My little guy has had a cough for a few weeks now, nothing serious, but it’s there and it won’t go away. We have tried some natural cough syrups, expectorants, and the like, to no avail.
I took him in to see his Pediatrician and the Doc said he has some seasonal allergies and prescribed him Zyrtec and also said he might have a little bronchitis type bacteria in his chest and wanted to give him a round of antibiotics. If you’re anything like me, antibiotics are the last thing I want to give my child if I have other options. They strip the gut of healthy bacteria needed for immunity, among other things, and you can become resistant to antibiotics over time and need stronger doses each time. This isn’t to say antibiotics are never to be used, but for something he barely had, I wanted to exercise my right to choose something else. In my holistic mind I knew that manuka honey could be used instead of the antibiotics and a natural allergy med could be used in replace of the Zyrtec, so I opted to pick up those two items instead of filling his prescription (gasp!). One day (maybe when our insurance covers it?) I will just take him to a Naturopath!
When I got home I went to look into manuka honey a little more to ensure I was on the right track from what I’ve learned through school and sure enough, manuka honey is used for a host of things, one being bronchitis. Also, I went to look up Zyrtec and found a thread of moms complaining that it gave their kids negative behavior as a side effect. No, thanks.
Instead of Zyrtec (allergy medicine), I went for these options instead:
And instead of antibiotics, I chose this:
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is raw, untreated, unpasteurized honey from New Zealand. Bees eat from the nectar of the manuka bush and its flowers. The manuka bush is a relative of the tea tree and the cool thing about the tea tree is its oil, it is a natural antiseptic, as well as antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Through enzymes, all honey contains the ability to produce hydrogen peroxide (antibacterial), the deal is as soon as it hits light or heat, these properties are destroyed. Manuka honey has these same properties as well as non-hydrogen peroxide antibacterial activity that isn’t destroyed by light or heat. The main scientist who studied manuka honey, Dr. Peter Molan, called this the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). Dr. Molan is a Senior Lecturer/Professor at the Biochemistry Department at Waikato University, New Zealand and has been studying the scientific factors of honey for over 20 years. At the time of discovering this Unique Manuka Factor in 1981, he didn’t know exactly what it was, only that this particular kind of raw honey had higher levels of antibacterial, antiviral properties than other honeys. In 2008 it was discovered by German Chemist, Thomas Henle, Head of the Institute of Food Chemistry at the Technical University in Dresden, Germany, the UMF is actually a substance called Methylglyoxal and is responsible for manuka honey’s antimicrobial content.
Manuka Honey Is Medicinal & Healing
Manuka Honey, Horses & Infected Wounds
I took an herbal first aid class from The Wellspring School of Healing Arts and in it, the owner of the school, Rylen, talked about manuka honey’s healing properties and its effects on wounds. She told stories of horse wounds in particular and how they heal faster when manuka honey is applied. It is a proven method for reducing wound healing time in humans and animals over conventional medicine.
“A simple application of honey to horses’ leg wounds results in smaller wound sizes and faster healing time, University of Sydney researchers have found.” While this is not really a surprise, since similar research and trials with wounds on people has shown the healing benefits of using medical grade manuka honey, this is the first time a clinical trial has been done on horses.
In humans the use of medical grade manuka honey has proven to be effective in treating hard to heal wounds and cases such as severe leg ulcers. There has also been many cases of people using this honey on wounds on their horses, with the same good healing effects. It is nice to now have this backed up with a University led clinical trial. “Wounds in horses, particularly leg wounds, have long healing periods. But we found applying a manuka honey gel throughout healing led to 27 percent faster healing times,” said lead researcher Dr Andrea Bischofberger.”
“Wounds with manuka honey leads to healthier tissue regrowth.” “Wounds treated with manuka also showed improved new blood vessel and skin surface growth compared to control wounds,” Dr Bischofberger added. -Dr Andrea Bischofberger, University of Sydney
Cool, horse wound story from the Veterinary Practice news here.
The Many Uses for Manuka Honey
Not only is it incredible for healing wounds and cuts, but because it is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, it can be used on a host of external and internal ailments.
- Acne (you can use it as a face mask for 30 min., then rinse)
- Athlete’s Foot
- Pressure ulcers
- Open wounds
- Insect bites
- Bed sores
- External inflammation (Arthritis)
- Sore throat
- Stomach ulcers (actually kills H. Pylori bacteria that causes internal ulcers)
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Acid Reflux
Take 1 tsp. on an empty stomach or in-between meals every few hrs. for internal use. For a sore throat, you can take 1 tsp. at a time throughout the day or dissolve a tsp. or more in boiling water and/or add it to a tea and take it that way. Because the Methlyglyoxal won’t break down with heat or light, the antimicrobial properties are left intact. It’s best to take on an empty stomach to maximize the benefits in your gut, but you can always spread it on toast, too!
What Kind of Manuka Honey Should I Buy?
The higher the UMF # the stronger the antimicrobial properties. I would personally choose a manuka honey with a UMF of 15+ or higher. I sent the one I first purchased at New Seasons with the 12+ back and got one with 20+ on Amazon. I think 15+ is fine, Amazon just didn’t have the two-day option for that one and I wanted it for my kiddo sooner than later so I got the 20+. These are the brands from New Zealand that supposedly can be trusted. Manuka honey should be organic from New Zealand automatically, but do your research and pick one you feel most comfortable with. 🙂
NOT These Brands
More about Wedderspoon here.
*Update: Apparently the above are crap brands. Well, maybe not that, but they are not UMF certified meaning you might not be getting the active ingredient in its full strength and you’ll be paying a pretty penny for it. The list of UMF certified brands can be found here.
The Trader Joe’s Manuka is supplied by Cambridge Bee Products, which is on the licensing list and more affordable than some of the other brands. Thank you, Gia Health Blog.
A Word of Caution
I am not a medical doctor and in no way am I suggesting you use manuka honey over antibiotics if you think antibiotics are necessary. This is what I chose for my son for this specific situation. I alway say do your own research, speak to your own healthcare provider(s) and always make an informed decision when it comes to, well…anything for that matter, medical or not. Also:
- Honey should never be given to babies under 12 months
- It may cause a rise in blood sugar if you are diabetic (it is still honey), so contact your doctor
- It can interfere with some chemotherapy drugs, speak to your doctor before use
I hope you look into manuka honey for your own family and add it to your medicine cabinet. It’s some great stuff!
This post is also linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer!
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