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Why Manuka Honey Is So Super It Should Wear A Cape

28/07/2017 14:29
Materio via Getty Images

You know when you read a headline and you just have to click on it, like 'Sheffield Man 'Cuts Off Toe With Bolt Cutters And Eats It' or 'Pensioner's Giant Cock Has Become A Tourist Attraction In Fife', well this happened to me the other day. It wasn't quite so graphic as those two examples, but it still made me go 'huh?'

It was quite simply: 'A Natural Honey That Not Only Kills Bacteria But Even 'Superbugs'.

I'm not a naturalist by nature, I believe in the powers of modern medicine and openly scoff at those who chow down on herbal supplements. But seriously? The greatest scientists in the world can't find a cure for the MRSA superbug, but mother nature, using bees, has? This required further investigation.

Sure I've heard of drinking lemon and honey when you have a sore throat and obviously eating a teaspoon of honey will give you an energy boost like no other (you are after all just consuming sugar). But I'm not an advocate of eating unnecessary amounts of sugar (see former posts for more details). I believe less is definitely more when it comes to the white stuff, so I just didn't know what to do with the information that manuka honey is not only good for you, but one should be encouraged to enjoy 1-2 tsp a day. That goes against everything I stand for. And then there's the statement that honey kills the MRSA bacteria. Surely this is one step too far.

How wrong I was. Honey contains a naturally-occurring, active agent that is thought to support good health. But it is a very fragile agent, easily destroyed by heat and light, hence why unrefined honey is hailed as the best there is. Well, unrefined honey has just been trumped. Turns out manuka honey contains an extra active ingredient that with stands the rigour of heat and light.

This 'super' honey has long been used by the Maori of New Zealand as their go-to superfood for healing the body inside and out. Manuka honey's power lies in its UMF (Unique Manuka Factor - no I'm not kidding), a scale that was created to measure the antibacterial strength of the honey. In order for the honey to be effective it has to have a score higher than 10 (the highest grades of 16 being used in the medical field).

How do you harness manuka honey's powers?

1. Eat it (on toast or neat).
2. Drink it (in tea).
3. Spread it on wounds.

According to doctors, thanks to the honey's high sugar content (about the only time doctors will ever say that), it creates a waterless environment, and without water, bacteria can't survive.

How does manuka honey beat the MRSA superbug?

So here it is - bacteria are one of the most resilient organisms on our little green planet and they are constantly evolving to become resistant to modern antibiotics. As a result pharmaceutical companies are looking to alternative medicines to help them out and that's where the manuka honey comes in. The European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases has published a study, which shows that using manuka honey to fight infections caused by bacteria is highly effective, including the MRSA bacteria. The manuka honey actually causes multi-system failure in the bacteria, rendering them unable to form a resistance against it.

Amazing. I've eaten my hat, brim as well. The bees are onto something. Maybe there is hope for us after all...

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