Honey as a wound treatment is a long-standing practice. In a historical document from 1392, the method was cited as having roots in ancient civilizations. Honey is delicious and may have properties that help fight infection. Use of honey as a healing agent fell out of favour with advances in medicine and increased use of antibiotics. But as more viruses and bacteria become antibiotic-resistant, use of honey outside holistic medicine is enjoying more mainstream attention.
Manuka honey, harvested from the Manuka tree in New Zealand, has unusual properties. Although all honey contains antimicrobial properties, only Manuka Honey contains non-hydrogen peroxide, with greater antibacterial power.
1. HELPS WITH STOMACH ISSUES
Adding Manuka honey to your diet can help with a host of stomach issues, including small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), low stomach acid, and acid reflux. The antibacterial properties of Manuka honey help reduce harmful bacteria in the stomach and gut. In fact, in a recent study, one dangerous bacteria related to all three conditions, Clostridium difficile, was found to be quite susceptible to Manuka honey’s bactericidal effects. Therefore, taking Manuka honey is very beneficial in reducing acid reflux and balancing your digestive system to heal stomach and intestinal imbalances.
2. TREAT SKIN CONDITIONS
Both anecdotal and scientific evidence has backed claims that topical application of Manuka Honey helps reduce the inflammation associated with acne breakouts. Those who have eczema may also find relief from honey, as it helps lock moisture into the dry skin and heal open blemishes and rashes. The antibacterial properties, especially those of Manuka honey, help reduce infection risks from rashes and blemishes. For the best results, apply Manuka honey to the affected areas, allow to sit for a few minutes, then wash off with gentle soap and water.
3. COMBAT RESISTANT INFECTIONS
Increasing use of antibiotics to treat infections has led to a superbug that has plagued hospitals over the several years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Antibiotic overuse and drug ineffectiveness have caused certain strains of Staph to become virtually indefensible using typical hospital and nursing home medical protocols. This virulent bug is highly contagious, and for those affected, drastic measures such as intubation or invasive procedures are the only answer. Researchers at Cardiff University in the U.K. have discovered that Manuka honey has slowed and even stopped the growth and spread of MRSA in lab testing. Their conclusions suggest that topical application of Manuka honey to open wounds and infections in hospitals and care centres may keep the spread of MRSA at bay.
4. TREAT BURNS AND ULCERS
First and second-degree burns to the skin, including sunburn, have a high risk of infection. Topical use of honey has been shown to improve wound healing in acute cases, pain relief in burn patients, and decrease inflammatory response in these patients. The antibiotic properties and antioxidant compounds Manuka honey contain have all been shown in lab testing to prevent ulcers. Use of honey as a wound dressing is still practised in many areas of the globe, with studies backing up its usefulness in a lab setting.
5. BOOST ORAL HEALTH
Although brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are the best way to preserve your oral health, honey is also helpful to treat gum disease. Regular application (not ingestion) of honey can reduce swelling from gingivitis, as well as soothe and treat periodontal disease. Chewing or sucking a honey product can reduce plaque on your teeth up to 35%. For those with gingivitis, the same action can reduce ulcer sites and heal inflamed bleeding gums. The calcium, zinc, and phosphorous found in honey also contribute to healing teeth and increasing oral health.
6. HELP SOOTHE IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome and gut inflammation can make getting the proper amount of nutrients difficult. They also contribute to embarrassing bathroom needs and uncomfortable, painful feelings. Adding Manuka honey to part of your doctor-approved IBS diet can help reduce inflammation in your gut. Furthermore, regular ingestion of Manuka honey both decreases colonic inflammation and restores proper lipid peroxidation. Thus it helps your body to heal naturally. Manuka honey reduces inflammation, and its antioxidant compounds decrease the levels of damaging free radical molecules in the body.
7. CALM SORE THROATS
Tea with honey is a universal treatment for those with colds and the flu. Sweet and soothing, honey can help coat your throat and allow you to swallow vital liquids. The anti-inflammatory properties of honey can help relax and open up the muscles of the throat.
Recent studies have shown honey to stop the growth of strep bacteria. One of the leading causes of sore throats, strep is typically treated with antibiotics - the same type of bug that's becoming increasingly drug-resistant. Natural honey, rich in antioxidants and bacteria-fighting properties, can help eliminate strep throat. The National Cancer Society has recently added honey as a recommendation for treating post-chemo sore throat.
8. HELP ALLERGIES
Honey is created by bees, from ingesting pollen. Consuming natural, local honey has long been a homoeopathic remedy to reduce the symptoms and duration of seasonal allergies. Those who add honey, especially Manuka honey, to their diets reported more symptom-free days, and on the days when allergy symptoms were present, a reduction in the severity of the symptoms. Research shows that all types of honey reduce the need for antihistamines. At least a tablespoon full each day can help with the hay fever and seasonal allergies spring and fall bring.
9. ENHANCE YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN
Applying honey to your hair and skin can help improve the lustre of both. Mixing a bit of Manuka honey into your conditioner can leave hair feeling softer and silkier. For skin treatments, add a bit of honey to your hydrating facial mask. After washing off, your skin will feel softer and have less redness. Honey can also be a gentle exfoliant, sloughing off dead and dry skin without irritating the tender new skin beneath. Honey is gentle enough for even tender facial skin. This is thanks to its antioxidant compounds that reduce damaged skin and antibacterial properties to help with infection and irritation.
10. PROMOTE RESTFUL SLEEP
Adding a teaspoon full of Manuka honey to milk at bedtime can boost your body's natural melatonin production. This sleep-inducing hormone helps slowly reduce glycogen to your cells while you sleep. It allows the repair of daily damage and calming brain function. Certain conditions, such as sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, tend to worsen with poor sleep habits. While soothing honey isn't a cure-all for these conditions, it can give you a better night's sleep. Thus it helps your body to heal and regenerate naturally.