New Zealand is famous for many things, from the mighty All Blacks to being the home of Middle Earth. However, there’s another Kiwi export gaining worldwide attention, and it could be found right in your own backyard.
Manuka honey is the wonder ingredient on everyone’s lips at the moment. Pure honey on its own has many beneficial effects, but New Zealand manuka honey is uniquely valuable for its antibacterial properties. It has several features that set it apart from other raw honey products, making it an ideal addition to your medicine and beauty cabinet.
What’s so great about manuka honey?
Manuka honey is often used as a soothing and healing treatment. This comes down to its antibacterial abilities, which may help support the body’s own innate healing process.
Some experts believe honey is a natural antimicrobial – a substance that suppresses or destroys the growth of harmful micro-organisms in the body. These could take the form of bacteria, viruses or fungi. It is thought to help stimulate the body’s own immune system, encouraging the processes of cell metabolism and tissue repair.
Honey also has an anti-inflammatory effect which may be able to reduce or alleviate symptoms of pain and irritation around the affected area. As a result, manuka honey is often used to treat minor wounds and burns as a topical treatment.
These properties make manuka honey ideal for promoting skin repair and renewal. It’s also a humectant, which means it draws moisture into the skin so it can be better retained. Both of these benefits have prompted the addition of manuka honey to beauty products as well. It’s believed that using manuka honey in this way can help keep the skin hydrated, nourished and protected from the elements.
Today, it can be found in everything from cleansers and moisturisers to face masks and lip balms. Manuka honey can also be eaten as a spread or added as a sweetener to tea and other beverages.
The secret behind New Zealand manuka
Many studies have looked into chemical make-up of pure manuka honey, and the results shed some light into what makes the New Zealand version so unique. Firstly, researchers have found that manuka honey has particularly high levels of a compound called methylglyoxal (MG). While this is found in most other types of honey as well, it is typically produced in small quantities only.
On the other hand, manuka honey has the highest amounts of MG discovered to date – more than any other food source available. This MG compound is thought to be directly responsible for manuka honey’s superior antibacterial capabilities. The higher the amount of MG in the honey, the more powerful it is.
This is also the basis for a new rating system called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), which was designed to evaluate the potency of manuka honey products. The higher the UMF rating, the more MG is in the product – and the more powerful its healing and antibacterial properties may be. Manuka honey products that pass this test are known as UMF manuka honey or active manuka honey. To be considered powerful enough to affect the body positively, a manuka honey product needs to have a minimum UMF level of 10.
As well as MG, manuka honey also has another antibacterial substance called glucose oxidase. This is a naturally occurring enzyme that can be found in all types of honey. It works by releasing hydrogen peroxide (an antiseptic) into infection sites around the body, which helps to destroy or inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria without damaging healthy organisms or tissues.
While both are beneficial for the body, MG is a more stable form of antibacterial compound than glucose oxidase. It holds onto its bacteria-fighting properties even after exposure to heat, light or water, making it more reliable than others.
With a variety of other nutrients, vitamins, amino acids and minerals, manuka honey can also help to support general physical wellbeing. Whether you add it to your beauty routine or your morning toast, it can play a key role in promoting better health.
BioHoney Manuka Honeys have MGO (MG) ratings ranging from 80+ to 260+. They are free of pesticides and residues and are produced in a sustainable manner. BioBalance Manuka Honey 260+ is a 100% pure, raw manuka honey sourced from the pristine forests of Golden Bay at the top of the South Island of New Zealand.
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