The leaves of the Manuka tree, also known as a tea tree, have been known for centuries among the indigenous tribes of New Zealand and southern Australia for their healing powers.
Bees that collect nectar from this tree make Manuka honey, which harbors some of healing properties.
All honey contains antimicrobial properties, but Manuka honey also contains non-hydrogen peroxide, which gives it an even greater antibacterial power.
Some studies have found Manuka honey can also help to boost production of the growth factors white blood cells need to fight infection and to heal tissue.
Manuka honey contains a number of natural chemicals that make it different:
- Methylglyoxal (MGO): This has been shown to be effective against several bacteria, including Proteumirabilis and Enterobacter cloacae.
- Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): This is found in the nectar of Manuka flowers and converts into MGO during the honey production process.
- Leptosperin: This is a naturally occurring chemical found in the nectar of Manuka plants and a few close relatives.