Manuka honey is not your average honey. Not only is it delicious spread on a hot crumpet or used in cooking, it also has some powerful health credentials.
Native to New Zealand’s North Island, Manuka is the honey’s Maori-given name but is known scientifically as Leptospermum scoparium. Maori people used the leaves of the Manuka plant for a medicinal drink that was used to reduce fever-like symptoms, while the oil from the crushed leaves was applied to wounds as a natural antiseptic.
Manuka is an expensive product, mainly because it is a mono-floral honey (made by bees that interact with just one species of flower), derived from blooms which flower for just 2-6 weeks a year.
Each tub of Manuka honey bears its own Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) – a scale that identifies the level of anti-bacterial potency in that particular supply. A UMF rating of 10+ is the minimum required to gain the UMF rating and thus be considered effective for purpose. Honey that meets this minimum requirement is commonly referred to as Active Manuka Honey. Optimum levels of UMF are 10+ to 15+.
All honeys boast some level of antibacterial powers, but Manuka is accepted to contain properties that are superior to those found in other strains.
So why should you add a regular teaspoonful to your diet?
1. Digestive health:
If you’re feeling bloated and uncomfortable then give Manuka honey can aid a variety of issues, including bloating, acid reflux, indigestion, stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. Simply stir into a mug of hot water or tea to soothe your pains.
Feeling a cold or sore throat coming on? Stir a teaspoon of Manuka honey into your hot lemon drink to prevent the cold bug taking a grip. Manuka honey is high in antibacterial levels and recommended in the treatment of ulcers, strep throat, cold sores, skin infections, cuts and abrasions.
3. Skin Ailments:
When applied directly, Manuka honey provides excellent treatment for skin conditions such as eczema, insect bites, burns, and surgery wounds. It also helps reduce scarring and healing time and can also be used as a facemask or to soothe sunburn.
Acne and rosacea sufferers can benefit from the use of Manuka honey as a skin cleanser; its anti-inflammatory qualities help skin conditions without removing natural oils.
Manuka honey is great for a short-term energy boost as it is it made up purely of carbohydrates, such as fructoseand glucose – your body’s primary energy source.
Having a Manuka honey-swirled hot drink in the morning should give you an energy lift for your early commute, but do remember to eat complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread and fibre breakfast cereal too, to avoid any potential energy slumps that can occur when consuming Manuka honey by itself.
Be careful of consuming too much honey in general as this is a source of sugar, meaning that an excessive intake can lead to weight gain, regardless of the honey’s source.