We ask this question because manuka honey contains MGO. So, is manuka honey safe? What is MGO anyway?
MGO comes from Methylglyoxal and is a substance belonging to dicarbonyl group (a group of toxic substances). Manuka honey contains very high levels of this substance (over 1,000 ppm), hence the concern regarding its safety.
How toxic is MGO?
MGO is the main precursor to Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs)(wikipedia link). These are harmful compounds that can affect nearly every type of cell and molecule in the body and are thought to be one factor in aging and in some age-related chronic diseases. These substances can lead to the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, eye cataracts, cancer and diabetes. They are also believed to play a causative role in the blood-vessel complications of diabetes mellitus. AGEs speed up oxidative damage to cells and alters their normal behavior.
It is also true, that our body can detoxify this compound with the glyoxalase system. This enzyme system exits in any living creature, from the simplest life forms to mammals. Which should again, makes us realize the importance of detoxification of MGO.
Normally our body can detoxify these compounds, when they are found in some limited quantities. But our today lifestyle is working against our health, and we need to detoxify more and more MGO. Among others. Can we afford to add some other huge quantities of MGO from manuka honey? We need to consider the possible good effects as well as the negative ones very well.
If you want to buy manuka honey but don’t understand the grades, please read this article first:
Deciphering manuka honey: UMF15+, MGO400, 24+ Bio Active, KFactor16, TA. And LOTS OF FRAUDS.
What contains MGO?
• Methylglyoxal is present in many foods and drinks, including coffee, and is produced during glycolysis and sugar fermentation. There is more MGO especially in roasted instant coffees, decofeinized or brewed coffee and soya sauce. Many other foods also contain MGO, (but less than 10 ppm, even in bread at 0.5 ppm or beer at 0.03 – 1 1 ppm), but that is a much smaller percent. Some manuka honeys have over 1000 ppm, and this increases in time (as shown below). So there cannot actually be a comparison.
• It is produced by many strains of bacteria present in the intestinal tract.
• It is also present in tobacco smoke.
Some dietary glycation compounds in foods may pose a health risk. Others, such as the so-called melanoidins in coffee, may also exert beneficial effects by inhibition of tumour-related enzymes. (according to professor Henle)
What do the studies say about MGO alone?
The Interantional Agency for Reasearch on Cancer, in its monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, published in Volume 51, METHYLGLYOXAL, the laboratory tests done in order to decipher MGO’s effect.
The results said the following:
Methylglyoxal induced sister chromatid exchange, chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei in cultured human cells. It induced sister chromatid exchange and gene mutations in cultured mammalian cells. ln yeast, it increased the frequencies of reverse mutations and of mitotIc gene conversion. ln prokaryotes, methylglyoxal was mutagenic in the absence of an exogenous metabolic system. Methylglyoxal forms adducts with guanine bases and nucleic acids. (brrr…)
There are no data on the carcinogenicity in humans of methylglyoxal (MGO). There is inadequate evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of methylglyoxal.
Yet, these studies are done on MGO alone, and not in a honey combination. Honey is not only methylglyoxal, but a lot of other factors, and some of them still need to be identified and understood.
MGO is bad for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
The study from 2014 Methylglyoxal Induces Systemic Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, by Shuang Zhang et al. from China, nalyzed the effect on MGO on rats. The results showed that MGO induced all symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, especially the form associated with diarrhea.
So, besides having a higher fructose content – which in IBS patients will ferment and lead to worse symptoms, manuka honey also contains a high amount of MGO which alone produces IBS. The best advice would be not to take it.
further reading: Can I have honey in IBS?
MGO is bad for people with diabetes.
High MGO levels are already found in diabetic patients, and are thought to be due to excess blood sugar.
In the medical world methylglyoxal and AGEs are called dicarbonyl stressors and considered pathogenesis factors in diabetes, responsible for many other complications. Diabetics even take a drug meant to lower the levels of MGO; supplementation with this substance from manuka honey would be detrimental.
Yet, application of manuka honey on diabetic foot ulcers is safe and very effective.
To see the whole process and what recent studies have discovered, please read Can diabetics eat MANUKA HONEY?
According to latest research, besides diabetes there are other conditions that would impose a restriction from eating manuka honey: renal failure, hypertension and sepsis.
What do the lab studies say about MGO in Manuka Honey?
Professor Dee Carter says that MGO binds to protein and DNA, and is very toxic to human cells when it’s not contained in honey. When it is contained in honey it will not damage human cells, but still kill bacterial cells. And that is still a mystery scientists have to elucidate. She says “methylglyoxal on its own is toxic, but when it combines with what are, as yet, unknown compounds, it causes “multi-system failure” in bacteria.”
Here is a short list of some of the bacteria and viruses that Methylglyoxal has been shown to kill when tested in a lab environment:
Helicobacter pylori – the bacterium known to cause many stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers
Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA – also known as the super-bug for its high level of resistance to most available antibiotics
Escherichia coli (E. Coli) – known to cause serious food poisoning
Streptococcus pyogenes – a virus that causes sore throats
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium found in the stomach, which may affect up to half the world’s population.
While it is frequently without symptoms, under certain conditions causes chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers. It is also linked to development of duodenal ulcers and stomach cancer.
And because the antibiotics have often failed in killing the bacteria, manuka honey has been tested. Professor Henle’s studies has showed that manuka honey with high levels of methylglyoxal is stable in the stomach and, therefore, may offer a promising cure and improved gastrointestinal health. YET,
Clinical trials say somethig else:
“Twelve non-diabetic patients with positive CLO tests but normal gastroscopies were studied. Active H. pylori infection was confirmed with 14C urea breath tests. Six patients were treated with a tablespoon of manuka honey 4 times a day for 2 weeks and 6 were treated with honey and omeprazole 20 mg twice a day for the same period. The batch of manuka honey used possessed non-peroxide antibacterial activity equivalent to 11.7% phenol. All 12 patients remained positive for 14C urea breath tests. It is concluded that manuka honey is ineffective at eradicating H. pylori.” (source: http://www.airborne.co.nz/manukaantibacterial.shtml#Pylori2)
While its efficiency was very well proven IN VITRO, the clinical trials in New Zealand, and subsequently in UK, showed that manuka honey failed to be effective against Helicobacter pylori in the stomach.
Further research is needed, with different dosage rates, before any claims of curing stomach ulcers can be made.
Other research, as the one described here: How to kill antibiotic resistant demonstrate that according to other lab studies, manuka honey was able to 100% eradicate bacteria when in a single form, but the percent was of only 62% in eradicating MRSA biofilm forms.
• A study that says manuka honey UMF20+ is safe if a healthy person ingests 20 g/day for 4 weeks in a row
In 2009, The British Journal of Nutrition was publishing a clinical trial made in New Zealand, demonstrating the safety of manuka honey UMF 20+ on healthy individuals. They use Manuka honey UMF 20+ and multifloral honey (for comparison), both from Comvita.
Neither of them changed the levels of IgE or CML, or altered the microflora of the gut. It was thus confirmed that manuka honey UMF 20+ is safe for ingestion, but it also showed no beneficial effects on lower gut bacterial levels. (!!!)
It is important to add that the patients were given only 20 g (1Tablespoon) of manuka honey per day, taken half in the morning and half in the evening, and that the trial lasted for 12 weeks like this:
2 weeks a diet completely without any type of honey
4 weeks of manuka honey (20g/day)
2 weeks washout (no honey)
4 weeks of manuka honey (20g/day).
The persons in the trial were all healthy. This is important to know, because someone with an unbalanced state of health or under specific medication can react differently. When a body is already healthy, honey does not modify anything. Why break the balance?
Anyway, more clinical trials, are to be done, with different manukas and different other honeys.
MGO quantities in manuka honey increase over time! OMG!
A different research, published in 2009, made at Waikato University in New Zealand, has shown that MGO in manuka honey is derived from dihydroxyacetone (DHA). A substance that can be found in different quantities in the flowers of some L. scoparium sub species.
To quote from the research: “All the manuka nectars contained dihydroxyacetone (DHA) but in varying amounts” and “…. there is variation in the amount of dihydroxyacetone in the nectar and that certain manuka trees have the potential to produce honeys with high nonperoxide antibacterial activity, whereas others do not.”
Ii was also showed that MGO increases over time, as DHA decays into MGO as we can see from the graphic presented here (and the picture). MGO doubled in concentration in the first month of storage and many tripled in under 4 months of storage.
(at these large quantities, will the yet-unknown compounds of honey be able to combine with MGO and keep it from intoxicating us?)
In 2011 a research made in Australia (home of the manuka bushes) found DHA/MGO in honey, from 4 manuka species and it seems that many others of the over 80 species of manukas will contain DHA/MGO. How can we know of what sub-species of manuka our jar of honey is made of? (according to airborne.co.nz)
Some researchers say that when found in manuka honey MGO is safe.
On February 2012, Professor Henle from the Institute of Food Chemisty, Technical University of Dresden, said that dietary methylglyoxal in manuka honey is stable under the conditions of the mouth, throat and stomach, where it can kill bugs that cause infection. When MGO reaches the small and large intestine, it is rapidly degraded into lactic acid.
We know it does that, because our defense system has its counterattack enzymes, but the question is, can they neutralize such a massive quantity of MGO?
Professor Henle says: “The findings show unambiguously that methylglyoxal in manuka honey is not absorbed into the body and does not pose a dietary risk for consumers. Manuka honey is safe to eat – people can eat as much as they like, whenever they like.” (yet, the quantity of MGO is not mentioned. And this toxic component can range in manuka honey from zero to over 1200, even 1750 mg/kg in berringa honey.).
When is manuka honey safe for sure?
When it is used externally. On any type of skin damage, even on complexion (diluted in special masks). Or, as gargling solution, or nasal sprays to combat the golden staph.
Amazon offers such a nasal spray which was proved to be safe on mucosa (in the picture). Please read Can manuka honey treat sinus infection? Are there some other natural alternatives?
Manuka honey with UMF5+ up to 10+ is safe for daily ingestion, alone or with your meals. Yet, do not exceed the recommended dose for any honey, of 1g/kg bw/day.
We discussed here the safety of eating this type of honey, and not about using it externally.
Manuka honey, with a high content of MGO, was proved to be effective in killing potential bacteria associated with mouth, neck and stomach, in all studies made IN VITRO. Yet, there are some clinical trials that failed. More research is needed to clear if and how this honey should be taken, and what are the potential negative effects.
Manuka honey with a high content on MGO is a powerful stuff. It is safe for topical use, but when taken internally it should be taken like antibiotics. If you need to take manuka honey with higher UMF, take 1 tablespoon per day for 4 weeks and then keep 2 weeks without it (this is a low dose, but is the dose verified in a trial). Do some tests and take some more if still need it. (half the dose for children). Or take a higher dose but for a shorted period of time.
If you have an acute problem, you can take more at your choice, but know that the clinical trial was done only for the above specified dose.
Manuka honey with UMF5+ up to 10+ can be taken daily, alone or with your meals. Here is clear picture you should save somewhere for easy reach:
So, because it is a research in course, you must know that you proceed at your own risk. Don’t believe everything you read. Search for more info, sooner or later, there will be more clinical trials and more results. Or simply follow your instinct and that little voice you hear when your body is telling you what it needs.
(I promise I will stay updated and if you receive my newsletter, you will find out the latest news on this topic.)
What is your experience with manuka honey?
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Deciphering manuka honey: UMF15+, MGO400, 24+ Bio Active, KFactor16, TA. And LOTS OF FRAUDS.
I want to buy manuka honey. What is UMF 16+, MGO 400+, Active?
The Interantional Agency for Reasearch on Cancer;
Manuka honey against Helicobacter pylori. McGovern-DPB; Abbas-SZ; Vivian-G; Dalton-HR, Journal-of-the-Royal-Society-of-Medicine. 1999, 92: 8, 439; 1 ref.
“toxic sign” picture courtesy Vlado, via Free Digital Photos
54 thoughts on “Is Manuka Honey safe to eat?”
Normally manuka honey of UMF 15+ has minimum of 514 naturally occuring MGO in it. I was thinking to go with 25+ for internal use, but that means over 1000 MGO. The way I understand it, the safest is to take manuka honey with UMF 10+ and below not to exceed 300 MGO?
Also, what UMF and highest MGO manuka honey would be best to use on scalp and hair asa mask?
It depends a lot on what condition you intend to cure. As you pointed out, yes, internally the safest is with UMF 10+. You can however try a higher dosage and see how you feel. This doses are usually for hard to kill bacteria, that do not respond to conventional treatment or the patient simply cannot take antibiotics anymore. Not for long periods of time without any breaks. If you feel better, stop taking it for a while, and then take it again, even if there are no symptoms. Periodically it is recommended to take it just to stay en garde.
Externally there are no limits established.
All the best!
I’ve been eating Manuka honey on a daily basis for several years, and I take an extra spoon or two if I’m sick. My resistance improves when I’m unwell. When I become ill, it isn’t as severe as previously. You can get Manuka online from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Am8rP7 or other reputable sources.
I was skeptical but after tasting this rich creamy mild honey I was feeling better within 48 hours.
I have a jar of manuka honey Gold from manuka health New zealand.There is no MGO,UMF etc on my jar. Is only says:each bach contains a minimum of 400*MG/KG of methylglyoxal or 6 mg per 15 g serving.
Is it safe to consume it orally?
I am confused right now. Can I eat this honey? Or is it for skin?
I wouldn’t trust such a jar. No clear label, no UMF, no batch number. If you look on Manuka Health website, their manuka honey jars look differently then what you said. I remember somebody else asking me about a Gold version of honey from the same Manuka Health, but it is clearly not from the recent years.
Scammers can add methylglyoxal to a regular honey (if honey at all), but this doesn’t make it manuka honey. So, I will not eat it.
On the other hand, 400 MGO is the equivalent of UMF13+, it can be eaten (adult:2 teaspoons per day) but not for more than 4 weeks then stop taking it for a week and then take it again for another week. (see the studies from the article).
Read this article to understand more on what to find on a manuka honey label: What is UMF and how to read the label of manuka honey
Thank you Laura.
My jar is like the one you have in your paper above ,the same tree,flower on the label except where is MGO 400 is written GOLD and 4 stars filled(from 5). Crazy,isn’t it? I bought it from a store with lots of natural products.;-)
Do you think ,could be a scam? The jar has a lot number on it.And it’s new since the “best before” is 2021.
Yes, it is definitely an older version, 3 years old at least. Honey should not have an expiration date, as you know, it remains edible for very long time. Yet, this doesn’t mean it is still therapeutic. Unlike other honeys, which lose their medical power after 3 months, manuka honey keeps its properties, as it has non-peroxide antibacterial activities (mainly this MGO). The problem is that the MGO written on the label is measured when the honey is packed in the jar. In time this quantity increases (even with a lot) and then it may decrease (but not under that specified on the label). That is why the grades UMF or MGO are always accompanied by a “+” after those letter (EG. UMG15+ or MGO400+).
Coming back to your jar, I am pretty sure the quantity of MGO from it is not what the label says. It may be much higher.
And even if it says it expires in 2021 it is not new, because the producers completely change their labels for years.
I’m sorry, I still don’t trust your jar :(, you can compare the price with the one on the producer’s site or on Amazon, to see if there is a difference. But I doubt you can find it, as it is an older version (back to this again.)
I am confused about the fact that you don’t recommend MGO 400 and above for consumption, but on the other hand, you recommend UMF 15+ & UMF 20+ for consumption.
What I know is UMF 15+ has a minimum MGO 514, while UMF 20+ has a minimum MGO 829. That is way above your recommendation of MGO 400.
Could you clarify?
What you say seems confusing indeed.
In one of my latest articles I tried to clarify this issue a little. Here it is on short:
UMF5+ to UMF10+ are recommended for daily consumption (boost immunity etc)
UMF10+ to UMF15+ are recommended for short periods of time consumption, in cases of influenza, colds, ulcer, MRSA or other microorganisms.
UMF20+ to UMF25+ are recommended for exterior use, for hard to heal wounds.
These are the general recommendations. Now, studies have used for example UMF20+, but only for 4 weeks, with a 2-week ‘washout’ period in between. Some doctors recommend UMF20+ for H pylori (based on somestudies) and some others simply assume that a higher MGO (thus a higher UMF) is better than a lower one. Which is not true. But it is often given in hope of the best results.
UMF20+ is at the limit between internal and external consumption. Based on studies, I also recommend it for difficult to kill microbes, but only for short periods of time. There are still not enough studies to prove that large quantities of MGO are safe for long periods of time.
I hope I managed to clear things a little.
If you have found something else in my articles, please let me know.
Anyway, it is better to check for the UMF grade and not for the MGO content. Because beyond MGO activity there is another antimicrobial activity in the honey, which is also measured when establishing the UMF and thus makes it more reliable.
Hello Laura, Thank you for the information. I have been taking Manuka Honey UMF15+ for a few days as a treatment for flu. I take direct spoonful internally. Any thoughts or information on how this helps against influenza? Thank you.
I have discovered after a nasal exudate that I am one of the happy possesors and guests for a Golden Bastard (staphylococcus aureus). Now, I have no idea for how long did I host this ‘gues’, if it is something recent or not.
I discovered this in april, I used for about a month Ciprifloxacin (oral pics). I checked once again in october this year so I still have it.
This time I said I’ll try something else: improve my immunity system. So I started administrating Septilin and EsberitoxN.
Today I bought Manuka Honey MGO 400+ from ManukaHealth.
Please, be kind to offer me a reliable answer on how is this going to help me get rid of this unpleasant ‘guest’ and how is this going to help me increase my immunitary system.
Hi Bogdan, I’m not sure I understand you. You aren’t actually suffering of anything, you have only discovered at a routine control that you have S. aureus in your nose? Because if this is the case, here is what the theory says: “S aureus is a member of the normal flora of the body, frequently found in the nose, respiratory tract and on the skin, normally found in around 25%-30% of healthy adults and in 25% of hospital or medical workers. In the majority of cases, the bacteria do not cause disease. However, a cut, abrasion, or other damage to the skin or other injury may allow the bacteria to overcome the natural protective mechanisms of the body, leading to infection.” Is this your case?
Now, coming back to manuka honey. If you have a bacterial sinusitis, then local treatment with diluted manuka honey is more efficient than simply ingesting it. But the right dilution is not easy to make, which is why I recommend buying an already made nasal spray with manuka honey – that I have mentioned in my article about sinus infection and manuka honey.
As for increasing your immunity system, manuka honey is not going to increase it more than any honey would do. Really. Manuka honey is remarkable as antimicrobial, especially on hard to heal wounds. For immunity try the other products of the hive, such as fresh bee pollen, fresh royal jelly or propolis.
my 5 year old daughter had around a year ago flu, which was treated with manuka mgo 400, but the grandmother probably gave her an overdose. It worked great for the flu, but since then I noticed bloated stomach, gases, soft stool and red skin on her vagina that pains her a bit. Then I found out that when I leave out cow milk and use sheep milk instead, she doesn’t have these problems. Is it possible that the manuka overdose caused that?
Some of these symptoms can be associated with too much honey. Bloated stomach, soft stool. Yet, not the red skin around her vagina. I know the best milk is goat milk, I don’t know about sheep milk, but yes, it can be an allergic reaction to cow lactose.
If the overdosing of honey was stopped, then the reactions associated with it should also stop. It’s not like an infection or something.
Hi Laura! I’ve been seeing allot of information online regarding the benefits of manuka honey when it comes to removing and lightening acne scars. I read that when buying one for acne purposes, the manuka honey should have an “Active” label. However, in our area, the only available manuka honey brand is Manuka Health. It doesn’t have the “Active” label on it. Aside from incorporating it on my skincare routine, I also want to use it for food intake. Can I still consider the brand or just choose other brands online? If Manuka Health is already a good choice for both skincare and food intake, what MGO number should I choose so I can use the honey for both purposes? Thank you so much for your help! God Bless!
Manuka Health is a trustful brand. This “ACTIVE” is used in USA and Canada, because FDA or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency do not support the medical claims covered by Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Association in New Zealand, and do not approve using their grades. Meaning that FDA doesn’t recognize the therapeutic properties of manuka honey.
Manuka Health is produced in NZ and though it is not UMF certified it shows the quantity of MGO found in that honey. The higher the number the higher its antibacterial power. You can use a high MGO manuka honey to apply it externally on your scar spots (not on your entire face!). An MGO300 will suffice.
You can also take it internally, but never alone on an empty stomach, 3 tablespoons per day, for 3 months.
(these are info gathered during my research for this website, I am not a therapist.)
Nevertheless, there is a cousin of manuka honey which is even better at healing acne: Kanuka honey. The advantage here is that the producers have developed special creams to treat acne and rosacea. It’s Honevo® – a medical grade kanuka honey, which is way much easier to apply and some say more efficient.
Worth giving a try.
thank you for your reply, Laura! but why cant i use it on my entire face? i’ve also read that it can be used as a mask and more effective if left overnight.
moreover, i discovered that manuka doctor is also available in our area. which is better between the two brands for food intake and acne scarring? and if manuka doctor is better, which bio active number should I purchase? thank you so much for your help! Much appreciated 🙂
Between Manuka Health and Manuka Doctor I would go with Manuka Health for sure.
Please read this article Deciphering manuka honey: UMF15+, MGO400, 24+ Bio Active, KFactor16, TA. And LOTS OF FRAUDS. to understand my option.
thank you so much, Laura! I appreciate all of your replies. You helped me allot 🙂 (and if im not mistaken, manuka health has only 250+ and 400+. I think 300+ is not available. I guess I would go with 250+. thank you so much!)
You’re welcome Jane,
Please share with us the results you get after the treatment. You should see some changes in a month.
hil laura im using manuka hony kfactor 16 is that good or i need to by different one please lat me know and its safe to take every day of all yeare?yhank you
Manuka honey kfactor16 means that you have manuka honey in your jar. It doesn’t say anything about its antibacterial power. Not all manuka honey is alike. Please read here the details: Deciphering manuka honey: UMF15+, MGO400, 24+ Bio Active, KFactor16, TA. And LOTS OF FRAUDS.
If your manuka honey has a low UMF than you can take it for a year. If not, than maybe it’s better to be taken only for 3 months and than have a break for another 3 months.
I am curious if UMF 28+ manuka honey is safe to eat…
There are therapists that do not recommend eating manuka honey with high content of MGO for more than 3 months. UMF28+ has MGO400+ or more. A therapeutic effect is seen after 3 weeks.
Thank you so much for the great information.
I wanted to try Manuka UMF 15 but hesitating now after reading the info?
But before I make a final conclusion I wanted to ask you, is it not safe to take one teaspoon every day of Manuka honey just for prevention purposes. also what’s the difference between UMF and Factor (which innoticed on one brand)
Thank you so much.
Manuaka honey UMF15+ is very good. One teaspoon per day is a minimum dose and is very safe. Nothing to worry here.
Manuka honey may be unsafe if it has a very high MGO (400+ and up) and is taken internally for long periods of time. There are no sufficient studies to determine its safety level after, let’s say, 20 years of taking it. High MGO levels are recommended for a maximum 3 months.
The best manuka honey is the one that is UMF certified, which refers to its quality and antimicrobial potency (which includes, but does not limit to MGO). “KFactor” written on the label represent a trademark of Wedderspoon company, and they do not refer to the antimicrobial factor, but only to the real concentration on manuka honey (pure) in that jar of honey. For example KFactor12 – guarantees that there are 65% manuka pollen grains in all the pollen grains from the honey.
But this doesn’t tell much about the quality of that honey. Manuka honey can have low or high amounts of MGO, or can have none. It depends on the environmental conditions.
Please read more about these grades and my recommendations here: Deciphering manuka honey: UMF15+, MGO400, 24+ Bio Active, KFactor16, TA. And LOTS OF FRAUDS.
UMF15+ for prevention is perfect! 🙂 Enjoy it!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Great articles. I came across your website while doing research of Manuka Honey Mgo 400. I just started taking a spoon of table of manuka mgo 400 direct from the spoon before bed time a while ago. But suddenly my acid reflux came out again and I couldn’t sleep all the night. I actually bought it to aid my sinusitis infection. But seems that it was my worst decision. I never know that mgo 400 is not suitable for internal treatment after i read your article. Could you give me some advice according to use of this manuka mgo 400 except of external use? Is it still okay to maintain daily stamina by dissolving honey in warm water and drink it up?
THANK YOU in advance.
Studies are usually made using diluted honey. Water helps honey to produce hydrogen peroxide, but manuka honey is efficient due to other antimicrobial factors, like MGO and specific floral factors (like leptosperin).
Anyway, in GERD spicy food is not recommended, and manuka does have a certain spicy taste. Yet, manuka honey is recommended for GERD, but not alone: “Take 1 full spoon of Manuka Honey 3-4 times a day, 20 minutes before meals and before bed time. It is recommended to take it on a piece of toast or a fruit to avoid being dissolved too fast into the blood stream before it gets into the stomach and starts affecting the stomach lining.” (manukaonline)
“starts affecting the stomach lining” – I suppose this is what happened to you.
But because long-term studies could not yet be done, it is recommended to be taken for only 3 months. Normally, you should feel a difference within only 3-6 days. If not, it probably isn’t working and you should better stop taking it, as a treatment. You can still enjoy it on a toast at breakfast. It’s a healthy food.
As for sinusitis, manuka honey helps if taken locally, not internally.
Please read this page “Can manuka honey treat sinus infection? Are there some other natural alternatives?” There is a paragraph there where I mention the studies that have been done on this condition. Yet, I don’t see how to prepare the necessary dilutions at home, so that the microbe gets killed and the mucosa remains safe.
Perhaps you should try a nasal spray with manuka honey. I would go with this choice. I’ve put a link on the above mentioned page.
Hope I could helped you something… 🙂
Okay Laura, again, thank you so much for your advice ?. Have a great day. I will keep following new updates from your website. It really helps. ?
You are very welcome, Rana.
Have you heard of utilizing Manuka Honey for gut dysbiosis or SIBO? And I see you mentioned UMF 15+ is safe for ingestion in your response on September 4, 2016 above. So, I am confused by that comment as I thought your article was saying Manuka Honey is potentially dangerous due to the MGO. Are all 15+ low enough in MGO to be safely ingested?
In the article I am citing a clinical trial made in New Zealand, which demonstrated the safety of manuka honey UMF 20+ on healthy individuals. UMF15+ is even more safer.
The study showed that manuka honey did not changed the microflora in the gut, showing no beneficial effects on lower gut bacterial levels. It is deductible that neither was the small intestine affected somehow. This regarding manuka’s antimicrobial effect on the overgrowth of bacteria.
On the other hand, considering its fermentation potential, some medical doctors recommend honey in small amounts, while others say clover honey is perfectly safe (and there is a study to prove that). This is due to its almost perfect ratio (1:1) between fructose and lactose, which makes it rapidly absorbed. Manuka honey does not have this ratio, having 29.7% glucose and 37.9% fructose. This higher fructose percent indicates a higher fermentation potential and thus it is not recommended in SIBO.
Thanks for your information.
How to do gargle with Manuka honey?
Dilute the manuka honey with water (still, not sparkling) or warm sage tea and than do the gargling. This is not very complicating, according to Collins Dictionary: “when you gargle, you wash your mouth and throat by filling your mouth with a liquid, tipping your head back and using your throat to blow bubbles through the liquid, and finally spitting it out.”
It is important to gargle as long as you can (couple of minutes). Some people say you must do it till your throat starts to ache.
I came across your website while doing research on Sidr honey. I recently started taking a spoon of certified Manukah honey with a UMF of 15 once per day. I have been dealing with a stomach issue that has lasted approximately 2 months. I even went to the emergency room for the first time in my adult life because of the pain in my stomach. The GI seems intent that it is some long lasting viral infection. I wanted to give the Manukah a try after reading about its healing properties. Anyways, I read this article and became worried about the toxicity you mention. What is your recommendation for an ingested “healing” honey? Seems like Ikaria, Tualang, and Sidr from what I can tell from other articles on your site?
It is important to have a diagnostic on your stomach issue before you take anything. It may just as well not be the stomach, but the guts, or the pancreas, or something else, you need to make the necessary tests.
As for the toxicity of Manuka honey inside our body, UMF 15+ is safe, it doesn’t have huge quantities of MGO. Please read What kills Staphylococcus aureus? Does manuka honey kill MRSA?, you’ll find there a study on the efficiency of this MGO inside our body. And, some recommendations regarding other powerful antimicrobial honeys. You are right, tualang, sidr, maharishi are all excellent. But chestnut honey can be just as good. Besides, it’s closer and cheaper.
If you have ulcer, any honey is good for it. Peter Molan, the man who studied manuka honey all his life, was regularly eating manuka honey for his ulcer. Regularly, yes, because he was living where manuka trees grow naturally so that honey was not expensive. And he doesn’t say the MGO content of the honey he ingested. Manuka honey can just as well lack MGO completely. It is not the most important antimicrobial factor of it.
But be sure you know what you have. Because honey, of any type, reduces gastric acidity. If you are low on it, it will worsen the symptoms. And if you have SIBO, again honey is not recommended.
Now, if I may, here’s a bit of personal experience. I had a terrible pain in the stomach and did all sorts of tests for 6 months. For nothing. And no, my honey (regular, multifloral honey) did not helped. Then one day I decided that before trying manuka, I should try colloidal silver, suspecting a virus or a microbe not usually checked in medical tests. I took 20 ml of Colloidal Silver 30ppm, 3 times per day, 30 minutes before meal. For 3 days. And I was free of the pain.
Good luck in healing yourself and please let me know how it worked.
I’m trying to understand all the labels and get what I think will still have high antibacterial value, but not a massive excess of MGO. If we were to ingest it, I see that you suggest in the comments a umf 20+, which converts to a minimum MGO of over 800 (according to this site- https://export-x.com/2014/05/29/manuka-honey-mgo-umf-ratings-compared/ ). If it doubles or triples over time (as mentioned in another article you wrote), that’s a LOT of MGO. I also noticed that you later stated you wouldn’t suggest an MGO 400+ Manuka honey for ingestion, as it could prove to be unsafe at high MGO levels. Am I misunderstanding how the labeling works or is there a contradiction here? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
At this moment, the most recent study (from 2015) tells us that after ingestion the quantity of MGO decreases in our body. This can be considered a relief because indeed, we never know for sure how much MGO our manuka honey has. It can increase and decrease. And we also know that the antibacterial properties of this honey do not rely entirely on MGO.
As for how much MGO we can find in a honey graded UMF 20+, it may be more than 800 mg or not. At one time there was a converter calculator on the umf.org.nz website, which is the only site I trust when umf is concerned. Now it is deleted for an unknown reason. They do not offer any other info as to what are the equivalents between these two indicators.
I suppose it should not matter. UMF is a more complex grading, which offers much more than how much MGO is at a certain point in honey.
Especially because it immediately changes. DHA will turn into MGO in time and alter the initial quantity.
There are other blogs that publish some equivalents, but as I said, I will rely only on UMF Organization and wait for their explanations.
As far as I understand UMF20+ may contain a certain quantity of MGO, let’s say 400 mg, but also DHA which may turn in a short time into other 200 mg MGO. And Leptosperin.
If only the quantity of MGO is written on the jar, we don’t know if the honey has 400 mg of MGO and little DHA (because it was transported in hot temperature and the DHA has already turned into MGO, or this simply was the initial quantity), or if it has 400 mg MGO and a lot of DHA which will double the quantity of MGO in a short while.
UMF contains both these markers and offers a more complete image.
As for its safety, as there is no conclusive evidence, we still cannot say anything. Their study from 2009 said UMF20+ is safe. Both the most important researchers of manuka honey, Professor T. Henle and Professor Peter Molan said it is safe. Science generally says MGO is seriously dangerous in the body. And we lack clinical trials.
In my personal (unprofessional) opinion, it is better to use manuka honey only for external condition. I still say 400 mg of MGO is too much for us, when ingested. But we can use it to gargle, for example, to fight MRSA or any other bacteria from our throat. And of course, if our conventional medicine fails, ingesting manuka honey may be the only way to solve things.
PS. I updated the conclusion of this article a little, please read that part again.
Hello Laura. Very good articles, I read all about manuka honey.
I have a 5 years boy with Staphylococcus aureus from a pharyngeal exudate (throat culture). I want to give him Comvita manuka honey, but I don’t know if is good with UMF 15+ or UMF 20+.
What do you recommend?
Lots of us probably have it. But it is a good idea to try to eradicate it, before it shows its ugly face whenever our immune system is down. Manuka honey is a good choice and both UMF15+ and 20+ have good therapeutic values. I would go with 20+, but this is my personal choice, and please remember I’m not a medical doctor nor a therapist. I only research and gather information in one place so people can find them easily.
Also, alternative remedies do not give immediate results. Be patient!
And it would be a good idea (though an expensive one) for all the family to take it.
As for the safety, Aborigines have always given their children manuka honey, as this is their usual honey. It is true that not all manuka honey have therapeutic value, but then you will not feed your son this honey all this childhood!
A good idea would be to boost his immune system and for this Vitamin C is the most important. But in higher amounts than the usual. And also very important Vitamin D3, especially during winter. Please read Andrew Saul’s articles, mostly found on his site doctoryourself.com.
And if you have time, I would also recommend reading dr Mercola’s articles, found here.
PS. Please see the medical disclaimer on the bottom of this website.
hi, I am having allergic dry cough since 2 months and have tried a lot of syrups and even antibiotic and anti-allergic tablets. but nothing works. then someone told me to take manuka honet 400+ along with ginger. please guide if it is safe to take it and in what quantity and will it be able to cure allegic dry cough
Anju, I never recommend such a high grade manuka honey to be eatten. There are not enough studies and clinical trials to prove it is safe when taken internally.
But you can gargle with a dilution of your manuka honey + ginger mixture. Keep it in your mouth and throat for as much as you can, but avoid swallowing it.
I’ve been applying Manuka honey for a little while topically. I am interested in research on safety regarding external use. Honey is known to have medicinal properties and highly favoured in the Islamic world as it was personaly recommended by the last Prophet. The skin absorbs nutrients to a certain extent, and i am wondering whether you migh have some insight regarding the ability of the skin to absorb the MG content of Manuka honey and potential negative effects?
All studies say that “Honey containing large amounts of MGO, such as Manuka honey, may be safely used as a topical agent for treating superficial skin infections, wounds and burns.” (Ron fessenden) The amount of MGO our body can absorb from a wound where manuka honey was applied, is way too small to consider its dangerous effects. The concerns are only when we are talking about ingestion.
There is nothing to worry about using manuka honey in topical treatment. It’s a great choice.
Thank you for your reply and clarification. Manuka honey definitely lives up to its reputation, a great choice indeed.
You are very welcome, Irfan.
I’ve never heard about this honey before. I’m not really a fan of honey but it’s always good to try a new kind of honey.
Isn’t it with everything, that some insitution or health organisation always has to say something negative? Too much of it may be not so healthy.
Anyway, thanks for this post and have a great day!
It’s true, Nicole, some institution or a health organisation always has something negative to say. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes they only follow some mean interests. But we should always remember that balance is the key in everything. Too much from a good makes it really bad.
As for manuka honey, we are still researching, still at the beginning of the road, because our science concentrated on creating synthetic products instead of making the best use of the natural ones.
Little by little, we will find the best way to use it. But until then, balance should be our number one rule.
Thank you for dropping by
Hello Laura. This is great post and all detail info about the benefit of the honey to life. Never know this, thanks for sharing.
Yes, honey has so many good benefits. We will probably never know them all.
Great article. Personally I don’t eat it but it’s the only thing that healed my wound after a c-section. Well done and keep up the great work you are doing. Olive
Did you use Medihoney (standardized antibacterial honey)? Manuka honey’s effect on external wounds are amazing indeed! And for this any honey is good. Egyptians were using it to treat wounds, 4000 years ago.
thank for your good words.