The ground-breaking research, carried out at Industrial Research Ltd (IRL), Plant & Food Research and Massey University, found that different varieties of New Zealand honey appear to trigger different immune responses.
IRL's role was to provide its world-class expertise in the extraction, analysis, and purification of complex molecules that play an important role in biological systems, the journal Food Chemistry reports.
"We know a lot about the anti-microbial properties of manuka honey but had much less scientific information about the immune system-related effects of honey in wound healing," says Ralf Schlothauer, chief technology officer of Comvita, which is linked with the research, according to a Massey statement.
Comvita, a New Zealand company, is the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of Manuka honey and produces natural health products for the wound care, healthcare, personal care and functional foods markets.
"The findings suggest there could be a number of honeys to consider if you want to stimulate the immune system. Ultimately, it might mean we produce medical honey products that are specifically tailored for certain treatments or that we select a range of honeys for their particular properties to include in a specific blend," adds Schlothauer.