Menopause is a natural part of ageing for all women and brings some pretty unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, and weight gain.
Hormone replacement therapy has some benefits, but it can increase the risk of cancers. So many patients and professionals have been searching for natural alternatives.
Whilst the research specifically focusing on manuka honey and menopause is limited, there’s plenty of evidence that it helps to alleviate the same kinds of symptoms in other conditions, even for women that are undergoing intense cancer treatment.
Menopause is a natural part of ageing for women.
And it’s actually quite rare in the animal kingdom - as far as we know, only humans, orcas, and pilot whales experience menopause¹.
Scientists have suggested that this might be to do with reducing mother-daughter competition when juveniles become reproductively mature (for both humans and whales)².
But just because the club is exclusive doesn’t make it fun.
The symptoms are notoriously unpleasant, and menopause treatments are known for being limited and risky for some.
So in this guide, we investigate the evidence for using manuka honey for menopause. Is there any? Is it positive?
How can women take back their menopause journey and ease their symptoms naturally?
In this guide to using manuka honey for menopause:
What is menopause?
The science behind honey for menopause
The medical benefits of manuka honey
Your manuka honey menopause meal plan
Manuka honey and women’s health
When to see a doctor
Finding the best manuka honey
NB: This article refers to any person that may experience menopause as “women” or “female”.
What is Menopause?
Menopause hits women around a year after they have their last period; usually between the ages of 45 - 55³.
It can last anywhere from seven to fourteen years.
The lead-up to menopause when women experience things like hot flushes, chills, and changes in their cycle is called perimenopause⁴.
During the perimenopause, the two key hormones produced by the ovaries (estrogen and progesterone) are in fluctuation and eventually, decline.
This can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms at varying degrees of severity.
Menopause and perimenopause symptoms typically include⁴:
Changes in the menstrual cycle
Smoking, health, and ethnicity all impact when menopause hits, its duration, and the severity of symptoms.
Traditional menopause treatments
Menopause treatments are designed to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
Here’s what they include⁵.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
HRT involves dosing your body with the hormones that it’s no longer producing in steady quantities.
Patients either take estrogen on its own as a pill, patch, cream, gel, or spray⁶, or a combination of estrogen and progesterone as a pill or patch.
HRT is generally considered safe⁷, but it has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, cancer, blood clots, and stroke. For this reason, it’s not suitable for every women to take.
It can also run out.
This has happened in the US on and off since 2016, with an ongoing shortage that started again in 2022⁸.
Topical hormone therapy
This is usually estrogen in the form of a cream that can be applied directly to the vagina to help with dryness and discomfort.
A doctor may also recommend everyday things that women can do to alleviate their symptoms, such as⁵:
Use an over-the-counter lubricant or moisturiser for dryness
Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and prevent leaks
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep in layers that can be added/removed when temperature changes
Limit alcohol consumption and stop or reduce smoking
Is menopause preventable?
Unfortunately, menopause isn’t preventable.
This even goes for women who have undergone a hysterectomy to remove their womb and ovaries⁹.
Menopause is a natural ageing process for anyone born biologically female.
And although this accounts for almost half of the world’s population¹⁰, and isn’t a new phenomenon, the treatments available are limited and come with side effects.
Fortunately, there are more natural options available with some proven effects - like honey.
Scientific Evidence for Using Honey for the Menopause
“Honey is a widely accepted natural food, which exerts multiple functions on the female reproductive system. Thus, it can be promoted as a functional food to menopausal women as an alternative therapy for female reproductive system disorders.”
While the research into using manuka honey for menopause specifically is limited, there is evidence to support its positive impacts on the female reproductive system and symptoms associated with menopause.
“Phyto-oestrogen (oestrogen-like) compounds found in honey are responsible for the restoration of the atrophied uterus and vagina [a symptom of menopause].
A recent in vitro study involving MCF-7 cell cultures found that, at low concentrations, manuka honey contributed oestrogenic effects by stimulating cell growth (oestrogen agonist).”
A systematic review of the available evidence demonstrated that honey has antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and oestrogenic effects on menopausal women¹¹.
“Current evidence shows that short-term honey supplementation following surgical or physiological menopause exerts an oestrogenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the female reproductive system.”
Here’s what this means in a practical sense.
What honey can do for the female reproductive system:
Helps to increase progesterone and oestrogen levels¹¹.
Improves the oxidative status in menopausal women. In other words, it helps to keep cells healthy and productive despite the hormonal changes.
Relieves the menopause symptoms in cancer patients taking anti-hormone medication¹².
Relieves vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) fungal infections by decreasing the discharge, inflammation, and itching for patients. These effects were comparable to clotrimazole, a standard VVC treatment¹³.
Reduces the rate of recurring infection¹¹.
Helps to prevent the atrophy (degeneration) of the reproductive organs that comes with perimenopause and menopause.
The potential for honey in menopause treatment is exciting. It’s natural, without side effects, and it can be used in numerous ways.
But since honey is one of the most faked foods in the world, you want to be sure that you have the best, most authentic product.
So, which is it?
The Medical Benefits of Manuka Honey
“Manuka honey (MH) stands out from other honey types as a unique superfood with clinically proven antimicrobial and wound healing activities.
The nectar of the Manuka tree is exceptionally rich in dihydroacteone (DHA), the precursor of methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO is formed during MH honey maturation and aging and is primarily accountable for its distinct antibacterial properties.”
Dr. Peter Molan of Waikato University in New Zealand discovered the exciting medical potential of manuka honey in the 1980s¹⁴.
Its uniquely high levels of MGO have been shown to exhibit powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects against a range of conditions¹⁵.
In fact, it’s used by doctors and vets alike for healing some of the most severe wounds without compromising cell renewal like traditional antibiotics and dressings¹⁴.
So when it comes to taking care of your body as it ages, manuka honey has a suite of potential health benefits for an overall wellness boost.
And our customers have had success using it for a combination of health complaints:
“I use it in my coffee & tea & I have experienced an increase in awareness & improvement in my memory. I’m thrilled with the product & will continue to use it.”
Viola C Denson., verified buyer,
“It helped me almost immediately with digestive issues and eczema!”
Kathrine T., verified buyer, UMF™24+.
“Has reduced the swelling and pain in my knees due to arthritis from playing football. Great for a sore throat and overall health.”
Kevin M., verified buyer, UMF™15+.
“This product is excellent. My wife has GERD and it has practically gone away. She has been on medicine for it for years. And within weeks it’s practically gone.”
Sean S., verified buyer, UMF™24+.
How to find authentic manuka honey
Thanks to its global reputation as a powerful healing agent, there are independent grading systems used to identify pure monofloral manuka honey from New Zealand.
This helps to protect consumers and the integrity of genuine manuka honey producers.
The UMF™ grading system is administered by the independent UMFHA.
Honey with a UMF™ grade has been tested and verified to be fresh and genuine monofloral manuka honey.
The higher the UMF™ grade, the more methylgyoxal (MGO) it contains, which indicates higher antibacterial activity.
Read more: Manuka honey ratings explained.
All our manuka honeys are rigorously tested by the UMFHA and have UMF™ grades for quality and authenticity assurance.
Are you ready to incorporate manuka honey into your daily wellness routine?
Here are some easy recipe ideas to ease menopause symptoms naturally.
Your Manuka Honey Menopause Meal Plan
It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that a healthy, balanced diet will give you the best chance at managing menopause symptoms naturally.
But there are some particular ingredients you can look for with great menopause benefits.
Here are some examples.
Breakfast: Overnight oats with manuka honey
Create your own wholegrain overnight oats with milk, yoghurt, berries, chia seeds and manuka honey.
Wholegrains are nutrient-rich, packed full of antioxidants¹⁶, and linked to reduced heart disease and cancer¹⁷ (conditions increased by menopause hormone therapy treatments). Having oats for breakfast is a great way to incorporate wholegrains early in your day.
Dairy products like yoghurt and milk contain important vitamins and minerals for bone health, which is important for menopausal women¹⁸.
Berries contain phytoestrogens which are believed to help replace some of the lost oestrogen in menopausal women, easing their symptoms¹⁹.
Chia seeds contain omega-3 which has been shown to reduce hot flashes and night sweats²⁰.
To make: Combine equal parts oats to milk, then half yoghurt, and top it off with the berries of your choice. Chill your oats overnight in an airtight container, and add room-temperature manuka honey before serving.
Snack: Manuka honey and peanut butter smoothie
Make a delicious protein shake with manuka honey and peanut butter.
Like berries, peanuts also contain phytoestrogens. They’re also good for the heart, and make you feel full so you’re less tempted to keep eating²¹.
Protein is a vital part of a healthy diet, and for menopausal women that are losing bone density and muscle mass, even more so. Add a protein powder to your smoothie (plant-based can be just as effective²²).
A dairy base can provide the vitamins and minerals that your bones need to stay strong. But there are plant-based options with similar benefits too like oat or soy milk²².
To make: Blend your ingredients together with a spoonful of manuka honey for a fresh and delicious mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. This is particularly good before or after a workout.
Lunch: Manuka honey on wholegrain toast with flax seeds
It’s recommended that we consume wholegrains more than once a day for the best results, so we’ve included it in two of our recipes.
Flax seeds contain phytoestrogens and have been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease in menopausal women²⁰.
To make: Slather some delicious manuka honey on wholegrain toast or rye, and sprinkle with flax seeds for a nourishing lunch.
Dinner: Salmon with wholegrains, veggies, and manuka honey glaze
Get your protein, omega-3, and wholegrains with this delicious dinner recipe.
Salmon is high in protein, omega-3 and good fatty acids. It’s also high in vitamin D which is particularly important during menopause²³.
Serve with vegetables like broad beans, broccoli, and dark leafy greens for extra vitamins and minerals.
Other Ways That Manuka Honey Benefits Womens’ Health
Manuka honey can benefit women and the female reproductive system at every life stage.
Here are a couple of other ways that it can be beneficial.
Manuka honey and menstruation
Honey has been shown to help reduce the primary dysmenorrhea (or cramping pains) that many women experience before or during menstruation²⁴.
In fact, a study found it to be as effective as medical treatments, but without the side effects.
It’s important to take pure honey to get the best results, like our raw and unpasteurised manuka honey, rather than an impure or heavily processed alternative²⁵.
Manuka honey for pregnancy
We’ve discussed the ways that manuka honey can benefit the female reproductive system with regards to menopause, but it’s also been linked to fertility and pregnancy²⁶.
In our dedicated guide to manuka honey for pregnancy, we discuss:
How manuka honey benefits women during and after their pregnancy.
Why it’s risky to give infants raw honey but safe for pregnant women to consume.
How manuka honey can heal cracked and dry breastfeeding nipples.
How it can also help to heal stretch mark scars.
When to See a Doctor
All-natural products like manuka honey are fantastic for overall wellness and may ease your symptoms. But they shouldn’t be used in place of professional medical advice.
If you’re finding that a healthy lifestyle isn’t helping your menopause symptoms, then it might be time to talk to a doctor.
Treat Yourself With the Best Manuka Honey for Menopause
Our raw monofloral manuka honey from New Zealand is independently tested and UMF™ graded so that you can trust you’re getting the best product on the market.
Unsure what grade is right for you?
¹ Do other mammals go through menopause? BBC Science.
³ What is menopause? National Library of Medicine.
⁴ Menopause symptoms and causes, Mayo Clinic.
⁵ Menopause, WebMD.
⁶ Hormone therapy for menopause, Cleveland Clinic.
⁸ What is causing the shortage in injectable testosterone and estrogen? Everyday Health.
⁹ Hysterectomy considerations, NHS.
¹⁰ World sex ratio, Statistics Times.
¹¹ Augmentation of the female reproductive system using honey, Molecules Journal.
¹² Bee pollen and honey for the alleviation of hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients, National Library of Medicine.
¹³ Comparison of vaginal ointment of honey and clotrimazole for treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis, National Library of Medicine.
¹⁴ The scientist behind the science: Peter Molan, ResearchGate.
¹⁵ How methylglyoxal kills bacteria: An ultrastructural study, National Library of Medicine.
¹⁶ Whole grains and human health, National Library of Medicine.
¹⁷ Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality, National Library of Medicine.
¹⁸ Milk and osteoporosis, Healthline.
¹⁹ Phytoestrogens: food or drug? National Library of Medicine.
²⁰ Flaxseed reduces total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in Native American postmenopausal women, National Library of Medicine.
²¹ Health benefits of peanuts, WebMD.
²² Protein intake and risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women and men age 50 and older, National Library of Medicine.
²³ 8 foods for good menopause nutrition, Chapel Hill Gynecology.
²⁴ Comparison of the effect of honey and mefenamic acid on the severity of pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea, National Library of Medicine.
²⁶ Protective roles of honey in reproductive health, National Library of Medicine.
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