Topical ointments and medical treatments have proven to be effective. But, when side effects and repeatedly high prescription costs prove to outweigh the benefits, you need an alternative.
Manuka Honey & Herpes
Research and studies show that nature has a better solution to treating your herpes symptoms, and it’s all about honey.
We give you an in-depth look at how honey can give you back the spring in your step faster than a herpes cream. Check out what our busy bees need you to see!
What is Manuka Honey?
Honey in itself has been a long-time, natural medicine for healing many wounds caused by bacteria and inflammation. But, not all honey is the same. Leptospermum is the chemical name for honey that’s mainly produced in Australia and New Zealand, and to date, there’s about 79 species. Manuka honey is a Leptospermum species and is harvested from bees that pollinate the Manuka bushes in New Zealand. The secret to its healing prowess is the science behind the bee’s extracting process and chemical compound reactions.
The bee secretes an enzyme called glucose oxidase into the nectar that they produce into honey. When applied to wounds, this enzymatic reaction allows for the release of low levels of hydrogen peroxide that’s attributed with antibiotic properties.
But, there’s more antibiotic constituents in manuka honey than just hydrogen peroxide. It also contains higher amounts of methylglyoxal (MG) versus other honeys. MG concentrations are the result of another compound reaction. Manuka bushes naturally have high concentrations of dihydroxyacetone which converts to MG. The short of it is, the more MG that’s in the honey, the more antibiotic benefits it can offer.
How Does Manuka Honey Treat Herpes?
Manuka honey has antimicrobial effects including antiviral effects. One study proved that honey is a both a bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal. This means it can not only stop the reproduction and proliferation of bacteria, but it can also kill it because of its antiseptic, disinfectant, and antibiotic properties. This study also showed that it’s just as efficient or even more so than acyclovir cream used to treat herpes.
But, how does raw manuka honey herpes treatments really kill the virus? Like many alternative and natural medicines, manuka honey can penetrate the host cell membrane that the virus infects, and it can also inhibit intracellular metabolic pathways that the virus uses to reproduce and spread. It’s also a hygroscopic substance that draws moisture from its environment to dehydrate and kill the virus. Interestingly, the high sugar content of Manuka honey is potent enough to prevent the growth of the virus.
Manuka honey also has many compounds that are yet to be studied further in its abilities to promote speedy healing. One such thought is its low pH level, about 4.4, causes the increase of the “amount of oxygen off-loaded from hemoglobin in the capillaries.” This study showed that the acidification of wounds helps to promote fast healing. Manuka honey also has anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation is what gives rise for the cascade of cellular events that promotes bacterial proliferation. If it can prevent inflammation, it can also prevent the events that cause an outbreak.
Science-Backed Benefits of Using Manuka Honey for Herpes
There’s a lot of therapeutic benefits of using Manuka honey for various sicknesses and chronic conditions thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. But, let’s focus on what you can expect to see when using Manuka honey for cold sores and even for genital lesions.
- Labial herpes: 43% shorter healing time versus acyclovir cream treatments.
- Genital herpes: 59% shorter healing time versus acyclovir cream treatments.
- Genital herpes is likely to remit completely with use of honey.
- No side effects.
- Honey is used effectively to treat cold sores on the lips.
- Prevents secondary bacterial infection of the skin.
Nutritional Profile of Manuka Honey
Manuka honey has a rich nutritional profile that can benefit anyone with a diet lacking in nutrients and with conditions that require an immune-boosting punch. The powerful thing about this honey versus other honeys is it’s at least four times more potent with nutrients.
- Amino acids
- B vitamins (B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid)
Types of Manuka Honey
As you’ve learned by now, not all honey is made equally. This is even true for Manuka honey. To help you choose which raw honey herpes treatments are best you for, check our qualifying factors that will come into play.
UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor. It’s the scale by which you can discern its antimicrobial factors. The higher the rating, the more potent it is. For herpes, you’ll want a honey that has a minimum rating of 10 UMF. Ratings at this or above is called “Active Manuka Honey” or “UMF Manuka Honey.” Here’s a scale to determine Manuka honey’s therapeutic effects.
- 0-4: non-therapeutic
- 5-9: general maintenance benefits from honey
- 10-14: therapeutic benefits for natural healing and bacterial balance
- 15-19: high levels of phenols with high antibacterial activity
- 20+: for specific therapeutic use
Grade A vs Manuka Honey
The honey found on a store shelf that you’d usually use in your teas, baking, and as a spread isn’t appropriate for herpes treatments. In fact, it’s been known to make your symptoms worse and increase infection. Stay away from processed honey and only use raw, unadulterated, and pure manuka honey.
UMF vs MGO
You might notice two different labels when shopping for raw, unadulterated honey. The UMF is indicative of its non-peroxide antibacterial activity relating to its phenol content. For example, a UMF rating of 20 would be equal in strength to a 20 percent phenol solution. MGO refers to the levels of MG in the product that lacks non-peroxide activity, however it still incurs antibacterial activity. The UMF is the standard rating used and MGO is typically only used by Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd.
How to Use Manuka Honey for Herpes
The beautiful and convenient thing about using Manuka honey is that it’s simple. All you need to do is apply the honey directly to the lesions or to the area when you suspect an outbreak. Do this at least four times a day. As a general rule of thumb, more is better. Here’s some tips to help you with application.
- Buy semi-liquid Manuka honey.
- If it’s pretty sticky and semi-solid, melt down the honey to a liquid form but not hot enough to burn your skin.
- Use gloves.
- Use popsicle sticks or the like to help with application.
- Women might find wearing a panty liner to be helpful to prevent sticking underwear.
- Use Manuka honey in your beverages and meals to help speed up healing.
Manuka Honey Side Effects
Manuka honey is extremely safe to use. There are no known side effects when used topically. In fact, while acyclovir creams can often cause itching and irritation at the infected site, Manuka does not cause these issues.
However, if you’re allergic to bees, you may want to check if you will experience an allergic reaction to this honey by seeing your doctor or an allergist.
If you are on chemotherapy drugs, you may want to see if it will cause any adverse interactions.
If you’re consuming Manuka honey, you may also want to be aware of a possible risk of rise in blood sugar.
For topical use, Manuka honey is very safe and doesn’t cause any side effects when using it to treat herpes.
Our Recommended Manuka Honey Products
- Manuka Health – MGO 400+ Manuka Honey, 100% Pure New Zealand Honey, 8.8 oz (250 g) (FFP)
- Kiva Certified UMF 20+ – Raw Manuka Honey (8.8 oz)
- Manuka Honey UMF15+ eco-friendly, raw and pure 400gram (14.1oz) by Tahi
It’s a no-brainer. If you’re tired of using medications only to have long-lasting outbreaks and itchy side effects, you need to give Manuka honey a chance. Low cost, no side effects, and it’s au natural. It’s a win-win. Manuka honey is the bee’s knees!
Further Reading: Find out about the amazing benefits of Lemon Balm for Herpes
Disclaimer: This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a professional healthcare provider before commencing treatment.