15 Jun 2021 • 4 min read
Introducing Manuka honey – not your average runny honey
Darker in colour than regular honey, Manuka honey benefits from a 'secret ingredient' known as MGO (or methylglyoxal). MGO has been known to boost Manuka honey's profile due to its antibacterial properties, so the potential health benefits of Manuka honey are vast!
You can use manuka honey in many ways, from soothing a sore throat to adding it to delicious recipes.
Keep reading to learn more about what makes Manuka honey so unique and possible Manuka honey health benefits.
Manuka honey gets its name from where it's come from, the flowers from the Manuka bush native to New Zealand.
The Manuka flowers blossom throughout the New Zealand summertime whilst we're shivering here in the UK!
Bees forage from these flowers and then produce Manuka honey bn their hives. But what makes Manuka honey different to regular honey? Here's where it gets science-y.
All honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which has natural antibacterial effects. In normal honey, these effects are lost when the hydrogen peroxide breaks down. However, in Manuka honey, its antibacterial properties remain well after the hydrogen peroxide has disappeared.
Manuka honey is a 'monofloral' honey made from the nectar of one flower and retains its natural antibacterial properties.
On the other hand, traditional honey is mainly 'polyfloral', where the nectar comes from multiple flowers and doesn't tend to retain its antibacterial properties.
We know it can be confusing, so check out our guide to Manuka vs traditional honey for everything you need to know.
With its powerful properties, there are so many potential health benefits to using and consuming Manuka honey.
From soothing a sore throat to adding flavour and texture to recipes, read on to learn more about the possibilities of Manuka honey benefits for you.
Regular honey has a good rep in this field, too, but Manuka honey's MGO content puts it ahead of the game. Manuka honey's MGO content means it has an antibacterial effect.
The higher the MGO number, the greater the antibacterial/antimicrobial activity.
The bees that frequent the Manuka bush carry back the antibacterial substance DHA which originates in the nectar of Manuka flowers. The bees then carry it back to the hive and transform it into MGO-rich Manuka honey for us to enjoy – bee-utiful!
You've probably been advised to drink some hot tea and honey when you have a sore throat. This is because honey does an amazing job of soothing those sore throats. Pair that with Manuka honey's antibacterial properties, and you're on to a winner!
In fact, a recent study found that honey was more effective at soothing a sore throat and easing a cough in small children than over-the-counter products.1
Simply mix two tablespoons of manuka honey with a warm glass of water or tea to help soothe your throat.
Traditionally, we used Manuka honey to speed up the healing process of wounds.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, research found that Manuka honey was an effective treatment for encouraging wounds to heal. Additionally, research suggests that Manuka honey helps protect the wound from bacterial infections.
So much so that in 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Manuka honey for wound treatment.2
Manuka honey has a stronger, earthier taste than most other honey varieties, with a thicker texture like molasses. But, unlike traditional honey, Manuka honey has lower sugar content.
As such, Manuka honey can be a great addition as a sweetener to bakes, drinks, glazes, dressings, sauces or even just on your toast in the morning.
Whether you add Manuka honey to your morning smoothie or your next delicious bake, you can find all the inspiration you need with our Manuka honey recipes.
Manuka honey is a great prebiotic!
Prebiotics are a source of non-digestible carbohydrates, known as oligosaccharides, that are great for our gut.
Our bodies can't digest these carbs, but the bacteria in our gut can. So, using these oligosaccharides as fuel helps the 'good' bacteria in our digestive system thrive.
Helps oral health
Whilst more research and scientific evidence on how Manuka honey can help with oral health is needed, some studies show Manuka honey can protect your teeth from plaque build-up and tooth decay, help with gum inflammation and improve your oral hygiene overall.
In one study, researchers found that taking a Manuka honey chew was more effective at reducing plaque build-up than chewing on a piece of sugar-free gum.3
The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Manuka honey are thought to be excellent for fighting blemishes, soothing skin, and even making your skin look radiant.
Manuka honey's antibacterial qualities and ability to help treat wounds can help fight any harmful bacteria on your skin which may cause blemishes or irritation. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka honey can help reduce inflammation and calm any redness.4
Manuka honey is highly moisturising as it is a natural humectant, so it is often included in hydrating skincare products and sometimes as part of a beauty treatment. Browse our selection of manuka honey face masks for radiant skin now.
Manuka honey has been used for centuries by ancient tribes in food and on their skin - it's very versatile!
You'll find Manuka honey, or manuka honey oil, in many skincare products, recipes, and even cleaning products - it turns out Manuka honey is an excellent disinfectant!
So, whether you spread it over your toast in the morning, add it to a smoothie or use it in your beauty routine – it's the new kitchen and beauty staple.
Handpicked article: How to use Manuka
While the health claims and benefits of manuka honey are outstanding, there are some things to keep in mind if you're considering trying manuka honey in any way.
If you have any concerns about whether manuka honey is right for you, always have a chat with a medical professional, as they will be able to advise you further.
An ingredient you may spot in many products is Manuka honey oil.
Derived from Manuka honey, Manuka honey oil is a concentrated plant oil that retains the beneficial properties of Manuka honey.
The uses of Manuka honey oil are vast, from soothing your skin in your skincare products, disinfecting surfaces in your cleaning products, and even being used as a natural deodorant.
The pure form of Manuka honey oil must be diluted with a carrier oil, like grapeseed oil, if you plan on applying manuka honey oil to your skin. However, doing so helps to prevent any irritation if the oil is too potent for your skin.
But you can find products that already have Manuka honey oil added that will allow you to reap all the Manuka oil benefits without the fuss.
In your skincare, Manuka honey has so many benefits.
If you're looking for hydrating, moisturising ingredients, Manuka honey is one to look out for.
Due to its sugar content, Manuka honey is a humectant that draws and retains moisture. In skincare, this makes Manuka honey a great addition to hydrating products, like creams and serums.
Manuka honey creams often contain a blend of nourishing ingredients to create a rich, intensive, absorbent cream that is great for soothing and repairing the skin whilst adding hydration and a subtle, healthy glow.
The wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka honey are also great for blemishes. By creating a protective barrier, the Manuka honey will encourage healing, fight infection, and help to reduce inflammation.6
So, if you're looking for a soothing, hydrating face cream with healing properties, look for Manuka honey creams on your next shopping spree.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 1 October 2022