If you are into health foods and like honey, then you surely came across Manuka honey before. This "super-honey" is said to be healthiest out there and has been used traditionally for everything ranging from wound healing , sore throat treatment, tooth decay prevention to digestive issues. Nowadays it's said to help with everything from cancer to toenail fungus... and many things in between.
But does it help with wrinkles? Can it remove those fine lines and give you that youthful looking skin you used to have?
Honey has long been used as a skin tightening remedy so it would make perfect sense that it could also reduce wrinkles... after all... if the skin is pulled tighter the wrinkles should reduce in appearance. But there is a lot more to it than just that, as we will go over in a bit.
Lets first talk about what exactly this strange honey is in the first place, because this is something many don't understand completely.
Simply put, Manuka honey is honey that is made from bees that pollinate the Manuka bushes of New Zealand and Australia. The nectar that bees feed on when pollinating flowers is what makes honeys different for the most part. Nectar differs from plant to plant and this causes the honey produced by the bees to differ.
Manuka in particular is very dark in color, much darker than your typical clover honey that you often see all over in the stores. And besides the color it has additional health benefits that others do not. For example, as I will go over next, it contains a compound called Methylglyoxal which is a powerful antioxidant among other things and is responsible for many of the health benefits.
One easily noticeable way that Manuka honey is beneficial and can help reduce wrinkle is by moisturizing the skin. It is a natural humectant, which just means that it retains and preserves moisture.
Not only does well-hydrated skin appear more plump and make wrinkles less noticeable, but it also allows for better nutrient transport throughout the skin so that it stays healthier.
Well hydrated skin is smoother skin that has less signs of wrinkles.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Biological Chemisty suggests that Methylglyoxal reduces collagen degradation by inhibiting "the binding step of collagen phagocytosis". And Manuka honey contains high amounts of Methylglyoxal, which as I mentioned above is responsible for many of the benefits that Manuka honey has over other honeys.
Why is this important?
Well... because collagen is incredibly important for healthy and vibrant skin. Collagen is a protein that promotes skin elasticity and keeps it firm.
A study from Skin Pharmacology and Physiology tested the effects of collagen consumption on 69 women ages 35-55. The group was slip into 2, one took a placebo for 4 weeks while the other ingested 5g of collagen hydrolysate (common type). After the treatment the skin elasticity was measured and compared to beforehand. The results were that the skin elasticity was "significantly higher".
Collagen is easily one of the most proven supplements out there to benefit skin, and a lot more. So the fact that Manuka honey helps keep collagen around is a big deal, although we would like to see more scientific proof of it being able to do such.
Reduction of Cellular Damage
Antioxidant activity is often connected to anti-inflammatory activity as well, and that is exactly what we see with manuka honey.
Antioxidants are very important for healthy and nice looking skin. They help stop free radicals, which are out of control oxygenated molecules that cause cellular damage and often take a noticeable toll on the skin.
As far as anti-inflammatory properties go, they can work inside and outside the body. Many people who apply the honey topically report reductions in redness and it has even been shown to reduce inflammation in parts of the digestive system.
Bacteria can cause a heck of a lot of problems... eczema, dermatitis, wounds, rashes, etc. Not all bacteria is bad and we all want a healthy microbial community on our skin for best health, but it can be a problem too.
Methylglyoxal (MG) is largely the reason for Manuka honey's antibacterial properties. In a 2016 study on methylglyoxal it suggests that this compound is able to de-flagellate bacteria, resulting in less motility and ultimately less bacteria.
This compound is found in large concentrations in the nectar of the Manuka flower, which is where many of Manuka honey's great benefits come from.
Cleans Out Pores
It can also help clean out your pores by pulling out excess oil, bacteria, and other impurities that can lead to unhealthy conditions.
There really is no right or wrong way to go about applying the honey to your skin. Some people just rub it on as needed and as is. However, you may want to try mixing in a big of warm water before massaging it in. This will help absorption and will make it easier to apply.
And you probably don't want to go around all day with honey on your face so it would also be a good idea to apply it at night before you go to sleep.
While applying it topically as a treatment for skin conditions such as wrinkles is the most effective, you can still get some of the many benefits it brings to the table from ingestion.
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects upon ingestion can still help your skin out.
Unfortunately there is a problem with fake Manuka honey products. Basically what happens is scammers label other types of honey as Manuka so that they can sell it for more. There are organizations in place to eliminate this problem but you still should be careful with what you purchase.
Also be sure to find out how much concentrated the Manuka honey is before purchase. Different honeys will have varying ratios of Manuka honey vs other honeys.
Is all the hype surrounding manuka honey rightly deserved? Is this "superfood" really all that it is said to be? Or is it possible that this is just another scam… Another over-hyped superfood fad that is just going to die off in the near future?
The question of whether or not this is a superfood or snake oil comes up quite a bit. And for good reason… Many people are hesitant to believe that one of over 300 different types of honey can be so much better than the rest when it comes to being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-viral and so on.
This honey is used for treating everything from cold sores to helping sooth inflamed joints, and is probably most popular for its antibacterial capabilities… Being used to heal wounds and such.
But just because this honey has caused so much attention in the media doesn't mean that it is the miracle worker people are saying it is. We have seen plenty of health food fads come and go over the years, riding out the big wave of popularity and then slowly dying off into the background.
That said, while manuka honey might be a tad over-hyped, the scientific findings on this stuff are quite remarkable, as I will go over shortly.
But first… What the heck is manuka honey exactly…
As mentioned, there are over 300 different types of honeys out there, manuka just being one of many.
What makes them different?
It's all about the nectar for the most part. Manuka honey comes from bees that are pollinating and gathering nectar from the manuka plant, which has the scientific name of Leptospermum scoparium. This plant can grow 15 to 25 feet when it is fully matured and is native to New Zealand, although at this point in time it has also been introduced and grows well in parts of Australia.
A beekeeper can take a single hive of bees and produce many different honeys just by changing the flowers in which they are pollinating/gathering nectar from. So if one wants to produce manuka honey, they simply will move the hives near manuka dominant areas during the prime season.
Well... Let's first talk about its claim to antibacterial properties, since this seems to be what many people are using it for.
The fact of the matter is that all honeys have antibacterial properties, most of them coming from their hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content, which is produced from glucose and oxygen. However, what may seem a bit strange, is that medical grade manuka honey doesn't seem to have any H2O2 present. According to a 2014 study, apparently this is at least in part due to the high levels of a compound called Methylglyoxal (MGO) that it contains, which has been shown to inhibit the glucose oxidase enzyme that is important in the production of H2O2.
But... Manuka honey has been proven to have great natural antibacterial properties. It has been shown to help get rid of and prevent infections, and has even proven to be effective against some antiobiotic resistance bacterias such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
More so… It has even found in a 2017 study to "enhance wound healing and tissue generation", besides already working as an antibacterial.
And if that isn't already enough, other studies out there show its effectiveness at fighting common fungi, like that of the candida family.
So where is it getting all this crazy germ fighting ability?
Well… It is likely due to the high amounts of Methylglyoxal (MGO) that it contains… Which is the same compound that is responsible for it being absent of hydrogen peroxide, when you have medical grade manuka honey that is.
There is a long list of claimed benefits of manuka honey. If you do some looking around online you will see all sorts of crazy claims, many backed by little to no scientific evidence. Everything from it curing cancer to fighting infection and being a treatment to toenail fungus is out there on the web.
However, although some of the claims may be a bit overstated, this definitely is not just type.
Manuka honey is the most studied honey for its medicinal benefits and it seems that as time goes by, and more studies are performed, more and more of the said benefits are being proven to be true, at least to some extent.
And when it comes to the antibacterial powers of this incredible type of money, they are pretty darn well proven with scientific research.
If you are looking to pick yourself up some manuka honey, it is important to know that not all of it is created the same.
Just as any food that is packed with nutrients, the process in which it is harvested and ends up in your kitchen needs to be carefully performed. One beekeeper might have the best grade honey in the world, but if the packaging process and shipping process is not up to par, this could seriously affect the nutrient profile of the honey.
In addition to this, it is actually impossible to get pure manuka honey from a beehive, due to the inevitability of some bees pollinating and gathering nectar from surrounding flowers that are not of the manuka plant.
But that isn't the real problem… The real problem is fraud, or false labeling. Companies falsely labeling their honey as manuka when it only has a very small fraction of actual Manuka honey in it, is indeed a problem.
There are safeguards in place to help ensure that the labeling of such honeys is truthful, but there's definitely no substitute for buying a high-quality trusted honey from a trusted source.
So don't just go out and buy the cheapest you can find. If you do that, you are more likely to get ripped off. You often get what you pay for, and when it comes to Manuka honey, this is very true.
Can manuka honey cure cancer?
The benefits of honey, and manuka honey in particular, have been a hot topic recently, which is expected due to the growing trend of natural remedies and treatments.
It is true that honey has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, but will it really have any positive effect on something as harmful as cancer?
Well… The answer is maybe. I can give you a straightforward yes or no answer, because it is more complicated than that as I will explain.
Cancer can be acquired or inherited. Of course there is not much you can do if you have inherited cancer from your parents, but the majority of cancer out there is actually acquired from living unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking too much which causes lung cancer… Everyone is very aware of this nowadays.
According to the Journal of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine, tabacco is the cause of 1/3 of cancer, poor diets account for another 1/3, and 1/5 is due to infections such as by viruses and bacteria. These are all aquired cancers.
There are several different ways that honey can benefit your body and potentially be an effective treatment against cancer.
#1 – Antibacterial
Some cancers are actually the result of bacterial infections and since honey is a natural antibacterial, it makes perfect sense that it could be effective at preventing or even treating cancer.
There is definitely more research that needs to be done in this area, but there are many different forms of cancers linked to certain bacterial infections. For example H. pylori infections are associated with stomach cancer and chlamydia infections are associated with cervical tumors, just to name a couple.
The reason that honey has been found to be quite ineffective antibacterial likely has to do with its activity, and how it attacks in a variety of different ways, which is the reason bacterias haven’t become resistant to it. It is common for bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, as we see all the time, but we have not seen such resistance with honey.
Manuka honey has also been shown to be anti-fungal, which who knows… might be considered another cause of cancer in the future.
#2 – Antioxidant
Oxidative stress is a known cause of cancer. When your body is under oxidative stress this basically means that there is an imbalance in the amount of free radicals and antioxidants. Free radicals are oxygen containing molecules where the oxygen has an uneven number of electrons, making it unstable.
Free radicals are known to cause many problems, ranging everywhere from early aging to, of course, cancer.
The phytochemicals in honey have high amounts of antioxidant activity. This comes from its phenolic and flavonoid content. According to a research project studying the biological activity of honey, higher phenolics concentrations are associated with more antioxidants and is the darker honeys, such as manuka honey, that have these higher phenolics concentrations.
There is more than one study out there showing that manuka honey is it ineffective antioxidant. In one such study it was shown to reduce DNA damage coming from free radicals, which of course goes right along with what I am saying.
#3 – Prevent Proliferation
Flavonoids, one of the phytochemicals that honey contains, has been shown to prevent proliferation of cells. What this means is that it slows down the spread of mutant cancer cells. If you can stop cancer cell proliferation then you can stop cancer. Now this isn’t going to stop dead in its tracks by any means, but it has been shown to have anti-proliferation properties.
This along with the fact that is in antioxidant and an anti-bacterial code make honey a potential “natural vaccine” for cancer. And of course manuka honey would be one of the better honeys to take due to its increased antioxidant potential.
It all sounds great up until now, but there is a big downside. The downside is that sugar has been linked to cancer. There are plenty of studies showing this and based on scientific findings there are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it… Too much sugar can cause cancer.
Why does this matter? Well… Because honey is very high in sugar, which I am pretty sure you are very well aware of. It’s high sugar content is what gives it that nice sweet taste that we all love.
There was a very interesting study that I came across which showed a massive increase in cancer development when on a sugar enriched diet. Now the study was performed on rats, but it still is worth mentioning. During the study they were two groups of rats, one fed a starch diet in the other fed a sugar enriched diet. Now I’m not going to get into all the details, but the results were that 30% of the starch diet test subjects developed breast cancer whereas 50 to 58% of the sugar enriched diet test subjects developed cancer… A massive difference.
The cancer treating outlook of manuka honey looks promising, and there are many researchers very excited about the limited findings up until this point, but whether or not this is a very good natural treatment is still open too much debate.
We know that honey in general does possess certain qualities that you would want to look for in a natural anticancer treatment. The big question is whether or not it will do more harm than good, as talked about above.
If anything, I think it might be found to be a somewhat effective treatment for newly forming cancers, or a preventative, but it does not seem likely that it would be very effective at treating or even curing well-established cancers.
The bottom line here is that there simply is not enough research done on this topic to make a solid conclusion yet.
Questions or comments? Please leave them down below and I will get back to you as soon as I can 🙂 Also let me know what you think about manuka honey and this potential to treat cancer.
Can manuka honey cure fungus? Could this be the natural treatment that you have been looking for or is this just going to be another product that isn’t going to produce the desired results?
Manuka honey is becoming more and more popular lately and is being used for a variety of different treatments. This is expected with the rising trend of natural health products. But seriously… Can this really care that nasty case of toenail fungus that may be plaguing you this very second?
The answer to this question is… Well… Maybe. Manuka honey can be used as an antifungal, but how good of an antifungal it actually is… That is a different question.
But anyways, before I get into the antifungal properties of this honey, let’s first go over what exactly it is…
Manuka honey is a honey that comes from bees that pollinate the manuka bushes, which are native to New Zealand and Australia. It is more common in New Zealand but also can be found in some parts of Australia as well.
A Little History Lesson
While doing some research on this topic, I found a bunch of misinformation out there. Contrary to much information online, manuka honey has not been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment to all sorts of health conditions. In fact… It wasn’t even around until sometime in the late 1800s when Apis mellifera (European honeybee) was first introduced to New Zealand by a beekeeper named Mary Bumbly.
That said, the manuka bushes themselves have been used by natives of New Zealand for many years, such as by the Maori people. They have been known by the natives to have antibacterial properties (and yes they have antifungal properties as well) and have been used in a number of different ways. There bark…used for burns & skin diseases, Ian their leaves boiled for colds.
What The Honey Is Like
Manuka honey is not your typical light golden color honey that you find at your local Walmart or Giant Eagle. It has a dark brown color to it and is very viscous.
* If you are going to buy manuka honey make sure that it is as stated above. I have heard stories about honey being mislabeled as manuka when it really is not. If you buy outside of New Zealand or Australia then you should be good because the honey has to pass testing before being labeled as manuka, as a way to safeguard customers.
Fungal infections, such as toenail fungus, are more common than you may think. The numbers vary a lot depending on what source you are reading, but according to Berkely Wellness, around 10% of Americans have a toenail fungus infection. And obviously this percentage increases if you include all fungal infections. More so… This number tends to increase with age.
So it is pretty common… Don’t think that you are the only one if you do have a nasty infection.
That said, it is important to treat the problem so that things don’t get worse. Usually the worst that happens is just some cosmetic problems, but fungal infections can lead to some other serious health conditions, largely due to how they compromise your immune system.
So is manuka honey the natural care you have been waiting for?
Well… Manuka honey does have antimicrobial activity… Meaning both antiviral activity and antifungal activity. This is thought of to be mostly due to how the honey produces hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, from glucose and oxygen. This production happens with the help of the glucose oxidase enzyme.
Hydrogen Peroxide = Good For Infections
Hydrogen peroxide is of course well known for antimicrobial activity. It kills off bacteria and fungus is by destroying their cell walls, and pretty much trust kill off anything in its path… including skin cells or whatever you put it on (if you apply hydrogen peroxide for skin conditions).
It is also suggested that there are some phytochemicals contained that additionally have antimicrobial properties.
There our a fair amount of studies on the antibacterial activity of manuka honey, but not nearly as much when it comes to antifungal treatments. However, there are some.
One good study that I found tested the antifungal ability of manuka honey on three different candida species, including candida albicans, candida glabrata, and it candida dubliniensis. In this study there were four different honeys tested against these fungi. The honey with the most significant ability to fight off the different fungi (all three) was that which showed the greatest hydrogen peroxide concentrations.
The study was done using amounts of money that could be realistically applied in a clinical setting… Not those ridiculous studies that you hear about using some insane amount of treatment that could never be applied in real life.
So yes… Manuka honey does have some promise when it comes to fighting off fungus. However, there are some downsides.
If you’re going to use manuka honey you are going to want to apply it topically. While it can be ingested, and it taste darn good, it is unknown if taking it orally would produce any positive results in your battle against fungus.
The downside to taking it topically is of course that is very sticky, and… The human body produces catalase which could reduce hydrogen peroxide activity. So basically what I am saying here is that it might not work as well as it has shown to work in a lab setting.
While manuka honey does show some promise, it does not appear to be anything that is going to be working miracles when it comes to treating fungal infections. You could call a very mild treatment and it could be somewhat effective for fungal infections that are very minor, but other than that its effectiveness is questionable.
The bottom line is that there needs to be more research done and more experiments performed.
But is it worth trying? Well, that is up to you. If you have a fungal infection that isn’t all that serious then you may want to give it a shot. After all… Even if it does not work you can still use the honey as a sweetener. So it’s not like it is going to go to waste.
For more serious fungal infections, or for people who are looking for a proven treatment right away, I suggest taking a look at Emuaid MAX. This is a topical antifungal cream that I highly recommend. It is proven to be very effective and doesn’t have any side effects.
I hope you liked this article and found it helpful. Please share to help spread the word! And if you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂