You may already be aware of manuka honey and its supposed medicinal properties. Indeed, there was a time where manuka honey was hailed as a miracle substance that was capable of curing a number of ills – but was there truth behind the hyperbole?
Many of these original claims lacked scientific backing, but now, as research continues into manuka honey, it’s become clear that it could have a number of interesting applications in healthcare and beyond.
First of all, it’s important to remember that not all manuka honey is equal. Manuka honey is gathered by bees in New Zealand in just a six-week window of time, meaning that it is a scarce and high demand product. Due to this, it’s not uncommon for fake manuka honey to be on sale. Real manuka honey will have a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) grade on the packaging, and this will also indicate the quality of the honey, measured on levels of methylglyoxal – what makes manuka honey such a one-of-a-kind substance. This grade is useful as higher grades are necessary to enjoy some of the health benefits.
But what positive impacts can manuka honey have on health?
The key to why manuka honey is beneficial for health is its natural occurring methylglyoxal. This allows for the honey to be potentially antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.[i] Because of this, the honey could be used to help heal wounds, fight skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis and soothe problems like sore throats.
However, what is especially interesting is the potential for manuka honey to be used to improve oral health. Although honey is by nature very high in sugar, more and more research has revealed that even regular honey could help against plaque formation, halitosis, gingivitis and more.[ii]
So, as manuka honey has the same properties as regular honey and a number of added benefits, it’s likely that it can be used to help manage and improve oral health even more. Though sources will differ when it comes to suggesting what is the best way to take manuka honey, it’s generally agreed that individuals can either consume it, use it as a mouth wash or even brush their teeth with it. However, as research is still at fairly early stages, I would not personally recommend applying it to the teeth directly, as I feel we all know what effects this could cause.
Of course, it’s also important to remember that manuka honey should only be an adjunct to your existing oral health routines and not a replacement. It’s still necessary to brush and clean interdentally as usual to ensure that your oral health remains at a high standard. Regardless, the potential for manuka honey to be an interesting addition to your oral health routine remains. Though there is still a lot of research to do, there are proven benefits which are worth harnessing if you want to elevate your oral health routine to the next level.
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[ii] Science Direct. Honey In Oral Health and Care: a Mini Review. Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1349007918300975 [Last accessed April 21].