With cold and flu season coming through in full swing, we’ve got to keep up with our health supplements and stay mindful about infections, not just for ourselves as busy mamas and papas, but for our little ones coming in and out of the classroom. One popular remedy that you’ve probably heard of for autumn allergies to the base of a good scratch cough syrup is to take a spoonful of honey into your tea or straight from the spoon if you are feeling a bit daring!
While raw, local honey can be fantastic to pick up at a farmer’s market, you might want to consider incorporating more manuka honey into your diet! You may have heard about this wondrous healing honey before from a friend, but Real Food RN will dive deep to dig into manuka honey and some of its amazing benefits for you and your family.
What Makes Manuka Honey Special?
Manuka honey is a variety of honey produced by bees that help to pollinate the prized manuka tree, native to New Zealand. Manuka can also be found in Australia natively, but it’s also been cultivated in a few other places. For indigenous people in New Zealand, called the Māori people, manuka has been incredibly useful for skin remedies, hair care, and even eating the sweet gum-like secretion from the tree’s bark.
So when bees pollinate the manuka trees when the blossoms are in season, it affects the honey produced by the bees to create a luxuriant, rich, thick version of honey known to us as manuka honey.
This honey has enhanced benefits compared to standard, processed honey you may find in the marketplace. Just like other honey varieties, such as the fruity and bright orange blossom honey or the deep amber from a fall-season star thistle honey, manuka honey’s qualities can take on different color tones, flavor notes, thickness, and benefits.
Manuka’s flavor profile tends to lean toward a more bitter taste and a darker tone. This is because the manuka tree’s flowers increase the potency and presence of Methylglyoxal or MGO. MGO can be found in all manners of honey, but in manuka honey, the concentration is significantly higher and considered more concentrated. This means you get more antioxidant properties for a smaller amount of honey.
I like to think of this as getting a Starbucks green iced tea with no water added, buying chai teas in a concentrated form, and just adding some A2 milk or oat milk to make the latte. It’s pretty darn impressive that manuka honey can add so much oomph to my health regimen with just a spoonful a day!
Proven Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
All honey touts extraordinary health benefits, and that’s the bee’s knees in my book. But what makes manuka honey so unique? The clinical studies done around the benefits of manuka honey have a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the following positive qualities:
Antibacterial – First and foremost, the best benefit in comparison to other honey is its antibacterial properties. For thousands of years, honey has been a part of an ancient apothecary as a natural choice for wound care, burn care, oral care, and preventing bacterial growth and disease from festering. This is true of our internal health functions as well. Getting your body to fight infection easily is one of manuka honey’s best qualities.
This antibacterial quality from manuka honey can also help a great deal with acne treatment and skin care, especially combined with a low-pH skincare regimen. Helping the skin stay free of extra bacteria helps speed the healing process.
Antiviral – All honey has a naturally occurring amount of hydrogen peroxide, even when the New Zealand University of Waikato discovered that if the hydrogen peroxide was neutralized from the manuka honey, the honey still contained potent antiviral and antibacterial activity. This is unique to manuka honey alone, identified as NPA or non-peroxide activity, and contributes to the honey’s unique value.
Anti-Inflammatory – Inflammation is the culprit behind several disease symptoms and can affect our overall wellness and functionality. Manuka honey benefits the digestive system by soothing the irritation from inflammation.
Chronic inflammation may come from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, Lactose Intolerance, and Gluten Intolerance. It actively attacks strains of irritating bacteria that can show up in the gut, like Clostridium difficile, that can cause diarrhea symptoms and inflammation responses.
Vitamin and Mineral Rich – Manuka honey contains over 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, and 5,000 unique enzyme compounds! Some of the most potent minerals include zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium.
Promotes Oral and Throat Health – If you or your little kiddo gets a sore throat this season, reach for the manuka honey. This healing honey can even attack the bacterial strain streptococcus mutans, which is often the culprit for the throat’s seasonal soreness.
Additionally, if you have any sort of canker sore or ulcer, manuka honey can be an excellent resource to destroy harmful bacterial infections and help promote the safe healing of the delicate membranes in your throat and mouth.
Manuka honey is also an effective cough suppressant, making it an ideal option for throat irritation.
Best Ways to Use Manuka Honey
There is not much difference between how to use manuka honey vs. regular honey, thankfully, regarding how to include this superstar in your daily diet. So, use manuka honey as you would use standard honey.
Use manuka honey in your tea or a spoonful in the morning for allergen reduction. You can drizzle some honey onto pancakes for a sweet morning treat!
Manuka honey is the best sugar substitute for any dessert. Make sure you check the heat to adjust if you are baking your treat in the oven, as it has a lower melting point than standard sugar. If you want to decide which manuka honey is best for you, I’ve got a potent favorite. BeeNZ is my pick for manuka honey because of its potent healing properties and availability. Coupon code REALFOODRN419 saves you 10% off your order. This company is the real deal direct from New Zealand and they also test for glyphosate. So they are my favorite!