Manuka honey commonly known as anuka originated from New Zealand and Australia region. The honey is collected as nectar from Manuka tree by bees that pollinate the trees. This tree grows naturally in the region with the honey produced from its nectar being dark cream or dark brown in color. In late summer, Manuka tree flowers leading to production of the honey hence difficult to be confused with honey formed from nectar collected from other trees. Though the honey has been a traditional form of treatment for decades, it is only in the late 19th century that the researchers confirmed that it contains antibacterial properties.
Traditionally, this honey was available in its original state. However, due to industrialization, the honey as an alternative medicine is available in three forms that include;
- Filtered honey
- Pasteurized honey
- Honey comb
- Raw honey
- Local or imported honey
The rich nutritional value of Anuka honey qualifies it as an alternative medicine. Nutritional value of the unprocessed honey is more than three times the amount in any other floral honey with high levels of enzymes in it. When the honey is raw and unfiltered it contains the following nutrients;
- Amino acids
- Vitamin B
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Active Properties of Manuka Honey
Due to the above nutrients, the honey has been tested and found to possess several active properties that facilitate healing. These properties include;
- Anti-oxidant properties
- Anti-bacterial properties
- Anti-inflammatory properties
Health benefits of Manuka Honey
- Wound Healing
According to the research done in late 19th century, this honey contains antibiotic properties that are effective for wound healing. This helps in hastening wound healing while preventing infections. Also, the honey contains anti-inflammatory characteristics that aids in pain relief in wounds. The honey quickens the drying up of raw wounds hence healing due to its anti-oxidant properties. Therefore, this honey has been found to be effective in healing burn wounds, acute venous ulcers and other cut wounds. In order to treat the wound, the honey should be applied on top of the wound after cleaning. Sterile dressing pad may be placed on top to prevent the wound from accumulating dirt.
- Small Intestinal infections
This honey is effective in eliminating existing bacterial infections in the small intestines while preventing their growth. The honey is effective in healing bacterial related infections including the Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). In most cases, intestinal infections are accompanied by excessive acid in the intestines that corrodes the walls of the stomach and intestines as well. When the honey is taken orally, it reduces reflux and balances the digestive system. In this case the honey plays the role of anti-acids by eliminating intestinal imbalances that leads to excessive release of digestive acid into the small intestines.
- Treatment of periodontal disease and gingivitis
The presence of minerals such as phosphorous, zinc, calcium and sodium in the honey helps in strengthening the teeth keeping the healthy. When the teeth are already attacked by decay causing organisms, the anti-microbial properties present in the honey eliminates the microbes leading to healing. Gingivitis causes bleeding in the gum of the teeth. Chewing the honey aids in preventing the bleeding and spreading of the infection hence healing.
- Boosts immunity
This honey is an active stimulant for the monocytes and other immune cells to produce the required antibodies in the body. This helps in boosting immunity that prevents infections in the body system. It is therefore highly recommended to individuals suffering from terminal illnesses that suppresses immunity and those with low body immunity.
- Treatment of sore throat
In most cases, sore throat is caused by Strep bacteria leading to discomfort and pain especially upon swallowing. This honey is potent on this type of bacteria wiping it out completely. In addition, the honey has been found helpful in preventing and healing throat inflammation as a result of chemotherapy for cancer patients. In case of sore throat, ingesting a tablespoonful of the honey leads to healing. However, for those suffering from severe sore throat or undergoing chemotherapy, the honey should be used consistently for several days or as recommended by a physician.
Allergic reactions have been reported when this honey is used by people with a bee allergy history. Therefore, Anuka honey should be taken with caution by individuals who are allergic to bees or a physician should be consulted before use.