Manuka honey. Have you heard of it? If this is the first you’re reading about it, that’s not really surprising; it isn’t really all that well known just yet. But that’s changing pretty quickly, because Manuka is a very special honey.
There are many different varieties of honey, and each is unique in its own way. Some are light colored, some are dark colored; some have a light, mild taste; others have a strong, dominating flavor.
But the health benefits of Manuka set it apart from all others.
What’s so Special About Manuka?
Manuka nectar is gathered from the blooms of the Manuka plant. Indigenous to New Zealand, the Manuka is also referred to as the Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium). The honey of the Manuka is dark and distinctly flavored.
For many centuries, the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, have used parts of the Manuka plant as a source of natural medicines. And New Zealanders have known about the special properties of Manuka honey for many years.
So how is Manuka different from other varieties of honey?
All varieties of honey offer health benefits such as high levels of antioxidants and natural antibiotic properties. But it’s been discovered that honey from the Manuka plant has a special ingredient that other honey varieties possess only in very minute quantities.
This ingredient, called methylglyoxal, is why honey produced from the Leptospermum species of plants has particularly strong antibiotic benefits. Manuka honey research has revealed that its antibiotic properties are far stronger than any other type of honey.
In fact, Manuka has been found to be MORE effective as an antibacterial healing agent than many of the frontline antibiotics in use today.
A New Weapon Against Antibacterial-Resistant Bugs
Perhaps even more importantly, to date, no species of bacteria has ever developed a resistance to Manuka! And because of the manner in which honey kills bacteria, scientists generally believe that bacteria are unlikely ever to evolve a resistance to the antibacterial properties of honey – particularly Manuka.
With antibiotic resistance now considered by many to be the most serious health issue on earth, many scientists now feel that honey -- and Manuka in particular -- will soon become a frontline weapon in the never-ending fight against bacterial disease.
We Sure do Owe Those Bees!
Isn’t it both fascinating and ironic that humankind may be saved from one of its most serious threats, at least in part, by:
not a great discovery of science…
not a great invention of technology…
not even by the genius intervention of politicians (written with tongue firmly in cheek!)…
…but by the humble little honey bee?
So if we, as humans, do all that we can to help protect the honey bee from the problems it has faced in recent years, and help to ensure its long-term survival, we might, in fact, only be returning the favor.
Below are just some of the ways in which Manuka honey is used: