It is derived from the manuka tree in southeastern Australia and New Zealand, and it is supposed to have healing properties. But what is it really about? Swide has all the info you need to figure out whether you need it in your pantry.
Novak Djokovic, in his book “Serve to Win,” reveals one of his health obsessions is Manuka honey from New Zealand. Even Scarlett Johansson announced it is one of her beauty secrets (does she need any?): the Manuka Honey is the new healthy food to get. Derived from the manuka tree in southeastern Australia and New Zealand, this honey – which sells for up to $45 for a 500g jar is produced by bees whose hives are placed near flowering wild Manuka bushes that grow mostly on New Zealand’s North Island. Until 1981, when a New Zealand scientist found it had powerful anti-microbial properties, it was classed as low-grade honey and used in cattle feed.
What is unique to it is its “non-peroxide” anti-microbial activity. In recent tests, in fact, conducted at Sydney University’s School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, manuka honey killed every type of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”
Sterilized Manuka has also been shown to help the skin to heal when used in wound dressings. However, there is no clinical evidence that is eating Manuka honey aids health.
Manuka Honey is also considered to be antioxidant and antiviral. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t lose its properties even if diluted or heated. The first ones to spot its curative properties were Maori, and some of their remedies are still used today.
How to do it? Well, it’s hard. The Waikato Honey Research Unit team is refining testing methods to identify and rate the potency of different manuka honey. One certified website we can suggest is the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, and this specialized, Manuka Honey, where you can also buy some. This website also reports the importance of the UMF rating system that guarantees that the honey has been tested and verified for its antibacterial activity by the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Be aware, though, as there are many frauds with many of these types of products, so make sure you are really buying Manuka Honey.
You can use the Manuka Honey orally or topically. Manuka honey can be applied topically to the skin as a balm for skin infections, bites, and cuts. Take a spoonful orally to help soothe the throat and digestive tract. Eat it as you would with any other honey product to maintain general health. The only cons are that the use of Manuka Honey is forbidden to children under 18 months because pasteurized honey is a known source of bacterial spores that produce a toxin that can cause infant botulism.
Below, here is some suggestion for its use.
Honey BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups prepared BBQ sauce (store brand or homemade)
- 1/2 cup manuka honey
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 min.
- Use for chicken, steak, vegetarian patties, lamb, turkey, or venison.
Honey Nut Stir-Fry
- 1 pound chicken or turkey cut in strips
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup orange blossom honey
- 3 Tsp. Bragg’s Amino’s or Soy Sauce
- 1 Tsp. corn starch
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 Tsp. grapeseed oil
- 2 large carrots sliced diagonally
- 2 stalks of celery sliced diagonally
- 1/2 cup nuts (your choice) Mix orange juice, honey,
- Bragg’s Amino’s corn starch and ginger in a small bowl.
Heat 1 Tsp of oil and stir-fry carrots and celery for 3 min and set aside. Heat 1 Tsp. of oil and stir-fry chicken strips for 3-5 min. Return vegetables to skillet, add honey-orange sauce and nuts, heat until sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Serve with wild rice.