Wednesday 27 January 2010

Health and Fitness: Manuka Honey (1st Suggested Cure for Mouth Ulcers)

One of the methods that works for me is taking honey, but not just any kind of honey, it has to be a type of honey called Manuka Honey AND it must come with something called the UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor. Many companies such as Comvita, sell Manuka honey at various UMF. In Hong Kong, the most commonly seen UMF numbers start from UMF5+, to UMF8+, 10+, 12+, 15+, 20+ or even higher. The price also increases with the value of the UMF.

The best Manuka honey comes from New Zealand, as it comes from the bees which feed on the flowers of the Manuka Bush, also known as the "Tea Tree", which produces honey that has anti-bacterial properties. [1]

Here I have a great video that explains the difference:

All honeys contain a chemical called Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) which provides the anti-bacteria properties of honey. However, Manuka Honeys with UMF produce a much better anti-bacterial activity and are much more stable and effective even in stringent conditions than the peroxide honeys. [2]

The non-peroxide antibacterial activity of Manuka honey is reported as the equivalent concentration of phenol with the same level of antibacterial activity. (For example, an Active Manuka Honey rated as 10 for its non-peroxide antibacterial activity will kill Staph. aureus as effectively as will a 10% phenol solution.)[3]

In short, the higher the UMF, the stronger the anti-bacterial strength the Manuka honey has, which means that the honey has higher strength to fight off bacteria.

In January 2008 Professor Thomas Henle, University of Dresden (Germany) identified methylglyoxal as the active compound in Manuka honey. This is now shown on products as MGO Manuka honey. E.g. MGO 100 represents 100 mg of methylglyoxal per kilogram.[4] Thus, you might also find MGO as an alternative name for UMF now in the market.

According to my lip-biting experience, I find UMF15+ or higher most effective and any honeys lower than UMF15+ are useless in healing my mouth ulcers, but any honeys above UMF10+ still show effectiveness in soothing my sore throat and protecting me from flu, cold and cough.

Generally, I take the honey 2 times a day, once before breakfast and once before sleep, and I swallow it slowly, allowing it to have more time to kill the bacteria in my mouth, thus curing the mouth ulcers.

Here I have a video of the famous Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins explaining how she uses Manuka Honey to recover her voice:

When purchasing UMF Manuka Honey, I don't go for brands, I go for price, so I will only get them when they are on sale. They are generally on sale in large supermarkets and a 50ml Manuka Honey of UMF15+ generally costs around $200.

Comvita is usually the one I never buy because they are too expensive.