What is Manuka Honey? Advantages and disadvantages.
Manuka honey is produced by bees that pollinate manuka bushes native to New Zealand. Known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used as a natural remedy for various ailments for centuries.
The medicinal benefits of manuka honey are mainly due to its high content of methylglyoxal (MGO), a substance found in high concentrations in the nectar of the manuka bush. MGO is a powerful antibacterial agent that has been shown to be effective against a wide range of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Benefits of Manuka Honey:
1. Treatment of wounds and burns: Manuka honey has been shown to be effective in treating wounds and burns as it promotes healing and prevents infection. The higher the level of MGO in honey, the higher its antibacterial properties.
2. Treatment of throat and cough: Manuka honey has been shown to be effective in treating throat and cough due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Treating digestive problems: Manuka honey can help soothe and heal the digestive tract and has been shown to be effective in treating conditions such as acid reflux and stomach ulcers. The higher the level of MGO in honey, the higher its antibacterial properties.
4. Strengthening the immune system: Manuka honey has immunity-boosting properties due to its high content of antioxidants and antibacterial compounds. The higher the level of MGO in honey, the higher its antibacterial properties.
5. Fights acne: The antibacterial properties of manuka honey can help fight acne-causing bacteria on the skin. When applied topically, manuka honey can help reduce inflammation and redness and promote acne healing.
6. A healthy mouth: Manuka honey can promote oral health by reducing plaque build-up and preventing gum disease. It can also help reduce the symptoms of thrush and other oral infections.
7. Allergy Symptoms Relief: Consuming locally grown manuka honey can help ease seasonal allergy symptoms as it contains small amounts of native plant pollen. Over time, this exposure can help desensitize the immune system to allergens, reducing the severity of allergy symptoms.
8. Provide energy and improve sleep: Manuka honey is a natural source of carbohydrates that can provide energy and help stabilize blood sugar levels. Drinking honey before bed can also help improve sleep quality because it promotes the release of serotonin, which is converted into melatonin in the body.
9. Promote skin health: Manuka honey can help promote overall skin health by providing hydration, promoting healing and reducing breakouts. It can be used topically to soothe and heal dry, irritated or damaged skin.
MGO, or methylglyoxal, is a naturally occurring compound found in high concentrations in manuka honey. MGO is responsible for the antibacterial properties of manuka honey, and the level of MGO in honey is used as a measure of its antibacterial activity.
The higher the level of MGO in honey, the higher its antibacterial properties. MGO levels in manuka honey can range from less than 100 mg/kg, while premium manuka honey has MGO levels in excess of 400 mg/kg.
Although manuka honey has many potential health benefits, there are some potential negative effects that you should be aware of before using it. Here are some of the possible risks and side effects associated with using manuka honey:
- Allergic reactions: some people may be allergic to honey, including manuka honey. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming manuka honey, contact your doctor immediately.
- Blood sugar control: Manuka honey is rich in natural sugars that can raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or other blood sugar control problems. If you have a medical condition that affects your blood sugar, check with your doctor before taking manuka honey.
- Weight gain: Consuming too much Manuka honey can cause weight gain due to its high calorie and natural sugar content. If you are watching your weight, manuka honey should be used in moderation.
- Drug interactions: Manuka honey may interact with some medications, including antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs. If you are on medication, consult your doctor before using manuka honey.
It is important to note that although these risks exist, they are relatively rare and most people can consume manuka honey safely and without any negative effects. As with any supplement or natural remedy, it is important to consult your doctor before taking manuka honey, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medication.
The difference between manuka honey with MGO levels of 135, 270 and 510 lies in the strength of their antibacterial properties.
Manuka honey with an MGO level of 135+ is considered to be a lower grade of Manuka honey. While it still has some antibacterial properties, the level of MGO is not as high as in other grades of Manuka honey. It may be suitable for general use, such as in food or as a natural sweetener, but may not be as effective for therapeutic use.
Manuka honey with an MGO level of 340+ is considered medium therapeutic strength manuka honey. It has moderate levels of antibacterial activity and can be effective for wound healing, digestive health, and other therapeutic purposes.
Manuka honey with an MGO level of 514+ is considered the highest medical quality honey. It has a high level of antibacterial activity and is often used for wound healing as well as digestive health, immune system support and other therapeutic purposes, and it goes without saying that this honey has a high anti-aging effect:
Manuka honey is rich in antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radical damage. It can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and make your skin look younger.