We know honey has been around for centuries and touted as a “natural” cure for many things. When we look at ancient civilizations, honey is often mentioned for things such as treating wounds and stomach health. Obviously, there was not scientific proof we now demand to back up those claims, but that could be changing rather quickly according to a recent Women’s Health report.
The report states the first real research on this started in 1980 at Waikato University in New Zealand. That study (this study is actually the reason New Zealand is touted as the only authentic Manuka honey on the market even though Australia also has a Manuka bush present) found that the honey made from the nectar of the Manuka bush had high anti-bacterial properties than other honey.
As time passed, more and more studies were done on Manuka honey and its many benefits. At the heart of these studies was just how much more the UMF or unique Manuka factor contributed to the antibacterial properties of this specific honey. They found that the higher the UMF rating, the higher the antibacterial properties found, making Manuka honey a wonder food or what we now call super foods.
New studies from the University of Auckland have found that Manuka honey can also prevent or slow down the growth of H. pylori, a bacteria that is often found in injected stomachs. This particular bacteria has also been linked to stomach cancer. According to the report, H. pylori weakens the stomach lining, which allows the natural stomach acids to create painful symptoms and irritation in the stomach. In many cases, this leads to the development of more serious stomach problems, such as a peptic ulcer.
University of Auckland senior researcher Dr Fiona Radcliff stated, “The results were clear, the higher the UMF the more likely it was to inhibit growth and kill the bacteria in liquid cultures. The honey rated UMF® 25+ had four times the ability to inhibit H. pylori growth and kill the bacteria as the honey rated UMF® 5+. There was also a significant difference between UMF®-rated manuka honey than supermarket brands.”
With more and more people claiming legitimate health benefits to Manuka honey, at some point, the FDA is going to have no choice but to do studies on this to prove the claims to be true of false. Until then, though, here in the United States, Manuka honey can only be sold on the premise of it being a food item and no medical claims can be made on the product.