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Manuka Honey and a new acne cure

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September 17, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 4 Comments
Have you noticed that the honey du jour is manuka honey. From relative obscurity (outside New Zealand, at any rate), manuka honey is creating quite a buzz (sorry, I couldn't resist that). From my research, I'm not convinced that we should make a bee-line for manuka as an anti-ager. However, it could be a safe preservative (now wouldn't that be a breakthrough) and helpful against acne.

Manuka honey is produced by bees that feed exclusively on the New Zealand manuka bush, also called tea tree. The most striking thing about manuka honey is that it is a proven and powerful antibacterial agent, according to Dr Peter Molan at the Honey Research Unit at New Zealand's Waikato University. This is due to a natural hydrogen peroxide in the honey, which has been labeled unique manuka factor (UMF).

The problem is that not all manuka honey has UMF and the concentration of UMF can vary from each batch and from year to year. The higher the UMF level, the higher the antibacterial activity. Manuka honey with a UMF level of 10+ is recommended for therapeutic use such as treating a wound or a sore throat. In Manchester in the UK, two hospitals are using it for wound treatments and for patients with mouth or throat cancer.

Claire found a more recent piece of research that has identified the source of manuka's powers. Scientists at the University of Dresden have found it is a natural compound formed in manuka plants known as methylglyoxal.

Whilst no miracle cure, I have come across acne sufferers who claim it helps significantly and, in one case, better than hydroquinone. The honey is smeared on the face at night and, apparently, red marks and spots start to look better within a couple of days. Given the instability of UMF, it seems to be important to buy a reliable brand. Comvita is one that was identified as such in an independent study.
  • May 17, 2012

    by Anne

    I eat Manuka honey 20 or 25+. Excellent and tasty. Although, I have a jar of 15 in the fridge and it tastes awful.

    @Tina what a wonderful suggestion! I will try that

  • March 30, 2009

    by Tina

    I swear by manuka honey 10+. I use it lots for sore throats,cuts, spots, everything. I recently tried it on my face. I steamed my face then applied the honey for 30 mins. My face was glowing after and extremely clear. Give it a go, its well worth the expensive product.

  • September 18, 2008

    by New Zealand Honey Shop

    <p>It is good to see an article on manuka honey that is not over full of hype, and refreshing to see someone point out that not all manuka contains UMF. Manuka Honey has developed quite a profile in the UK during the past several years, although it seems to be much more recently gaining attention in the USA.</p>

    <p>There are a couple of corrections to make regarding your article though. Firstly, the UMF is actually separate to the hydrogen peroxide. All honey creates hydrogen peroxide to a greater or lessor extent, some manuka honey contains an additional antibacterial property, which can be identified from products which carry the UMF® trademark on their label.</p>

    <p>Also, on the Dresden research, they found that the methylglyoxal is one of the components of in UMF honey. However the methyglyoxal level in itself is not a good indicator of the strength of a batch of honey as in practice it works in a much more complex synergistic combination with other components of the honey.</p>

    <p>Comvita can be considered the leading brand of UMF manuka honey, although there are also others.</p>

    <p>Apart from acne, one of its best uses is for wound healing, including difficult to heal wounds such as leg ulcers.</p>

    <p><a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> </p>

  • September 18, 2008

    by Nimue

    <p>Only love for Honey! Honey is the best thing ever. I love my honey masks.</p>

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