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News > The History of Manuka Honey - A Guide to Manuka

The History of Manuka Honey - A Guide to Manuka

Mon, Jul 18, 2022 | Reading Time: 4 minutes

Manuka honey might be nature's most impressive substance. With applications as an antiseptic, anti-aging supplement, whole-food extract, skincare product, wound dresser, and much more, Manuka honey is one of the few substances that can rival the versatility of the hemp plant. 


In this article we'll be looking into the fascinating history of Manuka honey. We’ll also take a quick look at why Manuka honey and CBD are a surprisingly great match.

  • Manuka honey in ancient times
  • Manuka magic: a groundbreaking discovery
  • One type of honey, one thousand uses
  • Why combining CBD and Manuka honey is actually a great idea

Manuka honey in ancient times

The Egyptians were the first culture that documented staple honey use. (Considering how many other things they were early adopters of, this isn't much of a surprise.) The Egyptians tended to use honey for its most obvious purposes: as a wound dressing for larger wounds and an ointment for smaller cuts, bruises, and rashes.


But what about Manuka honey? Its popularity doesn’t go back quite as far as you might think. 


While New Zealand’s native Maori people had been using the Manuka tree as a type of wooden pharmacy for thousands of years, they didn’t have access to bees to carry out the conversion process. It was only in 1839 that an English beekeeper brought some beehives to the area. She just so happened to place these hives in close proximity to Manuka bushes — and the rest, as they say, is history. [1]


While Manuka honey was almost certainly the first type of honey produced in New Zealand, it wouldn’t reach its current popularity levels until much later. That happened in 1980…

Manuka magic: a groundbreaking discovery

Dr. Peter Molan was largely responsible for bringing Manuka honey into the mainstream awareness and enjoys today. In the early 80s he discovered its standout active ingredient, which he dubbed “Unique Manuka Factor,” or UMF. [2]


Dr. Molan’s research found that this active ingredient had “non-peroxide activity” that made it even more effective than ‘regular’ honey. UMF would go on to become the industry’s gold standard for appraising the quality of Manuka honey. 


Dr. Molan tested his early hypotheses by using Manuka honey to dress the wounds of wounded pets and soldiers. What he discovered was amazing. It turned out that Manuka honey was a nearly perfect wound dressing — far better than any equivalent pharmaceutical intervention. 

One type of honey, one thousand uses

As Dr. Molan would say, the more one learns about Manuka honey, the more amazing the substance becomes. Check out the list below to see just a fraction of its potential benefits and applications:


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Wound healing
  • Skincare-friendly
  • Nutritional value

Manuka Honey versus inflammation

Manuka Honey's ability to reduce inflammation likely explains many of its other benefits. (That's not surprising when you consider that chronic  inflammation is the driver behind most ailments and diseases.) Research shows that Manuka honey reduces inflammation in several different ways. It even works with the human immune system! [3]


Whether we're talking about the inflammation implicated in IBS, staph infections, gingivitis, or dozens of other things, Manuka honey may help. 

Manuka honey versus bacteria

In addition to being anti-inflammatory, Manuka honey is powerfully antibacterial. It actually contains small amounts of the disinfectant hydrogen peroxide. Interestingly enough, additional amounts of peroxide may be produced when honey makes contact with damaged skin.


Side note: all raw honey contains hydrogen peroxide — not just manuka honey. But Manuka honey also works via the “non-peroxide activity” we mentioned earlier. 

Manuka honey for wound healing

Manuka Honey has extensive applications as a dressing for cuts, burns, and other serious wounds. 


If used to treat larger wounds, Manuka honey can form a hydrating, protective covering over the affected areas. This spares the body from needing to form a scab, which would otherwise be a very energy-intensive process. To this day many hospitals use honey-based solutions to treat these serious burns. It’s that effective!


And whether it's being used to treat larger or smaller wounds, Manuka Honey forms a naturally effective barrier that locks moisture in and keeps bacteria out.

Manuka honey as a skincare product

Some of the same principles that make Manuka honey a lifesaving medical intervention also make it an incredible resource for skincare enthusiasts. Manuka Honey is nourishing, hydrating (it’s an occlusive, after all), and able to relieve many inflammation-mediated skin conditions. As one study’s abstract put it, “in cosmetic formulations [Manuka honey] exerts emollient, humectant, soothing, and hair conditioning effects, keeps the skin juvenile and retards wrinkle formation, regulates pH and prevents pathogen infections.” [4]


Interested in doing a trial run? Applying a Manuka mask once or twice a week should do the trick. Just don’t be surprised when your skin starts to get glowy and fine lines start to fade. There’s a reason expert dermatologists and skincare addicts alike swear by Manuka!  

Manuka honey as a nutraceutical

Last but definitely not least, Manuka Honey is rich in a huge variety of nutrients. So rich, in fact, that you can practically use it as a multivitamin. It contains many of the same nutrients that regular honey does — including vitamin C, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, rare fatty acids, and more — just four times more of them. 


All in all just a few teaspoons of Manuka honey into your daily diet can turn a meh diet into a good one…and an already good one into a truly great one.

Why combining CBD and Manuka honey is a surprisingly great idea

It turns out that Manuka honey perfectly complements CBD.  Maybe the ancient Egyptians used both honey and hemp for a reason. 


Regardless of their reasoning, both CBD and Manuka are tailor-made for topical application. Manuka honey has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-irritative antioxidative, pH-balancing, and hydrating effects. Manuka may also be able to serve as a sort of carrier vessel for CBD; it has a similar effect on other botanical extracts. 


In other words, CBD + Manuka is practically a match made in heaven. And that’s exactly the type of match our CBD Manuka Cream makes, pairing 125 milligrams of full spectrum CBD with New Zealand’s best Manuka Honey and over 20 premium botanicals. Some customers say they can feel its healing power the moment they apply it. It feels healthy!

Summing things up

Manuka honey is one of the most powerful, most nourishing, most versatile substances in existence. Just think: what else can heal serious burns, nourish your skin, and sweeten up a dessert? (We’ll wait while you think of something.)


And Manuka gets even better when you combine it with other tried-and-true substances like CBD. Consider incorporating it into your wellness routine if you haven’t already.

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