Manuka honey is a type of honey native to New Zealand.
It’s produced by bees who pollinate the flower Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as the manuka bush.
Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are what set it apart from traditional honey.
Methylglyoxal is its active ingredient and likely responsible for these antibacterial effects.
Additionally, manuka honey has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
In fact, it has traditionally been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay and improving digestive issues.
Aid Wound Healing
Since ancient times, manuka honey has been used to treat wounds, burns, sores, and boils.
In 2007, manuka honey was approved by the US FDA as an option for wound treatment.
Honey offers antibacterial and antioxidant properties, all while maintaining a moist wound environment and protective barrier, which prevents microbial infections in the wound.
Multiple studies have shown that manuka honey can enhance wound healing, amplify the regeneration of tissue and even decrease pain in patients suffering from burns.
For example, one two-week study investigated the effects of applying a manuka honey dressing on 40 people with non-healing wounds.
The results showed that 88% of the wounds decreased in size. Moreover, it helped create an acidic wound environment, which favors wound healing.
What’s more, manuka honey may help heal diabetic ulcers.
A Saudi Arabian study found that manuka honey wound dressings, when used in combination with conventional wound treatment, healed diabetic ulcers more effectively than conventional treatment alone.
Additionally, a Greek study showed that manuka honey wound dressings reduced healing time and disinfected wounds in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Another study observed the effectiveness of manuka honey in healing eyelid wounds after surgery. They found all eyelid wounds healed well, regardless of whether the incisions were treated with manuka honey or vaseline.
However, patients reported that scarring treated with manuka honey was less stiff and significantly less painful, compared to scarring treated with vaseline.
Lastly, manuka honey is effective at treating wound infections caused by antibiotic-resistant strains, such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Hence, the regular topical application of manuka honey on wounds and infections may help prevent MRSA (1).
Acne is usually caused by hormonal changes, but it can also be a reaction to poor diet, stress or bacteria growth in clogged pores.
The antimicrobial activity of manuka honey, when used in combination with a low-pH product, is often marketed to fight acne.
Manuka honey could help keep your skin free of bacteria, which could expedite the acne healing process.
Also, given its anti-inflammatory properties, manuka honey is said to decrease inflammation associated with acne.
Yet, there is very limited research on manuka honey’s ability to treat acne.
However, one study investigated the effects of kanuka honey, which has antibacterial properties similar to those of manuka honey. It found that kanuka honey was as effective as antibacterial soap at improving acne (2).