I have mentioned my love of honey in previous posts. I use honey in my tea and coffee, and I use it in place of sugar in most everything. It’s my sweet go-to every time! However, did you know that honey can actually be used as medicine?! Yes, indeedy! Today I wanted to expand on that to discuss the medicinal uses of honey, in particular Manuka honey. Now, honey has been used since ancient times to treat many different conditions. It contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, and is even thought to stimulate production of special cells in our body that can repair tissue damaged by infection- pretty cool! However, not all honey is created equally, so to speak, and the type of honey that you use matters. The honey thought to be the best for medicinal use is Manuka honey. It is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush.
Now here’s the thing, the reason Manuka honey is thought to have more antiviral and antibacterial properties than other types of honey is the higher levels of Methylglyoxal than regular honey has. What is Methylglyoxal (known as MG), you ask? Good question, I asked the same thing! It comes from the conversion of another compound- dihydroxyacetone- that is found in high concentration in the nectar of Manuka flowers. So the higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect, and Manuka honey has the highest MG amount of any type of honey. Some Manuka honey that you buy in the stores doesn’t have a high level of MG, I call that “cheater Manuka honey”, so honey producers developed a rating system called UMF or Unique Manuka Factor. To be therapeutic, it has to be rated at least 10 UMF and then is marketed as “UMF Manuka Honey”, or “Active Manuka Honey”. Whew, I threw a lot of terms at you there but I’m done with that so keep on reading for the good stuff!
So what are Manuka honey’s medicinal uses? Because it has antiviral and antibacterial properties its primary use is on wounds. It is very effective at healing wounds and cuts. BUT MAKE SURE IF YOU USE IT ON YOUR WOUNDS THAT IT IS IN A STERILIZED CONTAINER AND IT IS NOT USED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE. In other words, don’t put a spoonful of it in your morning coffee, and then dip out of the same container to slather it on a cut.
Other medicinal uses for Manuka honey are treating and preventing cancer (!), reducing systemic inflammation, treating diabetes, treating eye, ear and sinus infections, preventing gingivitis and other periodontal disease, and treating gastrointestinal problems.Wow, that’s quite a powerful medicine! The way we use it in my house for the most part is for treating cold symptoms. When anyone feels a cold coming on I get out the Manuka honey and give them a teaspoon three times a day. It can sometimes even stave off the cold from coming on entirely. If I do actually catch a cold which is very seldom, Manuka honey is so effective in reducing sore throats and coughs. I will take a teaspoon of it, let it melt in my mouth and trickle down my throat. it really soothes the pain of a sore throat and calms my cough. It also is very helpful if I have some gastrointestinal upset. I do the same thing, one teaspoon three times a day and my stomach pain is eliminated. It’s really so amazing!
Manuka honey can be purchased at healthy food grocery stores anywhere and though it’s a bit pricey ($15- $20), a jar lasts for at least 2 months so it’s totally worth it. In fact, Jacqueline called on Wednesday because she caught a cold at school and she went to a health food store to get Manuka honey! I was so proud! She got other healthy cold symptom reducers and now she’s fine! That’s $15 well spent!
Even diabetics can use Manuka honey medicinally because honey does not as quickly raise blood sugar levels as sugar does. However, you should always consult your doctor before using Manuka honey if you are diabetic because everyone is different and I don’t want anyone to get sick on something that should make you feel better!
So, that’s a bit of information about Manuka honey which I think is one of the best natural, healthy weapons in my medical arsenal. I’d love it if you’d buy a jar, take three teaspoons a day, and let me know what you think. Manuka honey is one of the things that I really believe in so try it because it will help you live a life of vitality- like Valerie!