Published : 09/27/2019 09:09:58

manuka honey benefits

The therapeutic properties of Manuka honey have been at the center of analysis for years and have been used by various and multiple populations in different parts of the world. There have been many properties of honey reported and supported in scientific literature, including antimicrobial and immune support activities.

Recent studies have proven its healing properties thanks to the very high levels of a natural compound known as METHYLGLIOSSAL (MGO). This MGO has been scientifically proven to be the main substance responsible for the antimicrobial activity of honey and to have great efficacy against resistant antibiotic bacteria, responsible above all for postoperative infections in patients suffering from immunological deficits.
Methylglyoxal is a component that it is naturally formed in the nectar of the Manuka flower ready to be harvested by bees; in manuka honey this remains stable to heat and light and is resistant to enzymatic activity in body fluids.


Tests were performed to isolate the components underlying this activity, both in vitro and in vivo. Honeys from various parts of Australia were compared by evaluating their activity against various and multiple microorganisms, the antibacterial efficacy of a particular Australian honey (deriving from Leptospermum polygafolium), which was compared to honey from New Zealand (derived from L. scoparium). The results of these analyzes of active honeys related to pathogens supported the recording of honey from Capilano Honey Limited as a "drug" with therapeutic properties due to its antimicrobial activity.

There is still a lot ongoing studies to better define the specific agents that are the basis of antimicrobial activity and to evaluate the further and possible properties and benefits of honey, such as for topical local treatments. The fact that honey from the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium) has very high levels of antibacterial load compared to other types of honey has been demonstrated by various studies and authors. This antibacterial activity cannot be explained simply by the presence of the enzyme glucose oxidase, contained in honey produced by bees and which generate hydrogen peroxide when the honey is diluted. This additional contribution to the antibacterial activity referred to "non-peroxid activity" or "UMF", and various tests were performed to identify the components underlying this activity. Preliminary phenomenological studies have shown that the components are stable to light and heat, and are not influenced when the pH is altered to values of 11 during fractionation procedures. Many antibacterial phenolic acids have been identified, such as caffeic acid and ferulic acid, syringic acid and methylinesic acid, flavonoids such as quercetin, isoramnetin and luteolin. The concentration of these three components in honey was not sufficient to explain the antibacterial activity. However, a recently published patent describes the methods for preparing honey with UMF and methods for preparing UMF containing fractions of honey without a thorough analysis of the chemical contents. Based on the results, it was demonstrated for the first time and without any ambiguity that the MGO is directly responsible for the antibacterial activity of Manuka honey.

In conclusion, this work has demonstrated the presence of MGO in honey Manuka from Australia (L. scoparium). MGO was identified as a bioactive component of the antibacterial activity of the honey samples taken into consideration.

by Donatella Marra - University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

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