One of the best gifts from nature comes to us in the form of honey. It is in fact, a gift from bees. It offers so many types of benefits to us. It is not surprising that it has played a major role in so many cultures worldwide for centuries, finding application in medicine and food.
Manuka trees (Leptospermum scoparium) can be found growing widely across the entire Eastern Cape region in New Zealand. One of the most popular varieties of honey, Manuka honey is sourced from the nectar which is gathered by bees that feed on the Manuka trees.
Such honey is considered as superfood because of many reasons. The honey sourced from the Manuka trees has distinctive properties for our health. This includes:
Medicinal Applications of Manuka Honey
There are so many health benefits of Manuka honey. It is widely used by the native Maoris in New Zealand, who look at it as a native medicine. They have been using it for its different medicinal benefits including, treating:
- Skin diseases
- Even various kinds of cancers
Captain James Cook, when he made his discovery of New Zealand and first met the settlers, he was given a special drink containing the Manuka’s spiny leaves. In his journal he noted that Manuka leaves are extensively used for making tea. It is recognized by its pleasantly bitter aroma and flavor. But the bitter aroma and taste are lost when these leaves are dried.
Comvita is medical Manuka honey’s largest supplier in New Zealand. According to Dr. Ralf Schlothauer, Ph.D. of Comvita, genuine medical Manuka will have the ‘UMF’ label. UMF stands for “Unique Manuka Factor” and means that this kind of honey will have this factor. He claims that this special factor refers to the concentration of antioxidant phenols. These antioxidants help in slowing down bacterial growth.
So before you buy Manuka honey, it is important to look for an official logo that states the certification in UMF.
You will find that Manuka honey is comparatively expensive. However, it is superior in its healing benefits compared to regular honey. Besides its improved healing benefits, it also offers better effects compared to conventional drugs too.
According to doctors, the high amounts of sugar in it help in creating its waterless environment. This prevents infection-causing bacteria in the wound to die. The honey also has glucose oxidase, a kind of enzyme which is acidic and further enhances its antibacterial properties.
Manuka honey also has anti-inflammatory properties. Besides, it helps in stimulating the development of new blood capillaries, thus helping in the reach of nutrients – this improves new skin cell regeneration.
As per various studies (published – Food Chemistry, Immunotoxicology & Immunopharmacology), Manuka honey has high levels of novel proteins called arabinogalactans. They help in improving immune activity and releasing anti-inflammatory cytokines on application on wounds.
Health Benefits of Manuka Honey:
- Protecting gastrointestinal tract
- Fighting flu and colds
- Throat diseases
- Eye diseases