Mānuka honey’s healing powers supported by science

Kerrin Harrison

More evidence has emerged supporting the healing powers of Mānuka honey. Crafted by honeybees from the nectar of New Zealand’s native Mānuka tree blossoms, this prized monofloral honey has long been valued in natural healing. Now scientific research is beginning to catch up and provide explanations and evidence to support traditional knowledge that has been passed down through generations. A study published in the scientific journal AIMS Microbiology reviewed the outcomes of dozens of studies regarding the medicinal properties of Mānuka honey. Its authors looked at ways the proven antibiotic effect of Mānuka honey could be harnessed to solve the increasingly urgent issue of antibiotic resistance due to over-use of prescribed antibiotics.
“There is a need of an alternative therapeutic agent,” they said. “In this review, we have focused on one such natural material, Mānuka honey, which could be used as a natural antibiotic and as an alternative medicine.“The importance of honey for medicinal purposes is well documented in some of the world's oldest literature. Honey is well known and studied for its antimicrobial properties. The medicinal properties in honey originate from the floral source used by bees. Mānuka honey is a dark monofloral honey rich in phenolic content, and currently it is gaining much attention for its antimicrobial activity. Researchers have found that honey is effective against a wide range of pathogens.” The results of their overview the medical literature left no doubt that Mānuka honey has powerful healing properties. “The potential importance of honey for medicinal purposes cannot be underestimated,” the authors wrote. “The research data has confirmed that Mānuka honey's antibacterial activity, in comparison to non-Mānuka honey, is due to a higher phenolic and methylglyoxal content. Mānuka honey of different UMF values has medicinal properties of interest and it can be beneficial when used as a combination treatment with other antimicrobial agents.”
The study concluded that Mānuka honey can be safely used as an alternative natural antibiotic, and recommends that more research should be done to find our how it can be used in conjunction with commercial antibiotics to treat antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. Meanwhile, new research conducted by Austin Health in Australia and published in the Medical Press, has discovered that Mānuka honey may help prevent life-threatening urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections are often accidentally caused during medical treatment, usually when a catheter is inserted to drain the patient’s bladder. The study showed that Mānuka honey slows the speed at which bacteria grow and hinders the build-up of microorganisms that prevent treatment and harbour infections. The research team came to the conclusion that flushing diluted Mānuka honey through a catheter before use might help prevent urinary tract infections, but emphasised that more research is needed to confirm this.

Source: The Medical Press, Aims Microbiology.
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy and there remains a lot of scientific work to be done. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products.