Manuka honey has a special place for those who believe in apitherapy and the medicinal powers of the sweet product of honeybees.
Now there’s a book about it from Cliff Van Eaton, a Canadian-turned-New Zealander beekeeper and one of the chief proponents of using manuka honey. (See the Amazon page promotional copy for the book, Manuka: The Biography of an Extraordinary Honey, below.)
Van Eaton has just been interviewed by Radio New Zealand, and the interview (nearly 30 minutes) is worth listening to. The description of the interview is below.
Despite the claims, there’s still no hard evidence for the claims many people make about honey.
Here’s what WebMD.com, a large and well-regarded health site, has to say about manuka honey:
Hydrogen peroxide is a component of honey. It gives most honey its antibiotic quality. But some types of honey, including manuka honey, also have other components with antibacterial qualities.
The major antibacterial component in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.
In manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound — dihydroxyacetone — that is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers.
MG is thought to give manuka honey its antibacterial power. The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect. (quoted)
The main medical use for manuka honey is on top of a wound. It is generally used for treating minor wounds and burns.
Manuka honey is also marketed for use in many other conditions. These include:
- Preventing and treating cancer
- Reducing high cholesterol
- Reducing systemic inflammation
- Treating diabetes
- Treating eye, ear, and sinus infections
- Treating gastrointestinal problems
But the evidence is limited on whether or not manuka honey is effective for these conditions.
The honey used to treat wounds is a medical-grade honey. It is specially sterilized and prepared as a dressing. So the jar of manuka honey in the pantry should not be considered part of a first aid kit. Wounds and infections should be seen and treated by a health care professional. (quoted)