Chickenpox is an infectious condition caused by Varicella Zoster virus. It is characterised by occurrence of many blister like rashes all over the body and further leads to fever, pain, loss of appetite etc.

Chickenpox tends to affect almost every individual during childhood. It is a contagious condition and can spread via contact with affected individual.

The prime symptom of chickenpox is skin rash which forms pus filled blisters and are extremely itchy. These subsequently form scabs and heal. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, fatigue and pain.

Children below the age of 10-12 get chickenpox. However they develop immunity to it and it is uncommon to be affected by chickenpox more than once.

Complications of chickenpox are rare but can involve infection of the blisters, inflammation of other organs, sepsis, breathing problems, fits and bleeding rashes etc. Infants, pregnant women and those with weakened immune system are susceptible to complications.

Shingles is a condition caused by the same virus as chickenpox but it usually develops at an older age. It is result of latent infection. Vaccination is the best way to prevent chickenpox.

Non aspirin medications are prescribed to treat fever and pain. Antibiotic cream may be prescribed to treat infection of blisters. Doctors may prescribe anti-viral medications for those who are susceptible to developing serious cases of chickenpox.

What is manuka honey?

Manuka honey is a unique type of honey native to New Zealand and Australia. It is obtained from Leptospermum scoparium trees.

Most honey varieties have a compound, hydrogen peroxide which contributes to the antiseptic activity. What makes manuka honey unique is that it has components other than hydrogen peroxide that contributes to its anti-microbial properties.

One such compound is methylglyoxal that supports the anti-bacterial activity of manuka honey. There are some other unidentified components and flavonoids present in manuka honey that impart the anti-bacterial activity.

Additionally manuka honey has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. UMF or unique manuka honey factor is a grading system that grades manuka honey based on its non peroxide antibacterial activity. A UMF of 10+ is preferable.

5 Benefits of Manuka Honey In Chicken Pox

Manuka honey can be considered as a natural remedy for chickenpox for the following reasons:

1. Manuka honey terminates chickenpox virus

Manuka honey has various components such as methylglyoxal, flavonoids and hydrogen peroxide which have support it’s anti-microbial effect.

Also manuka honey’s high sugar content creates osmotic effect- it draws out water from bacteria and thereby terminates infections.

A study was published in Translational Biomedicine, 2012 demonstrating the anti-viral effect of manuka honey specifically against varicella zoster virus. Manuka honey was diluted in the range of 0-6% concentration. (wt/vol)

Researchers concluded that this anti-viral effect was a result of non specific osmotic actions of manuka honey. Higher concentrations of manuka honey led to reduced size of viral plaques.

What does this mean?
Manuka honey exerts specific anti-viral action against varicella zoster virus which causes chickenpox.

2. Manuka honey can heal chickenpox rash

Manuka honey is great for skin related disorders. Chickenpox presents with itchy blister formation.

A study in humans suggested that topical honey application is better than anti-viral cream in treating herpes lesions. As per this study application of honey, hastened the healing process, crust formation and also supported remission.

Similarly researchers suggest that manuka honey, being easily available and inexpensive, can serve as a topical treatment in healing chickenpox or zoster rash.

Manuka honey also has wound healing properties that can benefit in healing the blisters, crust formation and lightening scar marks.

What does this mean?
Topical application of manuka honey can soothe chickenpox rash and speed up healing of the blisters.

Manuka Honey In Chicken Pox

3. It can reduce sepsis

Scratching the blisters or worsening of conditions can lead to bacterial infections. In such cases antibiotic creams are prescribed to treat and control the infection.

Maunka honey’s methylglyoxal content helps it achieve anti-bacterial effect. Additionally the presence of antioxidants, hydrogen peroxide and sugars in manuka honey help in terminating the infection.

Various studies have demonstrated manuka honey’s therapeutic efficacy in sepsis and preventing wounds from being infected by bacteria.

Manuka honey also improves antibiotic activity against bacteria that infect wounds.

What does this mean?
Topical application of manuka honey can protect chickenpox rash from developing infections and causing serious complications.

4. It is a natural anti-inflammatory

Infection cause inflammation and in chickenpox this is evidenced by fever, skin inflammation and in serious cases inflammation may spread to other organs.

Flavonoids present in manuka honey serve as antioxidants and control oxidative damage to prevent inflammation from progressing. This property of manuka honey has been studied in relation to controlling inflammation in wound healing.

Manuka honey has intrinsic anti-inflammatory property which is independent on presence of antioxidants. Research shows that topical application of manuka honey exerted anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting the action of arachidonic acid (key player in inflammation) and preventing infiltration of immune cells.

What does this mean?
Manuka honey has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve internal or skin inflammation in chickenpox.

5. It can boost immunity

yogurt-HONEYManuka honey can regulate immune responses and has immunomodulating properties. This property has been studied in relation to wound repair.

Research shows that manuka honey can increase the concentration of cytokines secreted by immune cells like TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta and IL-6. This is of importance in case of tissue repair.

Manuka honey has immune stimulating property. Components called Arabinogalactans and apisimin contribute to these immune stimulating properties.

What does this mean?
Manuka honey can help build immunity and fight chickenpox infection.

Dosage of Manuka Honey For Chicken Pox

There is no strict dosage of manuka honey for any condition. 1 teaspoon of manuka honey 2-3 times a day can help.
This can be consumed with lukewarm or plain water if needed, but it is best to take manuka honey straight off the spoon.

Wallace et. al have conducted a study on safety of manuka honey and their results prove that manuka honey has a good safety profile. The manuka honey used in the study had UMF 20+ and 20 g was given each day for 4 weeks. No adverse effects were observed.

Precautions

Manuka honey is safe. However make sure you get a good quality organic manuka honey. There is a lot of confusion regarding adulterated products, products with high fructose corn syrup, products with low methylglyoxal content being sold in place of original manuka honey.

The best thing to do would be to get in touch with the local farm that produces manuka honey. Also watch out for the UMF rating. The higher the UMF the more expensive it is. A UMF of 10 or above is preferred for therapeutic conditions. Most studies use a UMF 16.

Diabetics should consume manuka honey in moderation. Avoid giving manuka honey to children below the age of 12 months to avoid botulism poisoning.

Conclusion

Manuka honey is a great add-on natural remedy in chickenpox due to its specific anti-viral effect against chickenpox virus. It may also counteract other symptoms of chicken pox such as fever and pain and help relieve and heal chickenpox blisters.

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