Is Manuka Honey Good For Canker Sores and Mouth Ulcers?


6 minutes

Essential Takeaways

Mouth ulcers are caused by the body’s response to a toxin.

They will heal naturally on their own, but you can speed up the healing time by applying honey to the affected areas 3-4 times per day.

Not all honeys are made equal, and manuka honey has a range of extra health benefits that can further assist the healing of canker sores and mouth ulcers.

Canker sores and mouth ulcers are pretty unpleasant.

Although they’re not contagious, they can be painful, and prevent us from eating or drinking properly.

And while they should heal on their own, you might not want to wait that long.

So what about natural remedies?

Can you put honey on canker sores and mouth ulcers?

The short answer: you can, but there is a particular type of honey that works best.

In this guide to manuka honey for canker sores and mouth ulcers:


What Causes Canker Sores and Mouth Ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are sore spots that naturally occur inside our mouths.

On a biological level, mouth ulcers are the body’s response to a toxin. The immune system will flood the area with white blood cells in order to fight off the invader¹.

These cells break down not just the antigen but the tissue in the mouth where it was found, which is why the area is sore and tender for a while.

What the ulcer looks like and how it feels varies based on the cause.

Mouth ulcers are caused by a number of different things, including²:

  • Stress
  • Minor mouth injuries
  • Wearing braces
  • Eating acidic foods
  • Hormonal changes
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Taking painkillers and beta blockers
  • Quitting smoking
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Usually they clear up by themselves in a couple of weeks.

Canker sores (or aphthous ulcers) are a kind of mouth ulcer. They can flare up anywhere in your mouth and are typically white or yellow in colour.

They’re particularly common in women, and around 20% of the US population will get them at least once in their lifetime³.

Can Honey Cause Mouth Ulcers?

No, honey shouldn’t cause mouth ulcers. Although honey is relatively acidic⁴, studies have shown manuka honey to help heal sores rather than irritate or cause them in the first place.

Using honey on canker sores and mouth ulcers should help them clear up.

Is Honey Good for Mouth Ulcers?

“Honey has the potential to be of immense use in oral care against inflammatory ailments and bacterial infections.”

Yes, honey is a great natural remedy for mouth ulcers.

In fact, honey has a reputation for healing that goes back thousands of years.

Research has shown that honey really has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties⁵ that justify this millennia-old clout as a wellness hero.

And manuka honey has particularly potent levels of these beneficial compounds.

It’s commonly used for medical conditions like easing sore throats and allergies, soothing skin conditions like acne and eczema, and treating burns and scars.

And the evidence that honey is good for mouth ulcers when used topically⁶ means that little jar in your cupboard can truly work wonders.


How Does Using Manuka Honey For Mouth Sores Work?

“The antibacterial properties of honey prevent microbial growth in the moist wound environment created, and unlike topical antiseptics, honey causes no tissue damage.”

Mouth ulcers are formed to attack an invading toxin.

Our immune system responds to this toxin by sending white blood cells to the area to break down and regenerate the damaged tissue.

Manuka honey is believed to assist in this process by forming a protective shield around the area, locking in moisture and keeping out bacteria⁷.

So it makes sense to use honey on mouth ulcers.

Read more: Honey and wound care.

The compounds that do this are stronger in some manuka honeys than others. This is where UMF™ gradings come in.

So if you buy manuka honey for a medical use like this, make sure you get the good stuff.

And by good, we mean top-grade, authentic manuka honey.

These top grades contain the most beneficial properties.

How To Use Manuka Honey For Mouth Ulcers

All honey isn’t created equal. Most honey found at a grocery store is pasteurized at high heat, which destroys most nutrients. Unpasteurized, unfiltered honey, like Manuka honey, is less processed and retains its healing properties.”

For the best chance at success, you’ll need top-grade manuka honey (think UMF™ 24+, UMF™ 26+ or higher).

These gradings have the greatest potency of antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Our manuka honey is also raw and unpasteurised, so none of the good stuff is lost.

Apply this honey directly to the ulcer 3-4 times per day until healed.

If you need to, increase this dosage. Studies have found that saliva can dilute the honey, so they recommend using more honey on mouth sores than you might for a wound on skin⁸.


Does Honey Help Canker Sores?

“Honey was found to be effective and safe in reducing minor aphthous ulcer pain, size, and erythema.”

  • Efficacy of honey in comparison to topical corticosteroid for treatment of recurrent minor aphthous ulceration, National Library of Medicine.

Canker sores (or aphthous ulcers) aren’t usually serious or infectious, but they can be painful and uncomfortable.

Studies like the one mentioned have shown that not only can honey treat and reduce the sore and its inflamed area, but it can soothe the pain too.

So yes, manuka honey is good on canker sores, too!

In fact, some researchers believe it’s better than what’s already out there.

“Honey is an effective agent in oral mucosal ulcers. It was found to be non-irritant and much more effective than topical antibiotics. We believe that it can replace the conventional dressing materials in the near future.”

Let’s look at how to use honey for canker sores to get the best results.

How To Use Manuka Honey On Canker Sores

The best way to get results with honey and canker sores is to apply top-grade, authentic manuka honey directly to the sore.

Look for UMF™ 24+, UMF™ 26+ or higher grades as these have the most antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

You’ll need to apply this directly 3-4 times per day, increasing this if you need to. Saliva may dilute the manuka honey.

How Fast Does Honey Heal Canker Sores?

Canker sores and mouth ulcers typically disappear within a fortnight if left untreated. Using honey for sores, this could get down to just a few days⁹.

Make sure you also maintain good oral hygiene and avoid acidic foods which can irritate ulcers further. This should help speed up the healing process.

The Best Honey For Canker Sores and Mouth Ulcers

Honey is one of the most faked foods in the world.

This is largely due to the high demand for its powerful natural medicinal properties.

So the good stuff is worth hunting down.

Fortunately, you’ve found it.

Here are some reviews from New Zealand Honey Co. customers who have tried manuka honey on ulcers and skin conditions:

“Lucky to have found this! Helped my chronic ulcer.”

“First of all, it's delicious. Seems to be helping with inflammation the more and more I use it. I would highly recommend it!”

“The honey helps heal my throat and mouth. I feel dramatic changes to my mouth and throat with this honey.”

Check out our accreditations here.

Shop authentic manuka honey.


¹ What’s the biology of canker sore formation? Animated Teeth.

² Everything you need to know about mouth ulcers. Medical News Today.

³ Canker sores. Cleveland Clinic.

⁴ Manuka honey: uses, benefits, and more. Healthline.

⁵ Honey in oral health and care: a mini review. Science Direct.

⁶ The effect of honey as a treatment for oral ulcerative lesions: a systematic review. Exploratory research and hypothesis in medicine.

⁷ Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review. National Library of Medicine.

⁸ Biochemical evaluation of the therapeutic effectiveness of honey in oral mucosal ulcers. National Library of Medicine.

⁹ Treating canker sores with honey. Nutrition Facts.


Your wellness journey starts with a spoonful a day.


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