In recent years honey has begun to enjoy something of a renaissance in it's use as
a therapeutic treatment for many internal and external ailments, both serious and minor. This is thanks to a proliferation
in research into Active Manuka Honey together with positive results from hospital trials investigating its usefulness.
Honey is an ancient luxury food but also played a central role as a traditional wound dressing used by many cultures
throughout history including the native Maoris of New Zealand. It is only in the
last decade that the world's medical establishment has begun to take more seriously
the possible clinical benefits of Active Manuka Honey and consider it as a first line treatment
in a number of serious skin surface applications.
The discovery of a unique antibacterial property has led Active Manuka Honey to be considered for both external and internal digestive uses. Previously, this valuable natural resource has been disregarded by conventional medical wisdom to be no more important than any other 'traditional' or homeopathic remedy.
Much of the credit for the advancement in our understanding must be given to Dr.
Peter Molan of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in Hamilton,
New Zealand. Dr Molan has been involved in studying and cataloguing the effects
of honey on the healing process leading to a fuller appreciation of the factors
at play in the treatment of a persistent bacterial skin infection.
All honey has some level of the antibacterial chemical hydrogen peroxide, which is produced by enzymes in the honey. These enzymes
are easily destroyed by exposure to heat and light and also by contact with body fluids. It is now understood that some rare honeys
have an antibacterial action that is separate to the peroxide effect, resulting in a much more persistent and stable antibacterial action.
Such valuable honeys
are resistant to losing their antibacterial activity when used in wound treatment and even have strong activity when heavily diluted by body fluids
in a wound dressing. Furthermore, such honeys are now known to have a synergistic antibacterial effect with the hydrogen peroxide
activity, producing a very powerful weapon against bacterial conditions.
Varying quality of honey
Since 1991 it has been recognised that not all honey is effective in its non-peroxide anti-bacterial action
and in its promotion of healing - in fact the variability between different batches of honey
can be as much as 100-fold.
In 1996 an organisation called TradeNZ, in conjunction with the Honey Research Unit, set about to establish a standard
for the classification of antibacterial honey activity. This led to the creation of the UMF® industry standard - UMF standing for Unique Manuka Factor.
The Honey Research Unit developed a procedure for rating honeys which has now been in place for some time.
Tested batches of
Manuka Honey are given a UMF® rating, depending on their tested antibacterial
activity. A UMF® rating of 10 is the minimum activity to gain the UMF rating and thus be considered useful in serious applications.
Honey achieving this rating is commonly referred to as Active Manuka Honey, although manuka honey is often marketed as being 'active' even though it is not.
While Manuka honey is fairly widely available,
it is considered that only that which carries the UMF® registered trademark should be chosen if the intended use is for therapeutic purposes, and the majority of recent medical trial have predominantly used manuka honey with a UMF strength of 10 or more. The Active Manuka
Honey that you can order at this web site (click on the 'shop' button in the navigation to the left) has a UMF rating of 15 one of the highest UMF ratings available today.
Production of Manuka Honey
UMF rated Active Manuka Honey is produced by honey bees from the flowers of the
manuka bush (leptospermum scoparium). As a result of extensive screening it is
now known that honey produced from the Australian leptospermum polygalifolium
also has a useful antibacterial action. The manuka bush grows uncultivated
throughout New Zealand and its Australian counterpart can be found in some
parts of Australia - also uncultivated. Active Manuka Honey and its Australian
cousin is the only honey available for purchase which is tested and verified for
its antibacterial activity.
Manuka Honey has a low level of viscosity. Often ordinary honeys are extracted from the combe with the assistance of heating. Heat unfortunately has the effect of degrading some of the qualities of honey, although with manuka honey the UMF strength is not affected. Nonetheless, such a precious natural resource is normally extracted from the honeycombe with the use of special centrifuge machinery, avoiding the need for heating.
Honey combs are loaded into centrifuge machines that spin the contents causing the honey to separate from the waxy comb. Video footage of the extraction techniques are available to be viewed on YouTube. This process retains the natural qualities of the honey.
Active Manuka Honey and external uses
There have been many observed beneficial external effects of using the honey topically, but UK Trading Standards requirements prevent them from being talked about here. To discover more of the specific applications of the honey and why it has proved so effective then please click on the 'research articles' link in the navigation buttons to the left. You will find a link to a resource of many case studies and research articles written by the New Zealand medical establishment.
Other therapeutic uses
Active Manuka Honey has been reported to be effective when applied to fungal skin conditions including
dermatophytes. A common feature of fungal conditions is that there is also a strong presence of bacterial infestation. While antibiotics
can often provide an effective remedy, they are often inneffective at clearing up the fungal infection.
The use of Active Manuka Honey is not restricted to skin applications alone. It has also been widely used
for a number of internal uses and is regularly recommended in the alternative medicine columns in the popular press (see The Daily Mail). For further reading of press and media coverage of the honey then please click the 'news' link in the navigation buttons to the left. To read about the research that has been conducted into the medical uses of the honey then please click the 'research articles' button.