People sometimes use Manuka honey as an alternative treatment for eczema. Some research suggests it may aid tissue healing and reduce infections.

This information comes from a 2018 literature review published in AIMS Microbiology.

There are an estimated 300 different types of honey, differentiated by the variety of flowers bees collect their nectar from. When they collect honey from the Manuka tree, or tea tree, they make Manuka honey. For centuries, the Indigenous people of New Zealand used Manuka tree leaves for their healing properties.

While all honey has antimicrobial properties, Manuka honey contains non-hydrogen peroxide. This gives it stronger antibacterial properties than other honey. Researchers have found that Manuka honey may help reduce microbial infections and aid in tissue healing.

Read more to learn about how Manuka honey may treat eczema, how it works, and the risks involved.

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Eczema describes a group of conditions that make the skin inflamed, itchy, and sore. The symptoms of eczema include:

  • discolored, inflamed skin
  • itching
  • dry, sensitive skin
  • oozing and crusting
  • areas of swelling
  • leathery, rough patches of skin

Although there is no cure for eczema, it is very treatable.

Manuka honey may help treat eczema symptoms. Research suggests Manuka honey has a variety of properties that may alleviate eczema symptoms. These include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

Additionally, Manuka honey might help promote processes needed for tissue healing. This is because it can stimulate macrophages, which remove dead cells and encourage the production of new ones.

But more research is needed to determine whether Manuka honey is an effective treatment for eczema. Very few studies currently exist.

A small 2017 study investigated the effects of applying Manuka honey to atopic dermatitis lesions. The participants had improved lesions and reduced inflammation, but just 14 individuals participated.

Researchers of another small 2017 study showed that honey eardrops led to decreased symptoms of eczema. But their study did not use a control group.

If a person wants to use Manuka honey to treat eczema, they should use medical-grade honey. It is filtered and free of contaminants.

People primarily use medical-grade honey as a topical ointment and in dressings to treat surface wounds and burns. This is because it can promote wound healing.

Medical-grade Manuka honey stimulates an inflammatory response, creating a protective barrier between the skin and the environment. This can be beneficial for people with eczema.

Scientists are exploring the medicinal properties of Manuka honey as the worldwide resistance to antibiotics grows. Antimicrobial resistance may overtake cancer as the leading cause of death globally by 2050.

Although still in the early stages of research, honey has the potential to be an alternative treatment for antibiotic resistant infections.

Experts believe Manuka honey has increased antimicrobial activity against a variety of microorganisms. This is because Manuka honey contains natural chemicals that other kinds of honey do not, including methylglyoxal, dihydroxyacetone, and other active components.


This natural chemical results in increased antimicrobial activity.


Only found in the nectar of the Manuka flower, this chemical becomes methylglyoxal during the honey-making process.

Other active components

Manuka honey also contains other components with antimicrobial properties, including:

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • acidic pH level
  • bee-defensin-1
  • hyper-osmolality effect

To use Manuka honey as a treatment for eczema, a person should:

  • apply a thin layer of honey to the affected area in the evening with clean hands
  • cover the area using a bandage or gauze
  • leave the dressing in place overnight
  • gently remove the dressing and clean the area in the morning

People should note that studies on Manuka honey’s medical benefits are largely in vitro. This means they are done in a controlled setting, such as a petri dish or test tube. Therefore, Manuka honey may not have the same results when used by individuals in real life.

One limiting factor of Manuka honey is its price. Because it can be expensive, people should ensure they are purchasing genuine medical-grade Manuka honey.

To do this, a person should look for the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) mark on the product. This indicates the honey comes from the producers, beekeepers, and exporters licensed by the UMF Honey Association.

People should also look for a number next to the UMF mark. This indicates the number of key markers for Manuka honey, such as methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone. A UMF of 10 or above is best.

Home remedies for eczema include:

Apple cider vinegar

People use this popular home remedy for many conditions, including skin disorders such as eczema.

According to the National Eczema Association (NEA), apple cider vinegar may help with eczema. It does this by fighting bacteria and balancing the acid levels of the skin. But there is no research to confirm that it can treat eczema.

The NEA advises caution as the vinegar may damage soft tissue.

Coconut oil

This thick oil can moisturize dry skin, which may help ease eczema symptoms. It may also reduce inflammation.

Tea tree oil

Extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, tea tree oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties. These may help reduce the symptoms of eczema.

Colloidal oatmeal

A person may ease symptoms of eczema by bathing with colloidal oatmeal or using colloidal oatmeal lotion.

Its potential skin-healing properties come from boiled and ground oats. It is also an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

A person should contact a doctor about their eczema if:

  • they have tried over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, home remedies, or both, without success
  • their lesions appear infected
  • their lesions cover a large area of their body
  • the eczema is disruptive to their lives

Manuka honey may help treat eczema symptoms, but more research is needed to confirm this.

Medical-grade Manuka honey has antimicrobial properties and may promote skin healing. This may be beneficial for treating eczema.

Other home remedies for eczema include apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, tea tree oil, and colloidal oatmeal. More research is needed to determine if these treatments are effective.

A person should contact a doctor if their eczema is severe, or if OTC or home remedies are not working.