We’re in the midst of a very interesting time—a return to folk medicine, to self-healing, and to the application of treatments sourced directly from the natural world.
After a brief dream of all-powerful pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and fancy medical technology, we’re reawakening to the subtle and integrative principles of nutrition, proper lifestyle, and natural medicine.
These two paradigms shouldn’t be pitted against one another. Instead, we should view them as complementary systems that can help us achieve optimal health effectively and sustainably.
For example, medical science provides us with the tools to prove the worthiness of “at home remedies” and “alternative treatments.” Healing tools and practices that once needed to be accepted on faith may now be tried by tested with scientific rigor.
One perfect example is honey, which was touted since ancient times as a healing, tonifying agent. It was routinely used as a healing dressing for wounds until the early 20th century, when antibiotics stepped into the limelight.
At that point, it was demoted to the rank of alternative remedy and replaced in common practice by manufactured antimicrobial agents.
But honey is making a comeback
With the rising tide of antibiotic-resistance infections, ailing healthcare systems, and the (well-founded) distrust of Big Pharma comes the hopeful search for simpler, more sustainable, and more effective methods of treatment.
Honey has gained a large and faithful following, and for good reason.
It’s packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and antimicrobial agents that combat harmful bacteria, enhance the immune system, and work wonders as a topical agent for wounds.
It’s anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, and even works to heal the stomach and balance gut flora.
Not all honey is created equal, though
While lots of health claims have been made for all sorts of honey, the one that really walks the walk is Manuka honey.
Manuka honey is made from the Manuka bush in New Zealand (more commonly known as the tea tree). It boasts an impressive array of healing and antiseptic components—including some with which we’re not even familiar yet.
Its potential as a natural antibiotic is profound: this magical, exotic honey varietal destroys over 250 different strains of bacteria, including MRSA and other highly resistant pathogens.
Best of all, it was found to work just as well as conventional antiseptics at combatting the whole gamut of infectious organisms.
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Its effectiveness as a topical agent is particularly pronounced, and can be used for healing wounds, acne, rashes, burns, and ulcers. Some research has even found it to be as effective as chemical mouthwash for reducing dental plaque.
Many people have even reported miraculous healing experiences when using Manuka honey to treat warts and MRSA sores…
“This honey was suggested for my young son’s warts. He had eczema as a baby and rapidly spreading warts is a common link to people with eczema. At our last count he had over 25 warts on his two hands. We tried everything to get rid of them from over-the-counter products to several doctor visits to ‘freeze’ the warts. Nothing was successful. Finally a plastic surgeon recommended this honey because of its success in patients with eczema and psoriasis. Within a week of using the honey the warts were visibly much smaller. Now that the honey is gone so are the warts! It is a miracle!”
“My mother contracted MRSA through a pressure sore at a hospital. No antibiotic can ever get rid of MRSA, it kept coming back and the bedsores getting worse. We bought the MGO 400 Manuka honey, started putting in the wound and in all MRSA sores, the next day there was a significant improvement over all. Now, it’s been 5 days, the pressure sore is almost completely healed and the MRSA has not come back like it did on a daily basis, there is nothing but beautiful skin, no sores, no redness. IT’S A MIRACLE!”
The FDA even officially approved Manuka-honey-based wound dressings, thus lending it credibility and preventing it from going the way of most other folk treatments.
Before you rush out to try this sweet panacea, though, be warned: the buzz surrounding Manuka honey has led to a bit of feeding frenzy for marketers and health product slingers.
The result is that not all Manuka honey products are as high-quality as they should be. Finding the kind that works the best requires a little extra homework.
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“Uniqueness” is the key to finding the best manuka honey
We still don’t quite understand exactly how Manuka honey works so well at killing bacteria—and unfortunately, this knowledge gap leaves open the possibility for unsubstantiated claims.
There’s a name for its bacteria-battling superpower, though: the unique manuka factor, or UMF. Clever, right?
Here’s what you need to know: Manuka honey only lives up to its hype when it has a UMF rating of 10 or higher.
Products with this ideal UMF rating contain higher levels of antibacterial components that aren’t broken down by the body’s catalase enzyme system, which makes them much more powerfully medicinal than all other types of honey.
The best Manuka honeys should be thick in consistency and light in color, and they should be marked with the UMF quality trademark—a cute little logo that can only be used by licensed manufacturers who meet strict criteria set by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA).
If a product doesn’t have all of these defining characteristics, steer clear of it. Remember that you can always ask for a company’s official testing and certification results before purchasing honey from them.
Low-quality products have created controversy around Manuka honey, since some of them can’t withstand the scrutiny of clinical trials. As long as you work with a high-UMF product, though, it will meet or exceed your expectations.
Combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, Manuka honey is a wonderful alternative to chemical antiseptics and mouth washes, and an excellent natural remedy for all-around well being.