Manuka honey comes from New Zealand where the art of Apitherapy – using bee products – is strongly represented by the Manuka Bush flowers from which the bees feed. Much research has been done on the potent antibacterial action of this honey and has lead to some products which, after testing, are given a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF®) rating. Manuka is the only honey that is tested for its ability to destroy bacteria and other microbes and has a particular to work down through the skin layers on your body. It can be taken internally for antibacterial and antimicrobial protection, but can also be applied topically to cuts, burns, sores and infected or poorly healing areas of skin.
When mixed with water, any honey creates antiseptic hydrogen peroxide and when applied directly, it dries out wounds so they can heal free from infection, but the Manuka variety goes further. According to the Waikato Honey Research Unit in New Zealand, “active manuka honey with UMF is about twice as effective as other honey against Eschericihia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, the most common causes of infected wounds”.
As a foodstuff, medical claims cannot be made about honey, but it has been traditionally used for digestive problems, skin and stomach ulcers, eczema, sore throats and infections. Look for a Manuka honey with a UMF rating of more than 10; the minimum that health professionals in New Zealand use. It is not cheap, but you get what you pay for and a superior brand of Guaranteed UMF16+ is a worthwhile investment.
One great application is warm, fresh pineapple juice with Manuka honey mixed as a really effective natural cough syrup. Please note the word syrup there though; the high sugar content in this remedy means use only when needed!