Dr Maggie talks to Paul and Sheryl Steens about the qualities and uses of real Manuka Honey
Dr Maggie Yu is a holistic and Functional Physician, based in the USA. She recently caught up with Paul and Sheryl Steens to discuss the qualities and different potential uses of "real" Manuka Honey.
Manuka honey is honey that has been made by bees from the nectar of the Manuka plant. Indigenous to New Zealand, the Manuka plant is a small flowering shrub or bush, which grows mainly in the wild scrub, marshlands and forest margins throughout New Zealand. It has a very short flowering season of only six to twelve weeks, during New Zealand's summer.
Around 40 years ago, Peter Nolan MBE discovered that honey collected from the Manuka flower contained significant non peroxide antimicrobial activity, which means that Manuka honey has proven benefits for healing of wounds and skin conditions. There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence to corroborate claims of support for oral and gut health, and immunity too.
Since this discovery was made, there has been a lot of marketing spin around Manuka honey, which has led to confusion for consumers. As Paul explains, "in the early days, anything that was brown honey, was put into a pot and sold as Manuka". In New Zealand, the UMF Association was formed in 1998, to help regulate the industry and ensure that all product packed in New Zealand meets rigorous testing standards so that it can be graded and labelled with the correct UMF rating, which ensures that the honey you are purchasing really does contain the advertised Manuka properties. The higher the UMF rating, the higher the UMF properties that honey contains.
Steens Manuka Honey is different to other Manuka Honeys on the market too, in that it is not heated during the extraction process. Heating is known to kill the unique non-peroxide factor that makes Manuka Honey so special. Sheryl explains "we used to sell all our honey bulk, and people would put it in pots and sell it under their own brand. But we went on a trip to the UK, and we saw the honey that we had sold to two companies and what they put in the pot. And we couldn't believe what had happened to us. It wasn't that honey that we ate. It wasn't the honey that I fed to my family. It was heated. And it had been bastardized. So we came home and thought we can so do this differently. We can put this beautiful raw honey that we produce into a pot so that you and all the consumers all over the world can share around our kitchen table, so to speak, and have the same feeling, and the same goodness that we get rather than all the goodness being burnt off."
Dr. Maggie is a huge fan of Manuka Honey. She explains "I consider Manuka Honey a serious biohack. I'm a functional medicine doctor. So what I do is really specialize in looking at all the natural tools that work, especially if it's also data supported as well".
Manuka Honey has also proved to be very effective in treating wounds, with an enormous amount of research that has been done on the efficacy of manuka honey and wound healing. Because of it's humectant properties, it draws moisture into the skin, speeding up the healing process and minimising scarring from burns and other wounds.
There is also a lot of emerging data about the use of Manuka Honey for oral health and gingivitis. Dr. Maggie explains "we are learning a lot as functional physicians around data on the microbiome in your gut, but now we're actually talking about an oral microbiome... the microbiome in our gums is actually a really important part of this whole gut connection". New studies indicate that if you chew cold manuka honey daily for just 21 days, there is a total change in the amount of infection in your gums. She says "this is a big emerging field in functional medicine, which is dental functional medicine, and the bacterial flora in your mouth".
Dr Maggie says that Manuka Health has also recently been gaining a lot of attention based on anecdotal evidence from people who have used it to support immunity and gut healing. She explains "Manuka is also a prebiotic... there's a difference between probiotic and a prebiotic. Prebiotic is something that feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. So you can get a very expensive probiotic, but if you're not feeding those guys, they may last a day or a week, but if you feed them a prebiotic, you actually help them multiply and grow. So that's the best investment and best results you can get is to feed your gut prebiotic. Fibre is a prebiotic and Manuka honey is also a prebiotic." She suggests that for immunity support, adding half a teaspoon full of high strength Manuka to warm water with lemon juice is the best way to start every day - this will assist with hydration and liver support as well as ensurig that you get your daily dose of prebiotics from the Manuka Honey.
Paul and Sheryl have their own story of success with using Steens Manuka Honey to support gut health - after being diagnosed with H. pylori, Paul found himself particularly busy setting up the new honey extraction plant. Without time to stop for a meal most days he found himself eating a lot of honey throughout the day for energy. After three months he returned to the doctor to find that the H. pylori had gone without any traditional medical intervention. H. pylori is a notoriously recurring bacterial infection, and Paul has successfully treated his several times with a combination of Manuka Honey and turmeric, taken in small doses, several times throughout each day. Dr. Maggie says "if you're taking it for a medicinal purpose whether it's to kill an infection or to help fight an infection or whether it's to help heal the gut lining you're going to want to take more frequent amounts and higher strengths of honey, but if your goal is to support your immunity, one teaspoon of UMF10+ Manuka honey taken daily is ideal".
For more information on recommended doses for your particular requirements, visit our range pages here.