Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Is More ‘Active’ Manuka Honey Worth the Money?

By Jane Clarke, Daily Mail (UK), 12/26/2006

Jane Clarke's books are read by millions and she acted as adviser to Jamie Oliver on his School Dinners programme. As well as being an advocate of healthy eating, she passionately believes that many of our illnesses can be treated through our diet. In Good Health every Tuesday, she answers your questions…

Q: I have been taking manuka honey for some time and notice there are several different types. I'd like to know what the active enzymes are, and what they do in those that state +5 or +10 activity, as opposed to the ordinary honey. They are quite a lot more expensive. Are they worth the extra money? Gillian Hynd, by e-mail.

A: Manuka honey is made by bees from the pollen of the manuka bush, which grows wild in New Zealand. I'm a big fan, and although it has a slightly medicinal flavour, I like it on buttered bread, or with yoghurt. It's best not to heat the honey, as this reduces its medicinal effectiveness.

Manuka honey is famous for its antibacterial properties, so it's great for preventing or recovering from a range of illnesses including the common cold.

In clinical trials it has been found to reduce inflammation and scarring. It's been used successfully to treat digestive problems, from diarrhoea and indigestion to stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis.

The honey's healing properties appear to be due to the presence of the enzyme glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide -- an antiseptic -- and its high sugar concentration, which inhibits bacterial growth.

Manuka honey, unlike others, has been given its own classification, the unique manuka factor (UMF). Strengths range from UMF 5, believed to be equivalent to a 5 per cent solution of a standard antiseptic, to UMF 20, equivalent to a 20 per cent solution.

Different strengths are recommended for treating different conditions and, as you say, the price for the different strengths varies. I do think it's worth paying the extra for the uniqueness of manuka honey.

Manuka honeys below UMF 10 are recommended for maintaining general health and good digestion -- and this is the strength I take when I'm feeling run down. I tend to recommend UMF 10 to UMF 15 for indigestion, heartburn and diarrhoea, and I reserve UMF 20 for treating gastroenteritis and stomach ulcers.

One thing to be aware of, though, is that some patients taking the honey for a stomach problem such as indigestion or an ulcer find they initially feel a little uncomfortable gut-wise, but this improves with time…


Anonymous said...

First time in my 52 years with bees have I heard that bees "make" honey from "pollen" !?
I wonder how accurate is the rest of the report? With some amount of certainty one can surmise that it is just a repeat of words which have been in the media for some time now.
People should note though, that honey was used for thousands of years before the Manuka came in vogue.

Anonymous said...

What about children and manuka honey ? should they take the lower strengths