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Should You Try Manuka Honey? The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Medicinal Honey
With the advancement of technology, it’s easy for everyone to get updated with the latest trends in health and wellness. All the information and opinions related to a new craze are in the palm of our hands. And one of these trends that people and experts have been raving about is manuka honey.
You can find this product and purchase it on its own, or it is included in a variety of products. These include creams, lotions, lip balms, lozenges, capsules, to even drinks and wound dressings. Naturally, it can get anybody curious how this type of honey is so versatile that you can drink it, apply it on the skin, and even use it as a wound treatment. But what is manuka honey, and why do people recognize this unique-sounding honey out of the other types of honey?
What is Manuka Honey?
From the name itself, Manuka honey is the honey produced by the bees that pollinate the Manuka plant, Leptospermum scoparium. It originates from Australia, but is also now being cultivated in New Zealand. However, there is still debate about where it indeed originated. You can distinguish manuka honey from other types of honey because it is thicker in consistency. It also has a dark brown color compared to other honey types that are golden yellow. And if you taste manuka, it has an earthy and slightly bitter profile instead of a typical sweet flavor from familiar honey brands.
At the same time, you might be surprised with the price difference of manuka compared to other types of honey in the markets. It is going to be pricier because of the different factors involved in its production. For example, the manuka flowers themselves are very rare and bloom only once a year. Not to mention, they grow in places that require access via helicopter.
What Makes Manuka Honey Special?
If you look at the best certified brands of manuka honey, you’ll be familiar with the term UMF. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor, which is a grading system used for the manuka honey brands in the market.
Manuka honey differs from other types of honey, not just in its color and consistency, but because it is dubbed as the “healthy” or “medicinal honey.” Honey is already known for providing antibiotic benefits because of its hydrogen peroxide content. But on the contrary, manuka honey is raved and bought by people specifically for this benefit.
The UMF factor is what consumers can look for when buying manuka honey for its antibiotic benefit. This is because the rating of the honey’s UMF tells you about its antibacterial strength. The scale ranges from 5 to 20, and the higher it is, the stronger is the antibiotic property of the honey.
What is the Unique Manuka Factor?
The UMF Honey Association is the one responsible for grading the UMF of manuka honey brands. To give you an idea, you want something with a UMF content of 12 or even higher if you need to use it for treating wounds. This is because these products are considered medical-grade with compounds like methylglyoxal, which is a natural antibacterial component found in manuka honey.
Should You Try Manuka Honey?
This is an easy answer simply because if you think about it, you can get multiple health benefits whether you eat it raw, use it as a sweetener, face mask, or for your wound bandages. According to DiligentChef, Manuka honey is expensive compared to regular honey, but the health benefits are worth the price.
Let’s talk about the most popular advantage of using manuka honey, which is for its antibiotic effects. Manuka honey can fasten the healing and prevent infection of cuts and scrapes. You can also use it to clear infections such as sore throat and stomach problems without even worrying about bacterial resistance.
If you’re still skeptical, the healing benefits of manuka honey are actually supported by science. As a matter of fact, the US Federal Drug Administration even approved the use of manuka honey in bandages for treating wounds in 2007.
Manuka honey promotes healing because it is also protecting the wounds by preventing the growth of bacteria. And as you are familiar with now, the substance methylglyoxal unique to manuka honey is antibacterial and attacks the microbes as well.
Speaking of healing properties, there is also scientific evidence on how manuka honey can prevent oral diseases like gingivitis. This is because the honey attacks the bacteria responsible for plaque buildup. And truth be told, it’s quite impressive to use something sweet like honey to treat gum disease.
You might even find relief in consuming manuka honey if you have a sore throat. The honey soothes the inflammation and discomfort because it coats the inner lining of your throat while also attacking the bacteria.
Your digestive health can also benefit from this tasty treat because it can help with indigestion, as well as reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as diarrhea and constipation. And if you want to reap the benefits of manuka honey topically, you can make a homemade face mask to kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation related to acne.
Are There Disadvantages in Using Manuka Honey?
Disadvantages are not the right term for them, but rather, like with any product; there are risks in using manuka honey. Manuka honey is safe for consumption and topical usage, but every person varies on how they will react to it.
For example, you might be allergic to other types of honey, which can imply that you might also have an allergic reaction with manuka honey. At the same time, honey has high sugar content. Those with conditions that require monitoring of blood sugar levels have to be extra careful in consuming manuka.
Nonetheless, it is still best to consult your doctor, whether you want to add manuka honey on your diet, use it for wound treatment, or as a topical solution. And at the end of the day, manuka honey still needs to go a long way, including a lot of clinical trials before it can enter mainstream medicine like any other type of treatment.