If you watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians, you may have heard about Manuka honey from the most normal (ish) one, Kourtney. She is a huge fan of this liquid gold, and for good reason.
Let’s chat about the insanely, magical benefits of honey. We all have been told since we are little wee one’s that when you have a sore throat, take a spoonful of honey right? Well, this is not an old wives tail. There is a real reason, honey has incredible anti-microbial benefits and Manuka is the rolls Royce of honey.
Manuka honey, produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush, is one of the most unique and beneficial forms of honey in the world. There are many Manuka honey uses that range from healing sore throats and digestive illnesses, to curing Staph infections and gingivitis.
Historically honey has been used for medicinal purposes dating back thousands of years. Seeing that it is one of nature’s richest antimicrobial sources, it shouldn’t surprise us to hear that many archeologists claim that while excavating the tombs of Egyptian royals from thousands of years ago, they discovered unspoiled honey in pots (source). So cool, right!?
Whether it was in Greek mythology, or in Biblical times, where the promised land was known as the “land flowing with milk and honey.” cultures around the globe have praised honey for being an amazing healing and medicinal gem.
Yet because of industrialization, honey isn’t what it used to be. Like most things today, not all honeys are created equal. In addition to the more than 300 varieties of honey to choose from, you have the following options:
- Raw or pasteurized
- Filtered or unfiltered
- Comb (with the edible beeswax inside) liquid, or whipped
- Local or imported
As a rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. Most products at conventional supermarkets are not much different from high fructose corn syrup. To get good honey today, you pretty much have to go to your local health food store, local farm co-op or go online to purchase the real deal, sad but true.
What makes Manuka honey different is its amazing nutritional value. Regular raw honey is already known for its tremendous nutritional and immune boosting abilities.
Raw unfiltered honey is a rich source of: (source)
- Amino acids
- B vitamins (B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid)
However, with Manuka honey, the nutritional content is up to 4 times that of normal flower honeys. This is what is called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF for short).
What is UMF
In 1981, researchers at the New Zealand University of Waikato discovered that Manuka honey has a considerably higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide that works as an antibacterial (source). Some strains of this New Zealand honey are particularly rich in hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone.
These three components help to make up what is referred to as the UMF, a global standard in measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka (Source). Basically, UMF is a guarantee that the honey being sold is of a medicinal quality and not a knockoff (can you believe there is such a thing?).
Addditionaly, Manuka honey is used as a natural ointment for wounds of all kinds. It has been hailed as a go-to germ fighter in an age of resistance to conventional antibiotics. Because of this, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved bandages infused with Manuka honey for both over-the-counter and prescription sales.
Proponents also claim that Manuka honey can treat other conditions from acne to sinus issues.
How I use Manuka:
- In my tea
- In salad dressings
- By the spoonful to boost my immune system overtime I feel something coming on
- On my skin (as a mask, on cuts and scraps and even when I burn myself)
- To increase energy
So far, my favorite brand has been Wedderspoon, I order the jars on Amazon as well as the to go packets. I love them for travel. I always have one in my bag for my tea and in my suitcase for travel. The one downside, the higher the UMF aka the more effective the higher the price. However, it is worth it. I do not recommend skimping here. I have prevented or shortened the life of many a colds.