Fascinating overview of all the research that’s been done on manuka honey by the University of Waikato -
For the past 28 years honey researchers at the University of Waikato have been investigating what many local New Zealanders have accepted as common wisdom: our local manuka honey is a superior treatment for wound infections. Manuka honey is gathered in New Zealand from the manuka bush, Leptospermum scoparium, which grows uncultivated throughout the country. (More recently, as a result of systematic screening of Australian honeys, a honey with the same properties has been found to be produced from Leptospermum polygalifolium, which grows uncultivated in a few parts of Australlia – this is called “jellybush” honey.)
After the results of this work became known through publications in scientific journals, many people contacted the Honey Research Unit to find out what is so special about Active Manuka Honey. The pertinent facts are:
- All honeys have an antibacterial activity, due primarily to hydrogen peroxide formed in a “slow-release” manner by the enzyme glucose oxidase present in honey, which can vary widely in potency. Some honeys are no more antibacterial than sugar, while others can be diluted more than 100-fold and still halt the growth of bacteria. The difference in potency of antibacterial activity found among the different honeys is more than 100-fold.
- Manuka honey (and some of its Australian equivalent) contains a high level of additional, non-peroxide, antibacterial components. Although some other types of honey have been reported to have some non-peroxide antibacterial activity, this is at a very low level. The high level of non-peroxide activity found in honey produced from Leptospermum species is unique.