It is difficult to imagine continents, countries or nations that do not eat honey or use it for various purposes. The value of honey has been confirmed by scientists, practitioners, and even men of wisdom. In modern conversation we sometimes will even hear popular expressions that reference it.
The variety of kinds of honey is also unbelievable and over time and within a very short time, new kinds of honey emerged with different composition. We use honey harvested in our own country or honey imported from other corners of the world.
In this post we’re going to take a look at the benefits, dangers and contraindications of a unique and special honey called manuka. But before we dive into the details, let’s take a look at the origin of manuka honey.
The Origin of Manuka Honey
Its unusual name matches the amazing origin of this product. It is harvested by the New Zealand bees. According to DiligentChef.com, initially, there were no bees on the islands of New Zealand. A very long time ago – several centuries ago – the bees were actually brought there. The mild climate that promotes reproduction, the clean air, the untouched nature, abundance of nectarous herbs, shrubs – many of which do not grow anywhere else in the world – have contributed to a fast and intensive growth of bee-keeping farms that offer many, unknown earlier, kinds of this sweet product.
The production turned out to be profitable because the bees of New Zealand have a natural immune system: they do not get sick, and, therefore, they do not get fed with the chemicals that are usually intended for health support or supplemental feeding. Any supplements used to improve honey production are prohibited by the state. New Zealand bees produce completely unique by its natural organic honey. Manuka is a part of the largest variety, and it has its own, one-of-a-kind aroma and flavor. Locals consider it a national treasure. It’s definitely quiet different than the popular Alfalfa Honey.
The name comes from the Manuka tea shrub (sometimes called a tea tree). It has large pink flowers and silver-like leaves. The flowering period is very long: it lasts during spring and almost the whole summer. Besides, this shrub is low-maintenance and it grows throughout the islands.
For industrial production (farms may have a thousand beehives and more) they use the growth areas located in extremely hard-to-reach preserved areas with the minimum amount of wild grasses and other honey plants. Bees collect eco-friendly honey – basically, from one plant that possesses special properties.
Manuka is primarily a sweet delight. New Zealanders eat it by itself enjoying its aroma and flavor. We can use this product just like any other type of honey – with tea or as a part of a dessert. It has a tendency to thicken. You can also make unusual candy – by hand – using this honey. It is certain that consumption of Manuka not only leaves a pleasant sensation in your mouth but also has a medicinal effect.
The medicinal properties of Manuka honey are not yet fully studied, but even all the available information allows scientists to talk about the exceptional medical properties and the ability to use it as an alternative to modern antibiotics.
The healing qualities of the product were noticed a long time ago – through observation of life of the aborigines of the New Zealand Islands: they would get sick very rarely and they had positive mood at all times.
First of all, we should talk about its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, disinfecting properties, because it contains a large number of antioxidants; it destroys many pathogenic bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. Manuka honey is ten times more effective than our usual herbal (meadow) honey. Its composition is 4/5 sugar and 1/5 water.
Calorie content depends on the place of harvesting, as well as some other factors.
Manuka honey is indispensable when it comes to treatment of skin diseases. It successfully fights against various types of acne, eczema, psoriasis, herpes, redness, dermatitis of various origins. Honey is gently applied to the inflamed area, and once that area gets dry, carefully rinse it with warm water.
It can help to relieve eye fatigue, dryness, and irritation. Eye drops are easy to prepare at home. Dissolve a teaspoon of honey in 100 ml. of heated water, cool it, and use it as drops for your eyes. The same drops can also be used for ear inflammation.
This class of honey helps to treat digestive problems: eliminates discomfort (irritable bowel syndrome), bloating, heartburn, belching. To get rid of these unpleasant symptoms, dissolve a couple of tablespoons of honey in the milk (1 cup) and slowly drink it. This beverage will have an anesthetic and relaxing effect. Manuka treats ulcers, eliminates diarrhea, constipation, and helps to get rid of worms.
Manuka treats inflammatory diseases of the throat (treatment consists in keeping a small amount of honey (in a small spoon) in the mouth until it is dissolved by saliva), colds, flu; it strengthens gums, fights arthritis and rheumatism. It helps to treat insect bites, eliminate nail fungus, heal wounds, get rid of burns, skin ulcers, sores.
This tasty product can be an excellent source of energy; it energizes, strengthens you, perks you up, and improves mood and overall condition of the body. To strengthen the immune system, take 3 teaspoons of Manuka honey per day. On the other hand, it can be used as a sedative, a sleeping pill: dissolve some honey in a glass of warm water and drink it at night. It eliminates the harmful effect of medication that contains chemicals.
- Manuka Honey is a well of vitamins. Experts say that one spoon of this honey per day is enough to provide the body with all the necessary vitamins.
- Manuka honey is recommended by cosmetologists. It cleanses, nourishes, moisturizes, and tones the skin very well, enriching it with minerals and vitamins. A large number of antioxidants help your skin to successfully fight against aggressive effects of our environment. It is a great anti-aging agent. To achieve this effect, you need to systematically wash your face with a solution of honey and apply honey masks. This product produced by bees will not only significantly improve the texture of your skin but will also help you to get rid of extra pounds.
- However, even a product that has so many surprisingly useful properties has some contraindications, and sometimes it can even be harmful. Contraindications include young age (not for children under one-year-old; according to some recommendations – the minimum age should be three years old); allergic reactions; various types of diabetes.
To achieve needed medicinal and cosmetic results, use Manuka honey properly. It is not to be heated at any point. The most convenient option is to dissolve it in slightly heated water. If crystallization occurs, you can soften it by keeping it for some time in the palm of your hand. To enhance immunity, drink honey water on a regular basis – every morning before meals, i.e. on empty stomach. For external application, they use a thickened form of honey.
It is also important not to make a mistake when buying this honey. Remember that each jar of real Manuka has a unique identification number. This is not a cheap product, so it is better if you buy it in retail stores.