Honey is one of those products that seems to do it all. It can sweeten any meal, hydrate parched skin, and soothe a sore throat when you’re feeling sick—but one particular honey stands out from the rest. Manuka honey, which is native to New Zealand and parts of Australia, has been gaining lots of buzz in the wellness world for its potent healing properties – do you know why?
What is Manuka honey?
While some celebrities (like Kourtney Kardashian) are huge fans of the stuff, it’s also being researched by otolaryngologists, dermatologists, and nutritionists, many of whom are (at least cautiously) optimistic. Curious? Here’s everything you need to know about Manuka honey, its body-wide health benefits, and where to find it if you want to try it out for yourself:
- The nectar of the manuka plant has unique bioactive compounds that give manuka honey its health benefits
Manuka is a special type of honey that’s made from bees that pollinate the Manuka plant, a shrub or small tree that’s native to New Zealand and eastern Australia. The Manuka flower produces a nectar that has unique compounds that aren’t as concentrated in other types of honey, including methylglyoxal, which is known for its antibacterial properties.
All genuine Manuka honey products have a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) placed on the label, a trademark that rates the honey to signify the strength and quality of its signature properties, which is determined through independent testing. It’s these various compounds that have been linked to the health benefits of Manuka honey.
- Manuka honey can help heal cuts and minor wounds
Manuka honey has earned a strong reputation for treating wounds. Manuka has been used to clear up infections, surgical wounds, burns, and even ulcers, thanks, in part, to its high levels of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Honey can heal certain burns about 4 to 5 days more quickly than other, more conventional dressings, and may be more effective at healing infected wounds after surgery than antiseptic.
- Manuka honey can help relieve your stuffy nose
Up to 5 percent of people in the United States have chronic rhinosinusitis or inflammation of the sinuses. In a 2017 study, researchers from the University of Washington found that Manuka honey was just as effective as saline nasal irrigation at relieving the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis. But unlike the saline group, the people used the honey actually enjoyed it.
- Manuka honey could help treat acne
One of the major causes of breakouts is an overgrowth of skin bacteria called P. acnes, which hang out inside our (clogged) pores and multiply like crazy, triggering those red, swollen cysts, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Because Manuka honey contains antioxidants and antibacterial compounds (including hydrogen peroxide), using it on your skin is one way to control the overgrowth of a specific population of bacteria that contributes to acne.
However, you’re better off shopping for products like moisturizers and creams that already contain Manuka honey in them, as opposed to slathering the stuff directly onto your skin from the jar.
- Manuka honey could help boost your gut health
You’ve heard of probiotics: the “good” bacteria that populate your gut and help keep your digestive system healthy. Well, as it turns out, Manuka might just give those bugs a boost.
According to a 2008 laboratory study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology, Manuka honey increased the growths of certain Lactobacillus probiotics and decreased the growths of pathogens like E. coli, perhaps thanks to its antibacterial compounds.
- Manuka honey is loaded with antioxidants
Honey is known to contain high amounts of antioxidants, which can help fight free radicals (or, molecules that can damage cells and DNA). When researchers from Australia analyzed six popular kinds of honey, they found that Manuka honey scored the highest in antioxidant activity. The researchers point out that, in general, the darker the color of the honey, the more flavonoids it likely contains.
Wild Naturals Manuka Honey
For skin care that isn’t full of chemicals, preservatives, mineral oil, and other problematic ingredients and instead, filled with manuka honey and other natural ingredients, visit our online store! You can slather raw manuka honey on your food, or off a spoon for the health benefits, but for radiant, youthful, glowing skin, turn to a skin care line for that success!