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Medical research supports claims that manuka honey can help prevent and fade scars as well as treat acne due to its ability to kill fungi and microorganisms. It is a natural honey made in New Zealand by bees that pollinate and consume flowers of the manuka bush. This is the same bush that supplies tea tree oil, a strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal essential oil. Honey linked to this bush retains some of these same protective properties.
No refinement is done to manuka honey, so it is sold raw, retaining its biological activity and occasional residue from bees and blooms. Different strengths of honey are available, with the exact strength usually noted on the label. Side effects can include stinging and allergic reactions, mainly for those sensitive to bees.
Acne is caused by bacteria growing in clogged pores of the skin. This honey can not only kill these germs, but may be able to penetrate beyond the top layer of skin, treating the root of the infection. This helps clear pores and reduces inflammation and itching. Peroxide in the honey is only one component that fights acne. Its extreme acidity dries the pus out of blackheads and pimples, completely dehydrating them after several treatments.
This honey also fights acne with its low water content, generally making it impossible for germs to survive since most microbes need water to thrive. The sugar content absorbs and removes the water. Beyond its topical application, consuming the honey as a food can bolster immunity, which enables the user to fight off infections, including acne.
For scars, holistic physicians often apply manuka honey to bandages that are wrapped around fresh wounds or old scars. The same properties that treat acne work well to heal scar tissue. The hydrogen peroxide in the honey lightens the scar by bleaching it, and using the honey on a wound can prevent it from creating a dark scar because it helps the wound close more quickly. This is particularly helpful for diabetics, whose wounds tend to take longer to heal.
Scars are generally created when the body sends massive amounts of collagen to the skin’s surface for recovery after trauma. The collagen builds up over time, creating raised and dark scars. Generally, the belief is that the slower the healing, the darker the scar. Eating manuka honey may encourage wounds of all types to heal faster.
Users often sweeten teas, toast, or biscuits with the honey. It is rarely used in recipes that require cooking, because the heating would destroy some of the honey's medicinal power. In addition to acne and scars, this substance can purportedly treat herpes and staph infections, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).