7 Proven Benefits and Uses of Manuka Honey

With its potent antibacterial properties, Manuka honey offers benefits such as wound healing, cough relief, protection against ulcers, improved digestion, and even better oral health.

Manuka honey is a honey native to New Zealand. It’s produced by bees that pollinate the flower Leptospermum scoparium (L.scoparium), commonly known as the Manuka bush.

Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are what set it apart from traditional honey. It contains methylglyoxal as an active ingredient, likely responsible for these antibacterial effects. Additionally, Manuka honey has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits.

It has traditionally been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay, and improving digestive issues.

Here are seven science-based health benefits of Manuka honey.

Since ancient times, honey has been used to treat wounds, burns, sores, and boils.

Honey offers antibacterial and antioxidant properties, all while maintaining a moist wound environment and protective barrier, which prevents microbial infections in the wound.

Studies have shown that Manuka honey can enhance wound healing, amplify tissue regeneration, and even decrease pain in people with burns. What’s more, Manuka honey may help heal diabetic ulcers.

Manuka honey may also effectively treat wound infections caused by antibiotic-resistant strains, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).


Applied topically, Manuka honey effectively treats burns, ulcers, and non-healing wounds. It has also been shown to combat antibiotic-resistant strains of infections, such as MRSA.

2. May promote oral health

Studies have shown Manuka honey attacks harmful oral bacteria associated with plaque formation, gum inflammation, and tooth decay.

Specifically, research has shown that Manuka honey, with its high antibacterial activity, is effective at inhibiting the growth of harmful oral bacteria like Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (A. actinomycetemcomitans).


Research shows Manuka honey inhibits the growth of harmful oral bacteria that can cause
gingivitis and tooth decay. Unlike refined sugar, it has not been shown to cause tooth decay.

Manuka honey may relieve coughs due to upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). URTIs are common infections caused by bacteria or viruses. They include the common cold, acute bronchitis, influenza, and respiratory distress syndromes.

Symptoms of URTIs include cough, sore throat, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Since viruses cause most URTIs, antibiotics are ineffective as a treatment and can have harmful side effects.

A number of studies suggest honey may be a safe, effective treatment for cough due to URTIs. Studies suggest honey may be more effective than commonly used medications for relieving URTI symptoms, especially cough frequency and severity.


Manuka honey can help provide relief from coughs due to upper respiratory tract infections. It may even be more effective at reducing cough frequency and severity than common cough medications.

4. May help prevent gastric ulcers

Stomach ulcers are one of the most common conditions affecting humans. These sores form on the stomach lining, causing stomach pain, nausea, and bloating.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)is a common type of bacteria that’s responsible for the majority of gastric ulcers. Research suggests Manuka honey may help treat gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori.

One study examined whether dietary factors influenced the presence and spread of H. pylori in 294 individuals between 18 and 69 years old. It found that people who consumed honey more than five days a week had a significantly lower risk of H. pylori infection than those who did not consume honey regularly.

Moreover, those who consumed honey regularly were significantly less likely to have infections associated with specific strains of H. pylori that increase the incidence of diseases like peptic ulcers and gastric cancer.


More research is needed, but Manuka honey’s potent antibacterial effects may help treat gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori. Manuka honey may also prevent alcohol-induced gastric ulcers.

5. May improve digestive symptoms

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. IBDs, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting

Rodent studies have shown that regularly consuming Manuka honey may help control strains of C.diff, a type of bacteria that causes severe diarrhea and inflammation of the bowel.


Manuka honey may effectively attack C. diff, a type of bacteria that can cause bowel inflammation.

6. May help treat symptoms of cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that damages the lungs and can also affect the digestive system and other organs. It affects the cells that produce mucus, causing mucus to be abnormally thick and sticky. This thick mucus clogs airways and ducts, making it difficult to breathe.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) and Burkholderia cepacia complex (B. cepacia) are two common bacteria that can cause serious upper respiratory infections, especially in vulnerable populations.

One test-tube study found that Manuka honey inhibited the growth of these bacteria when combined with antibiotics.

Researchers concluded that Manuka honey might be important in treating upper respiratory infections, especially in those with cystic fibrosis.


Manuka honey has been shown to attack harmful bacteria that cause upper respiratory infections in individuals with cystic fibrosis, but further studies are needed.

Many factors, including hormonal changes, poor diet, stress, and bacteria cause acne.

The antimicrobial activity of Manuka honey, when used in combination with a low-pH product, is often marketed to fight acne.

Yet, there is very limited research on Manuka honey’s ability to treat acne.

However, one study investigated the effects of kanuka honey, which has antibacterial properties similar to those of Manuka honey. It found that kanuka honey was as effective as antibacterial soap at improving acne.

Further research is needed to declare Manuka honey a useful home remedy for acne.


Manuka honey’s ability to treat acne appears favorable given its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

For most people, Manuka honey is safe to consume.

However, some people should consult a doctor before using it, including:

  • People with diabetes: All types of honey are high in natural sugar. Therefore, consuming Manuka honey may
    affect blood sugar levels.
  • Those allergic to honey or bees: Those allergic to other types of honey or bees may have an allergic reaction after ingesting or applying Manuka honey.
  • Infants: The CDC advises against giving honey to children younger than 12 months old due to the risk of botulism, a type of foodborne illness.


Manuka honey is safe to consume for the majority of people over the age of one. Nevertheless, people with diabetes and those allergic to bees or other types of honey should talk to their healthcare provider before using it.

Below are frequently asked questions about Manuka honey.

What is so special about Manuka honey?

Manuka honey has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may benefit wound healing, cough relief, ulcer healing, digestion, and oral health.

Many cultures have used Manuka honey for wound healing for centuries.

How is Manuka honey different from honey?

Manuka honey is a honey subtype. It comes from bees that pollinate the New Zealand Manuka tree.

Who should not use Manuka honey?

Manuka honey is not suitable for infants, people with blood-sugar control disorders, and those with a honey allergy.

Is it OK to take Manuka honey every day?

Eating small amounts of Manuka honey daily will typically have no negative health impacts. However, honey still contains high levels of natural sugar, so moderation is key

Manuka honey’s unique antibacterial properties make it a valuable topical treatment for wounds. It speeds wound healing and helps prevent and fight infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant strains.

Manuka honey may also help prevent or treat numerous ailments, including inflammatory bowel disease, gastric ulcers, periodontal disease, and coughs due to upper respiratory infections.

More research, especially in humans, is needed to understand Manuka honey’s beneficial properties fully. But Manuka honey is a generally safe treatment strategy that may speed healing when used along with more conventional therapies.


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