There’s a lot of buzz out there about Manuka honey—a unique type of honey that’s supposedly capable of providing all kinds of amazing health benefits. But frankly, I’ve been in the health world most of my life, and I’ve got a healthy dose of skepticism whenever I read about any new “wonder health aid”.
So, I decided to put my Columbo hat on and do some detective work. I wanted to find out if there really was anything to this Manuka honey craze. Turns out, there is.
Where does it come from?
Now, the Manuka Bush is indigenous to New Zealand and Australia. And when bees pollinate it, they make Manuka honey. It’s darker in color than any other honey. And it’s made of essential minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and B vitamins. These ingredients alone make it a strong contender in the fight against the visible signs of aging.
Not only that, but Manuka has a long history of therapeutic use by the Aboriginal people as a remedy for lots of ailments. In fact, researchers at the University of Wales Institute discovered Manuka honey blocked certain bacteria from attaching to tissue. Therefore they thought it might inhibit numerous help heal and repair tissue, and reduce inflammation.1
The strong healing properties of Manuka honey make it a helpful aid when fighting skin issues like wrinkles, dryness, discoloration, and blotchiness.2
Manuka Honey for Wrinkles
As you age, your skin naturally loses its elasticity. This causes the visible signs of aging that annoy so many of us and make us look older than we feel. Sun exposure and an unhealthy lifestyle can enhance wrinkles and fine lines once they appear too.
But, applying Manuka honey topically is a great way to moisturize. It can help smooth your complexion and diminish the appearance of wrinkles by removing impurities deep in your skin. It can also help remove dead skin cells and make way for healthy new ones, leaving you with a revitalized, fresher look.
In fact, you can enhance the beneficial power of any all-natural facial mask you try by adding a teaspoon of Manuka honey to it and mixing before you apply.
Manuka Honey for Oily Skin and Bumps
Bumpy, flaky skin and redness are often caused by excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria-clogged pores. And when bacterial activity affects your pores, the surrounding tissue can become inflamed and red.
But, Manuka honey’s strong properties get down to the root cause of bumps and blotches.3 Turns out, what makes Manuka honey such a potent diminisher of redness is methylglyoxal — its primary antibacterial component. Methylglyoxal can only be found in the byproduct of Manuka flower nectar.4
Of course, not all Manuka honey has the same level of antibacterial power. It varies from batch to batch. So, to measure its potency, manufacturers came up with the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) scale. This system measures the honey’s content of methylglyoxal. To claim therapeutic effect, Manuka honey needs a UMF rating of 10 or above. And, generally speaking, the scale supposes the higher the UMF, the more effective its medicinal properties.
Manuka Honey for Skin Disorders
Now unfortunately, inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis affect many people. Not only do they cause physical discomfort, they can be emotionally distressing as well. Eczema can result in the appearance of dry, itchy patches on the skin. The affected areas are prone to infection and inflammation. And, they may worsen when exposed to sweat and other irritants.
But, Manuka honey could actually be one of the best of defenders against extreme dryness. Manuka acts as a humectant and can help draw in moisture from the environment to reduce dryness and flaking.
And its antibacterial properties can help prevent other health issues.5 But, as always, you really should check in with your doctor or dermatologist before you try any at-home remedy.
Manuka Honey for Wound Care & Scars
As a humectant, Manuka honey moistens damaged skin, which is necessary for tissue repair and regrowth. And again, its anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling and redness, and help prevent infection, which can get in the way of the healing process.6
Also, there is the possibility Manuka honey could cause an allergic reaction – especially if you’re allergic to bees. So, test it out in moderation if you’re allergy prone. And, as always, report any adverse reactions to your doctor.
So, it turns out there is a reason for the buzz. If you’d like to see if Manuka honey might work for you, go ahead and try this quick and easy mask –
Lemon Manuka Mask
4 tsp Manuka honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Simply mix the Manuka and lemon until they’re blended well. Apply to your face and let the mixture work its magic for 15 – 20 minutes. The lemon will help brighten your skin and the Manuka honey will moisturize and smooth leaving you with a fresh, vibrant look.
Just remember to make sure you research which brands of Manuka honey have the highest UMF if you plan to try using Manuka to help with wrinkles, skin disorders, wounds or scars.
Want more helpful skincare tips?
1 Visavadia B. Manuka honey dressing: An effective treatment for chronic wound infections. Sciencedirectcom. 2008. Accessed January 18, 2017.
2.The use of honey as an antiseptic in managing Pseudomonas infection: Journal of Wound Care: Vol 8, No 4. Magonlinelibrarycom. 2017.
3. Tonks A. Honey stimulates inflammatory cytokine production from monocytes. Sciencedirectcom. 2003. Accessed January 18, 2017.
4. BENEFITS OF HONEY. BeeActiv. 2017. Available at: http://ivyhoney.com/benefits-of-honey .
5. Willix D, Molan P, Harfoot C. A comparison of the sensitivity of wound-infecting species of bacteria to the antibacterial activity of manuka honey and other honey. 2017.
6. Manuka honey for healing wonders – The Natural Health Society of Australia. Healthorgau. 2017.