Manuka Honey: A Powerful Ally in Combating Colds and Coughs this Winter

Manuka honey, sourced from the nectar of the Manuka tree native to New Zealand and Australia, is renowned for its unique health properties. With winter around the corner, cold and cough symptoms are bound to become prevalent. Fortunately, Manuka honey offers a natural and effective solution to help alleviate these symptoms.

bee with a cold

The Science Behind Manuka Honey’s Benefits

Methylglyoxal: The Key Component

Manuka honey is enriched with a unique compound called Methylglyoxal (MGO). This organic substance has potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. The concentration of MGO in Manuka honey determines its efficacy, as higher MGO levels correlate with stronger antibacterial action.

The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Rating

The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating is a quality trademark and grading system that measures the purity and potency of Manuka honey. UMF ratings range from 5+ to 20+, with higher ratings indicating a greater concentration of beneficial compounds like MGO and leptosperin. A UMF rating of 10+ or above is considered optimal for medicinal use.

How Manuka Honey Helps Combat Colds and Coughs

Soothing Sore Throats

The natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka honey can help soothe sore throats by reducing inflammation and eliminating harmful bacteria. Consuming a spoonful of Manuka honey or mixing it with warm water or tea can provide instant relief.

Suppressing Coughs

The viscous texture of Manuka honey forms a protective layer over the throat, suppressing coughs and promoting healing. Studies have shown that Manuka honey is just as effective as over-the-counter cough suppressants, without the side effects.

Strengthening the Immune System

Manuka honey has been shown to boost the immune system, thanks to its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Regular consumption can help the body fight off infections and enhance overall immune function.

Enhancing Sleep Quality

Poor sleep can exacerbate cold and cough symptoms. Manuka honey can help improve sleep quality by promoting the release of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

How to Use Manuka Honey for Cold and Cough Relief

  1. Direct consumption: Take a teaspoon of Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 10+ or above 2-3 times a day.
  2. Honey and lemon drink: Mix a tablespoon of Manuka honey and fresh lemon juice in a cup of warm water, and drink 2-3 times a day.
  3. Manuka honey tea: Add a spoonful of Manuka honey to your favourite herbal tea and consume as needed.

Precautions and Recommendations

  • Choose Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 10+ or above for maximum benefits.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional before using Manuka honey if you are pregnant, nursing, or have allergies to honey or bee products.
  • Do not give honey to infants under 12 months due to the risk of botulism.


Manuka honey is a powerful natural remedy for combating colds and coughs during the winter season. Its unique properties, such as antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory effects, offer a safe and effective alternative to conventional over-the-counter medications.

Incorporating Manuka honey into your daily routine can alleviate symptoms, boost your immune system, and improve your overall well-being.

Choose high-quality Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 10+ or above to ensure you reap the maximum health benefits.

Clinical Nutritionist

Cara Hayes is an experienced natural health practitioner with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of Sydney. She has been writing for New Zealand Honey since 2020 and loves manuka in her morning tea.