All Honey has Antibacterial properties.
Antibacterial activity in honey can be caused by
1. Osmotic effect, whereby water is drawn away from the microorganisms reducing their ability to survive,
2. Acidity, honey is acidic, its pH being between 3.2 and 4.5, which inhibits growth in many pathogens,
3. Hydrogen Peroxide, which is produced enzymically in the honey by the bee, and
4. Phytochemical Factors, these non-peroxide antibacterial factors are believed to be the many complex phenols and organic acids often referred to as flavonoids. These latter complex chemicals that do not breakdown under heat or light provide Manuka honey with its 'unique' antibacterial properties.
Honeydew honey, from the conifer forests of the mountainous regions of central Europe
has been found to have particularly high antibacterial activity, likewise honey from Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) in New Zealand
has been found to have a high non-peroxide activity.
Studies on the effectiveness against wound-infecting species of bacteria show that Manuka honey is more effective than other honeys for Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, while other honey was superior for the other 5 tested species, including Salmonella, Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas
There was little difference between the two types of antibacterial activity in their effectiveness, although some bacteria were more sensitive to the action of one type of honey than the other.
The Manuka pollen is collected by honey-bees from the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium), a unique New Zealand plant known originally for its medicinal properties by the Native Maoris. The manuka bush comes from the same family
as the Australian Tea Tree. The beekeepers collect the Manuka honey from the hives in a very short period of time, as the Manuka flower only grows up to 6 weeks.
The name UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) is the trademark of the Active Manuka Honey Industry (representing the New Zealand beekeeping industry).
Excerpted from an article by Dr. Peter Molan, of the Honey Research
Unit, University of Waikato, NZ :
“... None of the results being obtained clinically should be considered evidence that active manuka honey is more effective than other honey - a comparative clinical trial will be needed to establish that...”