The Surprising Reason People Are Buzzing Over Manuka Honey

There's been a lot of talk about manuka honey, but what makes this honey variety so popular? Once only grown in New Zealand, health specialists and beauty gurus alike argue that theres something special about this natural superfood. 


May 24 2019, Updated 12:18 a.m. ET

While many of us are used to consuming honey as a sweet treat to top off tea or pancakes, throughout history, people have also found that honey can be good for your health. While the medical community is certainly not claiming that honey can replace other treatments for your aches and pains, fans of certain types of honey claim it can be great for your body, both inside and out. In particular, manuka honey is a fan-favorite for people who seek its alleged healing qualities. 

So what makes manuka honey so special? While regular honey can be therapeutic, manuka honey is a far more potent variety because of it’s higher concentration of an antimicrobial substance called methylglyoxal (MGO). This valuable characteristic combined with its limited supply makes it one of the most coveted honey options.  

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Manuka honey comes from New Zealand where bees thrive on nectar from manuka plants. Since the nearby country of Australia also has manuka plant species, both counties have fought over geographical indication regarding this special honey. Not unlike Champagne's exclusive right to label sparkling wine from their region, both places seek the intellectual property right to designate manuka honey to their perspective regions. 

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Manuka honey has been found to be a good source of energy among other things. As Laurie Dewar, a beekeeper, tells Newsmax Health, hospitals in New Zealand use manuka honey for external and internal uses in a wide range of medical applications. Research has shown that consuming the honey has been found to have therapeutic benefits such as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The honey is also thought to help internally by boosting the immune system and helping with infections.  

Externally, scrapes, cuts and burns often heal faster and better when manuka honey is properly applied. While most types of honey have been found to be useful in this respect, manuka honey has been exceptional in this area because of its special antimicrobial nature. Essentially, it helps disinfect the wound and triggers it to heal faster due to it’s higher levels of MGO. 

Since manuka honey has a generally positive effect on healing skin, it is no wonder that it has become a popular skin care regime. Its ability to reduce irritation and inflammation has made it a widespread tool to fight against acne and eczema. If you’re interested in trying manuka honey, check with your local health foods store or look online to explore the wide range of options. 

While manuka honey is generally safe to use in moderation, diabetics, infants, or anyone allergic to bee products should skip it. If you don’t fall into any of those categories, make sure to keep an eye out for the unique manuka factor rating (UMF) on the bottle’s label. The UMF indicates the level of MGO. If you want to use the honey for its potential healing properties, shoot for the higher numbers, as a general rule of thumb.

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