I usually only write about Chinese herbs but I’m making an exception today. This is exception is due to the fact that raw manuka honey is derived from a very note worthy medicinal plant. I’m speaking of course about the Tea Tree plant. Native to New Zealand, this plant is also the source of Tea Tree Oil, which deserves a blog all its own. (Although admittedly not a Chinese herb.)
What Is so Great About Manuka ?
Pure Manuka honey has a thousand uses. An energy boosting and savory sweet treat is usually the first use that comes to mind.
But first, how do we get bees to make honey from only Manuka flowers?
I asked a native New Zealand bee expert to explained the process to me. I found it fascinating so I will share. Manuka flowers are the first to arrive in the Spring time. The local bees have no other source of pollen for about a month or slightly longer depending on the weather. Therefore, “Pure Manuka Honey” is made by the bees for only a short time, until all the other flowering pollen sources bloom.
This is one reason it is quite expensive. Pure Manuka honey can only be made for about 30-45 days each year. Once the other pollen sources bloom, even though the bees might still be feasting on Tea Tree flowers, their honey will be mixed with other pollinating plants.
The Science Behind Manuka Honey
Manuka honey has plenty of science to back up claims. Scientistst at the University of Sydney’s School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences have found Manuka honey has some amazing curative properties. A quick Pub-Med search brings up at least 80 various studies and publications of Manuka for wounds, anti-inflammatory, staphylococcus, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and the list goes on and on. Research is showing Manuka honey kills every type of bacteria scientists have thrown at it, even the super bugs plaguing the world today which have become antibiotic resistant.
“Professor Dee Carter is one of the research team that made the discovery. She said a compound in the honey called methylglyoxal is the key ingredient to the effectiveness of the honey. However, methylglyoxal on its own is toxic but when it combines with what are, as yet, unknown compounds it causes “multi-system failure” in bacteria.”
Cultural Wisdom Knew Before Modern Science
Many cultures around the world have their own cure-alls. Before the advent of antibiotics, herbs, minerals and honey were used for thousands of years very successfully for all kinds of healing. Manuka is one of these local cure all’s. I always find it exciting when science proves what thousands of years of history has known. Manuka honey, similar to Chinese herbs, have been providing “Wellness For Centuries” (which happens to be our motto at Pacific Herbs).
You Can Use Manuka to Help Eliminate Sugar Cravings.
Are you a sugar junkie. Try this trick. Put 1/4 tsp Manuka honey under your tongue when you are craving sugar and wait 20 minutes. Repeat if craving return. For those sugar addicts, this may have to be repeated several times the first day they try it. But don’t give up. Do this simple trick for 3 days straight and watch your sugar cravings subside dramatically.
The Reason is Simple
The bees have added a special enzyme to the nectar that divides the sucrose into glucose and fructose — two simple sugars for our bodies can absorb directly. Real Manuka is easily adsorbed through your mouths mucous membranes and quickly enters your blood stream. This satisfies your insulin receptors who are sending the sugar craving messages. (BTW I’ve tried this with other honey’s and just doesn’t work. Splurge and get the real Manuka if beating sugar cravings is the goal.)
By Cathy Margolin, Dipl Oriental Medicine, L.Ac., Founder of Pacific Herbs.