Manuka Honey Benefits [Guide]


5 minute read

Essential Takeaways

Manuka honey can be ingested orally, and also applied topically to the skin. Different UMF™ values are good for different uses.

Some of the benefits may surprise you: manuka honey can boost immunity, support oral health, prevent cuts from scarring, fight acne, and more. There’s plenty of use for your sweet favourite.

There’s growing research about manuka honey in wound care, as more health institutions incorporate the sticky liquid into patient treatment.

What do you think of when you hear the word, “honey”?

Does sweetness come to mind?

Thick, golden, syrupy goodness, on your toast or in your oatmeal?

What about a topical treatment for serious wounds? Or an acne warrior, on the warpath to relieve and restore your skin?

It has been, and still is, used for all these things and more. Here, we’ll explore why, and what science tells us about the possible benefits of manuka honey.

In this overview of the potential benefits of manuka honey, you’ll find:

  • Manuka honey in food
  • Manuka honey in skincare
  • Manuka honey for hair
  • Manuka honey in medicine
  • Our guide to which UMF™ grading you should use for each of these

Let’s find the proof in the pudding. Or, breakfast, as the case may be.

Manuka Honey In Food

Manuka honey started becoming popular after Peter Molan’s research in the 1980s.

When it turned out that manuka honey might be a rare superfood with antibacterial properties, of course people wanted to eat it by the spoon.

And still do.

But that’s not the only way to consume this delicious nectar. Now, there are many recipes containing manuka honey that act as a vehicle for this nutritious sticky liquid and all its goodness to enter your body.

It’s famous for its perceived health benefits, so let’s look at a few ways ingesting manuka honey could do you some good.

Read more: Eat The Rainbow For Natural Wellness

Balances the digestive system

Manuka honey is said to reduce acid reflux and balance the digestive system. It has helped in the treatment of stomach ulcers and indigestion.

Healthy for teeth and mouth

Perhaps surprisingly, this sugary treat actually does good work in your mouth.

Its antimicrobial properties are believed to reduce plaque, and bleeding sites in people suffering from gingivitis.

Boosts immunity

The presence of MGO (Methylglyoxal) in manuka honey is what gives it strong antibacterial and antiviral activity. The higher the MGO concentration, the more potent it is.

It can also stimulate immune cells, making the immune system ready to fight infection.

Read more: Natural Immunity Boosting Drink With Manuka Honey

Consuming a spoonful or two daily of even UMF5+ can make a difference.

But it’s not only good for the inside of your body.

It works wonders on the outside too.


Consuming a spoonful or two daily of even UMF5+ can make a difference.

But it’s not only good for the inside of your body.

It works wonders on the outside too.

Manuka Honey In Skincare

The high MGO levels are golden on your face as well as in your gut.

Below are some beneficial qualities of manuka honey that you might discover from using it in your skincare routine.

Fights acne

Our skin has natural defences against the build up and spread of microorganisms that can cause acne.

However, manuka honey can be that helping hand if your natural defences aren’t managing too well on their own.

Manuka honey can clear and protect your skin and help to keep it blemish free.

Read more: What Is The Best Manuka Honey For Acne?

Helps you to age gracefully

The elasticity of our skin is what keeps it supple, and when wrinkles appear, it’s because of a reduction of collagen and elastin proteins.

Manuka honey is rich in Vitamin C which can protect and enhance the production of collagen, in turn lessening the appearance of wrinkles.

Known to reduce redness

If you’re not sure what’s normal for your skin, it’s best to consult a dermatologist.

But if your complexion is relatively clear and you don’t feel any tightness or dryness, your natural defenses are probably working as they should.

However, redness of skin is always a possible occurrence. A change in environment, sun damage, food sensitivities or bacterial infection can result in the facial skin appearing more red than usual. Manuka honey can help calm this down for you.

Read more: What is the Best Manuka Honey for Your Face?

Keeps your skin hydrated

Manuka honey is naturally rich in emollients, which are found in moisturisers. They help to keep the moisture in the skin, and the skin hydrated. Seeing as manuka honey can do this on its own, it’s a great choice for using on your face.

Read more: Manuka Honey Face Mask

Gives you a natural, dewy glow

Skincare doesn’t stop at your face! The humectants - substances that promote moisture retention - in manuka honey means it’s good on skin all over.

Better yet, we’ve got the perfect recipe for you to make your own skincare at home.

Read more: Manuka Honey Body Butter

Manuka Honey For Hair

A close cousin of skincare, haircare can also benefit from manuka honey.

The fact that the humectant quality retains moisture means that it’s great for locking in hydration and moisturising your hair.

It can also help with dry skin, and even a flaky scalp.

Read more: Manuka Honey Hair Mask

Manuka Honey On Scars & Wounds

There’s growing research into just how effective manuka honey can be in healing wounds.

It started in our own backyard, with Peter Molan, from Waikato University.

“With the use of Manuka honey, selected to have the right type and level of antibacterial activity, and with an appropriate dressing protocol that keeps honey present on the wound bed at all times, uncomplicated wounds will heal rapidly, painlessly, and without a visible scar.”

In 2007, manuka honey was approved as a possible wound treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Read more: Manuka Honey Wound Care: Will It Help You To Recover?

Since then, ongoing research has been helping to promote the healing possibilities of manuka honey. Some nurses call for it to be widely used in hospitals, others are stressing the importance of wound care management of the ageing population.

“There is high quality evidence that honey heals partial thickness burns around 4 to 5 days more quickly than conventional dressings.”

We’ve also seen amazing results first hand. One of our friends Rik applied manuka honey to his severely swollen and purple ankle after his hospital cast came off. He went from a sprained ankle to a much worse state, to back to normal within weeks.

If at this point you’re wondering whether you should have a jar of manuka honey in your medicine cabinet as well as in your food pantry - it’s okay, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s look at when you might want to apply manuka honey topically.

Examples of what manuka honey may help with:

As always, remember to discuss the specifics of your situation with your physician before taking action.

Read more: What Is The Best Manuka Honey For Scars?

Which Unique Manuka Factor Should I Use?

Good question.

In this table, we’ve broken down the UMF™ gradings to help you understand which Unique Manuka Factor is best for which purpose.

Rating Typical consumer Typical uses Ideas & Information
UMF™ 5+ At the start of the spectrum, UMF™ 5+ is great for daily or regular consumption for both children and adults. A natural energy boost, it has a relatively mild flavor, so is easy to add to other foods for a little extra sweetness.
UMF™ 10+ Next up on the spectrum, UMF™ 10+ is also great for teens and the family to eat on a regular basis. These could be used with spreads, in drinks, baked goods or for breakfast.
UMF™ 15+ UMF™ 15+ offers a little extra MGO kick for mixing into foods, making your own wellness masks at home, simply consuming from the spoon, or adding it to your morning rituals. This is our most popular grading, loved by families and young adults. With a little more MGO, they will also be beneficial for topical applications on the skin, though you may want a higher concentration for acne or wounds.
UMF™ 20+ The start of the premium grades, UMF™ 20+ is the first step up for people wanting to do more with Manuka than just eat it. This is popular with mums, young professionals and people with acne, scars, and wounds. Whether you want a strong dietary supplement or milder support agent, UMF™ 20+ is a very good option.
UMF™ 24+ Getting into the more potent gradings, UMF™ 24+ is almost the strongest on the market and gives you a big boost of MGO. It’s commonly applied externally, but you can still eat it from the jar if you like! The higher price point of this means it’s popular with people especially seeking out health benefits from honey. Delicious in food but potentially more effective as an antibacterial agent, this is a good complementary acne, wound, or scar support ingredient.
UMF™ 26+ UMF™ 26+ is our highest grade. It will give you the highest potency of MGO, hence this one is great for medicinal uses and preventative health. This is our best manuka honey for antibacterial activity, making it ideally suited to medicinal uses - but only with the permission of your doctor. Being the most pure, it is also used in many religious practices. It really is for eating from the spoon, savouring, storing, gifting, or collecting.

If you’re looking for some inspiration about how to add manuka honey into your diet or routine, check out our guide to 176 ways you can use manuka honey!

Then ensure you’re buying the best manuka honey by following the 7 tips in our buyer’s checklist.

Not yet sure which UMF strength you’d like to try? Take our quick quiz to find out which manuka honey is best for you!

Click here to get your Manuka Honey benefits from our shop today!

Your wellness journey starts with a spoonful a day.


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