Honey is one of the most natural antibiotics you can get, and the use of honey to fight infection dates all the way back to 2000 B.C. This natural elixir has been used for burns, skin infections, bed sores, and more! Manuka works as an antibacterial agent because of its high sugar content and low pH, which inhibits the growth of bacteria. Not all honey is the same, and Manuka honey, specifically, has properties that make it a more active antibacterial, so look at the UMF (unique Manuka factor) to ensure you’re getting something high quality. Aim for those that are labeled somewhere between 12 and 16; these are the most therapeutic. These properties also get denatured with extreme heat, so I encourage patients when using them in tea to let the drink cool down before mixing the honey in; otherwise, you lose some of the immune-boosting, antibacterial properties. Avoid giving this to children under a year old or to people who are allergic to bees.
How to use Manuka honey: You can add Manuka honey to your tea or look for products like cough drops or syrups made with it. Manuka honey is great topically as well, especially on wounds and acne, as it works to decrease inflammation and repair tissue. For a Manuka honey face mask, just spread the honey on your face and leave it for 10 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.
One last thing, make sure you don’t take even these natural antibiotics for a long time since they, too, just like antibiotics, can negatively affect your gut microflora.
Want to learn more about Manuka honey? Here's why it might be the best thing to ever happen to your skin.