You’ve undoubtedly added a spoonful of honey to your tea or acai bowl as a natural sweetener, but a special type of the honey is becoming increasingly popular in the wellness community. Manuka honey, a kind of honey that’s produced in New Zealand, comes from the Manuka tree.
While Manuka honey is made by bees like other honey types, Manuka honey is special because it contains higher concentrations of antibacterial agents, explains Beth Lipton, a recipe developer, natural-foods chef, food writer, and health coach. “It’s been found to help fight staph infections, treat burns and wounds, fight off tooth decay, and battle a host of stomach ailments,” she says of the superfood.
Research has also shown that Manuka honey can reduce inflammation in rats with inflammatory bowel disease and reduce tumors in mice with melanoma, notes Cynthia Sass, RD, CSSD, a New York City-based sports nutritionist.
It’s important to note that people with diabetes or blood sugar problems and babies shouldn’t use Manuka honey because of its sugar content and viscosity. “There are also possible interactions with medicines, including blood thinners, and seizure and chemotherapy drugs,” says Sass.
Like other types of honey, Manuka honey can be easily added to a person’s diet so they can enjoy the health benefits of this buzzy ingredient. What’s more, Manuka honey can be used topically as a beauty and skincare treatment thanks to its antimicrobial properties. You can purchase Manuka honey at your local natural foods store or online from Thrive Market or Amazon. Just be sure to choose a honey that is labelled as “raw” or “unpasteurized” to reap its full benefits.
Here are four ways you can implement the superfood into your wellness routine and lifestyle on a regular basis.
In energy bites
“Blend it with nut butter and spices into raw energy bites,” suggests Lipton. Because Manuka honey is thicker than other types of honey, it acts as a great binding agent when mixed together with your favorite nut butter, dried fruits, and nuts. Just throw everything into a food processor to create faux dough you can form into bite-size , ball-shaped snacks.
As a topping
Sass says Manuka honey can be taken right off the spoon to receive its anti-inflammatory benefits. To spice up your honey fix, heat up a dollop of the stuff in the microwave and drizzle it over a sweet potato for a sweet side dish or snack. You can also drizzle it into your favorite acai bowl, smoothie recipe, or a cup of hot or cold tea. Manuka honey can lose its benefits if heated over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, says Lipton, so be cautious when adding it to any hot items like tea.
As a sore throat treatment
If you have a dry and scratchy throat from a cold, choose Manuka honey instead of your usual throat lozenges, which can be full of added sugar. Manuka honey is a natural source of sugar and its thick consistency can easily soothe your aching throat. Just grab some straight off of the spoon for a quick fix.
In a face mask
When used topically, Manuka honey has been shown to heal wounds, making it the perfect addition to your skincare regimen. To use Manuka honey as a face mask, simply apply a thin layer over your face and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. You can add other ingredients, like a few drops of essential oil for a relaxing scent or lemon juice for vitamin C, before applying the honey, if you wish.