The main benefit of manuka honey is its antibiotic property from higher concentrations of methylglyoxal due to bees converting a chemical compound found in manuka nectar, according to WebMD. The honey is used as a topical treatment for minor burns. Honey producers created the unique manuka factor, or UMF, to market the potency of this honey. The best manuka honey needs a 10 UMF rating to be considered therapeutic.
This kind of honey is marketed as a substance that helps with cancer, diabetes, inflammation, infections and gastrointestinal problems. WebMD explains that no scientific evidence supports these claims. The only therapeutic use known to scientists as of July 2014, is for burn treatments with medical-grade manuka honey.
The Telegraph states that one reason manuka honey has antibacterial properties is because of low water content that kills bacteria. High levels of the enzyme glucose oxidase create an acidic environment that also kills bacteria. Great Britain's National Health Service is studying manuka honey to see what other healing properties can be found.
Cosmopolitan claims that manuka honey soothes an upset stomach and may help prevent more severe cold symptoms. The magazine also purports manuka honey is good for skin ailments such as eczema, insect bites, surgery wounds and sunburn. Because honey is made of fructose and glucose, consuming this food is a quick energy boost.
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.