What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka Honey is a complex honey that goes far beyond simple table honey, it is only produced in New Zealand and is considered by some as Nature’s Best Food. Manuka honey is used as a natural ointment for wounds of all kinds. It has been hailed as a go-to germ fighter in an age of resistance to conventional antibiotics. Proponents also claim that Manuka honey can treat other conditions from acne to sinus issues.
Manuka Bees get to work each year collecting the pollen from the Manuka plant and creating the honeycomb that gives us our Manuka Honey. It has been the focus of extensive scientific research evidencing remarkable natural properties that set it apart from other kinds of honey and make it so highly prized throughout the world. Genuine New Zealand Manuka Honey are officially graded by an UMF Rating system.
What is UMF?
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) is a grading system for genuine Manuka Honey. This rating system is maintained by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA). The UMF grading system uses the most comprehensive and transparent test currently available for Manuka Honey. It appraises natural markers found in Manuka Honey to assure its purity and quality. Every batch of UMF Manuka Honey undergoes the UMF grading system (testing laboratory). The key markers (Leptosperin, Dihydroxyacetone, Methyglyoxal and Hydroxymethylfurfural) must be presented and the UMF grading is based on the combined levels of these key markers. The higher the UMF rating, the higher is the therapeutic potency of the honey.
How to Identify Genuine UMF Manuka Honey?
Genuine Manuka Honey is packed and labelled made in New Zealand. It has the UMF licensee’s brand name and the license# stated on the label. This license guarantees consumers that they are buying genuine Manuka Honey. It is verified by the official UMF certificate which states the test results for the batch# shown on the jar label. The official UMF certificate presents all 4 laboratory test results (Leptosperin, Dihydroxyacetone, Methyglyoxal and Hydroxymethylfurfural). The UMF number refers to the level of anti-bacterial property in the honey at the time of packaging. The higher the UMF number, the more potent is the Manuka Honey. Therapeutic grade manuka Honey only starts from UMF10, all the way to UMF20+. The colour of higher UMF levels of Manuka Honey tends to be darker and has a more distinctive taste.
Key Benefits of Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey is acidic and has a pH of between 3.2 and 4.5. The acidic properties inhibit the growth or destroys microorganisms such as bacteria, virus and fungus. Therefore, Manuka Honey is well-known with its wound healing effect.
Manuka Honey can also help to strengthen the immune system and is effective against all kinds of infections. Its antibacterial and anti-viral properties can reduce inflammation and clear infections that can cause sickness & discomfort. Manuka honey can also improve digestion and ease stomachache as it contains a pre-biotic. It has been found to be an effective therapy for digestive disorder such as acid reflux, gastric, diarrhea and ulcers. Finally, Manuka Honey is also commonly regarded as a good energy booster.
Unknown to many people, Manuka honey also has a bunch of skin benefits in addition to its health benefits. It is very effective for skin barrier protection to maintain a healthy and blemish-free skin.
Firstly, it helps to improve skin’s appearance especially acne prone skin that has breakouts. It can balance skin’s pH level and remove dead cells to keep the skin clean. Its anti-bacteria and anti-inflammatory effect can reduce inflammation and irritation and heal existing pimples and clear up blemishes on skin. It also calms and reduces redness on face by soothing the skin.
Secondly, It is also a powerful humectant due to its sugar component. This makes it a very effective ingredient in moisturizers, as it attracts moisture from the air and binds it to the skin to give skin cells intense hydration. Hydrated skin is the key to healthy skin!
Finally, Manuka Honey also contains loads of antioxidants thus making it an effective anti-aging ingredient. Antioxidants protect the skin against cell scavenging free radicals and help the skin repairs itself. It also keeps the skin moisturized to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How to Consume Manuka Honey?
For health benefits, it is advisable to consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of Manuka honey every day to get its utmost benefits. There are a few ways to consume manuka honey: you may eat it straight or add it to foods or drinks. For one who is suffering from sore throat, you may take Manuka honey with warm water and lemon juice to experience its soothing effect and ease the symptoms. It is not advisable to take manuka honey with boiling liquids as the heat will take away all its antimicrobial properties.
If you would like to include manuka honey into your daily meal plan, you may consider spreading it onto a slice of bread or adding it into yogurt. Tea drinkers can also add a spoonful of manuka honey into morning cup.
For skin benefits, look for New Zealand skincare products that use Manuka Honey as the main or major ingredient. Make sure that the product contains Manuka Honey of at least UMF12+ rating, and manuka honey appears near the top of the ingredients list and not in the bottom half.
Possible Side Effects of Manuka Honey
If one is allergic to bees, then he should not be using manuka honey as it might cause a risk of allergic reaction. There is also a risk of blood sugar increase as honey is high in natural sugar. Therefore diabetic patients should only consume with physician instruction only. People who are under medication treatment should consult a doctor before consuming it as manuka honey has effects on certain chemotherapy drugs and interactions with various other medicines. Mayo Clinic, U.S. does not recommend giving honey to infants under the age of one due to the risk of infant botulism, a type of foodborne illness.