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What is Manuka Honey?

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

A jar of Manuka Honey on a chopping board

Manuka honey has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

It gets its antibacterial effects from an active ingredient called methylglyoxal (MGO).

MGO is created in manuka honey thanks to the conversion of another compound known as dihydroxyacetone (DHA). A high concentration of DHA is found in the nectar of manuka flowers. The higher the concentration of MGO, the stronger the antibacterial effects of manuka honey.

Manuka honey is considered a monofloral honey, made mostly from the nectar of one kind of flower. Traditional honey is typically polyfloral honey, where the nectar comes from a variety of different flowers.

The antibacterial effects of manuka honey are about 100 times higher than other honey counterparts.

Benefits of manuka honey

Thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, manuka honey can be used to help treat wounds, improve your oral health, soothe a sore throat and treat ulcers and acne.

Helps treat wounds

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of manuka honey for wound treatment.

Manuka honey’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties are key players in treating wounds. It’s also worth noting that manuka honey has a lower pH than most honey, which can help promote optimal wound healing.

Manuka honey can help speed up the healing process. It can also help prevent infections.

Studies show using manuka honey can aid in wound healing, promoting tissue regeneration and even decreasing pain in people suffering from burns.

Helps with oral health

There’s limited research on how manuka honey can help your oral health. But studies show it can protect against dental plaque buildup, which can prevent gingivitis (a gum disease).

In one study, research indicates that sucking on a manuka honey chew was more effective at reducing plaque and gingival bleeding than those who chew sugar-free gum.

Helps with sore throats

It’s not uncommon to put a little bit of honey in your tea if your throat is feeling sore or scratchy.

Thanks to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, manuka honey can offer relief from a sore throat. Mix two tablespoons of manuka honey with a warm glass of water or tea.

The honey can help with inflammation and fight against the bacteria that cause pain. Research shows that those who use manuka honey have a decrease in Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria that causes sore throats.

Helps treat ulcers

Manuka honey may help with two kinds of ulcers: diabetes-related and gastric.

Diabetes-related ulcers, an open sore or wound that’s typically located on the bottom of your foot, affect about 15% of people with diabetes.

There’s some research showing that using the manuka honey can help heal diabetes-related ulcers a little bit quicker when use with conventional treatment.

Gastric ulcers, or sores that form on the lining of your stomach, can cause stomach pain, nausea and bloating.

Research shows that manuka honey can increase gastric levels of certain enzymes that prevent against or protect against oxidative damage. So it can reduce inflammation and help prevent gastric ulcers.

Helps treat acne

You may have seen skincare products touting manuka honey as one of its ingredients. But does it actually work?

According to studies, it can hydrate skin, decrease inflammation and help keep skin bacteria-free.

Manuka honey can be hydrating. And that’s from that fructose, glucose and some amino acids found in the honey. It has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.”

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