Manuka Honey vs The Rest of The World

Is Manuka Honey Better Than Other Honey?

I’ve been selling honey based skin product with honey in it for about 15 years.  It was developed in Canada about 20 years ago. I get asked quite often if our product contains Manuka honey.  The attitude that I get is that if it is not Manuka honey it is really pointless as far as healing properties go.  As if other honey has no healing properties at all.  As honey has been used around the world for thousands of years for internal and external healing, this attitude puzzled me.

The Greeks and Romans who used honey for healing wounds and burns had never heard of Manuka honey.  And their honey did quite well.

In researching I found some of the Manuka websites really did promote the idea that there was no point in using another type of honey.

So, for the purposes of this article we’re doing a comparison of natural, unprocessed honey and natural, unprocessed Manuka honey.

Anti-bacterial Uses of Honey in General:

All, or at least the majority of honey produced anywhere in the world has antibacterial, antiseptic and anti fungal  properties.  As mentioned earlier honey has been used for thousands of years for healing wounds, cuts and burns.  If you are in the ‘horse’ world, then you know that honey is often used for open cuts and sores on horses.

With the advent of antibiotics in the last century, honey has been much less used as a medical treatment.  More recently the pendulum has been swinging back as modern medicine is leaning towards using honey for wounds and burns because over and misuse of antibiotics have helped breed microbial strains resistant to most or all antibiotics.  More and stronger bacterial strains are often immune to the effects of anti microbial drugs.  This is a continuous cycle that does not occur with honey.

There are two major factors in honey, amongst others, that help with healing.  The first factor is the anti-microbial properties of hydrogen peroxide.  There is an enzyme in honey called glucose oxidase.  When honey absorbs water, which it does when applied to a cut or wound or on the skin in general, this enzyme, glucose oxidase, reacts with the water and the glucose in the honey to produce small amounts of hydrogen peroxide.  The hydrogen peroxide is what kills off the bacteria and prevents infection.

The levels of hydrogen peroxide released are not high enough to damage tissue but sufficient enough to affect bacteria.

 Scientific American recently reported:

"In lab tests, just a bit of the honey killed off the majority of bacterial cells -- and cut down dramatically on the stubborn biofilms they formed. It could also be used to prevent wounds from becoming infected in the first place."

Secondly, the fact of pulling moisture out of the skin or wound …

… This from: Honey and Wound Dressing

“…and the high osmolarity** of honey draws fluid out of the wound bed to create an outflow of lymph as occurs with negative pressure wound therapy. “ (**Osmolaty: a measure of the number of dissolved particles per unit of water in solution”)  Basically, it sucks out the poison.

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand and Australia by bees that get their pollen from the Manuka bush or tree.  The Manuka tree is closely related to the Tea Tree, the source of Melaleuca oil (Tea Tree Oil).  The Manuka Tree is often referred to as the New Zealand Tea Tree.  The leaves of these small coniferous trees were originally used by the British for making tea.  Thus the name.

In Manuka honey there is a factor referred to as UMF (Unique Manuka Factor).   A minimum rating of 10 UMF is necessary to be considered ‘Active'.

Manuka honey has been shown to be effective without the help of the hydrogen peroxide.  Even when Manuka honey has been heated which will remove the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide in all honey, Manuka honey still has anti bacterial properties.  This comes from these other ingredients that are not always found in honey in other parts of the world.

Some research shows that when ingested many of the beneficial effects of honey are destroyed or at least lessened by the digestive process.  Both Manuka and honey from other parts of the world will thus have the same result when taken internally.

There a couple of philosophies on this though; some think the anti bacterial factors will help internally as well.  Check out this book by D C Jarvis:

Or order Thentix NOW by clicking on the image :

The ingredients that are used to measure the quality of Manuka honey so that it can be graded are, Leptisperin, DHA, and methylglyoxal.

Methylglyoxal:  an antibacterial that is present in all honey but in some Manuka honey is in higher doses. Methylglyoxal is not in all Manuka honey.
Leptisperin: a chemical in Manuka honey that is not in others that helps to identify it as Manuka.

DHA: a chemical marker in Manuka honey that helps to measure the quantity of Methylglyoxal.

This added antibacterial component of Manuka honey makes it extremely effective as a topical treatment for wounds, cuts and burns.  It enhances healing by removing infection and toxins.

So, for external use, the Manuka honey likely has a slight edge on most unprocessed honey.  Internally, there may be very little difference.

Per a website called The Conversation:

“Manuka honey isn’t a panacea or a superfood. But it is grossly under-utilized as a topical treatment for wounds, ulcers and burns, particularly in the face of the looming global superbug crisis.”

Internal Use of Manuka and Other Honey

Most of the time the best honey for you is pure unprocessed local honey.  Depending on what you are using it for.  Honey taken internally is known for its homeopathic properties.  Using local ‘wildflower’ honey for wildflower allergies can certainly improve one’s resistance.  Another example is poison oak and poison ivy.  Using poison oak honey on a regular basis has helped many people build up a resistance to such a point where they do not react to and get rashes from these leaves any more.  In some way the immune system gets stimulated so that the body no longer reacts to the [urushioloil in poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumach.

Other Honey:

In my research I found some other types of honey producers that claim (backed up by third party studies) that their honey is at least as good or better than Manuka Honey.

Here are a a couple that I found:

Heather Honey: very high antioxidant so can be used externally as well as internally. From Ireland.

Tulang Honey: found in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Extremely high antioxidant value and has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimutagenic, antitumor, and antidiabetic properties. Tulang Honey More About


So, all in all Manuka honey may or may not justify the extra cost.  If you are using externally it may be a bit better than regular unprocessed honey from other parts of the world.  But for internal use, I will stick to (no pun intended) unprocessed local honey.