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The Truth About Manuka Honey

Manuka is a flowering plant, which has been utilised to produce a wide range of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal products and remedies.  Manuka honey is produced by bees that feed on the flowers of the manuka plant - a member of the genus Leptospermum - which is native to New Zealand.  It is closely related to the tea tree found in Australia, and shares many of its attributes.  Indigenous Maori recognised the medicinal benefits of the plant, and have utilised it in their traditional herbal medicine.  Manuka honey can be ingested and is also used topically to heal skin tissue.

Antiseptic Manuka Honey

Natural honey contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including hydrogen peroxide. Though manuka does not contain this element, it has powerful anti-bacterial properties. The combination of the natural anti-bacterial properties of the manuka plant and the inherent healing properties of honey combine to produce a versatile product.  With germs and bacteria showing signs of resistance to antibiotics natural alternatives are increasingly valued in the fight against disease and infection. Manuka honey is termed monofloral due to the fact that the bees primarily feed on the nectar of one species of plant - in this case the manuka plant. Other types of monofloral honey include that derived from Eucalyptus or Acacia nectar.

Benefits of Manuka Honey

Manuka honey has a range of medicinal and healing properties, including:
  • non-toxic
  • natural antiseptic
  • lubricant
  • anti-fungal
  • reduces scarring
  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • reduces swelling
  • limits tissue damage; and
  • promotes healing

Manuka Honey UMF

The antibacterial properties of manuka honey come from the nectar of the manuka flowers.  Manuka honey growers have developed a numerical effectiveness rating for their product, termed the Unique Manuka Factor or UMF.  This is determined and measured by the amount of honey needed to halt bacterial growth in a controlled environment. A UMF of approximately 5 is considered standard, and is the minimum qualifying amount for rating purposes. The optimal UMF rating for medicinal use is at between 10 and 18.  Sensitivities to manuka honey with UMF ratings of higher than 20 mean these are best avoided.  Not all manuka honey has this property, and is dependent on bees feeding on plants which are especially high in UMF. In addition, the manuka plant has a limited flowering period of just two months, which further limits production.  This makes manuka honey relatively scarce and is why it commands a price premium as compared to other honeys or monofloral honeys.

Locate a manuka honey supplier in your local area on the pages of this site.

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