June 06, 2023

14 Mind Blowing Uses of Manuka Honey!

Manuka honey is well recognized by those in the nutrition, health, and wellness field for its wide range of amazing uses! From improving oral hygiene to bolstering gut health and providing skin care, Manuka honey has no shortage of beneficial uses. With all this wrapped up in one delicious, nutrient-packed superfood, Manuka honey deserves to be a staple in your kitchen.

Let’s dive into Manuka honey, its background, and the mind-blowing uses of this incredible and tasty treat!

What is Manuka Honey?

What is Manuka Honey?

When honey bees forage on the nectar of the flowering native New Zealand Manuka tree, they produce Manuka honey. High-quality Manuka honey is monofloral, meaning the honey is made primarily from a single plant species–in this case, the Manuka tree.

The Manuka tree has a white flower, sometimes tinged with pink. In the Taranaki region, where we at Bees & Trees produce our honey, the Manuka trees typically bloom during the summer months of January and February. We strategically place our hives into areas with wild Manuka trees nestled within some of New Zealand’s most pristine wilderness. Our bees gather nectar from the native trees in these areas, creating our world-renowned Manuka honey.

Manuka honey can be found in the health and wellness sections of many grocery stores and local health food stores, and for good reason! It has earned a worldwide reputation for its overall fantastic health and wellness benefits. 

Manuka Honey Properties: What Gives it Unique Properties?

Manuka Honey Properties: What Gives it Unique Properties?

In the 1980s, Dr. Peter Molan, a New Zealand Biochemist, was the first to conduct extensive research on the unique properties of Manuka honey. His research would uncover the significant amounts of antimicrobial activity found in Manuka honey. Later, researchers in Germany would determine these antimicrobial properties were directly correlated to the amount of a dietary organic chemical compound in Manuka honey called Methylglyoxal, or MG for short. 

Soon after his discovery, Molan established a grading system that rated the honey’s antimicrobial properties, the “Unique Manuka Factor” (UMF). UMF ratings and MG testing are now the two accepted standards. This independent laboratory testing and related rating system really ramped up demand for this amazing superfood worldwide!

Manuka honey’s incredible benefits are directly correlated with its plentiful amount of MG. Therefore, it is important to recognize that Manuka honey with higher concentrations of MG will, as a norm, be more effective.

14 Manuka Honey Uses

uses of Manuka honey

There are so many uses for Manuka honey, and in this section, we will answer the question “What is Manuka honey good for” with fourteen of the best Manuka honey health usess.

1. Manuka Honey Fights Tooth Disease

Research suggests that Manuka honey may actually help treat gingivitis and other tooth diseases!

In a pilot study, participants were given either regular chewing gum or a chewable Manuka “honey leather” after each meal. After 21 days, results displayed significant reductions in plaque and gingival bleeding for those chewing Manuka honey, while there were no significant changes in the control group.

In another study, researchers compared the effect of Manuka honey, chlorhexidine gluconate (0.2%) mouthwash, and xylitol chewing gum on dental plaque levels. They concluded that Manuka honey had similar plaque inhibition as chlorhexidine mouthwash.

As evidenced above, the outstanding antimicrobial properties of Manuka honey have shown dramatic results in promoting and maintaining overall oral health, which is vital for maintaining a healthy immune system. So it’s no wonder Manuka honey is crafted into many different oral products, including toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, and mints, to name a few!

2. Support Wound Care by using Manuka Honey

Support Wound Care by using Manuka Honey

Honey has been used for centuries to treat wounds, even being traced back to the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, speaks about the healing virtues of honey: “….cleans sores and ulcers, softens hard ulcers of the lips, heals carbuncles and running sores.”

A recent study investigating the efficacy and feasibility of topical Manuka honey application in chronic nonhealing discharging extraoral wounds concluded that “the use of Manuka honey as a wound dressing material in our study has proved to promote the growth of tissues for wound repair, suppress inflammation, and bring about rapid autolytic debridement.”

Thanks to the bountiful amounts of MG found in Manuka honey, it is highly effective in tissue regeneration and treating open wounds and infections. In addition, Manuka honey’s antimicrobial properties help sterilize and cleanse wounds from dangerous germs. It can also help reduce inflammation and prevent bacterial infection with continual usage.

3. Dry eye syndrome (DES) and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a multifactorial condition characterized by an insufficient quality or quantity of tears, often leading to dry, irritated eyes. According to a recent study, it affects about 35% of the global and US population. It is frequently caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a condition where these glands, found in the eyelids, fail to produce enough oil, crucial for tear film stability and eye lubrication. 

DES symptoms can range from eye irritation, redness, blurred vision, and eye heaviness. In addition, serious complications such as cataracts, glaucoma, and infection may also arise from DES. Currently, there is no cure for DES, though symptoms can be managed through treatments such as artificial tears, ointments, and tear duct plugs. 

A recent clinical trial conducted in 2017 examining Manuka honey eye drops by Optimel on MGD patients concluded “Optimel antibacterial honey treatments are effective as adjunctive therapies for meibomian gland dysfunction”. In another 2021 double-masked, randomized study involving 55 MGD subjects, researchers reported significant improvements in symptoms and objective signs of MGD for those using Optimel™ 16% Manuka honey eye drops. 

4. Manuka Honey Fights off Viruses and Bacteria

Manuka Honey Fights off Viruses and Bacteria

Eating Manuka honey daily may help prevent the spread of viral and bacterial infections in your system, especially during cold and flu season. Manuka honey’s antiviral properties have been demonstrated in lab settings to be effective against various virus strains, such as Influenza A & B. A 2014 study found that Manuka honey has a potent repressive effect against the flu virus and exhibits potential medicinal benefits to fend off this debilitating virus.

Manuka honey also has strong antibacterial properties, which have been reported to be effective in combating antibiotic-resistant strains of infections, such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus). With the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, Manuka honey has been extensively studied by medical researchers interested in alternative treatment options.

5. Manuka Honey Helps Reduce Eczema Irritation

Manuka honey’s strong antimicrobial and antibacterial properties may help to reduce bacteria that can cause eczema and acne. In addition, its immune-boosting response stimulates skin cells to regenerate and heal where eczema has caused damage and pain.

There are many easy ways to use Manuka honey as a topical skin ointment! We also supply our honey to a partner that specializes in developing all-natural lip and skin balms, check out their product range here!

6. Manuka Honey May Help Those with Cystic Fibrosis!

Manuka Honey May Help Those with Cystic Fibrosis!

Research at Swansea University in 2019 revealed breakthrough information on how Manuka honey can help support people with their symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis.

From the research paper:

“Using lung tissue from pigs, experts treated grown bacterial infections mimicking those seen in CF patients with Manuka honey. The results showed that it was effective in killing antimicrobial-resistant bacteria by 39% compared to 29% for antibiotics, whilst improving the activity of some antibiotics that were unable to function effectively by themselves. Honey and antibiotics combined killed 90% of the bacteria tested.”

Incredible! 90% of bacteria were killed by combining Manuka honey and antibiotics. That’s astounding, and there is a real possibility for Manuka honey to improve the lives of Cystic Fibrosis patients. Another angle on Cystic Fibrosis, coming out of another study, is the suggestion that regular sinus irrigation with Manuka honey may mitigate the risk of bacterial infections, which typically start in the sinuses, and then move down to the lungs. The infections would be much easier to catch and eradicate at this point than when they get to the lungs due to the difficulty in delivering the honey to the point of use.

As of 2022, “a potential new treatment combining natural Manuka honey with a widely used drug has been developed by scientists at Aston University to treat a potentially lethal lung infection and greatly reduce side effects of one of the current drugs used for its treatment.”

7. Clear a Stuffy Nose with Manuka Honey

Our sinuses can become stuffed up in many dreadful ways through allergies, inflammation, excess fluid, and other irritants.

Manuka honey’s defense against a stuffy nose comes from its robust antiviral properties that help protect our bodies against illnesses like the common cold and flu. Likewise, its anti-inflammatory capabilities facilitate reduced swelling in the nasal passages, thus opening them up for easier breathing.

That’s why, in recent years, we’ve seen a significant rise in the popularity of the use of Manuka honey in a nasal/sinus rinse! This powerful antibacterial treatment approach can take down seasonal pathogens, bacteria, and microbes that cause sinus infections and congestion. Manuka honey’s moisturizing benefits work wonders to help keep your airways hydrated and thus non-irritated.

8. Manuka Honey Calms a Sore Throat

Manuka Honey Calms a Sore Throat

Manuka honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties also make it a go-to tool for treating the common sore throat and biofilm symptoms associated therein. For example, respiratory and throat infections caused by biofilm-forming bacteria are susceptible to the MG compound in Manuka honey. Manuka honey helps attack the root cause of the illness in a sore throat while also lessening the harshness of symptoms. This equates to shorter healing time and less pain in the process!

Its unique anti-inflammatory benefits are best achieved when in direct contact with the sore/inflamed tissue. So taking a spoonful of honey, sucking on Manuka honey cough drops, or drinking warm, Manuka honey-infused tea will help ease your sore throat.

9. Sleep Better with Manuka Honey!

Honey can be used to promote better and more restful sleep

Even though we may be sound asleep, our brains use quite a lot of energy throughout the night. A crucial source of energy is liver glycogen, a sugar that is stored in our livers. When we go to sleep, we rely on these sugars to power our brains through the night. If we run out of this energy, the brain will likely wake as a way to tell your body that it needs more fuel.

Consuming Manuka honey before bed is a wonderful way to keep this energy source full so the brain can perform all its nightly activities, resulting in long uninterrupted sleep cycles. Going to bed with a sweet-tasting memory in your mouth makes for sweet dreams! It’s just how it works!

10. Manuka Honey May Help Treat Stomach Ulcers

Manuka Honey May Help Treat Stomach Ulcers

A stomach ulcer is a sore on the internal lining of the stomach. These ulcers appear when damage occurs to the lining, usually caused by hydrochloric acid present in stomach acid. Ulcers can also be caused by a bacteria called H. Pylori. 

Stomach Ulcers are unfortunately quite common and can be rather painful. In 2016, researchers discovered that Manuka honey helped protect gastric tissues from developing ulcers and healed lesions when they occurred. Likewise, the Methylglyoxal (MG) present in Manuka honey has been shown to be very effective in fighting H. Pylori! Manuka honey bolsters your stomach's physical health while effectively killing harmful bacteria.

According to a 2017 study, “Manuka honey is effective in the treatment of chronic ulcers and preservation of mucosal glycoproteins. Its effects are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that resulted in a significant reduction of the gastric mucosal MDA, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 and caused an elevation in IL-10 levels.

11. Manuka Honey’s Role in Cancer Research

Research conducted in 2013 found that Manuka honey has considerable anti-tumor properties and even inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Likewise, Manuka honey was found to induce apoptosis, a biochemical reaction resulting in the death of cancer cells. 

An interesting study conducted on mice in vivo revealed the benefit of administering Manuka honey combined with Taxol, a common chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer. Compared to the mice group receiving Taxol alone, the mice treated with Taxol and Manuka honey experienced a significantly greater improvement in survival rates. The team hypothesized that Manuka’s potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cell growth-promoting activities helped reduce the toxic side effects of chemotherapy!

A full discussion of the cancer research with a directory and links to all of these studies can be found here: Does Cancer Hate Manuka Honey?

12. Manuka Honey is used to Treat Diabetic Wounds

Manuka Honey is used to Treat Diabetic Wounds

Foot ulcers can be common for those who have diabetes. Many know the pain and discomfort these sores can bring, but relief can be sought through the use of Manuka honey!

In 2014, researchers treated diabetic foot ulcers with Manuka Honey Impregnated Dressings (MHID) and compared them to another group who received conventional dressings (CD). MHID patients’ ulcers healed at around 31 ± 4 days, while CD patients experienced healing at around 43 ± 3 days. Likewise, for MHID patients, 78.13% of ulcers became sterile during the first week versus 35.5% who received conventional dressings. Researchers concluded that Manuka honey represented an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers and led to a significant reduction in healing time and rapid disinfection.

13. Manuka Honey Reduces Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a common symptom of IBS and IBD. Thankfully, Manuka honey's remarkable anti-inflammatory capabilities make it a fantastic option for treating these symptoms!

A 2008 study using rats found a significant reduction in colonic inflammation related to treatment with Manuka honey, especially when consumed at higher levels.

Various bacteria can also cause stomach infections that lead to IBS or IBD. Manuka honey’s strong antimicrobial properties work to fight against these harmful bacteria and promote good gut flora, thus fighting off infections before they ever start.

14. Manuka Honey is a Healthy Sweetener

Manuka Honey is a Healthy Sweetener

Raw and minimally processed, this honey is as healthy as it is delicious! Manuka honey is a fantastic sweetener that works with just about anything! Mixed in morning coffee or tea, in salad dressings, baked into goodies, or even by the spoonful, you can’t go wrong with its delicious taste and amazing health benefits!

What Makes Bees & Trees Manuka Honey the Best in the World?

What Makes Bees & Trees Manuka Honey the Best in the World?

Our Manuka honey is raw and minimally processed. The bees make it, we extract it and pack it in glass jars, that's it. Our honey is produced in the Taranaki Region of New Zealand, on the West central part of the North Island. The unique microclimate of this region, combined with our late-season flowering, produces the best-tasting Manuka honey compared to other regions in the country. Because we don’t blend with Manuka from other areas, our honey retains 100% of the Taranaki flavor profile. As a result, it really tastes amazing, but only you can be the judge of that.

Each batch is independently laboratory tested, and we make those test results available on our website product page. Straight from Taranaki New Zealand to your table, our Manuka honey is 100% pure and natural. We do not aim to sell the most Manuka honey, just the very best!

Want Manuka Honey in your Kitchen?

Want Manuka Honey in your Kitchen?

Interested in enjoying all the amazing uses of Manuka honey? Follow the link below to browse our range of Manuka honey to learn more. We are US-based and family-owned and are always available to answer questions and respond to customer inquiries. Enjoy Manuka honey today.


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  21. Johnston, M., McBride, M., Dahiya, D., Owusu-Apenten, R., & Nigam, P. S. (2018). Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey and its components: An overview. AIMS microbiology, 4(4), 655–664. https://doi.org/10.3934/microbiol.2018.4.655

  22. Aston University. (2022, September 8). Manuka honey could help clear deadly drug-resistant lung infection, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/09/220907192541.htm

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New to Mānuka Honey? Click here to learn about the different MGO levels. Check it out