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Scientific Case Studies of Manuka Honey

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Scientific research of Manuka honey with following benefits;

(Please click the link * to view the case study)
- Antibacterial Effects
Manuka honey contains methylglyoxal which is a natural compound having antibacterial properties. It kills the microbes by breaking down the bacterial cells, inhibits flagellation, and hampers the growth of bacteria by disrupting the processes involved in cell division.[1]

- Anti-inflammatory Action
Manuka honey also contains compounds, like polyphenols, that prevent that decrease the release of inflammatory cells and mediators by inhibiting the activation of inflammatory signalling pathways, like NF-kB.[2]

- Improves Oral Health
Although limited data are available, several studies * have claimed that Manuka honey prevents the building up of dental plaques and protects against gum diseases, including gingivitis caused by bacteria like P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans, etc.[3]

- Relieve Sore Throat
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties also render Manuka honey a potential efficacy in relieving sore throats. Taking it along with tea can help in soothing an aching throat. A study* has found that people who use Manuka honey have a lower prevalence of S. mutants, a bacterium responsible for causing sore throat infections.[4]

- Helps with Acne
Several clinical trials * have proved that Manuka honey can also help improve skin health. It does so by providing hydration to the skin, decreasing inflammation, and keeping skin bacteria's growth in check. [5]
Besides, a study * published in 2017 also supported its efficacy in treating atopic dermatitis. [6]

-Improves Digestive Health
A research * has found that using Manuka honey increases certain enzymes in the gut, which protect against oxidative damage, reduce inflammation, and help prevent gastric ulcers.[7] In this way, it helps relieve digestive symptoms like gastric pains, nausea, bloating, etc.
Low-Grade vs. High-Grade Manuka Honey

Manuka honey comes in a range of qualities. Multiple grading systems label honey quality based on the antibacterial potency.
MGO is a reliable grading system for authenticating honey's potency, purity, and freshness. It represents the amount of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and leptosperin in the Manuka honey bottle and ranges from MGO 30 + to MGO 1000+.

A research study * published in the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences in 2017 evaluated the antimicrobial activity of five different types and grades of honey. Researchers found that even low to moderate Manuka honey significantly inhibited bacterial growth. In contrast, the high-grade (UMF 20+) Manuka honey was able to kill stubborn bacteria, like methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). [8]
Apart from that, as you move towards the higher grade, the consistency of the honey becomes thicker and more viscous, and it tends to have a darker color. Besides, the taste gets distinctively tangy. Some people might deem it ‘medicinal’.

Why Low to Medium Grade Manuka Honey is Preferable to Use?
Choosing the right Manuka honey can be quite difficult when a wide range is available with multiple grading systems. Not all types of Manuka honey are suitable for everyone, and using high-grade honey is not right for all just because it has stronger antibacterial properties.
The rule of thumb for choosing a certain grade of Manuka honey is to consider for what purpose you are buying it. Most people use it to sweeten their foods or add it to their diet to improve their overall health and wellness.
That’s why; experts mostly recommend low to medium-grade Manuka honey for everyday use.
Why spend extra money when you are not trying to use Manuka honey as a medicine to fight off some deadly drug-resistant bacteria?

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A low to moderate-grade Manuka honey, like those ranging from MGO 30 to MGO 100, will best suit everyday use. It is much more affordable and has similar benefits for promoting overall health and well-being.

Like the study mentioned in the previous section, low to moderate-grade Manuka honey also possess significant antibacterial properties. In another recent study, researchers tested the low to moderate grades of Manuka honey, i.e., MGO 30+ to MGO 270+ , against various pathogens and concluded that even these grades of Manuka honey exhibit a wide range of antimicrobial activity.[1]

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Overall, if you looking to try Manuka honey to aid your body’s immune system, or to fight off infections, or for other general health related purposes, a moderate-grade Manuka honey blend might just does the job, they are also great value for money.

For more interesting Manuka honey related reads, I highly recommend This Article .

Girma A, Seo W, She RC. Antibacterial activity of varying UMF-graded Manuka honeys. PloS one. 2019 Oct 25;14(10):e0224495.
-Birkenmaier BA, Cherukuri K, Smith RA, Radic MZ, Bowlin GL. Manuka honey modulates the inflammatory behavior of a dHL-60 neutrophil model under the cytotoxic limit. International journal of biomaterials. 2019 Feb 25;2019.
Schmidlin PR, English H, Duncan W, Belibasakis GN, Thurnheer T. Antibacterial potential of Manuka honey against three oral bacteria in vitro. Swiss dental journal. 2014;124(9):922-4.
Sela MO, Maroz D, Gedalia I. Streptococcus mutans in saliva of normal subjects and neck and head irradiated cancer subjects after consumption of honey. Journal of oral rehabilitation. 2000 Mar;27(3):269-70.
Wu Q. Antimicrobial effect of Manuka honey and Kanuka honey alone and in combination with the bioactives against the growth of Propionibacterium acnes ATCC 6919: a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Food Technology, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand (Doctoral dissertation, Massey University).
Alangari AA, Morris K, Lwaleed BA, Lau L, Jones K, Cooper R, Jenkins R. Honey is potentially effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: Clinical and mechanistic studies. Immunity, Inflammation and Disease. 2017 Jun;5(2):190-9.
Somal NA, Coley KE, Molan PC, Hancock BM. Susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to the antibacterial activity of manuka honey. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 1994 Jan;87(1):9-12.
Almasaudi SB, Al-Nahari AA, El Sayed M, Barbour E, Al Muhayawi SM, Al-Jaouni S, Azhar E, Qari M, Qari YA, Harakeh S. Antimicrobial effect of different types of honey on Staphylococcus aureus. Saudi journal of biological sciences. 2017 Sep 1;24(6):1255-61.