Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Manuka Honey

What the Science Says About Manuka Honey

Several recent studies show manuka honey is effective when used on top of wounds and leg ulcers. Studies also show it's effective in fighting infection and promoting healing.

But not all studies show that it helps to heal ulcers. And there is concern that manuka honey may actually delay healing in people who have ulcers related to diabetes.

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database lists honey as being "possibly effective" to treat burns and wounds. The Cochrane Review notes that honey may shorten healing times in mild burns compared with traditional dressings. However, honey dressings do not increase leg ulcer healing at 12 weeks even when used with compression wraps.

Another recent study suggests that manuka honey may be effective in preventing gingivitis and other periodontal disease by reducing the buildup of plaque. And in 2010, the scientific steering committee of the National Cancer Institute approved a proposal for the use of manuka honey for the reduction of inflammation of the esophagus associated with chemotherapy.

Another possible benefit of honey is that, unlike antibiotics, it has not been reported to cause development of resistant bacteria. These so-called "superbugs" develop after repeated exposure to common antibiotics. They require special antibiotics to treat them.

So far, studies have not shown manuka honey to be effective for treating high cholesterol or balancing the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Also, no major studies have looked at the effect of manuka honey on cancer, diabetes, or fungal infections.

Possible Side Effects of Manuka Honey

The possible side effects of manuka honey are:

  • Allergic reaction, especially in people who are allergic to bees
  • Risk of a rise in blood sugar
  • Possible interaction with certain chemotherapy drugs

Most of the studies on manuka honey have been with small numbers of patients. More studies are needed to decide if it is safe and effective for various medical conditions.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 17, 2012

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
highlighted areas of the brain
How well do you know yours?
oatmeal and eggs
The best and worst for you.
dog begging at table
Foods your dog should never eat.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
mature woman with serious expression
What do you know?
chlamydia
Pictures and facts.
Healthy Snack
13 delicious options.
Take your medication
Separate fact from fiction.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
woman clutching at stomach
Do you know what's causing yours?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.