Immune | April 9, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Honey: It has been called nature’s golden healer and nature’s bandage. The ancient Greeks described it as food of the gods.
The history of honey dates back to 7000BC, as evident from cave paintings found in Spain. In Australia, the early European settlers were the first to introduce the honeybee in 1820’s, according to the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council. Since that time, Australia has become one of the top ten honey producing countries in the world, with abundant native floral sources ideal for honey making.
Honey is composed primarily of fructose and glucose, but also contains many amino acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and some antioxidants. The exact composition of a honey batch depends on the flowers available to the bees that produced the honey, and differs from one batch to the next.
Honey has a long medicinal history. It has been traditionally used as medicine in the Roman, Greek, and Chinese cultures, mainly for wound healing and for diseases of the gut.
Manuka honey is honey from the nectar of the flower of the Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), which is native to New Zealand.
The Manuka plant is also prevalent in Eastern Australia.
Manuka honey was found to have exceptional antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties not found in other honeys.
In recent years there has been growing scientific interest in the therapeutic uses of Manuka honey as an alternative to antibiotics, due to the rise in superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. The evidence is so convincing, that the Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is the body that regulates products that are used for medical purposes, has listed medical-grade Manuka honey as a medical product.
Medical grade Manuka honey is honey specially sterilised by gamma irradiation and registered for medical purpose. It comes combined into sterile dressings or sterilised in tubes to be used topically.
Regular Manuka honey is Manuka honey that has not been sterilised.
Both regular Manuka honey and medical-grade Manuka honey can be bought over the counter at your pharmacy.
For topical application use medical-grade Manuka that is sterilised to be used as wound gel.
There is not enough scientific research about the benefits of Manuka honey for colds and flu when eaten. However, there are no known side effects of active Manuka honey when ingested (unless you are allergic to honey).
It is thought that the high antibacterial activity of Manuka honey may sooth your throat and ease the effects of your cold.
For cold and flu symptoms, it is recommended to take one teaspoon of Manuka honey, 3-4 times per day. You can add it to tea or yoghurt, or have it straight.
UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). A registered grading system from New Zealand recognised internationally and used by licensed users, identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka. The higher the number, the higher the antibacterial potency. The grading ranges from UMF 5+ to UMF 20+.
MGO™ Manuka Honey. Another rating system originating in New Zealand based on levels of methylglyoxal - a naturally occurring antibacterial compound in Manuka honey. Rating ranges from MGO 30+ to the highest grade, MGO 550+, representing the highest antibacterial activity (This rating system is only used by one company, Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd.).
Place honey at room temperature in a cupboard away from heat and direct sunlight. You can put it in the fridge where it will crystallise over time. Crystallisation is a natural process and does not affect the quality of the honey.
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council 2017, The wonderful story of Australian honey, retrieved April 1, 2017
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The Wound Healing and Management Node Group (2011), The use of medical-grade honey in wound care, Wound Practice and Research, Volume 19 Number 3 – September 2011.