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Manuka honey: effects and uses

Manuka honey: effects and uses

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Manuka honey is said to have a special healing power that can be used against a variety of ailments. Honey was already known as a remedy in the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates used it for fever and as a wound dressing. But Manuka honey can do a lot more!

However, Manuka honey from New Zealand is a very special honey due to the composition and concentration of its ingredients, which above all has a strong antibacterial effect. For example, it can be helpful for respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal complaints and as a wound dressing.

Manuka honey - short overview

You can find all the important facts about Manuka honey in our short overview.

  • effect: Manuka honey differs from household honey by its high methylglyoxal content. At up to 800 milligrams per kilogram, this is significantly higher than the content in “normal” honey (contains approximately 20 milligrams per kilogram). As a result, Manuka honey has a particularly strong antibiotic and antiviral effect. Manuka honey is also said to have antifungal properties.
  • Internal application: Respiratory infections such as sinus infection, runny nose, bronchial diseases or sore throat; Tooth decay, plaque, gum problems; various gastrointestinal problems; Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used in many inflammatory diseases. Commercial Manuka honey can be used for internal use, but you should pay attention to the seriousness of the provider. The methylglyoxal value should be specified correctly. This value is given in MGO and shows the respective strength of the honey. For example, a honey that contains 100 milligrams per kilogram is given MGO 100+.
  • External use: Open wounds, chronic wound infections, burns and neurodermatitis. General Accelerated healing of tissue. In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties of honey are said to help with joint problems such as osteoarthritis and arthritis or to make annoying cold sores disappear more quickly by dabbing on the honey. For external treatment, especially of wounds and ulcers, only a so-called Medi-Honey sterilized by radiation should be used from the pharmacy.
  • Application restrictions: Do not take if you have diabetes, the increased methylglyoxal content is very likely dangerous. In children, honey is contraindicated in the first year of life.
  • Different products with Manuka honey: Pure Manuka honey is available in different strengths. The pharmacy also has sterilized Medi-Honey for wound treatment. There are also various products such as throat spray or creams that contain Manuka. For all products, it is essential to pay attention to origin and quality when buying.

Components and effects of Manuka honey

Honey consists of a supersaturated sugar solution, namely 80 percent sugar and 20 percent water. In addition, it is rich in enzymes and contains vitamins and minerals. The high sugar content alone gives the honey an antibacterial effect. The sugar removes the water from the bacteria, which means that they can no longer multiply. In addition, honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which has an anti-inflammatory effect, especially in wounds.

Another ingredient is methylglyoxal, which is created by breaking down sugar. This is primarily responsible for the antibacterial effect. Domestic honey also contains methylglyoxal, but only in small amounts. Manuka honey contains a multiple of this, up to 800 milligrams per kilogram, depending on the storage and origin. Household honey, on the other hand, usually contains only 20 milligrams per kilogram. At least 100 milligrams of methylglyoxal per kilogram are required for a sufficient antibacterial effect. Various studies have found that this delicious candy even keeps the aggressive Staphylococcus aureus at bay and works against other antibiotic-resistant strains. Manuka honey is not only antibacterial, but also antiviral.

Manuka honey is made from the blossoms of New Zealand's South Sea myrtle. The South Sea myrtle, also known as manuka, is a plant in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and is known botanically as Leptospermum scoparium. It is native to the mountainous regions of New Zealand and southeastern Australia (New South Wales). The name Manuka comes from the Maori language.

The manuka honey is first harvested and produced like a normal honey. First, there is a low level of methylglyoxal and a high level of a substance called dihydroxyacetone. Only when the honey is stored at 37 degrees Celsius does the content of dihydroxyacetone decrease and the methylglyoxal content increases relative to this process.

Internal and external application

It is important to mention here that only a sterilized (gamma-ray irradiated) Manuka honey should be used for external use. Food honey is not suitable for this. For the treatment of wounds and ulcers, an approved medical device with a valid CE mark must be selected, available from the pharmacy (so-called Medi-Honey). This is already used in clinics and nursing services.

A "normal" Manuka honey can be used for internal use. Nevertheless, certain designations must also be observed here. The more methylglyoxal the honey contains, the higher the potency of the honey, so the stronger its antibacterial effect. This can be recognized by the three letters MGO (methylglyoxal concentration in milligrams per kilogram). For example, honey with MGO 400+ contains at least 400 milligrams of methylglyoxal per kilogram. This is a very good value and means that this honey already belongs to the top class.

Another value is UMF (unique manuka factor). This is only awarded to Manuka honeys that have also been bottled in New Zealand. A value of UMF 10 corresponds to MGO 100+, UMF 15 is equivalent to MGO 250+, UMF 20 corresponds to MGO 400+ and a UMF value of 25 means MGO 550+. When buying, you should pay attention to quality; the values ​​given on the label should come from an independent honey laboratory.

Internal applications

Manuka honey can be used for a wide variety of diseases and complaints. Inflammation of the respiratory tract should be mentioned first. Sore throat, runny nose, sinus infection and bronchial diseases can be treated with this special honey, which also tastes delicious and is usually free of side effects.

There is evidence that Manuka honey can also help with stomach problems, such as a stomach ulcer caused by Heliobacter Pylori. Studies have shown inhibitory effects of Manuka honey on Heliobacter pylori and Escherichia coli (coli bacteria). For various stomach and / or intestinal problems, one to two teaspoons of Manuka honey can be recommended.

Since this tasty natural remedy is also said to have an antymicotic effect (against fungal infections), use with a Candida fungal infection can also make sense. Here, however, a conversation with a doctor should take place in advance and then be treated with Manuka honey if necessary.

Due to the anti-inflammatory effect, Manuka honey can be used in a variety of inflammatory diseases. Inflammation of the bladder and prostate can also be treated, for example, after consultation with a doctor. Two liters of green tea, enriched with Manuka honey, drunk throughout the day, are supposed to remedy this. Aphthae on the oral mucosa are often resistant to conventional therapies. A trial with Manuka honey that is dabbed on several times a day can be helpful here. Every day a cup of lukewarm green tea with a teaspoon of Manuka honey is said to generally strengthen the immune system and tastes even better.

Honey is sweet and contains a large portion of sugar. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, it has an antibacterial effect, also in the area of ​​the teeth, that is, against tooth decay or for prevention. Pathological germs are to be destroyed, the healthy oral flora is built up and the teeth are additionally protected against plaque. The use of Manuka honey, for example, is intended to counteract the progress of periodontitis. Even if this effect has even been proven in a scientific study, the fact that sugar can cause tooth decay should not be neglected when consuming pure honey.

If you have complaints in the ear, nose and throat tract, keep a teaspoon of honey in your mouth three times a day and slowly swallow it to relieve it. If you have a cold or sinus infection, applying Manuka honey in the nasal cavity can be helpful. A study showed a significant reduction in the biofilm of Staphylococcus aureus. However, too high a concentration of methylglyoxal had a negative effect on the nasal mucosa and on the cilia. A value of 1.8 milligrams per milliliter of MGO should not be exceeded here.

Another area of ​​application can be liver problems. Treatment with two teaspoons of Manuka honey MGO 400+ should be helpful here; however, there are no scientific studies on this so far.

One study even found an inhibitory effect on the growth of colon cancer cells and breast cancer cells in connection with chemotherapy.

External applications

As already mentioned, only sterilized honey, known as "Medi-Honey", should be used for open wounds and burns. However, there are many recommendations that say that natural, unirradiated honey can even be applied to deeper wounds. However, this remains controversial.

Manuka honey has been used successfully for years in chronic wound infections and in facial surgery for post-treatment.

If the skin diseases are only superficial, such as neurodermatitis, psoriasis or facial rose, the affected areas can be treated with normal Manuka honey. The honey is applied thinly and covered with a bandage. A Manuka honey with the strength MGO 100+ is recommended for this external application. The treatment of neurodermatitis has so far been found to be promising in one study. However, meaningful studies on the treatment of psoriasis or facial rose with Manuka honey are still lacking.

Applied externally, this sweet mass should also help with joint problems, such as arthrosis or arthritis. Here the honey is massaged in and then worked with plucking movements until a white mass forms, which is then removed with a damp cloth. This is said to have a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effect.

Annoying cold sores on the lip should also respond quite well to the honey treatment. The honey is dabbed on several times a day and it is best not to lick it off, although this is of course very tempting. A combination with propolis tincture is recommended.

Last but not least, Manuka honey can be used for insect bites or develop its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties in an uncomplicated sunburn without blistering.

Application restrictions

People with diabetes should not take Manuka honey. People with this metabolic disorder have had elevated MGO levels, which are believed to be responsible for the development of diabetic neuropathy.

On the other hand, there is no objection to external use, which is even practiced in diabetic foot syndrome. From the perspective of conventional medicine, however, there is a demand for more and better conducted studies.

All honey is contraindicated in children up to the age of 1.

Different products with Manuka honey

Manuka honey can be purchased in well-stocked health food stores and health food stores and in the pharmacy. There are also various products that contain this honey. Enriched with aloe, propolis, mixed with green tea extract, as a cream or spray for the throat, the healing substance is commercially available.

The cost of a glass of Manuka honey varies greatly depending on the level of methylglyoxal (MGO). The recommended retail price (RRP) from a reputable manufacturer from New Zealand for 250g Manuka honey MGO 550+ is 79.90 euros, for 250g Manuka honey MGO 400+ it is 56.90 euros, 250g MGO 250+ should cost 33.90 euros and for 250g with a value of MGO 100+ it is 22.90 euros. This is the manufacturer's MSRP, of course the prices in different shops and online shops may vary. Larger packaging units are somewhat cheaper, smaller ones a little more expensive. Medi-Honey from the pharmacy costs 48 euros for 50g according to the UVP. Of course there are also different pack sizes here.


Manuka honey is a tasty sweet food that has a high medicinal value. There are almost innumerable applications in which this honey can bring relief.

Unfortunately, honey varieties are also commercially available that call themselves Manuka honey but are not. Here you have to pay attention to purity and efficiency. An independent honey laboratory should have checked the honey and this should also be noted on the label. The abbreviations MGO or UMF are of great help. However, the Manuka honey varieties in the health food store and in the pharmacy can be trusted.

Some scientific studies have already confirmed the effectiveness and the harmlessness of regular intake of Manuka honey with a higher MGO value. (sw, dk)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

David Kunert, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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Video: Benefits of Manuka Honey (December 2022).