Honey has been used successfully for a range of skin conditions from severe wounds and burns to scars and acne.
It’s best used topically, but this poses a challenge when it comes to fungal infections. Fortunately, researchers have come up with ways to use honey for fungal infections.
And with so many other uses for your manuka honey jar, easing an infection could be just one of the many ways it earns its keep.
The good stuff in honey is no secret.
It’s been used for medical purposes for thousands of years, long before scientists knew what was really going on under the surface.
And with the antibiotic resistance crisis in full swing, medics and vets have turned to its evidence-backed benefits too¹.
So what about topical use on fungal infections? Is manuka honey antifungal?
That’s what we ask (and seek to answer) in this guide.
In this guide to whether manuka honey is antifungal:
- What causes yeast and fungal infections?
- Is manuka honey good for fungal infections?
- Manuka honey for fungal acne
- What about manuka honey for toenail fungus?
- The best manuka honey for fungal infections
What causes yeast and fungal infections?
Fungal skin infections are common and aren’t usually serious².
The ones you’ve probably heard of are athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, and yeast infections.
They can cause irritation, itching, swelling, redness, and blisters.
They’re usually more unpleasant than dangerous, and often come from warm, moist places where fungi thrive.
Here’s how they spread³:
- Through damp public spaces like swimming pools and locker rooms.
- Through broken or injured skin.
- From antibiotics that can trigger the natural fungi on our bodies to grow out of control.
- Through the environment like dust or soil.
- Through contact with other people.
Two of the most common types of infectious fungi are:
- Dermatophytes which live off the keratin in our hair, nails, and skin, and,
Candida which is a yeast naturally found on our bodies.
Fungal infections are usually treated with antifungal medications.
But there’s a problem.
“The incidence of Candida infections is escalating worldwide. The serious nature of these infections is compounded by increasing levels of drug resistance.”
With antibacterial resistance on the rise, other solutions are needed.
Is manuka honey good for fungal infections?
Honey has piqued the interest of scientists looking for alternative antifungal drugs.
“In recent years, the development of extensive antimicrobial resistance has led to a resurgence of research into alternative potential therapies, including a reassessment of applications for honey.
Honey has antibacterial properties against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as several fungi including Candida spp. and Aspergillus spp.”
- In vitro activity of manuka honey polyhexamethylene biguanide on filamentous fungi and toxicity to human cell lines
Most studies into the medical applications of honey focus on its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties⁴.
This is particularly true for manuka honey.
Less is known about its antifungal activity, but evidence is beginning to emerge (at the time of writing).
So what do we know about manuka honey for fungal skin infections so far?
Does manuka honey kill fungus?
“New Zealand manuka honey previously showed significant nonperoxide antifungal activity against some fungal skin pathogens, however the disease is notoriously difficult to treat; it is probable that antifungal drug synergism can be utilised.
…Manuka honey was determined as the most efficient non-peroxide antifungal honey.”
Studies have found that manuka honey could be useful as an antifungal treatment.
“It is possible that the antimicrobial properties of MH [manuka honey] responsible for its activity against MRSA are likewise contributing to the antifungal activity observed in this study…
Toxicity was predominantly time-dependent for MH [which] may reflect the osmotic effect of honey, which is known to be part of its antibacterial properties.”
And since it also has applications in wound and scar healing, skin health⁵, and general wellness, using manuka honey for fungal infections offers more than one potential benefit.
How do you use honey for fungal infections?
Honey is best used topically when it comes to medical applications⁶.
Ideally, you want to apply manuka honey to fungal infections directly.
But this can present a challenge for infections in areas of the body that are harder to reach. And the medical efficacy of honey can be diluted by bodily fluids like saliva.
Fortunately, researchers have found ways to protect the integrity of antifungal honey treatments⁶.
The method that works best for manuka honey and fungal infections will depend on what infection you have and where.
Always discuss any treatment plan, even a natural one, with your doctor.
Manuka honey for fungal acne
Acne and fungal acne aren’t the same thing⁷.
Fungal acne is a type of folliculitus which occurs when you get an infection in a hair follicle. It looks like acne, but won’t go away with acne treatment.
It’s caused by things like hot and damp skin from sweating, exercise, hot and humid weather, and skin rubbing on skin or tight clothing.
You can avoid fungal acne by showering after exercise, wearing looser clothing, and changing out of sweaty clothes.
It’s also important to maintain a good diet as this, along with immune system suppression, can cause fungal acne⁸.
If it’s too late, the traditional treatments are pills or creams. But if you want a natural solution, why not try manuka honey for fungal acne?
Manuka honey can be a fantastic natural topical acne treatment⁹.
In fact, many of our customers use it this way:
“Super pleased with the quality of product. It has been so instrumental in helping both of my children heal their cystic acne.”
- Elizabeth H., UMF™26+ | MGO 1282+.
You can try topically applying the honey to your fungal acne for its antibacterial and antimicrobial activity, or eat it for an all-round immunity and wellness boost.
What about manuka honey for toenail fungus?
Manuka honey’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may be effective when applied directly to toenail fungus.
Manuka honey has been effective when used for other skin conditions such as burns, scars, wounds, and acne, by keeping the skin clean and clear.
At the time of writing, the evidence for using manuka honey for toenail fungus is mostly anecdotal, but our own customers have had some success:
“I gave this manuka honey to my daughter who was battling a toe infection. She had been on antibiotics as well as an antibiotic ointment without complete resolution.
I gave her the manuka honey, and after the very first teaspoon, the next day it looked better. After 7 days it was healed.
I truly believe that it was the manuka honey that finally completed the healing.”
- Anonymous buyer, UMF™ 20+ | MGO 829+.
So why not try it for yourself?
The best manuka honey for antifungal use
Using manuka honey for medical purposes is backed by science¹⁰.
And higher UMF™ grades have more potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making them extra productive for medical purposes.
If you’re looking to use manuka honey for fungal infections, we recommend at least UMF™ 15+ or higher.
Sources referenced (in order):
¹ Antibacterial activity of manuka honey and its components, AIMS Microbiology.
² Skin fungal infections: Symptoms, types, causes, and treatments, WebMD.
³ Fungal infections (mycosis): Types, causes, and treatments, Cleveland Clinic.
⁴ Antibacterial activity of manuka honey and its components, National Library of Medicine.
⁵ Honey in dermatology and skincare: A review, Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.
⁶ Honey has an antifungal effect against Candida species, Medical Mycology.
⁷ Fungal acne: Is it acne? WebMD.
⁸ All about fungal acne: How to identify and treat, Healthline.
⁹ How applying honey to your face can help skin, Healthline.¹
10 Clinical significance of manuka and medical-grade honey, National Library of Medicine.
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