Manuka honey can be a great acid reflux remedy for those who are not sensitive to its sugar content. Taking it with ginger tea is even better.
What is manuka honey?
Manuka honey is a honey produced from the nectar of the manuka tree, Leptospermum scoparium, native to Australia and New Zealand. The nectar is a result of the pollination of the flowers of the manuka trees by bees.
Manuka honey has a long history of use as medicine and food, and it is a great sugar substitute whose popularity has grown in recent years thanks to its numerous health benefits.
Health benefits of manuka honey
Manuka honey is principally carbohydrates and sugars (80%). It also contains bioactive compounds like methylglyoxal and leptosperin, which are responsible for the several health benefits of manuka honey some of which are as follows.
Helps to heal wounds
Manuka honey has been used in the treatment of wounds, boils, sores, and burns since ancient times.
Since the honey is loaded with antibacterial compounds, they help form a protective area on the wound preventing further contamination by pathogenic bacteria. They also amplify the regeneration of body tissues enhancing wound healing.
Manuka honey has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a natural treatment for wounds.
Enhances oral health
Thanks to its antibacterial properties, manuka honey can improve oral health by preventing the growth of harmful mouth bacteria like Porphyromoas gingivalis and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans.
These bacteria cause tooth decay by increasing plague formation and inflammation.
Manuka honey has been used successfully as a home remedy to relieve cough, reducing both the severity and the frequency of coughing episodes.
A spoonful of honey helps soothe cough and increases the quality of sleep for people with cough.
Is manuka honey acidic or alkaline?
Manuka honey like all honey types, is mildly acidic with pH ranging from 3.4 – 6.1 with an average pH of about 3.9.
The pH of stomach acid is around 1-2, which means honey is less acidic than digestive juices.
Furthermore, honey gives an alkalizing effect after ingestion making considered an alkaline food in many diets.
This means that even though manuka honey is somewhat acidic, this is unlikely to cause issues for people with acid reflux.
Is manuka honey good for heartburn?
Manuka honey has an alkalizing effect when ingested and as such, it is good for heartburn for many people. Manuka honey has several benefits that might soothe acid reflux symptoms:
Manuka honey has been used as a remedy for inflammations such as sore throat and ulcers since ancient times. It contains methylglyoxal, which coats the mucous membranes lining the esophagus and digestive tract, reducing inflammation, and enhancing the healing of tissues destroyed by stomach acids which helps to relieve heartburn.
Protects the esophagus
Honey is highly viscous, very dense, and has a low surface tension, making it able to stay longer in the esophagus, coating the mucous membranes much longer, and providing a longer time of protection from acid reflux and thus relieving heartburn.
Inhibits gastric acid secretion
Manuka honey also decreases the secretion of gastric acid when ingested, therefore reducing the quantity of acid present in the stomach and reducing severity and frequency of acid reflux episodes and heartburn consequently.
Manuka honey contains a signature compound called leptosperin, which differentiates it from other honeys.
Leptosperin is a powerful antibacterial compound and has been reported to prevent SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) reducing harmful bacteria from the stomach and gut.
These harmful bacteria can cause further damage to the gastrointestinal tract such as destroying and worsening heartburn.
Finally, manuka honey has antioxidant properties, scavenging reactive oxygen species which cause oxidative stress and damage epithelial cells.
Can manuka honey cause heartburn?
Since manuka honey contains a lot of carbohydrates, it might trigger gas and bloating in people sensitive to sugar. E.g. people suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) might experience gas after eating manuka honey.
Since gas increases pressure in the stomach, it makes the reflux of digestive juice into the food pipe more likely, and therefore it is a risk factor for acid reflux.
How to take manuka honey for acid reflux?
Here are some ways consuming manuka honey can help with acid reflux.
- Take a spoon of manuka honey at most four times a day, 20 minutes before mealtime and 20 minutes before going to sleep. Some suggest just taking one to two tablespoons a day, ¼ to one teaspoon after consuming a trigger food.
- Manuka can be added to apple cider vinegar. Though apple cider vinegar is acidic, adding a teaspoon or tablespoon of it to some water has been proven to be a good remedy for acid reflux, because it gives an alkalizing effect on the body. Thus, adding some manuka honey to apple cider vinegar in water can help with acid reflux.
- Manuka can also be added to ginger tea. Ginger contains bioactive compounds like gingerols, that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger tea is a popular remedy for acid reflux and adding manuka honey to ginger tea, makes a great acid reflux remedy.
Manuka honey is called a superfood because it can be used as medicine for indigestion, wound healing, cough, and cold, just to name a few.
It is also used as food in many ways, as it can be used as toppings for pastry and baked goods, as well as in teas, smoothies, and so on.
Manuka honey is a great remedy for relieving GERD symptoms such as heartburn and other stomach problems like indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.
Frequently asked questions
Manuka honey is generally safe for consumption and people with reflux have consumed up to 4 tablespoons a day with no issues. So you may want to start slowly with one tablespoon and gradually increase if it goes well with you.
Yes, manuka honey helps with esophagitis. Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus, and as already discussed above, manuka honey has anti-inflammatory properties, thus it will reduce inflammation of the esophagus and help it heal quicker.
Diabetics. Like other honeys, manuka honey contains a high amount of sugar, about 80% thus, it will increase blood sugar levels after consumption. As such people with diabetes or prediabetes are advised to stay away from manuka sugar.
Also, some people are allergic to manuka honey, especially those allergic to bees. So, in case you get any allergic reactions after consuming manuka honey, it is advised to stay away.
Generally, parents are not advised to give their babies any honey at all, so manuka honey should not be given to babies.