What's All the Buzz About Healing Honey?
By Dave Hewitt, The Daily Express (UK), 5/18/2010
It has traditionally been used for centuries as a natural sweetener and a remedy for sore throats but it is only in recent years that scientists have recognised the unique healing properties of honey.
While there are various types of medicinal honey, the one showing the most promising results in lab studies is manuka honey. Made by bees that collect pollen from the white-flowered manuka bush in New Zealand, it is the only honey to be scientifically graded for its medicinal properties.
It is being used in hospitals around the world to keep wounds free from infection, treat stomach ulcers and even boost the immune system of cancer patients having chemotherapy.
Studies show it eradicates hundreds of bacterial strains, including antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Others swear by it to ease coughs, sore throats and treat digestive complaints, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
While all honeys are naturally antiseptic, these properties are eliminated when the honey is exposed to light and heat.
However, manuka honey contains methyglyoxal, a powerful antibacterial agent
Methyglyoxal content can vary but the Manuka Health brand, which has been independently tested by scientists, shows its methyglyoxal content or MGOSTmk on the jar – the only brand to do so. An MGOSTmk of 250+ means there is 250mg anti bacterial methyglyoxal per kg of honey. A minimum MGOSTmk of 100+ is recommended for treating digestive complaints. For wounds and ulcers, an MGOSTmk of 400+ or 500+ is used. Other brands are graded with a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating – only varieties graded 10 or above are considered suitable for medicinal use.
Professor Thomas Henle of the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, whose team identified the presence of methyglyoxal as the key antibacterial ingredient in manuka honey, argues there is a strong case for regarding it as more than a health food.
“Manuka honey should be one of the few food items for which ahealth-promoting property beyond the basic nutritional function can clearly be documented,” he says.
Mum-of-two Jodine Arnold, 32, from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, suffered from IBS, a common intestinal disorder that affects up to a quarter of the population, for 16 years before discovering the healing benefits of manuka honey.
“I suffered with uncomfortable bloating for so long it never crossed my mind to try to do anything about it,” she says. “After eating any kind of food Iwould experience painful stabbing sensations and going to the toilet was often painful.” After taking six teaspoons of honey daily for a month, Jodine’s symptoms had gone. “My entire digestive system seems to be working better and I feel so much happier,” she says.
Here are other ways manuka honey can be good for you:
It can be applied to leg ulcers and wounds. Destroys bacteria that are the most common causes of infected wounds. Used post-surgery it can speed up healing.
TREATS ECZEMA AND SUNBURN
Trials are being carried out to research the effectiveness of manuka honey on eczema. Apply MGOSTmk 400+ neat to the skin and leave for 15-20 minutes for a natural treatment. Diluted or neat manuka can also be applied to soothe sunburned skin…