The medicinal benefits of manuka honey make it a smart product to keep in your kitchen cupboard or natural remedies toolkit.
Lets start with the moral of the story: Always double check your carry-ons for items that might be prohibited. And then check them again.
As I was packing to return from my amazing trip to New Zealand last year, I spent plenty of time arranging my bags to balance the weight between my checked bag and my carry-ons – so as not to be charged for an overweight bag. My favorite souvenirs – rocks and shells from the beach – were pretty heavy so I was a bit concerned. Of course, I thought about liquids and made sure I didn’t have any in my carry-on bags.
Imagine my surprise when I got stopped at security and they pulled out a jar of honey from my backpack! It wasn’t just any honey – it was manuka honey – a specialty of New Zealand and something I was especially excited about bringing home. It didn’t surprise me that honey wasn’t allowed because I’ve had both coconut oil and peanut butter “stolen” from me in the security line before. But somehow I overlooked the honey in my bag. Grrrrrrr…..
As you can imagine, I was super annoyed with myself for making that mistake, so even though you can buy manuka honey in the U.S., I didn’t get around to picking up a jar until recently, when I found it at Trader Joe’s.
Are you wondering what’s so great about manuka honey that I would get my undies in a bundle about losing a jar? Read on and you’ll see why it’s worth keeping a jar of manuka honey in your cupboard or natural remedies toolkit.
What is Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is produced by bees that pollinate the pretty, white flowers of the manuka bush, which is native to New Zealand. It’s been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, but modern day scientists have shown that manuka honey has a particularly high amount of beneficial enzymes and compounds that provide antibacterial and antibiotic qualities – much more so than regular honey. Manuka honey is also a great source of amino acids, B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc and other nutrients.
Health Benefits of Manuka Honey*
Due to its medicinal properties, manuka honey is used as a remedy for a surprising number of health issues.
- Treats minor burns and wounds – The antibiotic qualities help fight infections and speed up healing.
- Boosts immunity – Studies have shown that manuka honey stimulates immune cells.
- Soothes sore throat and cough – Helps sooth inflammation and stop the growth of bacteria.
- Treats skin conditions – Used to treat and manage exzema, rosacea and acne.
- Improves oral health – Helps reduce plaque and prevent gingivitis.
- Promotes sleep – Releases glycogen into the bloodstream, which improves sleep.
- Improves digestive health – Reduces inflammation associated with intestinal problems.
Manuka Honey Rating Scales
Manuka honey is graded on a scale called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). This is a global standard that measures the antibacterial strength of the product. To be considered medicinal quality, manuka honey must have a UMF of 10 or more. A UMF of 16+ is considered exceptional quality. If you see manuka honey without a UMF rating, it is not worth buying for anything other than sweetening purposes.
Another rating system approved by the New Zealand government is the KFactor, which guarantees high manuka pollen count. A KFactor of 16 certifies 75% or more manuka pollen in every jar.
Where to Buy Manuka Honey
(**affiliate links ahead)
If you go to New Zealand, you will find manuka honey in every gift store you walk into, but the hot tip I got was to buy it at the grocery store. As long as you check the UMF rating, you can find a high quality product for less money than they charge at specialty stores. Just don’t forget it in your carry-on like I did. Duh!
- Trader Joe’s manuka honey is UMF 10 and I believe it costs around $12 for an 8.8 oz jar – that’s a very good value!
- There are a number of choices for manuka honey on Amazon. Prices vary and obviously the higher the UMF, the higher the price.
- Whole Foods, co-ops and natural product stores also carry manuka honey.
How To Use Manuka Honey
Experience the health benefits of manuka honey by using it these ways:
- Stir manuka honey into tea to soothe sore throats and boost immunity – especially when the dreaded flu or head cold comes around.
- An elixer of warm water and 1 tablespoon each apple cider vinegar (ACV), lemon juice and manuka honey as a daily detox drink.
- A “night-cap” of herbal tea and a spoonful of manuka honey helps prepare you for bedtime sleep.
- For minor wounds, spread a thin layer of manuka honey on a bandage or dressing before applying to skin. (note – I have not tried this one yet)
Do you use manuka honey for health benefits?
*Note: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Please consult your doctor with any health concerns.
(**There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase using a link, I may receive a small commission (at no extra charge to you). Thank you for supporting Mindful Momma if you do!)