Thursday, June 12, 2014

Manuka honey

Manuka honey

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush. Advocates say it has been in traditional use for generations to treat wound infections. More recently it has been tested as a weapon against hospital infections like MRSA.

Because of the way health products are licenced in Europe and the UK, unless there's validated scientific evidence for any health benefits, manufacturers are not allowed to make any health or medicinal claims about their product.

Healing power of honey

Honey has been used since ancient times to treat multiple conditions. It wasn't until the late 19th century that researchers discovered that honey has natural antibacterial qualities.

Honey protects against damage caused by bacteria. Some honey also stimulates production of special cells that can repair tissue damaged by infection. In addition, honey has an anti-inflammatory action that can quickly reduce pain and inflammation once it is applied.

Not all honey is the same. The antibacterial quality of honey depends on the type of honey as well as when and how it's harvested. Some kinds of honey may be 100 times more potent than others.

Components of manuka honey

Hydrogen peroxide is a component of honey. It gives most honey its antibiotic quality, but some types of honey, including manuka honey, also have other components with antibacterial qualities.

The major antibacterial component in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.

In manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound - dihydroxyacetone - that is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers.

MG gives manuka honey its antibacterial power. The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibacterial effect.

How manuka honey is used

The main traditional medical use for manuka honey is on top of a wound. It is generally used for treating minor wounds and burns.

The honey used to treat wounds is a medical-grade honey. It is specially sterilised and prepared as a dressing, not just a jar from a shelf in a kitchen. Wounds and infections should also be seen and treated by a health care professional.

Evidence is limited on whether or not manuka honey has any effect on conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, inflammation, eye, ear, and sinus infections and gastrointestinal problems.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's special about Active Manuka Honey?

What's special about Active Manuka Honey?
For the past 28 years honey researchers at the University of Waikato have been investigating what many local New Zealanders have accepted as common wisdom: our local manuka honey is a superior treatment for wound infections. Manuka honey is gathered in New Zealand from the manuka bush, Leptospermum scoparium, which grows uncultivated throughout the country. (More recently, as a result of systematic screening of Australian honeys, a honey with the same properties has been found to be produced from Leptospermum polygalifolium, which grows uncultivated in a few parts of Australlia - this is called "jellybush" honey.)

After the results of this work became known through publications in scientific journals, many people contacted the Honey Research Unit to find out what is so special about Active Manuka Honey. The pertinent facts are:

All honeys have an antibacterial activity, due primarily to hydrogen peroxide formed in a "slow-release" manner by the enzyme glucose oxidase present in honey, which can vary widely in potency. Some honeys are no more antibacterial than sugar, while others can be diluted more than 100-fold and still halt the growth of bacteria. The difference in potency of antibacterial activity found among the different honeys is more than 100-fold.
Manuka honey (and some of its Australian equivalent) contains a high level of additional, non-peroxide, antibacterial components. Although some other types of honey have been reported to have some non-peroxide antibacterial activity, this is at a very low level. The high level of non-peroxide activity found in honey produced from Leptospermum species is unique.
It is now known that this non-peroxide activity is due to the combined action of methylglyoxal (MGO) and an unidentified synergistic component. Although very low levels of MGO are found in most honey, the high level of MGO in manuka honey is unique, as is the presence of the synergist which more than doubles the antibacterial activity of MGO. (Jellybush honey is yet to be investigated for this.)
Only some of the honey sold as manuka honey (likewise only some jellybush honey) has this non-peroxide type of antibacterial activity.
The term “Active Manuka Honey” was devised to distinguish manuka honey with this non-peroxide type of antibacterial activity from what was being sold as manuka honey that did not have this activity. This term has been in use in publications since 1998.
Confusingly there is now honey being sold as “Active Manuka Honey” where the seller is referring to antibacterial activity that is due to hydrogen peroxide just like in all other types of honey, and not to the non-peroxide type of antibacterial activity that is unique to manuka honey and jellybush honey.
Our research, investigating manuka honey collected from many sites over a large area of New Zealand, has shown that the level of the non-peroxide antibacterial activity in manuka honey depends to some degree on the variety of manuka the honey is collected from, but mainly on the proportion of manuka nectar in the honey.
Honey sold as manuka honey which does not have a measurable level of the non-peroxide antibacterial activity is thus likely to have been produced predominantly from nectar sources other than manuka.
Importantly, the non-peroxide type of antibacterial activity in manuka honey is not affected by the catalase enzyme present in body tissue and serum. This enzyme will break down, to a large degree, the hydrogen peroxide which is the major antibacterial factor found in other types of honey. (See Photo 1 below.) If a honey without the non-peroxide antibacterial activity fpund only in manuka honey and jellybush honey were used to treat an infection, the potency of the honey's antibacterial activity would most likely be reduced because of the action of catalase.
The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honey is destroyed when honey is exposed to heat and light. But the non-peroxide antibacterial activity of manuka honey is stable, so there is no concern about true Active Manuka Honey losing its activity in storage.
The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honeys becomes active only when honey is diluted. But the non-peroxide antibacterial activity is at full strength in undiluted manuka honey, which will provide a more potent antibacterial action diffusing into the depth of infected tissues. (See Photo 2 below.)
The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honeys needs oxygen to be available for the reaction, so may not work under wound dressings or in wound cavities or in the gut. Active Manuka Honey, which contains the non-peroxide antibacterial activity, is active in all situations.
The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honeys becomes active only when the acidity of honey is neutralised by body fluids, but then the honey is diluted.
The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honeys is inactive in the acidity of the stomach.
The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in honeys could be destroyed by the protein-digesting enzymes that are in wound fluids.
The non-peroxide antibacterial activity of Active Manuka Honey diffuses deeper into skin tissues than does the hydrogen peroxide from other types of honey.
Active Manuka Honey, with its non-peroxide, antibacterial activity, is more effective than honey with hydrogen peroxide against some types of bacteria. For example, it is about twice as effective as other honey against Eschericihia coli and Enterococci, common causes of infection in wounds. It is much more effective than other honey against Helicobacter pylori, a common cause of peptic ulcers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


New Zealand's active manuka honey is used as a natural product both internally and topically on the skin. Apitherapy, the name given to treatment with natural honey, has been used by many different cultures throughout history. Such uses are now being reconsidered by a modern world in light of new research into the properties and uses of active manuka honey.
What is known as 'Active' Manuka Honey has enjoyed growing acceptance by the academic and medical world in recent years, and reporting of the honey's unique properties has proliferated in the world's press and media.

Manuka honey comes from New Zealand where beekeepers set up their hives in wild uncultivted areas in which Manuka bushes grow. The bees gather nectar from the flowers of the Manuka bush, which is indigenous only to New Zealand. The honey making process is enriched by the pollution free environment of New Zealand, and certain harvests of Manuka Honey have attracted the gaze of the medicial and scientific community. Some of the Manuka Honey produced has been found to have some very special properties indeed.

It is only thanks to academic research, predominantly in the last decade, that we are now able to explain many of the incredible observed effects that certain specially selected and tested honeys can have.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)

Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)
The UMF or unique manuka factor is a rating system that measures the non-hydrogen peroxide antibacterial potency of manuka honey. The system has a range from 0 to 30 but typical manuka honey has a rating of 10 or more.
The higher the UMF rating is, the higher the anti-bacterial activities are. The UMF rating of manuka honey is determined by measuring the antibacterial activity of a given honey with the antibacterial activity of antiseptic phenol, also known as carbolic acid, at various concentrations. Hydrogen peroxide must first be eliminated using the enzyme catalase so that only the non-peroxide compound is measured.
The species of bacteria used is Staphylococcus aureus, also known as Golden Staph or Hospital Superbug, a strain of bacteria that poses a huge threat to people. It has a developed antibiotic resistance to penicillins including methicillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin and other antibiotics, and only manuka honey has been known to naturally destroy these bacteria. Thus, Staphylococcus aureus it is commonly used in testing of manuka honey’s antibacterial activity.

 The numbers are proportional to the potency of a certain percentage of phenol. For example, a UMF rating of 10 is the same as having an antibacterial potency of 10% of phenol solution.
The UMF Ratings (measure of antibacterial strength):

  • 0-4: Not detectable
  • 5-9: Maintenance levels only (similar to table honey and not recommended for special therapeutic use)
  • 10-15: Useful levels endorsed by the Honey Research Unit at The University of Waikato[citation needed]
  • 16 and over: Superior levels with very high activity.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Antibacterial properties of Manuka honey

Antibacterial properties of Manuka honey

Honey has been used for treating infected wounds for at least two millennia. In c.50 AD, Dioscorides once described honey as being "good for all rotten and hollow ulcers".[cite this quote] Medical science has established that honey has an inhibitory effect to around 60 species of bacteria including aerobes and anaerobes, gram-positives and gram-negatives.[citation needed]
Manuka honey, like other honeys, has an antibacterial property due to the release of hydrogen peroxide which can kill bacteria. Unique to the Leptospermum species of plants, honeys made from these plants contain other non-peroxide compounds with anti-bacterial properties.
Manuka honey

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Manuka Honey Origin

Manuka Honey Origin
Manuka honey is a kind of honey claimed to have anti-bacterial properties. It has been known to benefit humans by healing wounds and injuries but causes no damage to cells. It is made by bees in New Zealand that frequent the manuka bush, Leptospermum scoparium.

Manuka honey is gathered in New Zealand from bees feeding on the manuka bush, Leptospermum scoparium, which grows uncultivated throughout the country and has antibacterial properties. However, its antimicrobial activity varies with origin and processing. A survey of 345 samples of New Zealand honeys from 26 different floral sources found a large number with low activity (36% of the samples had activity near or below the level of detection in an agar diffusion assay), the activity of the rest being distributed over a 30-fold range of activity. An unpublished survey of 340 samples of Australian honeys from 78 different floral sources found 68.5% of the samples had activity below the level of detection in an agar diffusion assay.