What Is the Difference Between Manuka Honey and Regular Honey?

  • Medical Reviewer: Dany Paul Baby, MD
Medically Reviewed on 7/25/2022

What is manuka honey?

Manuka honey is natural honey that comes from the manuka plant nectar. Manuka honey differs from regular honey in that is has different medicinal properties, taste, and is made from a different flower than regular honey.
Manuka honey is natural honey that comes from the manuka plant nectar. Manuka honey differs from regular honey in that is has different medicinal properties, taste, and is made from a different flower than regular honey.

Manuka honey is natural honey that comes from the manuka plant nectar. The manuka tree is found in New Zealand. That gives it a very unique taste and character. Manuka honey also contains methylglyoxal compounds, which some honey lacks. Methylglyoxal is a naturally occurring compound in the manuka plant nectar.

Manuka honey is honey produced by bees that pollinate and feed on manuka trees. The manuka tree is a special traditional New Zealand tree. Its scientific name is Leptospermum scoparium

It’s highly sought after due to the high amount of methylglyoxal compounds it produces. The methylglyoxal compounds are responsible for the release of hydrogen peroxide, which has antibacterial properties. This assists in wound healing.

What is "regular" honey?

"Regular" honey is honey that has been pasteurized. This involves taking the honey through high temperatures and then rapid cooling to kill yeast that may cause fermentation. The process of pasteurization increases shelf life. Regular honey is smooth and clear due to filtration of pollen, antioxidants, and enzymes. Sometimes, artificial sweeteners and additives may be added.

What is the difference between manuka honey and regular honey?

Medicinal properties. Research has shown that manuka honey has more antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties than regular honey. The antibacterial properties of manuka honey make it helpful in treating wounds, burns, coughs, and colds.

Tastes. Manuka honey has a bitter flavor and a strong smell, while regular honey is sweet. The taste of manuka honey is due to the higher levels of methylglyoxal compounds. Regular honey has a lesser amount of methylglyoxal compounds and may contain additives or sweeteners to improve the taste.

Type of flower. Manuka honey is made by bees that gather nectar and pollen exclusively from the manuka tree, while regular honey is made by bees that get nectar and pollen from different types of flowers.

What are the health benefits of honey?

Healing wounds. Antioxidant and antibacterial properties in honey give it wound-healing properties. Using the honey can also help keep the wound environment moist, which promotes the healing of wounds.

Manuka honey in particular boosts the healing process by speeding the regeneration of tissues and reducing pain in people with burns.

Combining other drugs and manuka honey showed an improvement in the effectiveness of the treatment of diabetic wounds compared to when only the medications were used.

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition where the stomach does not work as it should. Some of its symptoms are constipation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Studies show that eating honey can reduce IBS symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Treating respiratory disorders. Cystic fibrosis is a respiratory disorder that damages lungs by affecting cells that produce mucus. The mucus produced becomes thick and blocks the airway, thus causing difficulty in breathing. Taking manuka honey together with the medicine to treat cystic fibrosis may be helpful. Honey may be effective in controlling the growth of the bacteria responsible for the condition.

Treating stomach ulcers. Stomach ulcers are sores in the lining of the stomach that causes symptoms like stomach pain and bloating. The antibacterial property in manuka honey may be effective against helicobacter pylori (H.pylori), the organism that causes stomach ulcers when eaten.

Oral health. Manuka honey has antibacterial properties that control growth of harmful oral bacteria that cause gum bleeding, tooth decay, and plaque formation.

Managing the side effects of chemotherapy. Mucositis is an inflammation of the lining in the digestive tract. It is a common side effect of chemotherapy (cancer treatment method) and radiography done in the digestive tract. Studies on people who were on chemotherapy for cancers around the head and neck showed that taking manuka honey controlled the growth and development of bacteria that cause mucositis.

Treating cancerIn recent research, manuka honey has been shown to have properties that can control the development of breast and lung cancer cells. Taking manuka honey regularly can help kill cancerous cells by starting a process where the body tries to stabilize the number of cells through cell regeneration.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 7/25/2022

Archive of Microbiology: "A demonstration of the susceptibility of clinical isolates obtained from cystic fibrosis patients to manuka honey."

Bentham Science Publishers: "Health Benefits of Manuka Honey as an Essential Constituent for Tissue Regeneration."

British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: "A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of active manuka honey and standard oral care for radiation-induced oral mucositis."

Hindawi: "Honey: A Potential Therapeutic Agent for Managing Diabetic Wounds."

Inspired Health: "Your Guide to the Differences Between Manuka and Regular Honey."

International Journal of Molecular sciences: "Inhibition of Tyrosine-Phosphorylated STAT3 in Human Breast and Lung Cancer Cells by Manuka Honey is Mediated by Selective Antagonism of the IL-6 Receptor."

Journal of the Royal Society of medicine: "Susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to the antibacterial activity of manuka honey."

Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products: "Evidence for Clinical Use of Honey in Wound Healing as an Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory Antio-xidant and Anti-viral Agent: A Review."


Nourish & Treat: "The Manuka Honey Vs. Regular Honey: What's The Difference?"

National Library of Medicine: "Antibacterial potential of Manuka honey against three oral bacteria in vitro."

Phytotherapy Research: "Effect of different doses of Manuka honey in experimentally induced inflammatory bowel disease in rats."

Safe harvest: "What is the difference between regular honey & forest honey? Why should you choose the latter?"