants : High amount of antioxidants in it support the free radical elimination. Hence, it serves to keep body healthy free of major ailments. Have spoonful of this honey early in the morning with an empty stomach to boost the livers ability to eliminate free radicals.
Treats gum diseases : Unlike sweeteners such as sugar, this honey does not cause harm to gums and teeth. It fights efficiently against microbes such as streptococcus mitis, lactobacillus caseii and streptococcus sobrinus. Manuka honey with high UMF continues to show this action even after diluting it for fifty minutes. Hence, it is best used as mouthwash. Due to very high sweet taste it should be not be given to children below two years as their digestive system may find it hard to digest the complex sugars.
One can have manuka honey either directly or by spreading it over a toast or by adding it as a natural sweetener to tea.
List of diseases that can be controlled with Manuka honey
Diseases that can be controlled by regular intake of this honey include duodenal ulcer, gastritis, diarrhea, esophagus ulcer, peptic ulcer, indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and upset stomach.
Conditions in which Active Manuka honey can be used as topical application
Its healing properties make it idle to treat many external conditions such as bed sore, burns, amputation wounds, diabetic wounds, foot sore, scars, skin ulcer and chemical burns.
How to identify genuine UMF active manuka honey
A bottle of manuka honey can be considered as genuine if it adheres to the following five criteria.
- Contains a UMF mark on the front label.
- Packing and labeling is done in New Zealand.
- Made from company licensed to use the UMF label.
- Includes licensee’s name on the front label.
- Contains a UMF rating of appropriate to the requirement. Below 10 is okay for general usage but for specific diseases and conditions (such as heart burn, ulcers, etc.) UMF rating above 10 is recommended.
So, whenever you shop for Manuka honey check for these factors to obtain genuine product that will offer the desired effects. It is also essential to quit habits such as smoking and reduce the extent of exposure to sun light to experience the benefits of honey.
Health benefits of manuka honey are numerous making it one of most popular honey type. To enjoy these benefits of manuka honey choose one with high UMF and start having at least two spoonfuls everyday early in the morning. These enormous benefits of manuka honey make it a safe and inexpensive alternative to medications in case of many diseases.