Manuka honey is made by the European honey bee just like most varieties of honey. Honey has been known for thousands of years to hold medicinal properties as it works like a simple antibiotic. Honey has been used in wound care for centuries, as the honey provides an airtight barrier which stops many of the air born nasties from infecting open wounds.

It was this property that led Professor Peter Molan to investigate the medicinal properties of a range of honeys back in 1980’s. One of the Peter Molan’s students had conducted an experiment using Staphylococcus aureus or Staph as its commonly known, to test how a variety of honeys’ worked against this well-known bacteria. Staph is a particular nasty bacterium, as it has the ability to develop resistance to antibiotics over time.

When Peter Molan ran further tests, one honey stood out as having a strong and effective non-peroxide effect on Staph. That honey was manuka. It was not until 26 years later, in 2008 that the cause of this antibiotic activity of manuka honey was discovered. A group of German scientists in Dresden, led by professor Thomas Henle discovered that it was Methylglyoxal or MGO that was the reason for Manuka Honey’s special antibiotic activity. Questions still remained however.

How did the MGO get into the manuka honey?

The flower’s nectar certainly had no MGO and another intriguing fact was that older manuka honey had a significantly higher MGO content than honey recently harvested from the hive. Researchers went to work and using some clever chemistry and a machine called a high-performance liquid chromatograph, they discovered that Manuka Honey not only had high levels of MGO, but also other chemicals. Using a nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, they determined that this other chemical was dihydroxyacetone or DHA.

When the scientists went back and tested the nectar from the flowers of the Manuka tree, they found DHA in abundance.

So how does DHA from nectar of flowers of the manuka tree turn into MGO in honey?

Well that is the secret sauce the bees do oh so well. The special enzymes that exist in the stomach of the honey bee mixes with the nectar harvested by the bees. As this nectar is passed from foraging bees (who collect nectar pollen and water) to nurse bees who deposit this liquid into the comb, it gradually changes its molecular structure from DHA to MGO. Over time the bees reduce the moisture content of this liquid to less than 18% and then cap the liquid that we now call honey with wax. This process of DHA converting to MGO continues for a further 12 months after humans harvest the honey, at which point the level of DHA has reduced and stabilised and the level of MGO has increased and also stabilised.

Scientists have known about MGO for a long time. It is a laboratory generated chemical that is very toxic to human consumption. What the bees have been able to do with natures chemistry set is create a process that is entirely natural and produce a powerful antibiotic that is not toxic for human consumption. That is magic of Manuka Honey.

UseMGO Range Mg per Kg
Very high antibacterial activity. Superior healing properties514 to 829+
High antibacterial activity. Good healing properties263 to 514+
Medium level activity. Suitable for maintaining good health83 to 263+
Low level activity. Comparable to normal honey.0 to 83+

Potential Medical Benefits of King Island Pure Manuka

Stomach issues

Manuka honey can help with a range of stomach issue including small intestine bacterial overgrowth, low stomach acid and acid reflux. Manuka Honey helps reduce harmful bacteria in the stomach and rebalances your digestive system.

Treats Skin conditions

There is scientific evidence to support that manuka honey helps reduce acne, reduces eczema and heal open wounds and rashes.

Combats resistant infections

The over use of antibiotics such as penicillin has created resistance in some bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli (E coli). These virulent bugs are highly contagious. To date Manuka Honey has slowed and stopped the growth and spread of Staphylococcus aureus and E coli and is now widely used in hospitals.

Oral health

Some bacteria are hard to treat as they exist in biofilms. One of the most common biofilms is plaque that bacteria produce on teeth, which attacks the enamel and causes tooth decay. Manuka Honey has been found to reduce plaque from sticking to our teeth which helps in reducing tooth decay.

Treat Burns & Ulcers

First and second degree burns, including sunburn have a high risk of infection. Manuka Honey has been shown to improve wound healing in acute cases, reduce pain and decrease inflammation.

Sore Throats

Manuka Honey can coat your throat and reduce swelling which makes swallowing vital liquids easier. Manuka Honey helps relax and open up the muscles of the throat. Manuka Honey has also been demonstrated to reduce the growth of Strep bacteria. The National Cancer Society has recently added Manuka Honey as a recommendation for treating post chemo sore throat.

Researchers have found that Manuka Honey can reduce upper respiratory infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia spp are two of the more common bacteria that people suffering cystic fibrosis have. Manuka Honey has shown to be effective for these bacteria and researchers conclude Manuka Honey may play and important part in treating these infections.


Manuka Honey may be used to reduce the symptoms and duration of seasonal allergies. Manuka Honey can help reduce hay fever and the need for antihistamines.

Beauty Regime

Applying Manuka Honey to your hair and skin can help improve the lustre of both. Mixing Manuka Honey into hair conditioner can leave your hair feeling softer and silkier. Manuka Honey is widely used as a hydrating face mask on tender skin. The antioxidant compounds reduce damaged skin and the antibacterial properties reduce irritation.

Promote restful sleep

Adding Manuka Honey to milk or tea at bedtime can boost your body’s natural melatonin production. This sleep inducing hormone helps slowly reduce glycogen to your cells while you sleep. It allows the repair of daily damage and calming brain function. Certain conditions such as sleep apnea (snoring), diabetes heart disease and high blood pressure all tend to worsen with poor sleep hygiene.

While Manuka Honey is not a cure for all these conditions, it can assist with giving you a better nights sleep which helps your body to heal and regenerate naturally.

In Summary

King Island Pure Manuka is a high-grade medicinal honey that should assist in treating many of the common medical ailments mentioned above. Of course, with further research other medical uses of Manuka honey maybe uncovered, which will enhance its reputation as one of natures wonderful healing remedies.

I will leave you with this famous quote often attributed to Hippocrates, the Greek founder of modern medicine, which sums up why we should all benefit from making Manuka Honey as part of your daily balanced diet.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”