Is Manuka Honey Good for Stomach Problems?


9 minutes 30 seconds read

Essential Takeaways

Many common stomach problems are often the result of poor diet, stress, or bacterial infections like H. pylori.

Research shows that manuka honey can be useful for treating ulcerative colitis, gastritis, and gastric ulcers, alongside healthy lifestyle adjustments

The jury is still out on whether manuka honey can help with GERD and acid reflux, but many customers report positive benefits.

Stomach problems are common.

One survey of 2,000 people found that 72% regularly experience some kind of gastrointestinal issue from diarrhoea to stomach pain and bloating.

Diet can play a huge part in both causing and preventing stomach issues. And with its potent antibacterial properties, manuka honey has been investigated as a potential remedy.

What does the research say? And are there any anecdotal examples of success?

That’s what we’ll discuss here.

In this guide on how to use honey for stomach problems:

Anecdotal Evidence that Manuka Honey Heals Stomach Problems

Over the years, we’ve found that many of our customers have bought manuka honey for stomach problems and have seen great results.

So before we get into the science, here are a few testimonials sharing how they have healed their stomach problems using manuka honey.

“I tried manuka honey UMF 26+, I suffered from irregular food digestion, but after taking Manuka honey regularly, I felt much better.”

“I purchased the NZ Manuka Honey for a friend who was experiencing some gut issues. She has been using it daily and told me just today that she loves it and feels as though it has helped calm the inflammation in her gut.”

“Absolutely amazing remedy for your digestive system.”

“Love the taste! And it really seems to help reduce my GERD symptoms!!!!!”

The list goes on.

And the best news?

There are a wide range of ways that you can use manuka honey - from adding it to your morning cuppa, to tasty meals and much more.

But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Next up, let’s take a look at how the science backs up our customers’ experiences.

Manuka honey and H. pylori: does it work?

Heliobacter pylori (commonly known as H. pylori) is a bacteria in the stomach that some people have, and some people don’t.

It turns out that 44% of humans are living with H. pylori bacteria in their body, most likely contracting it during childhood.

Although it can lead to serious illness, it doesn’t cause issues for everybody. Many people don’t present symptoms and will not even know they have it.

H. pylori is not, on its own, a stomach problem. It’s when it starts to damage the lining of the stomach (slowly over a period of time) that it can cause a range of stomach problems like peptic ulcers or even gastritis.

Typical symptoms are similar to that of stomach cancer (pain, bloating, weight loss, bloody vomit), but blood tests, stool tests, and breath tests can be used to diagnose H. pylori as the cause.

So how might manuka honey help H. pylori?

“University of Auckland senior researcher Dr Fiona Radcliff undertook two laboratory studies using BEE+ Manuka Honey to investigate its effects on the growth of H. pylori. The results were clear, the higher the UMF the more likely it was to inhibit growth and kill the bacteria in liquid cultures.

The honey rated UMF™ 25+ had four times the ability to inhibit H. pylori growth and kill the bacteria as the honey rated UMF® 5+.There was also a significant difference between UMF®-rated manuka honey than supermarket brands.”

- Women’s Health

The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF™) grading system indicates how much antibacterial activity each jar of manuka honey has.

This study and others have found that higher-grade manuka honeys are more effective against this bacteria. They’ve also found that artificial solutions mimicking the physical properties of manuka honey don’t work.

Another experiment tried to determine what concentrations of honey would inhibit H. Pylori growth, concluding that only manuka honey had the power to do so:

“They found that Manuka honey from New Zealand, at concentrations as low as 5% v/v, completely inhibits the growth of H. pylori, and that 2.5% v/v partially inhibits the growth of H. pylori. The authors also found that non-Manuka honey, and an artificially prepared solution mimicking the physical properties of honey, had no inhibitory effect on H. pylori.”

- Medscape

With that in mind, we know that manuka honey may inhibit the growth of the H. pylori bacteria, reducing the risk of the next stomach problems we’re about to cover." to "With that in mind, we know that manuka honey may inhibit the growth of the H. pylori bacteria, nurturing the growth of good bacteria and reducing the risk of the next stomach problems we’re about to cover.

Our customer, June, shared this video of her using our manuka honey for her H. pylori.

Can Manuka Honey Help Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is a nasty stomach problem that can develop over time. It can cause inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract.

Similarly to H. pylori, it varies in severity.

Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms. However, if left unchecked, ulcerative colitis can develop into complications such as severe bleeding, a perforated colon, osteoporosis, or even cancer of the colon.

Although poor diet and stress might aggravate ulcerative colitis, they haven’t been shown to cause it.

Immune system malfunction is thought to be the culprit: an abnormal immune response can cause the immune system to fight cells in the digestive tract as well.

While we know that manuka honey can support a healthy immune system, it appears that it might directly affect ulcerative colitis in a positive way.

In a scientific study, oral administration of 5 and 10g/kg of body weight “significantly reduced the colonic inflammation”.

The study states that although manuka honey was successful at treating colitis in rats, more testing in humans would be needed to confirm it.

Another study showed positive results:

“Manuka honey has been shown to specifically decrease the inflammatory response associated with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by an overexpression of inflammatory cells, possibly by increasing antioxidant activity.”

- DovePress

So it’s best to see a doctor when you have symptoms of ulcerative colitis, but manuka honey may ease your discomfort during this time.

Is Manuka Honey Good For Gastritis And Gastric Ulcers?

Gastritis is a general term for a few different conditions that are all inflammations of the stomach lining. It’s often caused by H. pylori, our bacteria friend from earlier.

But that’s not all - they can also be the result of excessive alcohol consumption, using pain medication for an extended period, infections, and stress.

Unfortunately, gastric ulcers are prevalent worldwide with no effective treatment. To prevent it from getting worse, it’s widely recommended to focus on a healthier diet and cut down on processed foods.

Anti-inflammatory foods and probiotics like yoghurt and kombucha are known to have positive effects on gastritis.

There’s also been research into whether the antibacterial properties in manuka honey that generally help fight infection can be effective in treating gastritis. Here’s an excerpt from one such study:

“The results indicated that manuka honey is effective in the treatment of chronic ulcers and preservation of mucosal glycoproteins. Its effects are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”

- US National Library of Medicine

Manuka honey has also been considered as a treatment for gastroenteritis, and inflammation of the stomach lining which can cause diarrhoea.

“Manuka honey could be used instead of the usual carbohydrate component of ORS and would provide additional bioactivities such as antibacterial activity and stimulation of growth of probiotics, which would make the honey rehydration solution more beneficial to patients with gastroenteritis than the traditional ORS. ” 

So if you or someone you know is trying to manage gastritis, gastroenteritis, or gastric ulcers, it might be worth trying manuka honey." to "So if you or someone you know is trying to manage gastritis, gastroenteritis, or gastric ulcers, it might be worth trying manuka honey to reduce inflammation and support a healthy gut microbiome.

Manuka Honey and GERD (Acid Reflux)

Most of us have probably experienced acid reflux at some time or another.

It happens when stomach contents move back into the oesophagus, and it’s pretty unpleasant.

If this happens to you regularly (e.g: twice a week or more), you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, when dealing with GERD, doctors generally review a patient’s medical history, and if the symptoms don’t improve with lifestyle changes, then medical tests and intervention are recommended.

Although not everybody with GERD experiences the same symptoms, there are some typical telltale signs such as chest pain more than twice a week, difficulty swallowing, sick burps, bad breath and a sore throat.

Aloe vera and manuka honey have both been touted as natural remedies for GERD.

“It is claimed manuka honey helps with reflux symptoms by “coating the stomach and oesophagus and healing the damages in the tissue and lining provoked by acid reflux”.

Some people swear by having a spoon of Manuka Honey up to four times a day, 20 minutes before meals and before bedtime.”

- The Oesophageal Patients Association (OPA)

There are several home remedies believed to be good for GERD and acid reflux like chewing gum, baking soda, ginger, and milk.

But these haven’t been thoroughly tested yet, so it’s best to get tailored advice before trying them.

To summarise manuka honey’s effects on GERD, the research is inconclusive. Manuka honey could be a great natural remedy for your acid reflux, but it’s best to get your doctor’s advice first.

How to Take Manuka Honey for Digestive Problems and Gut Health

Taking care of your gut microbiome and digestive system will help prevent and heal these issues before they turn into something nasty.

So how should you take manuka honey, and how much?

A spoonful of raw manuka honey a day is the simplest way to look after your digestive health.

But you can also add it to your drinks (just wait for them to cool a little), to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or you can make healthy snacks.

The list is endless - but we’ve tried to capture as many as possible.

So here are over 170 ways you can use manuka honey.

And the best part?

It’s fantastic in skincare, too.

That one little jar really can work wonders from the inside out.

Which UMF™ Manuka Honey Is Best For Stomach Problems?

The antibacterial activity in manuka honey is based on the amount of a compound called methylglyoxal (MGO).

Most honey varieties contain MGO, but studies have found manuka to offer up to 100 times more.

The UMF™ grading system tests the MGO levels among other markers to verify pure and genuine monofloral manuka honey.

The higher the UMF™ grade, the more MGO the honey contains and the more potent its antibacterial activity.

If you’re after medical-grade manuka honey to treat stomach problems, opt for one of the highest grades available:

We’ve outlined this and more in our blog ‘How much UMF™ is enough?’, where you can see which UMF™ grades are suited to different purposes.

Who Should Not Take Manuka Honey?

Despite being a natural remedy with a powerhouse wellness reputation, manuka honey may not be right for everyone.

People with allergies to bees, and children under a year old should not consume any kind of honey.

It’s also best to get advice from your doctor if you’re diabetic.

Manuka honey has huge potential in medicine and is used throughout the world by doctors and vets for some of the most severe conditions.

But it’s always best to get tailored medical advice before using anything, whether natural or not, to treat specific conditions.

Where to Buy Your Manuka Honey for Stomach and Digestive Health

There are a lot of counterfeit honey products on grocery store shelves.

Buying UMF™-graded manuka honey ensures that you get the best medical-grade honey that has been independently tested and verified as 100% pure.

No additives, no nasties, and no compromises.

Find out about our accreditations here.

And shop our full range here.

Your wellness journey starts with a spoonful a day.

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