Unlike regular honey, Mānuka honey is a quintessential New Zealand product sourced from the Mānuka bush (leptospermum scoparium), revered and enjoyed all over the world (high profile celebrities included).
We know it for the sweet, rich flavour we love to slather onto our toast and mix into our tea more than other types of honey.
But it’s so, so much more than that.
Mānuka has anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it supports the gut and the immune system, and it can also remedy oral diseases.
It’s Incredibly Versatile
As we’ve just learnt, Mānuka honey is an extremely impressive substance…not to mention delicious.
Before you keep your raw honey tucked into the back of the pantry to be used for the occasional toast or tea, remember how versatile it is.
Think of it as a multi-purpose product which belongs in the kitchen, the bathroom and the medicine cabinet.
You could keep one in the pantry for edible purposes (low UMF), another in your bathroom to use for skincare and another in the first-aid kit to use for infections, treat wounds and scrapes (high UMF).
There’s so many reasons why Mānuka honey has been a tried-and-true remedy for many ailments for centuries! We would be very unwise not to follow the ways of those before us and use Mānuka honey as far more than a tasty toast topper.
Read on to find out about 10 ways you can use Mānuka honey and its health benefits…
#1. Use it to Support Healthy Teeth and Gums
It seems a little weird to think of something so sweet as being healthy for your teeth. But studies have shown that the antimicrobial properties of Mānuka honey can fight against oral conditions such as gingivitis.
Mānuka honey can even help to reduce the amount of plaque build-up on the teeth, which helps to reduce tooth decay.
Keeping the gums and teeth healthy can actually help you to enjoy a healthy heart, as strange as it may sound at first!
While keeping a healthy mouth won’t directly prevent heart disease, prolonged oral disease can increase your chances of developing heart disease. If you are suffering from gum disease such as gingivitis, talk to your dentist or doctor about using Mānuka honey as a natural remedy.
Studies have shown that by rubbing Mānuka honey on damaged gum tissue, the nasty bugs are killed and the cells are stimulated to begin healing and repairing.
Pretty impressive, right?
#2. Use it to Support Healthy Digestion
Digestive issues are shockingly common in our busy, stressful modern society. Many people experience ongoing tummy woes and are constantly trying to find medical advice and solutions to ease the pain preferably with a side effect or two.
Well, it turns out that Mānuka honey can help.
Mānuka honey has been shown to contain special enzymes which enter the gut and help to break down and digest food efficiently. What’s more, honey is a prebiotic which means it provides food for those healthy, helpful bacteria we have living in our gut.
Because Mānuka honey contains methylglyoxal (a powerful anti-microbial) it can help to kill harmful bugs in the gut and prevent gastro illnesses.
Add Mānuka honey to smoothies, tea, spread on rice crackers or simply make a habit of taking a teaspoon each morning before breakfast. You might just find that your stomach issues begin to improve, (with proper medical advice and procedure of course).
#3. Use it to Soothe Cuts and Scrapes
If you have boisterous kids who are always running through the door complaining of scraped knees, Mānuka honey can help.
The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties of Mānuka honey penetrate the wound and help to accelerate healing. It has been proven that Mānuka honey actually encourages cells to start the healing process quickly and effectively, while providing gentleness and very little possible side effects.
By killing bugs and preventing them from spreading, honey stops wounds from becoming infected. It’s also known that the moisturizing properties of Mānuka honey helps wounds to heal more quickly and without scarring.
Instead of using a sting-inducing, alcohol-based solution to treat your kids’ cuts, scrapes and burns, use a high-quality Mānuka honey first.
For many people, lips are very prone to cracking, drying and peeling.
Winter time can really wreak on the lips, especially if you like to wear matte or liquid lip products.
One way to protect your lips and keep them soft and smooth is to give yourself a regular lip scrub treatment.
Also note that protecting your lips from the sun is also paramount to proper lip care. But back to the scrub!
Mānuka honey is a perfect ingredient for treating the lips, why?
Your lips lose moisture far more easily than the rest of your skin which is why they’re so delicate during dry, cold months.
Mānuka honey is a humectant which means it draws moisture to the skin and holds it there. It’s also got a sticky, emollient texture which helps lift dry skin away when removed from the affected area.
This magic bee elixir also has amazing healing properties which is fantastic news for chapped, raw lips.
By rubbing Mānuka honey into lips which have lost their moisture barrier you’re helping the lips to repair, heal and renew.
Mix together 1 teaspoon of Mānuka honey with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Rub the mixture onto your lips in circular motions.
You can also add a few drops of oil such as rosehip and leave a thin layer of the mixture on your lips for a few minutes like a mini lip mask. This will allow the oil and honey to soak into the lips, leaving them soft and nourished.
#6. Use it as a Gentle In-Shower Body Exfoliator
Keeping the skin on your body soft, moisturized and protected against dryness is important for overall comfort and a healthy lustre.
However, we don’t always have time to slather a body cream over the whole body on a regular basis.
One easy way to maintain soft, fresh skin is to exfoliate and hydrate in the shower…i.e killing two birds with one stone!
Next time you’re in need of a whole-body exfoliating and moisturizing treatment, make it at home.
Use Mānuka honey and a few other select kitchen ingredients to create an in-shower moisture scrub.
Slough dead skin off the body and add a high dose of moisture and healing nourishment to the skin without using a single skincare product.
Combine 2 teaspoons of Mānuka honey with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of rolled oats and 2 teaspoons of coarse sugar in a little bowl or container.
Wet your skin in the shower then turn the water off.
Rub the honey mixture over your skin in circular motions, concentrating on dry patches.
If you have time, leave the mixture to soak into the skin for 5 minutes (perhaps as you put a treatment into your hair).
Turn the water back on, wash the mixture off and continue with your shower!
#7. Make a Chemical-Free Eye Treatment
Eye creams are expensive and often super over-hyped.
They are designed to lure us into spending our cash with the promise of young, taught and elastic skin around the eyes.
Pretty tempting, right?
Well, you can still achieve those youthful results by using less expensive, less chemical-laden treatments such as Mānuka honey.
As if Mānuka honey wasn’t impressive enough already, there’s another incredible property to behold.
Just as you can use Mānuka honey as a sugar substitute in your baking, or add it to flavour your favourite dish, it is also great to add to a cup of hot tea, as a sweetener and a great way to take honey.
The great thing about the properties of Mānuka honey is that it can be heated to high temperatures without damaging, or lessening the unique chemical markers in the honey.
That means you can safely add it to cooking and hot drinks while still enjoying the benefits that Mānuka honey has become famous for!
There are some pretty stringent and scientific testing processes which indicate the potency of Mānuka honey and helps determine if it is actually the real deal.
The most common rating system is the UMF system, which stands for Unique Mānuka Factor. It all relates back to the amount of antibacterial components in the honey (methylglyoxal mgo and leptosperin).
There has to be a certain amount of these two components in order for Mānuka honey to be classified and marketed as Mānuka honey. The higher the UMF, the more powerful the effectiveness of Mānuka honey.
For treating wounds and skin issues, look for the highest UMF you can find, (15-24+ is very high!).
For general everyday edible use for simply enjoying the flavour, you can use a Mānuka honey with a lower UMF rating (the lowest is 0-5+).