by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
As incidents of antibiotic-resistant disease continue to rise, so does the interest in alternative medicine and natural remedies. Before the inception of modern medicine, natural antibiotics like honey, oregano, and garlic took center stage as the healing treatments of choice.
Recently, a special type of medicinal honey, called manuka honey, has been making a comeback. Manuka honey is a monofloral honey that comes from the New Zealand and Australian manuka bush.
The multiple healing benefits of this honey can be attributed to its powerful and varied antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties.
Manuka honey contains two important compounds, which make it such an effective natural antibiotic and all-around health tonic. The first ingredient is hydrogen peroxide. This well-known disinfectant is safe for both internal and external use as it is a natural enzymatic byproduct of the honey.
Unlike other raw, unprocessed honey on the market, manuka honey also contains a non-hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property known as unique manuka factor (UMF).
A UMF of 9 or less is considered a maintenance dose while a UMF of 10 or more provides more active healing benefits for more serious conditions like ulcers and burns as it inhibits the growth of resistant bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, staphylococcus aureus[1. http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/66/11/2536.full.pdf] and streptococcus pyogenes.
Manuka Honey Provides Serious Healing Benefits
- Treats Ulcers
It is estimated that up to 80 percent of patients with stomach ulcers are infected with a gram-negative bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Manuka honey with a UMF factor of 10 or more has been shown to be effective in treating these ulcers by inhibiting the growth of this bacterium. The anti-inflammatory and wound-healing benefits of this honey make it an ideal natural treatment for ulcers.
Take one teaspoon of manuka honey four times per day, one half hour before meals for best results. Within two to four months, the H. pylori infection should be healed and the discomfort of your ulcer greatly reduced, if not completely gone.
- Heals Chronic Skin Conditions
If you have a chronic skin condition such as acne, eczema or psoriasis, give manuka honey a try. Although it may seem counterintuitive to put something sweet directly on inflamed skin, manuka honey contains a powerful antimicrobial agent called methylglyoxal, which has been shown to prevent bacterial overgrowth while healing inflammation.
For acne-prone skin, use the honey as a spot treatment on existing breakouts or as a 15-minute pore-cleansing mask. Sprinkle a bit of water on clean skin and spread a thin layer of the honey over the affected areas of the face, neck, chest, and back. Allow to dry for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and follow with a splash or two of cool water to tighten pores.
For eczema, psoriasis, and other chronic skin conditions, I recommend mixing manuka honey with a bit of organic, unprocessed coconut oil to make a healing salve. Spread it over the affected areas two or three times per day. You may also use a pre-mixed medicinal honey ointment or cream for this purpose.
- Repairs Antibiotic-Resistant Wounds
Sam Edwards, maintenance engineer and Wales native, developed a rare skin condition caused by a cut from a koi carp infected with Mycobacterium marinum.
He described the unbearable pain of the ulcers as that of being fried in a deep-fat fryer 24 hours a day. Facing amputation, Edwards used manuka honey for five months and his condition healed.
In the United Kingdom, manuka honey has been available as a prescription for chronic wounds and infections for the past decade. It has been used successfully in the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in a wound care clinic setting.[2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0266435606001860]
- Boosts Immune System
Studies have shown that manuka honey gives your immune system a boost by stimulating the cytokine production of human monocytes [3. http://www.jleukbio.org/content/82/5/1147.short]. Taking it a few times per week for maintenance can help ease the effect of autoimmune conditions by helping the body heal itself.
- Prevents Colds and Flu
During cold and flu season, manuka honey is a great natural ally to have on your side. At the first sign of a sore throat or sniffle, take a teaspoon of the medicinal honey twice per day. This may help you stave off the infection completely or, at least, shorten its duration.
I recommend Manuka Honey from Manuka Health for its immune-boosting and healing properties.
Manuka honey has some valuable medicinal properties. Perhaps someday soon, we will have the opportunity to take it more seriously in the United States.
Some Foods Have Real Healing Benefit. Some, Not So Much.