I know lots of people associate fall with flannel, apple picking, and pumpkin spice everything, but I also associate it with manuka honey. Why? Because this is the time of year where my wellness-minded friends won’t stop talking about it and its immune-boosting powers.
Manuka honey is not like standard honey. This specific variety of honey is produced by bees in New Zealand who pollinate local manuka plants. These flowers bloom for only six to 12 weeks out of the entire year, so sourcing the honey is truly a frenzy. According to the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, which tests and verifies manuka honey brands as authentic, the nectar and bees give manuka honey its unique health properties.
It’s also about double the price as what you’ll find in a bear-shaped bottle. For that reason, I wanted to know if the manuka honey benefits were truly worth the splurge and to learn more about what sets it apart from the traditional honey already in my pantry. Here, registered dietitian May Zhu, RD, explains more about what manuka honey is and how to use it.
What are the health benefits of manuka honey?
1. It’s antibacterial
“Something that really sets manuka honey apart from standard honey is that it’s high in antibacterial properties,” Zhu says. Specifically, manuka honey is rich in compounds like methylglyoxal (which is associated with antibacterial benefits). Because of this, it can potentially help protect someone from getting sick, fighting off any nasty bugs that make their way into your body. “Manuka honey has proved the front-runner of honeys for non-peroxide antimicrobial activity,” an article published in the journal Microbiology reads. “I do think that even though there are some promising studies, more research needs to be done to really make a strong connection between manuka honey and helping prevent sickness,” Zhu addds.
2. Manuka honey has antioxidants
Zhu says manuka honey also has more antioxidants than traditional honey. Specifically, it’s full of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant connected to helping the body function more efficiently while protecting it against everyday stressors and toxins. This means that if consumed on a regular basis, manuka honey may help protect against diseases and cognitive decline.
3. Manuka honey can be used to help wounds heal
Remember how Zhu pointed out manuka honey’s antibacterial properties? That comes in handy when it’s used topically, too. A 2018 review of studies found that manuka honey can kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and help with tissue regeneration—which explains why it can be found in so many skin-care products. While the evidence doesn’t necessarily support using manuka honey for serious injuries, it could be something…