A note on Manuka Honey from Nathan Zassman:All honey has healing properties; however, I don't generally recommend regular honey as a sweetener, as it is similar to sugar in its glycemic index and insulin response, and is high in fructose. Insulin, the hormone the body produces in response to sugar to move sugar from the blood into the cells, is also the fat storage hormone, and research is confirming that controlling insulin may be the single most important lifestyle change one can make to improve health.
As a healing agent, honey, and also sugar, when applied to wounds, can kill bacteria and provide healing properties. Manuka honey is a monofloral honey produced in New Zealand and Australia from the nectar of the manuka or tea tree by European honey bees (Apis mellifera). Manuka honey has a variety of unique antimicrobial healing properties due to a level of methylgloxal that can be up to 130 times higher in Manuka than other types of honey.
Manuka honey may help heal ulcers and provide benefits similar to prescription drugs like Proton Pump Inhibitors that are often prescribed for acid reflux or heartburn, however unlike these drugs the mechanism of action is not based on blocking the production of stomach acid. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties can also be effective in treating H. Pilori, a gastric bacteria associated with ulcers, stomach cancer, and acid reflux.
The method of determining the activity (which relates to how effective it is) of Manuka honey, is by a rating system originally called the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor), but many companies have now adopted a new rating system, based on the active ingredient called Methylgloxal, abbreviated MGO. Honey New Zealand and Manuka Health have adopted this new method, and their products are classified by either Silver (UMF 15 or MGO 250), Gold (UMF 20 or MGO 400), or Platinum (UMF 25 or MGO 550). Wedderspoon is another high quality Manuka honey producer, with organic versions. Wedderspoon uses the more traditional UMF rating system.
Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
By Alison Braidwood
Honey's not just for toast anymore. Beyond merely satisfying the human sweet tooth, honey's natural antiseptic action encourages the healing of wounds and sore throats, combats diarrhea, asthma, and respiratory infections like bronchitis. Honey can even calm nerves and promote sleep. Most of us know that honey, in moderation, is good for us. It's been used as a folk remedy for countless generations, but now there's scientific proof to back up the old wives' tales. Recently, the research spotlight has focused on the health benefits offered by one variant in particular: Manuka honey.
Manuka honey is native to New Zealand. When Kiwi bees discover the flowers of the manuka bush, the result is exceptional honey with extraordinary healing properties. And because manuka is a pure, raw, un- pasteurized honey, it retains all of its natural goodness and potential healing power.
Raw honey is moist and sterile, so it is ideal for treating wounds and burns. Bees add an enzyme called glucose oxidase during honey production and it is this enzyme that's responsible for the formation of hydrogen peroxide, which acts as an antiseptic and antibiotic. Manuka honey is unique because it has antibacterial qualities above and beyond the hydrogen peroxide action of regular honey.
Something special in the chemical makeup of manuka flower nectar (scientists still aren't sure what it is or how it works) gives manuka honey extra antibacterial oomph. This extra something is referred to as the Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF.
However, not all manuka honeys have the Unique Manuka Factor. Only a small proportion of manuka bushes produce manuka nectar that has the Unique Manuka Factor, and those that do produce it, do so in varying strengths.
The UMF standard was developed to give consumers a benchmark when buying manuka honey. Only honey that's been tested and proven to have demonstrable Unique Manuka Factor is allowed to be labeled as UMF Manuka honey. UMF Manuka honey is also rated by strength -- from UMF 5, which is equivalent to a 5% antiseptic solution, up to UMF 25, which is equivalent in strength to a 25% antiseptic solution.
UMF Manuka honey can be particularly effective when applied topically to skin eruptions. Cold sores, acne, eczema, burns (from the sun and from radiation treatment), ulcers, fever blisters, insect bites, and even diseased gums, have all been shown to benefit from an application of manuka honey. A few hospitals have started to use manuka honey in the treatment of wounds because it protects against drug-resistant infections like MRSA.
Some people think manuka honey has a slight medicinal taste, while others find it quite delicious. If you're eating manuka honey for health reasons, then a medicinal taste may be a small price to pay to alleviate stomach ulcers, diarrhea, acid reflux, and heartburn.
Whatever your reasons for buying manuka honey, be sure to look for honey with a certified UMF Manuka label. For general health, a UMF 5 concentration is recommended. If you're aiming to treat wounds, then go for UMF 20 or 25. Always be sure the honey you're using is sterile if you're trying to heal wounds.
UMF Manuka honey is unique among super foods in that the health benefits attributed to it have been empirically proven. Not bad for the work of a few thousand Kiwi bees. Just remember that not all manuka honey has that UMF oomph. Pay a bit more for genuine UMF organic manuka honey and you'll enjoy the benefits for years to come.
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2007-2014. Published with permission. Alison Braidwood is a freelance writer and not affiliated with avivahealth.com.
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