Did you know there is an incredible beauty product lurking in the grocery store aisle?
One that is totally natural; has an expiration date of Infinity; and has a host of impressive skincare benefits: it clarifies and hydrates; soothes psoriasis and eczema; diminishes acne; heals wounds, burns and infections; and acts as an anti-ager by building collagen and fighting free radicals. Oh, and as a super-food it boosts the immune system, aids digestion, soothes sore throats, relieves allergies, treats gingivitis and periodontal disease, improves sleep, and tastes great on toast.
Do you know what it is?
It’s Mānuka Honey.
This ancient wonder has been getting a lot of buzz lately. It comes from bees who gather nectar from the Mānuka (tea tree) plant in New Zealand. Mānuka is a mono-floral honey (made by bees from the nectar of just one species of flower), derived from blooms which flower for just 2-6 weeks a year. This makes it more expensive than the other honeys sharing shelf space, but Mānuka honey is no ordinary nectar.
Mānuka honey is often referred to as healing honey because is so potent. It is the most viscous of honeys and also contains the highest source of enzymes and antioxidants. It is active with powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Mānuka honey has a nutritional content up to four times that of raw, floral honey. Think of Mānuka honey as super-honey.
Raw unfiltered honey contains:
- Amino acids
- B vitamins (B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid)
Mānuka honey has a global standard rating system called UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). This identifies and measures the antibacterial strength of the honey and guarantees that it is of medicinal grade. The ranking is:
4-9 Maintenance level with general honey health benefits
10-14 Supports natural healing and bacterial balance
15+ Superior levels of phenols that are highly therapeutic but shouldn’t exceed taking 1 tbsp at a time
Choose a UMF of 10 or higher for skin therapy. Yes, it’s pricey but you don’t need a big jar; a little goes a long way.
Mānuka Honey Mask
According to legend, Cleopatra applied a honey mask every morning and bathed in milk and honey to keep her skin youthful.
A Mānuka honey mask is a great way to unclog pores and moisturize the skin. Honey is hygroscopic, which means it can absorb moisture from the air. To get the active components of honey working, it needs to be slightly hydrated. So it works best to spritz your skin with a facial mist or rosewater first (this also makes the mask easier to apply). Leave on for 10-20 minutes or more and rinse. Expect soft and glowing skin.
On her channel Holistic Habits, Canadian YouTuber Sarah Nagel has four colourful Mānuka masks to try:
I guess you could say that Mānuka honey is the bee’s knees for beautiful skin.