Most of us probably don't think about our immune system until we come down with a cold or flu-like bug.
When the colder weather comes in, you might start thinking about ways to give your immune system a helping hand to keep a cold at bay.
You might have already heard that taking Manuka honey, whether straight from the spoon or stirred into your morning cuppa, can benefit your well-being.
In this article, we'll walk you through some of the ways Manuka honey can help support your immune system, including helping with a cough or sore.
Manuka honey comes from the nectar of flowers on the Manuka bush in New Zealand. The nectar from the flowers on the Manuka bush is what gives Manuka honey its beneficial effects and antibacterial properties as it contains methylglyoxal.
Methylglyoxal is a compound that gives Manuka honey its strong antibacterial properties. The amount of methylglyoxal is represented by an MGO rating - the higher the MGO rating, the higher the levels of methylglyoxal.
After processing with hydrogen peroxide, Manuka honey retains these properties, unlike other kinds of honey.
This means Manuka honey is packed full of antibacterial properties.
Research suggests that these properties of Manuka honey help support your body's respiratory and immune systems.1
A 2020 study showed encouraging results in understanding how Manuka honey can benefit the immune system.
The research found that Manuka honey increased the release of cytokines that are vital for keeping your immune system healthy. These cytokines help white blood cells find and stop infected or damaged tissues.2
Taking Manuka honey this way means you get all the antibacterial properties and a sweet, soothing drink.
If you're looking for quick, effective relief from a sore throat or a cough, try stirring Manuka honey into water or tea.
All you need to do is mix a teaspoon of Manuka honey into your drink and stir.
For added flavour and even more benefits, try adding a slice of lemon or lemon juice too.
The antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka honey have been shown to be effective at easing stomach problems, even conditions like gastritis.
Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining, most commonly caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori or by damage to the stomach lining.
Studies have shown that Manuka honey has five ways that it can help with gastritis:
There is no specific amount of Manuka honey to take, but generally, you should take no more than 20g per day.9
For best results, you can consume one teaspoon of Manuka honey daily 1-3 times between meals. It would help if you took it straight from the spoon or added water.
This works when taking Manuka honey for gastritis as well as Manuka honey for colds, or the flu.
Whilst almost anything can cause an allergic reaction, honey is no exception.
Manuka honey is made by bees and may sometimes contain small amounts of pollen.
So, if you experience any allergic reaction symptoms when you eat honey or know you have a bee allergy, it's best to steer clear of Manuka honey.
Manuka honey also contains sugar. So, if you have high blood sugar, you should check with a doctor before consuming Manuka honey.
Joined Holland & Barrett: Aug 2005
Amy originally started her career with Holland & Barrett in August 2005 with the Labelling Regulatory team for Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements.
Amy moved over to support the Food Regulatory Team in October 2020 and was promoted to her role of Regulatory Affairs Associate (Food) in February 2021.
In her spare time, Amy likes to go to the gym, listen to a variety of podcasts, read and socialise with friends.