Manuka Honey Is One of the Most Versatile Products You Can Own — Here's Why
You've probably spotted Manuka honey on the shelves of your favorite health-food markets and in the ingredients lists of skin-care products, but what actually is it? And what justifies the product's high price tag? Native to New Zealand, Manuka honey is sourced from the nectar of the country's Manuka flower. It's believed to have a wide range of benefits that stretch beyond its use as a natural sweetener for your morning yogurt — although that's definitely a great (and tasty) option.
Unlike other traditional clover and wildflower honeys, its chemical makeup has Methylglyoxal (MGO), a plant compound with natural antibacterial properties. To ensure that you're getting the most potent Manuka honey on the market, look out for a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) on the label. This rating ensures that the product meets the gold standard — a verification that's awarded by the New Zealand government to weed out real Manuka honeys from fakes. Think of the rating system like this: a higher UMF number typically is used for medicinal benefits, like colds and coughs, while a lower UMF is more for everyday use (i.e. a daily immunity supplement).
If you're not convinced to add Manuka honey to your pantry yet, scroll through to discover the far-reaching uses — from skin care to fitness — of this powerhouse ingredient.
It Helps Provide Daily Immune Support
Manuka honey contains more than 2,000 different plant compounds, which is more than 20 times the amount that's found in other clover honeys. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties are completely natural, too. The potent healing properties derived from the plant can provide you with daily support for your immune system. You don't need much to reap Manuka honey's immunity benefits — just a teaspoon or two in your morning tea.
It Can Soothe Coughs
It's no secret generations have used honey as a natural remedy for coughs and colds. In fact, the Maori people of New Zealand have sourced the Manuka flower specifically for its medicinal benefits for centuries. They use every part of the plant, from the bark to the gum, to help treat colds, skin conditions, and infections. And with winter approaching, now's the time to stock up on some cold-fighting essentials. Choose a Comvita Manuka Honey with a higher UMF rating to really reap all the potential benefits of this natural product.
It Helps Give You a Pre-Workout Energy Boost
Pre-workout drinks can help aid your endurance during a workout or simply give you the push you need to get up and get moving. But if you favor natural sources of fuel over powdered supplements, opt for a pre-workout snack made with Manuka honey. Mix Greek yogurt with honey and a dollop of peanut butter, drizzle some Manuka on a few slices of banana, or add it to your favorite smoothie for an on-the-go option. The natural sugars combined with B vitamins and amino acids give your body energy to fuel your workouts.
It Can Be Used as a Skin-Care Ingredient
Thanks to its special properties, Manuka honey can help clear away bacteria, making it an ideal skin-care ingredient. Manuka honey can do it all: it can help calm, exfoliate, clarify, and moisturize skin. You can put the honey directly onto your skin, but depending on your skin's sensitivity, you may want to dilute it with a few drops of warm water before application. For those who love a DIY face mask, simply add a spoonful of Manuka honey to your go-to recipe or use it as a spot treatment for stubborn pimples.
It's a Natural Sweetener
Aside from its many wellness advantages, Manuka honey can be used just like ordinary honey as a natural sweetener for your favorite foods. The product's overall flavor profile is actually more floral than traditional honeys, which means you can easily elevate any dish in complexity. For cooking, you'll want to reach for a honey with a lower UMF rating or a multifloral blend — that way, the potency doesn't overpower the overall taste of your dish. There are so many seasonal dishes that center around honey. Think: roasted brussels sprouts with honey-miso dressing, caramelized figs with honey, or naan and feta drizzled with honey — the perfect bite.