Manuka honey is a form of monofloral honey that is made from the nectar of the flowers from the manuka tree, which is native to New Zealand and Australia. The antibacterial and health-boosting properties of this particular kind of honey are so strong that it is classed as a therapeutic good in Australia, and it has been approved as a wound management ingredient by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration.
Like other kinds of honey, this variety of honey is rich in antioxidants and has strong immune-system-boosting properties. Many people who follow the Paleo diet use honey as a sweetener, adding it to coffee or tea in the place of cane sugar, and using it in cooking too. Manuka honey has a slightly different taste to other types of honey, because it is a much darker kind of honey. The Australian version of the honey has a rather earthy, oily taste to it, while the New Zealand version is often described as “aromatic” and “heather”.
What Makes Manuka Honey So Good for You?
The primary ingredient that gives this kind of honey its antibacterial quality is hydrogen peroxide, but there are some other active ingredients too. Dihydroxyacetone is found in high concentrations in the manuka flower, and it contributes to what honey manufacturers call the Unique Manuka Factor ? the antibiotic effect of each particular batch of honey. Medicinal honey has a UMF rating of 10 or higher, and batches with a lower rating are not considered to be of good enough quality to be used for therapeutic purposes.
The Health Benefits of Honey
There are thought to be many health benefits associated with regular consumption of Manuka honey, including the prevention of cancer, reducing high cholesterol levels, fighting diabetes, treating gastrointestinal issues and the relief of eye, ear or sinus infections. It is important to note, however, that while honey is marketed as being useful for these purposes, the evidence to support these claims is limited. It is true that the antioxidants in honey can reduce systemic inflammation (and may therefore reduce your risk of developing cancer), and it is also true that cutting out cane sugar from your diet and following a Paleo diet that uses honey instead could help to prevent diabetes. However, there is little evidence to prove that it is the consumption of honey that is beneficial in this respect, rather than the reduction in the consumption of other sweeteners.
Some alternative medicine practitioners believe that you can apply medical-grade honey to the skin to treat burns, ingrown toenails, cuts and other problems, but you should not do this with the kind of honey that you keep in your pantry. Making honey a regular part of the Paleo diet could help to reduce inflammation, cut your risk of cancer and regulate your blood sugar, and it will work to relieve sore throats and other day-to-day niggles, but you should not use honey as a part of your first aid kit.