Gastritis is essentially the inflammation in the lining of the stomach. It is most commonly caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori or as a side effect after ingesting excessive amounts of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs).
Acute gastritis includes a sudden, severe inflammation, while chronic gastritis develops over a long time. If left untreated, gastritis could devolve into stomach ulcers.
Manuka honey is a special kind of honey derived from the nectar of wild Manuka trees in New Zealand. This honey is famous for its numerous medicinal properties.
The special property it exhibits is due to the presence of a compound called methylglyoxal.
This compound lends it antimicrobial properties that are far beyond what ordinary honey possesses. The high sugar content of the honey creates detrimental conditions for bacteria, thus making them lose water by process known as ‘osmosis’ as a result of which they die.
4 Ways Manuka Honey Helps In Gastritis
Overall, manuka honey has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and is effective against a lot of specific conditions including gastritis.
1. It inhibits the growth of H.pylori infection
Manuka Honey is a very potent antibacterial agent. This is the property that makes it the most effective against gastritis that is caused due to bacterial infections.
Manuka honey directly attacks the source of the disease and aids in its fast and efficient elimination. The anti-microbial action of manuka honey comes from the presence of a compound called methylglyoxal in it.
Apart from this, it is also effective in treatment of gastritis that is caused by factors other than a bacterial infection.
This is owing to its anti-inflammatory properties and its effect in boosting the immune system of the body.
A recent study published in October 2014 claims that manuka honey has been found to be an effective inhibitor for Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that is the most common cause of gastritis .
Helicobacter pylori infection is fairly common and can lead to serious peptic ulcers if left untreated. The need to look for alternative methods of treating this bacterial infection arose when antibiotic resistance strains started to crop up.
This study looks into manuka honey as a potential source for bacterial inhibitors for pharmaceuticals, and the results are very promising.Manuka honey reduces the growth rate of the bacteria and can be used to control bacterial infections .
Ndip et. al investigated the antimicrobial effect of various honey on H.pylori infection and it was observed that Manuka honey showed strong inhibitory potential against bacterial growth.
However there is one clinical trial which reports that Manuka honey is ineffective against H.pylori infection. But this study is conducted on a small population and no report of what effect Manuka honey had on other symptoms is given.
What does this mean?
Lab studies show that Manuka honey has antibacterial potential that is effective in eradicating H.pylori infection that causes gastritis.
2. It has gastroprotective property
Manuka honey also helps in mitigation of the more adverse symptoms associated with gastritis. Manuka honey can used to treat stomach and intestinal indigestion .
This is due to the presence of compound methylglyoxal which interacts with digestive enzymes but does not pose any adverse effects on digestion.
A recent study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity examines the effect of manuka honey on gastric ulcer in animal model.
Results showed that manuka honey reduced development of ulcers, prevented occurrence of gastric erosions and preserved function of gastric lining.
Manuka honey made use of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiulcer potential in animal model of gastric ulcer.
What does this mean?
Manuka honey offers gastroprotective activity and protects stomach from ulcers, gastric erosions and indigestion.
3. It has anti-inflammatory property
Manuka honey is identified as one of the foods that can reduce H.pylori associated inflammation.
Manuka honey is also hailed for its anti-inflammatory action. This is a feature that makes it a very effective weapon in the arsenal against gastritis, as the disorder is essentially an inflammatory response from the body.
Clinical observations give a strong indication that manuka honey may initiate the healing of chronic wounds and even accelerate it, therefore lending credibility to the claim of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Tomblin et. al demonstrated that manuka honey exerts its anti-inflammatory effect by acting through Toll like receptor pathway. This pathway plays an important role in cell proliferation, immune response and inflammation.
Based on the methylglyoxal content and other factors, manuka honey’s anti-inflammatory potential differs. Leong et. al demonstrate that manuka honey reduces inflammation induced swelling and prevents activation of inflammatory cells.
What does this mean?
Manuka honey has anti-inflammatory effect and this property can be useful in reducing inflammation in gastritis.
4. It boosts immune system function
Manuka honey provides a boost to the immune system. Monocytes after they have entered tissues are called macrophages. Macrophages are made to release compounds that help in fighting the infections.
These immunostimulatory properties, a study claims, is specific to certain kinds of New Zealand honeys including manuka honey due to the presence of special proteins called Arabinogalactans , and Apisimin .
These proteins cause the release of a compound called TNF-α (Tumour Necrosis Factor Alpha). This is a very important compound involved in the regulation of the immune cells.
What does this mean?
Manuka honey has immune system stimulating properties and this can have implications in protection from gastritis or regulate the inflammation occurring in gastritis.
How To Take Manuka Honey For Gastritis?
There is no specific dosage for manuka honey. Its safety has been tested in a study conducted on 20 healthy individuals between the ages of 42 and 64 years.
The study concluded that regular consumption of manuka honey (approximately 20g) had no adverse effect on the health of their subjects and is perfectly safe .Diabetic patients can also take manuka honey on a regular basis, with careful management of their blood sugar levels.
For best results, 1 teaspoon manuka honey can be consumed daily 1-3 times, between meals . It should be either taken straight from the spoon, or by adding it or cold or lukewarm water.
Adding manuka honey to hot water is not recommended as this may degrade the compounds in the honey and affect its therapeutic properties. Manuka honey should always be taken prior to meals.
It may be taken alone, or it can also be taken along with a warm lemon drink or ginger drink to help soothe the digestive tract.
Lemon is good for this purpose as it also has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and has been proven to improve gastric ulcers and gastritis . Similarly, ginger is healthy for your stomach due to its “gastroprotective” effects.
A patch test should be done to test for any kind of allergy at least 48 hours before the consumption of honey for those who are having honey for the first time. This is doubly important for people who already suffer from bee or pollen allergy.
Consumption of manuka honey is not safe for children below the age of 12 months, due to the risk of botulism poisoning.
People suffering from diabetes should only have manuka honey while maintaining a strict check on their blood sugar levels.
UMF rating, which is based on the amount of methylglyoxal present, on store bought manuka honey should be checked to ensure the quality and purity of the honey. Effective manuka honey has an UMF rating of 10 or above.
Manuka honey has a lot of therapeutic value that has been recognized after years of studies and trials. Methylglyoxal is a very important compound that lends manuka honey its many therapeutic values.
The anti-bacterial properties of manuka honey help it inhibit the growth of the bacteria that most commonly causes gastritis, and its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effect help in healing the lining of your stomach to recover from the disease.
Manuka honey is therefore a great add-on remedy that can be used to treat gastritis in any form, acute or chronic.