Manuka Honey Research&Study


Manuka honey as a medicine

P. C. Molan, Honey Research Unit, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Honey – an ancient remedy “rediscovered” The usage of honey as a medicine is referred to in the most ancient written records, it being prescribed by the physicians of many ancient races of people for a wide variety of ailments (Ransome 1937). It has continued to be used in folk medicine ever since, but in recent times there has been a renaissance of the use of honey in the medical profession: an editorial in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Zumla and Lulat 1989) discussing this expressed the opinion “The therapeutic potential of uncontaminated, pure honey is grossly underutilized. It is widely available in most communities and although the mechanism of action of several of its properties remains obscure and needs further investigation, the time has now come for conventional medicine to lift the blinds off this ‘traditional remedy’ and give it its due recognition.” Some examples of the reports being published are given here:


University Research Confirms Honey as a Healer

Dr Peter Molan, MBE, Associate Professor in Biochemistry at The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, has researched the ancient healing properties of honey since 1981. He has found that honey heals primarily because of a natural hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property present in varying levels in most honeys.
Bees gather nectar from flowers. Back in the hive to help preserve the honey they add an enzyme, glucose oxidase, to the nectar when they are processing it into honey.
When honey comes into contact with body moisture the glucose oxidase enzyme slowly releases the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide. This is released at sufficient levels to be effective against bacteria but not tissue damaging.
In the research laboratory a catalase was added to honey samples to remove the hydrogen peroxide and then the honeys were tested to see if there was still any antibacterial activity.
Some manuka honey samples were found to still have significant antibacterial activity – a non-peroxide antibacterial activity.
This special non-peroxide antibacterial activity is called UMF (Unique Manuka Factor).
But the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial activity in honey can vary widely according to:
1. Honey floral type. Some floral nectars produce a catalase which destroys the glucose oxidase enzyme.
2. How the honey has been handled, especially during processing. The glucose oxidase enzyme is easily destroyed by heat, fluid and sunlight.
3. The hydrogen peroxide can be broken down by a catalase enzyme present in body tissue and serum, so reducing the antibacterial potency when used on a wound or infection.

A Second Natural Antibacterial Agent

Dr Peter Molan and his research team at the Honey Research Unit at New Zealand’s Waikato University found in some specific strains of manuka honey a second natural more powerful and more stable antibacterial property called UMF.

UMF is additional to the hydrogen peroxide activity and gives the honey a wider range of uses and effectiveness.

In laboratory tests the UMF property has been found to be effective against a wide range of bacteria including:

• helicobacter pylori – this bacteria causes most stomach ulcers,

• staphylococcus aureus and escherichia coli – the most common cause of infected wounds and MRSA,

• streptococcus pyogenes – causes sore throats.


The hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property of other honeys (including ordinary manuka honey) is not effective against helicobacter pylori.

The UMF antibacterial property is very stable. It is resistant to heat and more resistant to being broken down by the catalase effect of body fluids than is the hydrogen peroxide activity.


Studies are showing UMF Manuka Honey with high levels of UMF could be very effective in:

• digestive care by helping relieve stomach ulcer symptoms and gastritis

• wound care by assisting the natural healing of skin ulcers, diabetic ulcers, wounds, burns, boils, cracked skin, pressure sores, MRSA, eczema, dermatitis

• relieving sore throats

• oral hygiene as it inhibits acid production and helps prevent cavities developing in teeth.


The UMF antibacterial property is a phytochemical property meaning it is a floral derived property coming from the nectar of some manuka flowers. For this reason it is in only some specific strains of manuka honey.

The hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property is from the enzyme glucose oxidase which the bees have added to the honey.

Honey with high levels of UMF is identified by the name UMF and its level clearly displayed on the front label. The higher the UMF rating the greater the antibacterial strength of the honey. A high UMF activity ensures best results.


What is Special About UMF Rated Manuka Honey?

UMF is a highly beneficial antibacterial property naturally present in some strains of manuka honey.

Studies are showing manuka honey with a high levels of UMF(UMF10 or higher) deals with bacterial infection and helps the natural healing processes and is the preferred honey when selecting honey for its healing qualities.

In his paper, The Unique Properties of Manuka Honey, Dr Peter Molan describes the following unique features which make UMF Manuka Honey a very special honey. The name UMF Manuka Honey indicates the type of manuka honey which has high levels of the UMF healing property.

More powerfully antibacterial.

Laboratory studies have found the UMF antibacterial property to be more effective in vitro than the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property against some types of very resistant bacteria:

Twice as effective as other honey against staphylococcus aureus and eschericihia coli, the most common cause of infected wounds.

Eight times as effective against helicobacter pylori, the bacteria which causes most stomach ulcers.

Significantly more effective than other honey against streptococcus pyogenes which causes sore throats

Double antibacterial potency.


UMF Manuka Honey has both the hydrogen peroxide and the UMF antibacterial properties making it doubly potent.

There is evidence that these two antibacterial components together(hydrogen peroxide and UMF) may have a synergistic action – their combined effect is greater than the sum of the parts – making manuka honey which has the UMF property doubly potent and effective.

No bacteria has been found, in the laboratory, to be resistant to the UMF activity


More stable

The UMF property is very stable and not easily destroyed.

It is resistant to heat and more resistant to being broken down by the catalase effect of body fluids than the hydrogen peroxide activity.

The hydrogen peroxide property is easily destroyed by heat, fluid and sunlight. If a honey without UMF was to be used to treat an infection, the potency of the honey’s antibacterial activity would most likely be reduced because the body tissues and serum contain an enzyme catalase which breaks down hydrogen peroxide. UMF is stable and not affected.

Can diffuse deeply into skin tissues, so that it can reach deep-seated infections


The UMF antibacterial property can penetrate flesh much more deeply than the hydrogen peroxide property – it has been found to be able to penetrate 1cm of pork skin, fat and muscle overnight.

The hydrogen peroxide property does not penetrate tissues.

Not Reliant on Moisture


To activate hydrogen peroxide moisture is required, but too much moisture also destroys it, and the moisture reduces the concentration of the honey

The UMF does not need moisture to activate it, yet it is also quite stable in moisture such as body fluids.

Honey is acidic


The pH of honey is low enough to slow down or prevent the growth of many species of bacteria.

But this acidity may be neutralised if honey is diluted with body fluids. UMF is stable in moisture.

Not Reliant on Oxygen


The glucose oxidase enzyme which produces hydrogen peroxide needs oxygen, but the phytochemical UMF does not.

So it could remain active even when smothered by wound dressings or in wound cavities.




Digestive Care, Stomach Ulcers, Dyspepsia

Laboratory Studies

In laboratory tests the UMF antibacterial property present in UMF Manuka Honey has been found to inhibit, in vitro, the growth of the bacteria helicobacter pylori.

Helicobacter Pylori is believed to cause most stomach ulcers, dyspepsia and peptic ulcers.


The peroxide antibacterial activity of other honeys (including ordinary manuka honey) was found not to be effective against helicobacter pylori.

Studies are also showing that the good bacteria in the stomach are not affected by the UMF property.

Anecdotal Testimonies

Anecdotal testimonies from people in many parts of the world who have used SummerGlow UMF16+ Manuka Honey for stomach ulcers and gastric problems have been very positive.

Many people have reported feeling better after having SummerGlow UMF16+ Manuka Honey.

Some people also found that a very high UMF level (such as UMF16+) is much more effective than lower UMF levels which just meet the UMF standard or manuka honey which does not have UMF.


How to Have SummerGlow UMF16+ Manuka Honey For Digestive Health.


Try having a teaspoon to a tablespoon of the honey three to four times a day, ideally one hour before meals and again at bedtime.

Try to have nothing to drink immediately after having the honey so as not to dilute the honey.

Having the honey on bread, toast or cracker biscuit holds the honey in the stomach for as long as possible.

Many people have experienced good results if they have the honey straight from the teaspoon.

It is pure honey so it does not interfere with regular medications.

Adjust the amount and frequency to suit your own needs. Most people have a generous amount of the honey initially, then reduce it as they feel warranted.

A little discomfort was experienced by a few for a very short period.

SummerGlow UMF16+ Manuka Honey is 100% pure honey so it is safe to have as much as desired and as often as wished (except for diabetics).



Honey effective against MRSA

MRSA (Multi Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

Laboratory Tests

In the laboratory the antibacterial properties of UMF Manuka Honey have been found to be effective against MRSA (staphylococcus aureus) strains of bacteria which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics and sometimes responsible for closing hospital wards.


Hospital Trials

Recent studies and hospital trials are showing the UMF property could be a very effective treatment for MRSA. The Wales University Hospital, under the guidance of Dr Peter Molan, is investigating the effectiveness of honey, and in particular UMF Manuka Honey, on MRSA. The outcomes look very promising.


Published Clinical Reports: by Dunford et al 2000; Betts & Molan 2001; Natarajan et al 2001

Three published clinical case studies showing remarkable results when UMF Manuka Honey has been used on wounds infected with MRSA.

These case studies are explained in the paper Manuka Honey As A Medicineby PC Molan.


Anecdotal Testimonies:

Several people have reported successful results from using SummerGlow UMF16 Manuka Honey on MRSA problems:

1. A woman in her late thirties had a skin ulcer on her foot. It was not healing.Doctors wanted to amputate but the wound developed MRSA so they could not operate. She started applying SummerGlow UMF16 Manuka Honey, and also ate the honey.The MRSA cleared up, so too did the ulcer. She now has her health and her foot.

2.Young lady developed MRSA in the form of boils after a caesarian operation. Conventional treatment was ineffective. She applied SummerGlow UMF16 Manuka Honey to the boils and ate the honey.The infection cleared up. Throughout this time she was able to carry on breast feeding her baby whereas this is a problem when a person is being treated with conventional antibiotics.

The Potential for Using Honey to Treat Wounds Infected with MRSA and VRE by Allen, K.L.; Hutchinson, G.; Molan, P.C. Paper presented at the First World Wound Healing Congress, 10-13 September, 2000 in Melbourne, Australia.

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