Health Benefits of Manuka Honey

manuka-honey

Not all honeys are created equal, and telling the difference can sometimes be tricky. The standard honeys available at conventional supermarkets aren’t always as beneficial for our health as we’d like them to be. They are often highly processed and lacking in important nutrients.

Manuka honey, however, has been shown to have up to 4 times the nutritional content of normal flower honeys, and it is also highly antibacterial.

Honey has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes including topical treatment for wounds and other skin infections, but recent studies have exposed many more amazing health benefits of this unique honey.

Manuka Honey is so effective because of its considerably higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide that works as an antibacterial. Hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxal (MG), a powerful antibiotic compound, found in Manuka honey create what is referred to as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).

The UMF is a global standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka. This is necessary as UMF is not found in the nectar of all Manuka flowers, the flower native to New Zealand which is pollinated to create the Manuka honey. Two laboratories in New Zealand carry out independent tests in order to establish the UMF of certain Manuka honeys, that is, to identify the percentage of MG and therefore its concentration of healing properties.

Some honey is sold as Manuka honey but only contains a small amount of MG. It is recommended that you purchase honey that has the UMF trademark on it and the UMF factor. The minimum recognised UMF rating is UMF5, but it’s not considered beneficial unless it carries a UMF10+. You should aim for a UMF rating of at least 10+, however 16+ is ideal for the best medicinal benefits. To be considered Manuka honey, it also has to come from New Zealand.

Here is an explanation of what Manuka honey UMF you should use:
0-4 Non-therapeutic
4-9 Maintenance level with general honey health benefits
10-14 Supports natural healing and bacterial balance
15+ Superior levels of phenols that are highly therapeutic

Top Manuka Honey Benefits

Gastritis

Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining and can be caused by bacterial infections. Manuka honey has been shown to be effective against Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria most commonly seen in the highly acidic environment of the stomach. This bacterium is implicated in most cases of stomach ulcers that develop into cancer.

SIBO, Low Stomach Acid, Acid Reflux

Manuka honey is very beneficial in reducing reflux and balancing your digestive system to heal stomach and intestinal imbalances.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Manuka honey has been found to be effective in preventing colonic inflammation. It also helps with the repair of the colon lining damaged due to chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Acne and Eczema

While there are no clinical trials to support claims that Manuka honey helps treat acne and eczema, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from people applying honey on affected areas and seeing results. This makes sense due to Manuka’s proven antimicrobial and healing properties.

Staph Infections (MRSA)

UK researchers from Cardiff Metropolitan University have recently discovered that Manuka honey down-regulates the most potent genes of the MRSA bacteria. Some scientists have suggested that regular topical use on cuts and infections (especially in hospitals and nursing homes) may keep MRSA at bay naturally.

Burns and Wounds

Manuka honey is excellent at treating cuts and burns due to its rich antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It disinfects the wound, draws out fluid and accelerates the body’s own defence mechanisms. Manuka also acts as pain relief for burn patients.

Dental Health

Inflammation of the gum (gingivitis) and the periodontal disease called pyorrhoea can be prevented or controlled by Manuka honey. Manuka has a high mineral content including calcium, zinc and phosphorous, and several studies have shown that chewing or sucking on a Manuka honey product caused a 35% decrease in plaque and led to a 35% reduction in bleeding sites in people suffering from gingivitis.

Immunity

Manuka honey can stimulate the body’s cytokine production and kickstart our defence mechanisms to better fight off pathogens and diseases.

Cough Remedy

Honey has traditionally been taken to soothe sore throats and stop coughs because it soothes the lining of the throat and decreases discomfort and irritation. Due to its high antimicrobial actions, Manuka honey is even more effective than regular honey, and it has recently been approved by the National Cancer Institute to be used to heal inflammation in the throat from chemotherapy.

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is a painful inflammation of the tonsils and Manuka honey has been shown to be an effective remedy. It’s recommended that a teaspoon of honey be taken 3-4 times a day to combat the infection and inflammation. It acts by destroying the pathogens and stimulating the body’s own defence system.

Allergies and Sinusitis

Taking Manuka honey on a regular basis can dramatically improve symptoms of allergy sufferers. It also helps those suffering from chronic sinusitis. Some people use Manuka honey in a neti pot to irrigate the sinuses, but intake of high grade (UMF 15+) could be just as effective.

Athlete’s Foot and Ringworm

Two of the most common fungal infections of the skin are athlete’s foot and ringworm. Applying honey to the affected area will relieve the itch and help clear the infection, making Manuka honey an effective treatment.

How to Use Manuka Honey

Cup of tea with lemon and honey

You can add Manuka honey to your favourite herbal tea or to meals, or you can just take it straight. It’s recommended that you take a dose of about 1-2 tablespoons per day for the most benefit.

Precautions

Some sources claim that people allergic to bees, pollen or other bee-related allergies should use Manuka honey with caution due to possible allergic side effects.

Any kind of honey isn’t suitable for babies under 12 months of age.

TMP Organics has a range of Manuka Honeys in store. Come on in this weekend!

Health Benefits of Turmeric

curmin-image

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour, and it has been used in India and the Middle East for thousands of years. Turmeric was traditionally used in Siddha and Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammatory conditions, skin diseases, wounds, digestive ailments and liver conditions.

It’s only recently, however, that science has started to shed more light on turmeric’s true medicinal potential.

The focus of many studies has been on curcumin, which is the main active compound in turmeric. Turmeric has so many healing properties that there have been over 6000 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric, and in particular curcumin.

One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by James A. Duke, PhD. Reviewing around 700 studies looking at turmeric benefits, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects.

Turmeric is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Research suggests that turmeric may be helpful in treating chronic inflammation, inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, lowering cholesterol counts, protecting the heart, relieving indigestion, improving liver function, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and even preventing and treating cancer.

Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound

The most powerful use for curcumin is in reducing inflammation. One study evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are the least effective in controlling inflammation while curcumin is among the most effective in the world.

This finding is important because chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic Western disease including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and various degenerative conditions. Curcumin has the potential to prevent, and even treat, these diseases by keeping inflammation at bay.

Gastrointestinal Treatment

For many people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative Colitis), corticosteroids reduce their pain symptoms but damage the intestinal lining over time, actually making the condition worse. An in-depth analysis on all the studies evaluating curcumin’s ability to mange IBD found that many patients were able to stop taking their prescribed corticosteroids because their condition improved so dramatically by taking curcumin.

Arthritis Management

Most types of arthritis involve inflammation in the joints, and several studies show that curcumin can help reduce this inflammation. A study was conducted on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients to compare the benefits of curcumin in turmeric to arthritis drugs (diclofenac sodium), that put people at risk of developing leaky gut and heart disease.

Patients treated with curcumin alone showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall scores. Curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events.

Turmeric Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the Body

Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals and boost the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Curcumin and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, and while there are many contributing factors to heart disease, curcumin may help reverse many of them.

Curcumin can help improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves the inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors.

Curcumin reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above) which are also linked with heart disease.

One of the reasons heart disease is such a problem in the western world is because people are developing pre-diabetes (excessive blood sugar) at an alarming rate. Also, diabetics and non-diabetics are suffering from oxidative stress which damages the inside of blood vessels. Because of this damage to the arteries, cholesterol begins to build up to patch up the damaged areas which leads to high levels of LDL cholesterol.

One study has found that curcumin is equal or more effective than diabetes medications at reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol. This is good news as statin drugs like Lipitor are widely known to harm the kidneys and the liver, along with causing other harmful side effects.

Turmeric Can Help Prevent and Treat Cancer

Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Studies have also shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumours), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumours in test animals.

Evidence suggests that curcumin may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system. In one study of 44 men with lesions on the colon that sometimes turn cancerous, 4 grams of curcumin per day for 30 days reduced the number of lesions by 40%.

Cancer Research UK reports that a number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.

A 2007 study that combined curcumin with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells in a laboratory showed that the combined treatment killed more cells than the chemotherapy alone.

The American Cancer Society reports similar results- curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread. It has the ability to reduce tumour size and kills cancer cells.

James A. Duke, PhD, said the effectiveness of curcumin against certain cancers compared favourably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.

Curcumin and the Brain

Many common brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease have been linked to decreased levels of a hormone (BDNF) that functions in the brain. Curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF. By doing this, it may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and has been linked with inflammation and oxidative damage. It has also been linked with a buildup of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin reduces inflammation, oxidative damage, and clears these plaques.

Curcumin is also a promising treatment for depression, showing similar improvements in patients as those taking Prozac.

How to Get More Turmeric in Your Diet

All of the above benefits are attributed to curcumin, however some studies have indicated that whole turmeric has more benefits than curcumin in isolation, so keep this in mind when including this powerful spice in your diet.

Add Turmeric to Your Meals

Turmeric can be added to savoury dishes to add flavour and colour as well as health benefits! Add turmeric to curries, meat rubs, marinades, sauces and salad dressings.

Use a Turmeric Supplement

The curcumin content of turmeric is not very high – around 3% by weight – so taking a turmeric extract containing mostly curcumin can help boost effectiveness.

Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream so it’s also recommended that you consume black pepper with it to enhance absorption.

Drink Turmeric Tea

Also known as Golden Milk, turmeric tea is a great way to consume turmeric daily.

Wellness Mama has a great article on turmeric tea which can be found here along with recipes.
SOURCES

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/

https://draxe.com/turmeric-benefits/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6873/25-Reasons-Why-Turmeric-Can-Heal-You.html

https://www.davidwolfe.com/turmeric-golden-milk-before-bed/

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/turmeric.html

http://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/3-reasons-to-eat-turmeric/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306981.php

https://wellnessmama.com/223/turmeric-tea-recipe/

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