By Dr. Brooke Azie-Rentz
Recently I attended a conference on pain and wound healing at which one of the lectures was on bee products. We talked about bee sting therapy, propolis, royal jelly, and all kinds of honey, with a focus on Manuka honey. Seeing that this month’s newsletter was about the skin, I thought I would comment on the amazing healing qualities of Manuka honey.
So…what is it? It’s honey made from the pollen of the Manuka tree… duh! But really, you know the Manuka tree as Tea tree or rather tea tree oil, a widely used antiseptic in the naturopathic world. So honey made from its pollen contains all of the same overall qualities, not to mention the already proven antibacterial properties of honey itself! Some honey can even repair tissue damaged by infection! In addition, honey has an anti-inflammatory action that can quickly reduce pain and inflammation once it is applied. Even WebMD has had to admit that this honey has healing properties because research has proven it!
The secret ingredient is… hydrogen peroxide! Yes, this compound which we know is easily destroyed by heat and light but great at burning the sh#t out of our cuts and scratches, is very stable in Manuka honey, even when heated. This means those same anti-bacterial properties found in that brown bottle in your medicine cabinet are also in this honey. But Manuka honey also has another component with antibacterial properties known as methylglyoxal (MG). This compound is found in all honey but is found in especially high amounts in Manuka honey. This is because the MG in Manuka honey comes from the conversion of dihydroxyacetone, which is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers.
Basically all this means is the higher the MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect. Manuka honey has been shown to be beneficial towards MRSA, bed sores, stomach ulcers caused by H. Pylori, E. Coli, Staphylococcus Aureaus (most common cause of wound infections), Streptococcus Pyogenes (cause of sore throats), burns, dermatitis, eczema, abscesses, and even internally to treat diarrhea.
I always knew that honey was good for sore throats in a hot toddie and had even heard stories of hikers packing honey from hives into deep lacerations to prevent life threatening infections in the wilderness. But I really had no idea how good honey was and how much history and research there was behind this amazing natural remedy. I am so happy to start offering Manuka honey products here at AIM and I hope you adventure into something a little different but highly effective.