Why would anyone pay $25 for a jar of honey? Well, Manuka honey isn't the same as the bear-shaped jar in your pantry. It's actually a particular type of honey made from bees that pollinate the Manuka plant indigenous to New Zealand.
It's also more potent than your average honey, making Manuka honey benefits pretty legit—and worth that price tag.
Here's what you can expect from that fancy jar of sweet stuff:
1. IT KILLS BACTERIA
Honey has been used medicinally for hundreds of years for its natural antibacterial properties, most commonly to treat skin infections—and this kind of honey from Down Under takes it up a notch.
“Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties help the staph infections associated with abscess hair follicle infections as well as infections on skin that stimulate conditions like eczema,” explains Lily Talakoub, M.D., founder of McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center. She says a small amount applied to any wound can help ward off harmful bacteria.
2. IT MAKES YOUR SKIN GLOW
Manuka honey’s microbial qualities also makes it an especially efficient first step in your skin-care routine. “It enhances a cleansing skin regimen, and also reduces skin inflammation,” says Houston, Texas dermatologist, Jennifer M. Segal, M.D., of Metropolitan Dermatology Institute.
To use it as a cleanser, first remove your makeup. Then take about a half teaspoon of Manuka honey in your palm, and warm it up with your fingers. Add a small splash of water to make it more spreadable, and smooth it over your face. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat your face dry.
3. IT DE-CLOGS YOUR NOSE
Another way to use Manuka honey is up your nose. Yes, really!
“A study recently showed that the nasal passages of people who used Manuka honey plus a nasal saline rinse had significantly less bacteria in their noses,” says allergist and NYU School of Medicine physician Tania Elliott, M.D.
Used as part of a sinus rinse, Manuka honey’s natural antibacterial properties can help prevent nasal infections and sinus flare ups, she adds, and is safe to use daily.
4. IT HELPS YOU GET BETTER BEAUTY SLEEP
Skip the nightcap and opt for a teaspoon or two of Manuka honey instead. “When taken in small doses before bedtime, Manuka honey can improve the production of melatonin in the brain that regulates the circadian rhythm and helps our sleep wake cycles,” explains Talakoub. If you’d like a soothing bedtime ritual, try adding the Manuka honey to a calming cup of chamomile tea.
5. IT CLEARS UP YOUR ZITS
“Studies have shown the benefits of Manuka honey in treating mild to moderate acne,” says Talakoub, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory cred. She recommends applying a Manuka honey mask once or twice a week to help calm breakouts.
To do it yourself, apply a thin layer of pure Manuka honey to your skin and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Not only is the treatment antibacterial, but the soothing properties can also help quell the redness that often comes with acne.
6. IT SOOTHES YOUR ALLERGIES
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a tablespoon of Manuka honey every day can also keep the seasonal sniffles away.
“A tablespoon of raw Manuka honey ingested orally decreases seasonal allergies, hay fever, asthma, and eczema,” says Talakoub. Look for raw Manuka honey, as the antimicrobial properties that are believed to help with allergies are most potent in this form.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.