However you view Manuka Honey, there are so many ways to enjoy it. Like many Mānuka fans, you can take it by the spoonful to soothe a sore throat or cough. Honey is more effective than anything you may get from the chemist, according to Dr Tessa Lewis, GP and chair of the NICE antimicrobial prescribing guideline group,1 who recommended it to treat coughs after a major review of studies published in the British Journal of General Practice found cough medicines were, at best, ineffective, and at worst, had some unpleasant side effects.2 That goes for your children, too, with research finding a spoonful of honey at night can do more than over-the-counter medicines to soothe children’s coughs and help them sleep better (just don’t give it to babies under one because of the botulism risk).3 And, of course, making your honey Mānuka has special benefits because it’s packed with the potent antimicrobial substance methylglyoxal (MGO), along with other compounds, which together help kill off certain bacteria.
But you don’t just have to treat it like a medicine you take by the spoon. With its delicious flavour, Manuka Honey’s versatile enough to use in lots of different ways, while still getting those wellness benefits. Here are a few...
1. Manuka Honey, strawberry and banana smoothie
Whiz together a large banana, four or five strawberries, 1tbsp ground flaxseeds, a glass of oat milk and 1tbsp Manuka Honey (or you can use more, or less, to taste). Add more milk if you prefer it less thick.
The benefits: This delicious smoothie is packed with vitamin- and mineral-dense fruit, and the healing properties of Manuka Honey.
Perfect for: a light breakfast or mid-morning snack.
2. Healing honey porridge
Lightly toast a portion of oats in a saucepan, then add water and bring to the boil, before simmering gently with a good pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg, a star anise, and a couple of cardamom pods. When the porridge is cooked, stir through 1tbsp of Manuka Honey. Top with chopped pear and toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds.
The benefits: Warming spices, nuts and seeds rich in protein and healthy oils, fibre-rich oats and pears, plus wellness-boosting Manuka Honey.
Perfect for: a hearty, healthy, filling breakfast on a chilly morning.
3. Fruit crumble
Gently stew 600g fruit – such as apples or apricots - with a little water plus Manuka Honey, to taste, until the fruit has softened. For the topping, mix 200g oats with 100g ground almonds. In a pan, gently heat 3tbsp coconut oil with 2tbsp Manuka Honey and a good pinch each of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. When the oil’s melted, blend with the oats and almonds, spread the mixture on top of the fruit and bake at 180C for about 25 minutes.
The benefits: Sweet but healthy, you’ll get nutrient-packed fruit, plus a big dose of fibre from the oats.
Perfect for: A delicious dessert!
4. Manuka on toast
Try making toast from rye bread – the slightly sour, nutty flavour is a great combination with honey. Scrape a little coconut oil across the toast, then slather on your Manuka Honey. Scatter on sliced banana and flaked almonds for added flavour and texture.
The benefits: Gluten-free and fibre-rich, rye bread’s good news for your digestive system – the banana and nuts add more fibre.
Perfect for: a teatime snack.
5. Manuka yoghurt
Swirl 1tsp Manuka Honey into plain yoghurt. Add a pinch of cinnamon, a handful of blueberries and raspberries, and a sprinkling of chopped pecans.
The benefits: The yoghurt contains protein and calcium, vital for healthy bones. Berries are rich in substances called anthocyanins, needed for healthy blood vessels, while the pecans give you fibre and good fats. Plus Manuka magic –what’s not to love?
Perfect for: Breakfast, dessert or a filling snack – take your pick.
2 Speich B et al. Treatments for subacute cough in primary care: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised clinical trials. Br J Gen Pract 10 September 2018; bjgp18X698885
3 Cohen HA et al. Effect of Honey on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. PEDIATRICS Volume 130, Number 3, September 2012