A failed experiment…

Sometimes you just have to admit you’re wrong and get on with it. And that is why I’m admitting publicly that my Manuka honey experiment (see my Sept 2 post) didn’t work…at least, not entirely…

In part or perhaps even mostly because of my own stupidity.

You see, I finished one small jar of Manuka honey UMF 20 and then opened another, which, I realized only some days later, was only UMF 12 (!). Oh well. So instead of steadily improving, as it had been, my cough slowly started getting worse…and day before yesterday the colour of my “output” was no longer clear. That is when I discovered the “UMF 12, not UMF 20” business. Draaaat!

That said, I should mention a couple of things:

  • My cough never reached the point of giving me that familiar & horrible “oppressed” feeling in my chest (=chest congestion…ugh). This time I didn’t experience any trouble breathing…and I didn’t have a fever or any discomfort/pain other than the occasional bother of the coughing fits (=increasingly frequent in the past couple of days). I attribute these positive events to my Manuka intake.
  • My cough also didn’t slow me down in any way. Energy levels: normal. Again, in my opinion, this must have been thanks to the Manuka…

But I had to take into consideration a couple of important facts: 

  • I’m leaving for the States in a couple of weeks, so I can’t take any risks. There is an important time constraint here = only two weeks to get completely over this “thing”…
  • My extremely compromised, almost non existent immune system is a feisty little thing, but sometimes it needs some help…
  • Last but not least, my Stefano was worried…

After carefully considering all the pros and the cons, yesterday morning I began taking an antibiotic. Yes, an antibiotic. The very thing I wished to avoid. Sigh. Of slight comfort was the fact that my family doctor, who strongly supports my natural healing approach, agreed that I should move onto an antibiotic…

Well, yesterday I felt as though my Manuka experiment had failed. Perhaps it was my own bloody fault, I wailed to myself, because of the UMF mistake I’d unwittingly made. Or perhaps Manuka just cannot overcome the problems associated with a compromised immune system…

In spite of what happened, I still believe in the healing properties of Manuka. I’m now back on the UMF 20 and will never again buy anything less potent. But, realistically, I need to be cough-less by the time my parents and I get on that flight for the U.S. And that is the main reason why I chose the fastest route…

I should be fine within a few days. Meanwhile, I have lots to keep me busy. For example, I’m editing the first chapter of a book written by a former Italian employer of mine (=a professor at the University of Florence), going to work, doing the usual amount of household-related stuff (cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping, killing mosquitoes, picking figs&raspberries&tomatoes, knitting blablabla…just kidding on the knitting, Paula, hehe!), planning game and dinner nights with the girls (yay!), playing with/feeding the kitties (almost a fulltime job), watching (again!) the first-rate first season of the BBC’s “Downton Abbey” with my parents, keeping up with blog messages/Italian & world news/Facebook (or trying to do so…!) and doing research…and…sheeeeesh!

I think I need a nap now… 🙂


  1. Well Wishes to you Margaret for fast healing for the states visit. Since there are only a chosen few antibiotics for me that I am able to take it inspires me even more to try alternatives too, when I can. I like to take 100 mg. of artimisinin a day for bone ache days or when I’m feeling sluggish/ under the weather. I only take for 7 days. Not supposed to take it all the time cause the body can develop resistance to it much the same as to regular antibiotics. I remember reading that someone from one of the listservs takes it seven days on and seven days off. I can’t speak for its positive or no effect on coughs. Its prescribed sometimes for malaria. It also saved me from more severe tendon inflammation than I would have had during a medication reaction. I know that because the large swelling went down by 2/3 within an hour after taking 300 mg. I would never take that much on a normal day. I just did a search on your blog and didn’t see it anywhere so thought I’d mention it or ask if you have run across anything interesting about it too.

  2. I have been using manuka honey (New Zealand +16), swabbing inside each nostril in morning and night.
    Relieves congestion and also problem I was having with sores. First tried vitamin A&D ointment–but manuka the best ! For colds, I use homeopathic remedies or Airborne. I also get flu shots. I am smoldering for 6 years now (no treatment) and have managed to avoid colds, flu, coughs, etc for about 4 years now–

  3. also– forgot to mention-hope you are feeling better, Margaret–
    Your Blog is a God-send !!
    Hope your travels go well too.

  4. You make me tired girl! 🙂 I don’t forsee any rest for you in the near future however!! Get rid of that nasty cough…hey…it might just clear the crowds as you come hacking by! 🙂 The eternal optimist! 🙂 Get well soon and enjoy your time in the states! The weather is a wee bit cooler now! Be safe! Donna

  5. Today in NY Times Science Section: (9/13/11)
    Leukemia patient, I believe it was, (or Lymphoma) “cured” for one year now– after harvesting T-cells, genetically modifying them–re-introducing into patient.–the patient got flu-like symptoms, fever; and there after cancer free. The T-cells kill only cancer cells.
    This is good news for Myeloma people I would imagine!!
    How long it will take to get to us ?????????????
    I believe this has worked on 3 blood cancer patients so far (tho’ no myeloma people). Did anyone see this article? Not sure of Hospital, clinicians. Will try to re-find article — important news !!

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