Benefits of Mānuka Honey
How many foods can you truly say are not only delicious but have the potential to do everything from aid in healing wounds to clearing up acne and soothing a sore throat? There are countless anecdotes from people who say they enjoy satisfying their sweet tooth with Mānuka honey while experiencing multiple benefits, which is why we’re so passionate about this liquid gold.
A brief history and science on Mānuka Honey
Mānuka honey is produced by bees that feed on nectar harvested from the Mānuka tree, native to New Zealand. It has a long history, dating back to the indigenous Maori, the country’s first settlers who call it taonga, or treasure, as they found an astounding amount of uses for it. Science later discovered that’s likely due to its remarkable antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. This honey is really nothing like those processed, commercial products such as the kind sold in little plastic bear bottles that have been pasteurized and filtered to prevent fermentation by killing yeast. Mānuka is the real thing, raw and in its natural state with no heating, straining, or filtering, which means those key compounds aren’t removed.
Mānuka Honey Benefits
So, what are some of the benefits Mānuka users have reported?
1. General Well-Being & Immunity
Mānuka honey might even help prevent you from becoming ill. Its strong antimicrobial activity has been documented extensively in areas connected with immune functioning. In 2007, a study reported in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology found a compound in the honey that triggers the production of cytokines, secreted by immune cells to stimulate the immune response. Plus, if you experience that afternoon “slump,” it’s a great natural energy booster.
2. Soothing Sore Throats and Coughs
Since practically the dawn of time, honey has been used for shortening the length and severity of a sore throat and soothing a cough. The thick consistency helps to coat the throat, protecting and providing relief while the antibacterial properties may reduce the odds of infection while speeding the healing process. If you'd like to learn more on this, we explored a little deeper in our blog here.
3. Gut Health
Gut health can affect your entire wellbeing for the better or worse. If you have an imbalanced gut microbiome, you have more harmful bacterial than helpful, healthy bacteria. When the bad bacteria takes over, depleting good bacteria (also called probiotics), it sets the stage for all sorts of digestive problems from acid reflux to bloating. Mānuka has been found in scientific research to contain an important prebiotic known for nurturing the “good” bacteria which means it might help you get your gut health back to where it should be.
4. Clearer, Younger Looking Skin
As mentioned, clearing up acne is one of the many reasons people love Mānuka honey. There have been plenty of reports from users saying that it’s helped to reduce the redness and swelling of acne and that it healed faster too. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties and ability to draw out bacteria is likely behind that. In fact, scientific studies have shown Mānuka in particular to have potent antibacterial compounds as well. Using it as a preventative may help as it can contribute to balancing the pH level of the skin, slough off dead cells, and keep the skin cleaner so that bacteria doesn’t infect pores.
Using Mānuka might help you have younger looking skin too. Some swear by it for anti-aging as it contains moisturizing properties that hydrate the skin without making it oily. It also contains live enzymes and antioxidants that may aid in battling free radicals known to damage skin cells which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Research has found that MMP, a group of enzymes that destroy collagen, may be inhibited too. Collagen is what keeps the skin firmer and more supple, which is what you want for a more youthful look.
5. Healing Wounds and Burns
As revealed in a study published in the British Journal of Surgery, the antibiotic and antimicrobial properties in Mānuka may speed the healing of burns and wounds. The honey provides a protective barrier, potentially preventing microbial infections while enhancing tissue regeneration. It may also reduce the potential for scarring. We dedicated a separate blog focusing on wound care read more here.
Mānuka Honey Uses: Ways to use Mānuka
Depending on the benefits you’re hoping to enjoy, there are many ways to use Mānuka honey, from topical to internal. For example, if you’re looking to relieve a sore throat and/or soothe a cough, simply add a heaped teaspoon of it to a cup of warm water, mix well and sip. This is also a great way to use it to support your immune system or enjoy that energy boost. If you prefer, you can blend it into a cup of your favorite herbal tea.
For acne, dab a bit of the honey onto any pimples and let it sit for about a half-hour before rinsing off. Hydrate dry skin by combining a large dollop with just a few drops of water, massage it onto your face and then rinse. You can do the same to enjoy potential anti-aging benefits. To aid the healing process of a wound or burn, simply rub a little onto the affected area.
Need some more ideas on topical uses? We shared our 3 whole-body health rituals using Mānuka Honey here.
Mānuka Honey Dosage: How much should I take?
As you probably know, Mānuka honey is not a medicine so there is no official recommended dose for taking it internally. You can start with 1 heaped teaspoon 1-3 times per day and take it on its own, or add it to warm water, herbal tea, yogurt, or oatmeal.
The Bottom Line: A Premium Product
Especially when compared to honey in the bear-shaped containers or any other standard honeys at your local supermarket, Mānuka honey is expensive. There are various factors influencing that price, including its rarity, how it’s harvested, and tested, not to mention the unique active compounds and health properties that the processed versions don’t have. It’s derived from the Leptospermum Scoparium tree (or Mānuka tree), a limited resource only found in New Zealand. It grows in remote places making it challenging for beekeepers to access but means the bees are mostly left to their own devices and are well away from sprays. The beehives must be transported both out and in of those locations during the harvest period which is very costly.
Each Manukora product is “tagged” with a unique QR code which allows you to track the honey in your jar right back to the hive it was harvested from. Read more about our traceability system here.
There’s also a very narrow window when Mānuka flowers are in bloom, generally from two to eight weeks each year. Numerous other factors that can limit that time, including the weather. As such a rare commodity, it’s no wonder the Maori refer to it as a treasure, it lives up to its nickname, liquid gold.