There was a time when I thought all honey was the same and its sole purpose was to go on my toast of a morning.
I was however very wrong. Whilst it is still great on my toast it also has many other purposes. Hundreds of years ago the New Zealand Maoris used honey to treat wounds, burns and insect bites. But not just any honey, specifically Manuka Honey.
Manuka Honey is produced by the bees feeding on the manuka (tea tree) bush that grows wild across New Zealand.
Recent studies have confirmed that all honey has antibacterial properties. However manuka honey is different to most honey. But not just different, when it comes to medicinal properties manuka honey is better than most honey.
So what does manuka honey have that makes it so special?
Simple: UMF or Unique Manuka Factor.
If the truth be known not all manuka honey has UMF but the manuka honey which is best used for treating medical ailments has UMF and the more the better. Manuka honey with a UMF rating is known as Active Manuka Honey.
So what is UMF?
UMF represents the bacterial killing power unique to Manuka Honey. All manuka honey has antibacterial properties but manuka honey with a UMF rating has extra ability to fight bacteria.
To explain it simply the active component of honey is hydrogen peroxide which is produced when the enzyme glucose oxidase in honey is diluted. The hydrogen peroxide is broken down by another enzyme that is found in the human cell. Once broken down the hydrogen peroxide becomes inactive and the antibacterial properties of the honey no longer exist.
Manuka honey with a UMF rating is more stable. The UMF remains active even when undiluted and is not broken down by the human body. Active manuka honey is also able to penetrate the skin more deeply thus being able to reach bacteria in deep seated infections which cannot be reacted by normal honey.
Active manuka honey has been found to be effective in the treatment of skin and gastric ulcers, burns, eye and skin infections, colds and sore throats, diarrhoea and wounds. It is also considered and excellent dietary supplement.
Some of the features of active manuka honey when used as a wound dressing include:
- Clears infections rapidly
- Quickly reduces swelling, inflammation and pain
- Promotes rapid healing with minimal scarring
- Antimicrobial properties prevent new microbial growth
- Stimulates tissue healing
The manuka honey used in the Calendulis Plus Cream produced by Grahams Natural Alternatives has a UMF rating of 12+. It is added to the cream to aid in the skin repair and prevention of infection on the skin of the eczema and psoriasis sufferer. The eczema and psoriasis skin lesions coupled with the severe scratching frequently result in secondary infection. The presence of manuka honey on the skin will not only help to clear the infections but to prevent them from developing. The presence of manuka honey will also assist in keeping the typical scarring from repeated lesions at a minimum.
Note: Studies of Manuka honey and the development of the unique manuka factor were carried out by Dr Molan, a senior lecturer of biochemistry , Waikato University in New Zealand. All information in this article has been obtained from the works of Doctor Molan.