There is a growing number of people looking to use alternative medicines instead of antibiotics to treat coughs and colds. One option people are turning to is honey. Studies have shown that honey has proved to be more effective when it comes to combatting colds and other illnesses when compared to antibiotics. One honey in particular, Manuka honey, has often been touted as the most effective.
Honey has been proven to be effective when treating upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), which have typically been the most common reason for antibiotics prescriptions. This is significant, as being able to treat conditions with honey instead of antibiotics can reduce the likelihood of people becoming resistant to antibiotics, which is considered a global public health challenge.
Dangers of Overusing Antibiotics
Antibiotics are powerful medications that can be used to help treat life-threatening illnesses, however, their effectiveness is reduced the more that they are used. According to the NHS, the over usage of antibiotics has led to the emergence of bacteria strains, known as ‘superbugs’ that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics.
Health services across the world are actively trying to reduce the use of antibiotics and are prescribing them less for more trivial conditions. This is why for less severe problems such as common colds and coughs; more and more people are looking for alternative medicines.
Why is Honey an Alternative?
The use of honey as a medicinal treatment has been documented in the world’s oldest medical literature and it has been used since ancient times. This is because it’s known to contain antimicrobial and wound-healing properties.
The important thing to note about honey, however, is that not all types of honey are the same and certain types can provide more beneficial health benefits when compared to others. Most of the honey commercially available in supermarkets is processed, which reduces the nutrients and antioxidants that are present in raw honey. One of the most effective forms of honey is Manuka honey, which is naturally derived from the Manuka flower which is native to New Zealand. The health benefits of Manuka honey are becoming more well-known amongst the general public, and many people are choosing to use it as an alternative medicine to treat colds and coughs.
There are certain characteristics of Manuka honey that make it recognisable and allow you to identify whether it is genuine. The most noticeable difference is that it is has a much darker colour when compared to regular honey, it’s also considerably thicker and more difficult to spread.
The Benefits of Manuka Honey
When compared to other types of honey, Manuka is more potent and has a higher concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO) which indicates its purity and quality. The main strengths of Manuka honey are its antibacterial properties and the fact its bacterial resistant, making it more difficult for harmful bacteria to build up resistance. Manuka honey also offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have proven beneficial for wound healing and tissue regeneration.
An appeal of Manuka honey is that it is adaptable and can be consumed in different forms. The Manuka Health range offers Manuka honey in its traditional form as well as lip balm, soap, oils, toothpaste and lozenges. This gives people more variety in how they want to take Manuka honey and appeals to a broader range of people.
Other types of honey don’t contain the same high purity level when compared to Manuka honey. Regular honey does contain antibacterial compounds, but only in small quantities, whereas Manuka contains high levels of MGO. As this is one of the essential compounds found in honey that gives it its health benefits, the high level found in Manuka honey makes Manuka a better choice for those looking to treat colds and coughs with an alternative to antibiotics.