What are the Top 6 Manuka Honey Health Benefits?

The 6 most beneficial ways of using Manuka Honey are as a

  • natural antibiotic /
  • wound healer /
  • for gingivitis & dental health /
  • anti-inflammatory – internal & external use /
  • acne & skin problems /
  • gut health & rebuilding the gut biome /

Let’s look at the top 6 most powerful ways these medicinal honeys are being used and the research and data driven use of these honeys by leading health practitioners and those of us pursuing a healthier life.

The buzz around healing Manuka Honeys is also paired with confusion about whether the health claims about it are valid, what the different potency ratings are about and whether this honey is actually worth the high price it commands in the marketplace.   All great questions!  So let’s tackle them now.

As someone who has spent the last 8 years rubbing shoulders with Manuka producing beekeepers (and their honey bees) and many of the world’s leading Manuka honey research scientists I can say that to date scientific research has only just started to scratch the surface of what the capabilities of this honey are in both building and in maintaining our health and wellbeing.  Manuka is definitely widely used and found to be an effective natural tool for first aid and medical emergencies.

Numero uno:    A natural antibiotic

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food” [Greek physician Hippocrates]

At a time when bacteria have developed resistance to many of the prescribed pharmaceutical antibiotics the value of an antibiotic agent that bacteria have shown an inability to develop resistance to is to be highly valued.   Original testing of the chemicals present in Manuka Honey (methylglyoxal) aka MGO) against the deadly Golden Staph bacteria was carried out initially by scientist Dr Peter Molan at the Honey Research Unit at Waikato in New Zealand in 1981. Using a drop of Manuka honey placed onto a lab culture of Golden Staph (Staphylococcus aureus) growing in an agar dish Dr Molan found that the honey killed that bacteria easily.   Both the speed and the spread of that killing effect on the cultured bacteria was measured and used to rate the concentration of MGO in each particular sample of Manuka honey being tested.  This MGO test measure became the basis of an MGO rating system still used today to evaluate the potency of a batch of manuka honey.

Big hurrah for the great research work done by Peter Molan. His work laid the basis for the rating system that is now required to be printed on all jar labels of certified manuka honey.  That potency rating determines two things:

  1. The best way to use that batch of honey:  the most beneficial way to use  any Manuka honey depends on that batch of honey’s laboratory tested MGO concentration (as we will elaborate on shortly).  A higher MGO rating is not necessarily best fit for purpose.
  2. The cost of the honey to you, the end user:  the higher the MGO potency rating of a Manuka Honey the scarcer the supply available to the marketplace and the more the beekeeper charges for it. This leads to a higher price tag being attached to the high potency Manuka Honey by the honey packer.

In an era where fear of pandemics is increasing, the threat of increasing antibiotic resistance to a wide range of pharmaceutical antibiotics is increasingly grave.   There is promising research being carried out globally now on the effect of pairing a natural antibiotic (in this case Manuka Honey) with pharmaceutical antibiotics that have been withdrawn from sale due to their increasing ineffectiveness against bacterial threats.   Whilst Big Pharma may lobby to maintain that its products are the only proven antibiotic, nature proves this to be incorrect time and time again. Watch this space for interesting combinations of pharmaceuticals and powerful natural medicines coming down the line.

One thing to be mindful of is the part we humans have played in encouraging/increasing bacterial resistance to pharmaceutical antibiotics.  Over-use and inappropriate prescription of pharmaceutical antibiotics has created opportunities for bacteria to learn and evolve ways of resisting these medicines.  This applies to well meaning overuse in human medicine and in the overuse of everyday antibacterial cleaning and sanitizing bu us in our homes.  Add to this the extensive use of antibiotics in animal husbandry and commercial food production (think cattle, pigs, chickens, fish) and you have an ever increasing risk of  not having any remaining effective antibiotics to use when superbugs appear.

Being mindful of only using a precious medical resource when absolutely essential and of using natural antibiotics wherever possible.

Numero due:    Wound healing

Honey is the oldest wound dressing material known to human, when some modern products are failing in this area. Traditionally, honey has been used to treat burns, infected and non-healing wounds and ulcers, boils, pilonidal sinus, venous and diabetic foot ulcers and bed sores.  It has been used to treat cuts and wounds, infected and otherwise and has a lot of solid clinical research to back its use both in the hospital and home  situations.  It’s a virtual first aid kit for the home and is also widely used for wound healing in animals.

In the recent Australian bush fires over 1 billion  animals died and many more were wounded and burnt. Australian and New Zealand beekeepers donated both eucalyptus and manuka honeys  to animal rescue groups working with these injured animals.

Manuka honeys are great for healing severe burns,  can debride wounds of dead matter, protect cuts and broken skin from infection and accelerate wound healing and skin regeneration.  Research results show a considerably shorter healing period when dressing a wound with a honey bandage. It was also noticed that using honey for dressing infected wounds gives it a clean, clear base that allows early grafting and an increased chance of acceptance of skin grafts, especially in cases of wounds in diabetic patients.

Numero tre:    Healthy gums and teeth

It might sound counterintuitive so say this, but Manuka Honey is absolutely a great ingredient to put in your toothpaste.  Its antibacterial qualities knock out plaque on teeth and get rid of the bacteria that create sore inflamed gums. Its anti inflammatory qualities reduce swelling and its  skin healing  qualities promote new healthy gums.  Brush your teeth regularly with a mid strength Manuka (MGO 250 + to 600 +) and begone gingivitis!  

Numero quattro:    Anti inflammatory

Manuka Honey can remove bacteria that cause inflammation. Research shows a decrease in wound inflammation after applying honey gauze to a wound and this is thought to be a result of the honey’s direct anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka Honey, when taken internally, acts to reduce internal post operation inflammation thus speeding healing after surgeries or chemotherapy.  In both these uses a high potency Manuka Honey (MGO 800+) is recommended. Note that it’s best to only use a high potency Manuka internally for a specified treatment cycle and not as a daily health regime.  The reason for this is that the antibiotic potency of a high rated Manuka Honey will knock out the good bacteria in your gut as well as the harmful bacteria being targeted.  This is the same result when you use a pharmaceutical antibiotic.   Follow any antibiotic treatments up with foods that will re-establish good gut bacteria  e.g yogurts and fermented foods, pro-biotics and cultured foods.

Numero cinque:    Behold! Beautiful skin

Beauty is more than skin deep!    Clear your face of acne, psoriasis, rashes and eruptions. These can be managed and healed by using Manuka Honeys both internally and externally. This time use a medium to low potency Manuka Honey (MGO 100+ to 250+) as a daily health superfood will gently build inner health. It’s a great addition to smoothies and your favorite warm beverages.  We have a free download of 5 top trending smoothies if you want to experiment with some of the best.

Always purchase a raw unpasteurised honey to use for health and healing. Be aware that heat will knock out some of the enzymatic healing properties of any honey. Therefore, in order to get the highest benefits from the honey, add it to hot beverages after the beverage has cooled a little.  Forget about using Manuka Honey for baking if you want to preserve its healing properties.  It’s a waste of an expensive item to cook it at high heat.

Whether you are male or female, team up the internal daily use of Manuka Honey with face masks.  This will heal acne, pimples and psoriasis and gently nourish and soften your skin.   Check out our free download of DIY home facials and masks.

Numero sei:    Gut health and emotional balance

One of the most important benefits of using Manuka honey is in healing gut inflammation and balancing your gut biome.   A healthy gut allows your body to absorb nutrients from the food you eat and to eliminate wastes efficiently from your body.  This is the basis of ongoing health and a strong immune system. In today’s climate  boosting your natural immune defenses is vital.  

Did you also know that the gut microbiota communicates bidirectionally with the central nervous system.   When we act on the bases of our gut instinct we are indeed acting wisely! 

Research into this relationship between gut, brain and emotions is in its early stages but speaks to: “Dysbiosis and inflammation of the gut have been linked to causing several mental illnesses including anxiety and depression, which are prevalent in society today.” Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. (Clin Pract. 2017 Sep 15; 7(4): 987) Pairing these studies with Australian and international research into the effects of Manuka Honey on the health of the gut biome provide promising early evidence of its usefulness in reducing gut inflammation and balancing the gut biome.

I have a gut feeling we are on the right track here!  

Jenna Ford portrait

Jenna Ford


Bringing to you the finest Australian Manuka honeys and plant based medicinals for health, immunity and longevity