Nutritionists have been telling us to avoid processed foods and sugar, so it’s no surprise that ingredients from different parts of the world are taking up space in our pantry to replace them.
Manuka honey, which comes from New Zealand, is one of those superfoods that claims to help a host of ailments all in one teaspoonful. It’s collected from honeybees that forage at native manuka (or tea tree) trees in New Zealand, according to the NHS. Tea tree is well-known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity.
The active ingredient in the honey, methylglyoxal (MG) has been given a rating known as UMF (Unique Manuka Factor), which helps to differentiate the honey between the many fake products sold on the market. A rating of 10 or higher is considered therapeutic, explains DrWeil.com.
There’s also some star power behind it. Tennis player Novak Djokovic eats manuka honey every day for its antibacterial properties, according to his book, “Serve to Win,” and Scarlett Johansson uses it as a facial mask to open her pores.
Manuka honey is prescribed by various healthcare practitioners for ailments ranging from digestive problems to acne, but don’t expect your $5 jar — prices for the honey go upwards of $45 per 500 grams.
While some medicinal trials have been carried out to uncover the honey’s effects, other benefits are anecdotal. Read to see how manuka could help what ails you:
It Can Help Your Sore Throat
This one you may already know thanks to the old trick of lemon, hot water and honey for sore throats, but thanks to manuka honey’s heightened anti-bacterial properties, it can help get rid of your bug even faster.
Building Up Immunity
For those who find they’re constantly worn down: manuka honey has been found to be a “natural immune booster,” according to some alternative health studies. Like many natural ingredients taken for immunity, however, it has not yet been determined in a clinical trial.
Clear The Skin
For acne and even minor scars on the face, creating a facial of manuka honey can help clear up skin. Follow these instructions from Marie Claire U.K. for a gorgeous result.
It sounds counterintuitive — taking something sweet to help with a toothache — but the antibacterial properties in manuka honey, plus its ability to curb the amount of acid in the mouth, can help prevent tooth decay, according to Green Bay Harvest. It can also be swished around the mouth as a breath freshener.
First things first: medical trials have not found any significant effect on bacteria in the gut due to manuka honey, but that hasn’t keptalternative health practitioners from recommending it, and from enthusiastic Internet commenters from extolling its virtues. As long as you don’t have an allergy to bees, it’s safe to at least try it.
Honey has long been used to help heal burns, but you can’t just grab anything from the grocery store. A special sterilized manuka honey is used by healthcare workers, according to DermCare NZ, and all major wounds and burns should be treated by professionals.
Again, this isn’t something the average person is likely contending with, but as the National Health Service U.K. reported last year, it was found that manuka honey can help prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to tissues, and has great potential for use in hospitals.
According to Health News Library, taking manuka honey right before bed can help stabilize blood-glucose levels, thereby allowing for the release of sleep hormone melatonin.
Athlete’s Foot And Other Fungal Infections
If you’re suffering from a fungal infection like athlete’s foot, nail fungus or ringworm, manuka honey could help clear it up. Put the honey on the affected area, instructs HealthRemediesWeb.com, and cover with cotton socks.