Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson are among Hollywood stars who swear manuka honey has significant health properties. So does tennis ace Novak Djokovic.
The popularity of the honey is growing rapidly — and not just among celebrities.
Manuka isn’t a brand but a variety of honey with well-documented, powerful anti-bacterial and other health-boosting properties. It’s made by bees whose hives are near the nectar of manuka trees which thrive in the wild in Australia and New Zealand.
Attempts to produce manuka honey commercially in other countries have been unsuccessful. But both Australia and New Zealand export it. It’s available in America supermarkets and health food stores as well as online.
The key to its popularity is an active ingredient not found in other honeys: Methylglyoxal (usually referred to as MGO) — a potent antibacterial compound that has been shown to combat even drug-resistant superbug infections.
Veteran beekeeper Laurie Dewar tells Newsmax Health that manuka honey has both external and internal uses “and both are safe and fast-growing. There have been no adverse reports following use in either category.”
Dewar, chairman of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, adds that it is being used in a variety of health and medical applications.
“Hospitals in New Zealand commonly use it for wound dressing and treating ulcers in the elderly — and dressings impregnated with manuka honey are available there,” he says.
“It causes wounds, including burns and blisters, to heal more quickly than with other dressings and is also effective in beating some superbug infections. Some hospitals in other countries use it as well. Users report it’s an effective treatment for athlete’s foot and some nursing homes in New Zealand say it works well in healing bed sores.”
Internally, he notes, “it helps improve gut health and is believed to increase heart health, too. In the colon it promotes the growth of good bacteria. The usual dose is swallowing a teaspoon once a day.”
Boxer Muhammad Ali boasted in interviews that he boosted his energy levels by gulping a spoonful of manuka honey before each fight. Djokovic confirmed in interviews that he takes a daily spoonful of manuka honey for the same reason.
Paltrow has called it a medicine cabinet must and said she takes it with warm water to soothe a sore throat.
Johansson uses manuka honey as a daily face mask, saying “it really adds an amazing glow and your skin is so soft afterwards.”
Her recipe involves placing a warm cloth on her face to open pores. She then spreads manuka honey on her face, avoiding her eyes. After 10 to 15 minutes she rinses away the honey face mask in warm water.
Some consumers swear regular honey also has healing properties, but because of manuka’s MGO levels, experts say it is more potent.
Because manuka honey is in short supply it’s sometimes mixed by distributors with cheaper varieties. It’s also sometimes labeled as “active” manuka honey after being combined with more widely available and less expensive types.
Both New Zealand and Australia have strict product labeling laws. Consumers should check labels and choose the highest MGO level they can find and go with reputable health supplement brands.
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