Manuka honey is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent that kills antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). Clinical trials have been conducted into its effectiveness against conditions such as diabetes, bladder infections, skin infections, ulcers and cancer. Due to its tremendous antibacterial and antiviral properties, manuka honey powerful action action diseases such as plague and ebola. Honey has been used medicinally for thousands of years in ancient Greece, in China for Traditional Chinese Medicine and in India with Ayurveda. While western cultures have always seen it as a health food, its medicinal properties are only recently being discovered. Researchers now believe that certain types of honey have stronger healing properties than others. Manuka honey is considered to be one of the most potent, and Western medicine is only just beginning to understand its amazing healing potential. Due to the popularity of Manuka honey, some manufacturers have attempted to cash in on the trend by producing low grade honey and labeling it as authentic Manuka Honey. To let consumers know exactly what they are buying, licensed manufacturers have come up with a labeling system known as the Unique Manuka Factor which lets individuals know the strength and potency of the product.
Where Does Manuka Honey Come From?
Manuka honey is produced by imported European honeybees that harvest pollen from the Manuka tree which grows wild throughout New Zealand and Australia. The Manuka tree is also known as the Tea Tree and produces small white flowers that are responsible for the earthy, herbaceous taste associated with Manuka honey. It has become big business for beekeepers in Australia and New Zealand who are now exporting the honey all over the world.
What is Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)?
Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF, is a quality control scale that lets you know the potency of the honey before you buy it. All whole, raw honey has antibacterial properties due to it containing a small amount of naturally-occurring hydrogen peroxide. Manuka honey contains a unique non-peroxide antibacterial compound that gives the honey its remarkable healing properties. Researchers have named this compound the Unique Manuka Factor and established a standard for measuring the potency of different strains of honey.
The following scale measures the level of non-peroxide antibacterial activity in Manuka honey:
- Unique Manuka Factor 5 – 10 indicates a low level of activity
- Unique Manuka Factor 10 – 15 indicates useful levels of activity
- Unique Manuka Factor 16+ indicates extremely high activity and the honey is considered to be of a superior quality.
Unique Manuka Factor 10 and above is considered to be therapeutic grade honey.
Manuka Health New Zealand Limited has its own system for grading the antibacterial activity of their honey. This system is a trademark of the brand and only appears on their products. Each product has a label giving the MGO content of the honey which stands for Methylglyoxal, an active compound responsible for antibiotic activity. This compound is different from that which is measured by the Unique Manuka Factor. However, the strength of the two different compounds are linked, and you can compare the antibiotic activity of Methylglyoxal versus Unique Manuka Factor using this online tool: http://www.umf.org.nz/umf-trademark/methylglyoxal-npa-honey-conversion-calculator
Honey is an ideal replacement for sugar as it does not raise the body’s blood sugar levels in the way that processed white sugar does. Therefore, the body does not need to produce the same levels of insulin in order to digest it. This is especially useful for diabetics who are required to monitor their sugar intake, and substituting honey for sugar may help to prevent the onset of Type II diabetes which is linked to obesity. A 2012 study performed in Greece found that Manuka Honey impregnated topical dressings were able to shorten the healing time of neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers in diabetic outpatients by almost two weeks. Researchers found that 78.13% of patient’s ulcers treated with Manuka honey become sterile after just one week versus 35.5% for those treated with conventional dressings.
Honey has been used for centuries to treat almost every skin condition from burns to acne. Many natural skincare treatments such as facemasks and moisturizers incorporate honey due to its antibacterial and hydrating properties. A study performed in Ireland in 2008 tested the effects of Manuka honey on chronic wounds that did not respond to conventional treatment. This type of wound often has an elevated alkaline level and researchers believed that the natural acidity of honey would be able to counter this. The results showed that Manuka honey was able to alter the pH level of the wound as well as cause a significant decrease in the overall size of the wound.
Due to its natural antibacterial activity, honey has been used as a homemade treatment for urinary tract infections for many years. Although there has not yet been any scientific evidence to support the claims, anecdotal and clinical reports indicate that many patients have been able to treat recurring urinary tract infections with a combination of honey and cinnamon.
Helicobactor Pylori is a type of bacteria that causes chronic inflammation of the stomach lining and is responsible for the vast majority of stomach ulcers. Researchers at the Department of Biological Sciences in New Zealand found that a solution of 5% Manuka honey was able to prevent the growth of helicobactor pylori bacteria taken from 5 separate biopsies of gastric ulcers.
Some of the best-known studies of the effects of Manuka honey against superbugs such as MRSA were carried out in various universities and research centers in Australia and New Zealand…