Some benefits of manuka honey include its antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, as well as its ability to reduce plaque buildup and gingivitis. Manuka honey's antibacterial qualities arise from its unique components, such as methylglyoxal.
Most types of honey contain methylglyoxal. However, the methylglyoxal in manuka honey differs from others in that it originates from dihydroxyacetone, a compound found in the manuka flowers of New Zealand. The unique composition and the high concentration of methylglyoxal in manuka honey has caused producers of the honey to create a rating system called the Unique Manuka Factor. Manuka honey that has a UMF rating of 10 or higher has high enough antibacterial factors due to methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone that it is useful for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the honey lead some to believe it is useful for such purposes as preventing infection and speeding the healing process of wounds. Some studies, such as those published in the Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products, suggest that the honey can alleviate patents' pain from wounds.
The antimicrobial properties of manuka honey may also help treat gingivitis and prevent tooth decay, according to Dr. Axe. Studies by the School of Dentistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that subjects who chewed or sucked on a product made with manuka honey experienced a 35 percent decrease in plaque and a 35 percent reduction in gingivitis-related bleeding.