Supplement Spotlight: Manuka Honey for Skin, Digestive Issues, and More

This month’s supplement spotlight is on manuka honey, a very potent type of medicinal honey.  Manuka honey has been gaining popularity, even among mainstream physicians, due to its antibacterial and healing properties.

Manuka honey is the only 100% natural food shown to have antibacterial effects, due to a compound known as methylglyoxal that forms naturally in manuka honey.  Other honeys can occasionally have levels of that antibacterial compound, but only in small amounts.  According to scientific research, the amount of antibacterial methylglyoxal must be at a minimum of 100mg/kg to reliably inhibit harmful bacteria.  Manuka honey can have as much as eight times that amount.

Because of its strong antibacterial and healing qualities, manuka honey is fantastic for topical use- for wounds and burns, as well as an assortment of skin issues- from acne to eczema and more.  To use in a skin care regimen, one can apply manuka honey to the affected areas for twenty minutes before washing with gentle soap and water.  Manuka honey has even been shown to be beneficial in fighting staph infections.

Manuka honey can also be used internally for a wide variety of ailments.  It can help to balance bacteria in the gastrointestinal system, reduce plaque in the mouth as well as soothing oral sores and ulcers.  Manuka honey is also good for the immune system and is fantastic for sore throats.

Another interesting use of manuka honey is for gastritis and GERD.  A few teaspoons a day can be very healing to the digestive tract.  I have several customers who have used it for digestive issues at the store with impressive results.  It even has been shown to help with healing stomach ulcers by killing H. pylori bacteria. 

Manuka honey is unique from other types of honey in that it is only made in New Zealand, from the manuka plant that flowers for only two to four weeks each year.  Two thousand honeybees make 10 million trips to make just one jar.  The nice thing about manuka honey is that it is only beneficial, there are no negative side effects or interactions with medications when using it. 

It’s important to note it’s important to look for quality brands of manuka honey.  There are numerous places and websites selling “fake manuka honey”.  Manuka honey is only sourced from New Zealand and should be rated with a “UMF Factor”, a rating on the potency of the healing properties of the honey- the higher the UMF number, the more potent the honey is.