Online, the uber-healthy community shares recipes full of ingredients you’ve likely never heard of, let alone seen in the aisle of your local grocery store. Kefir and blue agave can sound more like mythical creatures than things to put in your mouth. And there is one trending ingredient that seems to be everywhere right now. Even its name is melodic as if onomatopoetic to its taste: Manuka Honey. But is Manuka honey really worth the hype? Does it live up to its exorbitant price tag?
Manuka Honey: The Basics
Manuka honey is more than a supplementary dribble to your steel-cut oats. It is claimed to be an ancient remedy that soothes, ballasts, and eases human wounds and diseases, both interior and exterior. The honey is made from bees in New Zealand and Australia where the nectar is harvested from Manuka flowers. While it definitely has a distinct taste, people also believe it has distinct medicinal properties.
Here is the mere iceberg-tip of the myriad human symptoms that Manuka claims to soothe:
- Burns – Manuka honey aids skin regeneration of burn wounds, helping to decrease healing time and limit scarring.
- MRSA – When applied to MRSA infections (wounds caused by an antibiotic-resistant strain) Manuka honey contained the spread of infection 10% better than traditional kinds of honey.
- Prevent build-up of gastric ulcers – Gastric ulcers can result from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Including Manuka honey in your diet helps to fight H. pylori, which is the bacteria that builds upon the stomach lining and causes these ulcers.
- Fight cystic fibrosis– These same antibacterial qualities can be a huge resource for those fighting cystic fibrosis. Manuka honey helps to combat the build-up of mucus, which in turn helps to aid breathing and ease movement.
Such is the extent of Manuka honey's healing properties that the FDA has officially approved its marketing classification as a remedy substance. The only question remains: Are the healing properties because of the Manuka nectar, or do they stem from the honey itself? Is it a goldmine or an overpriced honey scam?
Don’t Be Fooled
Clearly, the health benefits of Manuka are undeniable. But these qualities aren’t exclusive to Manuka. Good old honeycomb can boast the same claims. That’s right, unpasteurized, authentic, raw honeycomb is oozing with the same goodness and guaranteed to have an extensive list of benefits that boosts your health.
Plus, the price tag won’t tear a hole in your pocket.
Health Benefits of Honeycomb
Good old-fashioned honeycomb should not be discredited! There is nothing quite-like scraping the final chunks of an authentic honeycomb. Watching the molten liquid squeeze out of every crevice, with crystallized sugary goodness adding the perfect crunch-factor to your morning toast. It is nostalgic, reminiscent of childhood and spring mornings.
Like Manuka, honeycomb has a bounty of health benefits. It might not have the cult-following, but one shouldn’t undermine the natural remedy qualities of honeycomb.
- Antioxidants – Honeycomb is crammed full of antioxidants including polyphenols. These have a colossal health benefit, helping the prevention of heart disease and cancer. They also aid cell rejuvenation, which is crucial in fighting the signs of aging: it is practically the elixir of life. Honeycomb is proven to have 4.3 times the amount of antioxidants than other forms of raw honey.
- Antibacterial – Since honey contains hydrogen peroxide in low amounts, it does have antibacterial properties. Plus, the high concentration of sugar prevents certain bacteria from growing and causing infection.
- Antimicrobial – Unlike processed honey, raw honeycomb contains enzymes that specifically target harmful macrobiotics and prevent the reception of harmful viruses.
- Regeneration of tissue – Honey aids the healing of open wounds and increases the regeneration time of damaged tissue.
- Ease digestion – The probiotic qualities of honey help to ease digestion and prevent the onset of irritable bowel syndrome.
Manuka is proven to have an incredible effect on acne. The anti-inflammatory nature of the honey aids the eruption of spots, and its rejuvenating tissue power helps to ease scar damage. Current trends in luxury skin treatments pin Manuka as a key ingredient in creams and facial lotion. However, studies from the NCBI show that honeycomb has a vastly similar effect. The reason being that raw honeycomb has the same anti-inflammatory qualities as Manuka.
Like Manuka honey, honeycomb can have a hugely beneficial effect on sore throats. The antibiotic properties specifically target Streptococcus mutants, the bacteria responsible for throat infections, helping to decrease inflammation and ease the pain. Adding a tablespoon to hot lemon water or tea can have a huge effect.
The Downside to Manuka Honey
The key takeaway here is that honey in its most raw, natural form has incredible health benefits from antibacterial creams to digestive relievers. It doesn’t matter whether that’s Manuka honey or alfalfa honey. All the hype around Manuka honey just increases the price. Plus, because Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand, most manufacturers will pasteurize their honey before shipping. This strips the beneficial nutrients and enzymes from the honey during the heating process and leaves you with just a sugary syrup.
Don’t be fooled by Manuka honey claims. If you want to be confident in your honey choice, the best option is natural honeycomb. Raw, whole honeycomb is guaranteed to be untampered with—from the golden thrones of the bees straight to your kitchen table.
NCBI, Manuka Honey Inhibits cell division methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21903658
Elsevia, Raw Millefiori honey is packed full of antioxidants https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814605003262?via%3Dihub
FDC, 501(k) Premarket Notification, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfpmn/pmn.cfm?ID=K133729
NCBI, Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5661189/