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9 Proven Benefits and Uses of Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is a unique type of honey from New Zealand that has many health benefits. It contains special antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory compounds that set it apart from regular honey.

Here are nine science-backed ways that manuka honey can improve your health:

1. Improves Oral Health

Research shows manuka honey fights bacteria responsible for plaque, gum inflammation, and tooth decay. One study found it effectively inhibited harmful oral bacteria like P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans. Unlike refined sugar, manuka honey doesn’t cause cavities. It creates a protective coating, and its natural antibacterial properties promote dental health.

2. Helps Treat Stomach Ulcers

Manuka honey may help treat stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria. One study found people who regularly ate honey had lower levels of H. pylori. Researchers concluded manuka honey could prevent gastritis and ulcers from alcohol use due to its antibacterial effects and a protective coating.

3. Helps Acne and Skin Conditions

Both eating and applying manuka honey improves skin health. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make it effective against acne, eczema, psoriasis, and wounds. Enzymes exfoliate dead skin and stimulate regeneration. A manuka honey face mask cleanses pores while providing nutrients for healthier skin.

4. Improves Digestive Symptoms

Manuka honey can benefit digestive health in those with IBS. The antibacterial properties help treat bacterial imbalances causing IBS symptoms. One study found manuka honey inhibited C. difficile growth, allowing good gut bacteria to thrive. It improves digestion, reduces inflammation, and alleviates diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pains.

5. Soothes Coughs

Manuka honey relieves coughs from colds and flu. Studies show it reduces cough frequency and severity better than common medicines. It likely works by coating and soothing the throat while attacking infecting bacteria. Since most coughs are viral, antibiotics are ineffective. Manuka honey provides a safe alternative for cough and sore throat relief.

6. Helps Heal Wounds

Since ancient times, manuka honey has been used to heal wounds. It offers antibacterial and antioxidant activity while maintaining a moist wound environment and preventing infections. Studies show manuka honey boosts healing, promotes tissue regeneration and reduces pain. It’s effective for burns, ulcers, MRSA, and diabetic ulcers due to its methylglyoxal content.

7. Helps Upper Respiratory Infections

Manuka honey has antibacterial effects against bacteria that cause upper respiratory infections, especially in cystic fibrosis patients. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia can lead to pneumonia. Test tube studies show manuka honey with antibiotics is effective against these lung pathogens, improving breathing and respiratory symptoms.

8. Boosts Immunity

Studies show regular manuka honey consumption boosts immune function. The antioxidants fight cell damage, while antimicrobial properties keep viruses and bacteria away. Manuka honey may reduce colds and flu by strengthening immunity, especially in those with weakened immune systems. It makes a great addition to lemon and ginger tea.

9. Improves Cholesterol Levels

Early research shows manuka honey may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. One study found a 10% drop in LDL cholesterol in patients taking manuka honey versus regular honey. The antibacterial properties are thought to improve cholesterol markers and heart health, but more studies are needed.

Is Manuka Honey Safe?

For most people, manuka honey is safe to consume and apply topically. However, caution is needed for: infants under 12 months due to infant botulism risk, those with diabetes or blood sugar issues due to the natural sugars, and people allergic to honey, beeswax, or pollen who may react. Speak with your doctor before using manuka honey if you have ongoing health conditions.


Manuka honey provides unique benefits thanks to its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help heal wounds, treat stomach ulcers and coughs, improve skin and digestive health, and boost immunity. While more research is needed, it’s considered safe for most people when used appropriately. Adding manuka honey to your routine lets you take advantage of its diverse health perks.

About the author

Holden Desalles is a journalist in the new wellness space, covering topics such as CBD, adaptogens, and nootropics. He was formerly a staff writer at the millennial lifestyle website Thought Catalog.

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