Manuka honey is created when bees collect pollen from the flowers of the manuka bush. The manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium) is part of the same family the tea tree. Honey is a fragrant, sweet, sticky liquid made by honeybees.
Manuka honey contains methylglyoxal derived from plants, and it is often referred to as the ‘manuka factor’, which is known to give additional antibacterial benefits.
Throughout time, honey has primarily been used as a sweetener, but its beneficial effects, both on human health and as a topical treatment, were soon discovered.
Honey has been used as a skin ointment for over 2000 years, and was often used to lighten skin and hair, because it contains an enzyme that produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide when diluted. This action is responsible for much of honey’s antibacterial effect and was called ‘inhibine’ before it was identified as hydrogen peroxide.
The hydrogen peroxide content is negligibly active in pure, undiluted honey, but when diluted in water, it becomes more active and can serve almost like a mild, slow-release antiseptic. The other phytochemical substances in honey buffer the antibacterial action and make this a very safe way to help skin heal itself.
Honey has been successfully used to treat problematic skin conditions such as diabetic ulcers and it is a traditional remedy for infected acne spots. Honey is also being investigated in the fight against the so-called super-bug MRSA.
Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties work with oregano oil in 13 Soap (Unlucky for Dirt), which thoroughly cleanses the hands.