Raw honey is lovely on toast, sweet in tea, and even good for your skin, but theres another type of honey that may be more exciting for natural health enthusiasts. If you havent heard of manuka honey, were pretty excited to tell you about it. Manuka honey benefits are seriously impressive even if youve long been a fan of raw and organic honey.

Manuka honey comes from New Zealand and is made by bees that pollinate the flowers of the manuka bush. These flowers bloom just once a year, lasting for two to six weeks. All raw honeys have health benefits, but manuka comes from a bush that is similar to the tea tree bush and as a result, contains some pretty special properties. It also has a potency level, referred to as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), which other honeys do not have. Try using manuka honey for acne and watch your skin shine.

Organic manuka honey is ideal, but quite rare because its difficult to control where a honey bee pollinates, and therefore difficult to know if it comes into contact with any pesticides. Even in this pristine remote area of New Zealand, organic honey is hard to come by. That why its difficult to verify that any honey, manuka or not, is truly organic.

While most types of honey have antibacterial properties, manuka honey may be even more powerful because it contains methylglyoxal, an antibacterial compound thats present in the bushs nectar. Other types of honey also have the antibacterial-boosting methylglyoxal compound, but in smaller quantities compared to manuka honey. Manuka honey also has a low pH level and a high sugar content which may hinder the growth of microbes, giving it even more antibacterial amp.

It’s an antibacterial because its enzymes create natural hydrogen peroxide, says Amie Valpone, culinary nutritionist and author of the book Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body. Valpone says that manuka honey hashigher levels of nutrients and enzymes when compared with regular honey. It’s great for acne, eczema, burns, IBS, SIBO [small intestinal bacterial overgrowth], sore throats, and allergies, she says. It’s rich in amino acids, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and many other nutrients.

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The medicinal benefits of honey have been documented since ancient times because of its healing properties and antibacterial characteristics. But in recent years scientific studies have proven that this golden syrup is so much more than just a sweetener. And manuka honey is even more potent. Health benefits include:

Antibiotic resistance is on the rise. In fact, 23,000 people die and two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant l infections every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But according to a study published in the April 2011 issue of the Asian Pacific Journal of Biomedicine, manuka honey may be a powerful topical treatment for antibiotic resistant infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile(C. diff).

A study published in the June 2009 issue of Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine found that manuka honey has antibacterial qualities that make it an effective treatment for some wounds. Another study in the same journal found that manuka honey could help treat diabetic wounds, which tend to heal slowly.

A study published in the April 2004 issue of the journal of the International Academy of Periodontology found that manuka honey may help reduce plaque and treat gingivitis.

A study published in the December 2013 issue of Evidence Based Complementary Medicine found that manuka honey may have an anti-cancer effect by helping the immune system fight back. It has antimutagenic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory qualities that make it effective, according to the research.

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