The Wonders of Mānuka Honey!
Mānuka honey is a monofloral honey produced in New Zealand and Australia by bees that pollinate the native nectar of the Mānuka tree. It has in vitro antibacterial properties, but there is not conclusive evidence of benefit in medical use. It has been classified as a Therapeutic Good in Australia, and has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2007. Advocates say it treats wound infections and other conditions.
Healing Power of Honey
Honey has been used since ancient times to treat multiple conditions. It wasn't until the late 19th century that researchers discovered that honey has natural antibacterial qualities.
Honey protects against damage caused by bacteria. Some honey also stimulates production of special cells that can repair tissue damaged by infection. In addition, honey has an anti-inflammatory action that can quickly reduce pain and inflammation once it is applied.
But not all honey is the same. The antibacterial quality of honey depends on the type of honey as well as when and how it's harvested. Some kinds of honey may be 100 times more potent than others.
Components of Mānuka Honey
Hydrogen peroxide is a component of honey. It gives most honey its antibiotic quality. But some types of honey, including Mānuka honey, also have other components with antibacterial qualities.
The major antibacterial component in Mānuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.
In Mānuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound -- dihydroxyacetone -- that is found in high concentration in the nectar of Mānuka flowers.
MG is thought to give Mānuka honey its antibacterial power. The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect.
Honey producers have developed a scale for rating the potency of Mānuka honey. The rating is called UMF, which stands for Unique Mānuka Factor.
The UMF rating corresponds with the concentration of MG. Not all honey labeled as Mānuka honey contains significant levels of MG. To be considered potent enough to be therapeutic; Mānuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF. Honey at or above that level is marketed as "UMF Mānuka Honey" or "Active Mānuka Honey."
How Mānuka Honey Is Used
The main medical use for Mānuka honey is on top of a wound. It is generally used for treating minor wounds and burns.
Mānuka honey is also marketed for use in many other conditions. These include:
Preventing and treating cancer
Reducing high cholesterol
Reducing systemic inflammation
Treating eye, ear and sinus infections
Treating gastrointestinal problems
But the evidence is limited on whether or not Mānuka honey is effective for these conditions.
The honey used to treat wounds is a "medical-grade honey". It is specially sterilized and prepared as a dressing. So the jar of Mānuka honey in the pantry should not be considered part of a first aid kit. Wounds and infections should be seen and treated by a health care professional.
Talking with our friend Sue, she related the story about her cat "Tuiga" who apart from having only one eye also suffers with asthma! Yes cats get Asthma...... who knew? Sue had consulted with her vet about Tuiga's deteriorating health and was given various drugs, containing amongst other things "Cortisone" and far from her precious Tuiga improving she seemed to be getting steadily worse. Sue was treating a skin condition of her own with Mānuka honey and thought she would smear a tiny amount on Tuiga's lips. She did this for several days and slowly Tuiga improved and now remains Asthma free. We don't know absolutely that the Mānuka honey was the miracle cure for Tuiga but it was awfully coincidental.
...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE!