Manuka Honey: Healer of Wounds
Maybe some of you have seen those little jars of mysterious, dark-coloured honey in health food stores and thought: what the heck is so special about manuka honey!? Native to the antipodes, this variety of honey has countless antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant medicinal benefits and qualities. Touted as a “superfood”, this very special honey variety has earnt its stripes.
Manuka honey is produced by bees that pollinate the flowers of the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium) which is native to New Zealand and south-eastern Australia (known here as tea tree). So, what makes manuka honey special? Manuka’s unique trait is its high antibacterial quality. As found by researchers in Germany at the University of Dresden, the active ingredient, Methylglyoxal, is most likely responsible for these effects, and this honey variety has traditionally been used for wound healing, preventing tooth decay, soothing sore throats, and improving digestive issues. According to the Australian Manuka Honey Association, manuka inhibits problematic bacterial pathogens that cause disease or illness unlike any other known antimicrobial. Strong stuff!
Let’s look at how manuka can help heal wounds. This might seem like a mighty job for a substance we usually associate with breakfast and tea, but honey, especially manuka honey, is more powerful than you might imagine. According to Healthline, honey (more generally) has been used to treat all manner of wounds and sores since ancient times by people around the world, and, in 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of manuka honey (in particular) for wound treatment. While honey generally provides a protective, antibacterial barrier for wounds to prevent infection, manuka honey amps this up, by enhancing wound healing, increasing the regeneration of tissue, and even decreasing pain. In one study by Ndayisaba et al., 40 patients with non-healing wounds were treated with the application of manuka honey and, of those patients, a very positive 88% of wounds decreased in size! Manuka is also known for aiding diabetic ulcers and wounds on eyelids, and for the reduction of scars.
The results of many studies suggest that manuka is special because of its very unique therapeutic and medicinal benefits, including these amazing examples of wound healing. Make sure you have a jar of this local, but seemingly mysterious, variety in your pantry/bathroom cabinet as a cure-all. I suggest the Tasmanian Honey Company’s Bio-Active Manuka Honey for $24.95 (or other varieties) available on the Ben’s Bees online store.