When I graduated from nursing school and started my first job, doctors would order a product called MEDIHONEY for patient wound care. I’d heard of using honey for wounds, but had never tried it nor seen it in action. I soon noticed after a month or so of use, many of my patients would begin healing from diabetic ulcers. It was fascinating to watch the flesh of a large wound heal with honey and persistence! I can’t speak for the purity of MEDIHONEY, but it definitely worked on the majority of our patients.
With my holistic background, I knew the benefits of Manuka honey and I was convinced this western medicine gel-type product was the same thing. I was intrigued, so I started doing the research. I found that MEDIHONEY is made from a compound called Leptosperin, which is derived from the Manuka tree.
It wasn’t until I woke up one day with a reoccurring stomach ulcer, that I personally found out exactly how amazing Manuka honey is. At the time, I couldn’t afford to pay the deductible for a round of antibiotics, so I had to find a holistic way to heal my issue. This consisted of a two-week diet of fresh cabbage juice, an array of herbal teas and… Manuka honey!
So, what is Manuka?
The Manuka tree is a New Zealand native that has been long appreciated for its medicinal benefits. Manuka honey is made from the flowers of the Manuka tree, and the honey can only be produced a few weeks a year when the plant has flowers – which makes the honey rare and expensive.
Besides it’s rarity, there’s something really special about those Manuka flowers! The honey must have these three compounds present to be graded and labeled with Unique Manuka Factor (UMF): Leptosperin, Methyglyoxal (MGO) and DHA. The higher the factor, the better the quality, and yes, the higher the price tag.
- Low Grade: UMF5 to UMF9
- Medium Grade: UMF10 to UMF15
- Superior High Grade: UMF16+
There is also Manuka honey that is graded only by MGO, which is the natural compound that gives this honey its superpower. As the honey ripens, the MGO content usually increases (think of it as a fine wine).
- Low Grade: MGO 83+
- Medium Grade: MGO 400+
- Superior High Grade: MGO 1000+
Both MGO and UMF are trusted systems for Manuka grading, and both measure MGO content. Product testing for MGO levels is necessary since levels can vary greatly. From my research, it isn’t clear as to which grading system is superior, but from my personal experience I’ve had good results using a MGO 250+ product. As a general rule, make sure the product is from New Zealand and the MGO or UMF grade is on the label. If you can afford it, the higher the better. If you can’t, the lower grades are still therapeutic, it just might take a little longer to achieve your goal. Here is a chart that compares the two grading systems:
Manuka honey has a myriad of natural benefits. It can be used to inhibit inflammation, prevent UTIs, clear up gingivitis, and overall boosts your immunity. What else is it good for? Here are just a few of my favorite uses.
Assists in wound healing
The way I envision it, Manuka honey has anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, so it fights bacteria and heals all types of skin tissue, inside and out. If you have any skin issue or irritation- eczema, psoriasis, cuts, burns, boils, abrasions, or abscesses – Manuka is likely going to help. Just thoroughly clean the area, apply, cover and repeat as necessary.
Helps heal peptic ulcers
Peptic ulcers are usually caused by Helicobacter pylori or continuous use of NSAIDs. Since they never permanently go away, I’ve found that alcohol, smoking, caffeine, stress and an overall acidic diet can aggravate peptic ulcers. When symptoms begin, completely cut out all of the above aggravators and start taking one teaspoonful of Manuka honey twice a day on an empty stomach. The healing effects can usually be noticed within a couple days, but I would continue to take it for about a week.
There are a few ways you can use this honey for acne. You can apply honey topically to pimples and acne, or you can make a mask mixed with lemon, and/or tumeric. Either way, leave on at least 15 minutes for the best effects. You can also take the honey orally twice a day (see below). Manuka also comes in many skincare products as well as high quality essential oils. Young Living has an amazing all-natural Manuka Essential Oil that you can add to your daily moisturizer (contact me to sign up if you are interested in a wholesale membership discount).
Soothes a sore throat
I said it before, and I have to say it again! Manuka fights bacteria and viruses and boosts the immune system. So of course it is also soothing to an irritated throat. Take one teaspoonful, keep it in your mouth and move it around if you can, then wash it down with warm water (add fresh lemon juice too if you have it). Avoid using boiling water as this kills the effect of the Manuka and will further irritate the throat. Repeat every few hours while awake. When taken at the onset, Manuka can help prevent a sore throat from getting worse. Additionally, you can also try my elderberry syrup recipe to help boost the immune system if you think you are getting a cold or flu. You’ll be feeling better in no time!
Oral consumption of Manuka honey is contraindicated in infants, diabetics, and those who are allergic to honey.