The healing properties of honey have been recorded since ancient times. 300 years before the birth of Christ, the great philosopher Aristotle, was advocating its health benefits. Even Hippocrates, the widely recognized father of western medicine, detailed the healing power of honey.
Unsurprisingly, not all honey is the same. The quality and effectiveness of the honey is dictated not only by the bees that produce it, but also by the flowers these busy little creatures visit. Over the past couple of decades research has shown that one honey, in particular, has antibacterial qualities which far surpass those of other honeys. That product is Manuka Honey.
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is an extremely viscous honey which has a distinctive, slightly bitter aftertaste. It is gaining international recognition as a powerful natural antibacterial product, and is proving to be so effective in a number of medical conditions that research is being actively conducted into Manuka honey in order to better treat a variety of conditions.
Manuka honey has produced beneficial results in a variety of conditions. Professor Molan, the director of the Honey Research Unit, has stated that Manuka works on bacteria, fungi and protozoa, and has so far proved effective on all infectious organisms against which is has been tested.
Where is Manuka Honey From?
Manuka honey is produced by European bees exclusively from the nectar of the Manuka tree which is primarily found in New Zealand. English missionaries introduced the first population of bees in the nineteenth century and since that time beekeeping on the islands has gone from strength to strength. What started out as two hives in 1839 has developed to such an extent that, by the 1980′s, there were over 335,000 hives in the country.
It is estimated that New Zealand is currently exporting up to 15,000 tonnes of Manuka Honey each year and that figure continues to rise as the world population becomes aware of the health benefits associated with it.
Components of Manuka Honey
All honey contains, to some extent, hydrogen peroxide, which is created by an enzyme that the bees add to the nectar. The hydrogen peroxide is released in such a manner that it promotes the healing of wounds without damaging the surrounding tissue. Alongside hydrogen peroxide, Manuka honey also contains other ingredients which make it more effective than honey produced from other plants.
Much research has been done into the active components of Manuka honey. The University of Waikato has a Honey Research Unit which is able to measure the antibacterial activity of the honey. Manuka honey which is found to have antibacterial properties of 10 or more are given a rating called the Unique Manuka Factor or UMF. With the more active honey being given higher ratings. So, if you are searching for the best Manuka honey you should look for the most active and with highest UMF.