Mother nature has inherent capabilities of getting us out of almost all medical ailments. This statement might sound exaggerating but it is true.
If I say that there are simple things around you, in nature, that will go unnoticed most of the times which have a finite value, will you agree? I think yes.
I had been that category of person who wasn’t aware of things around me. With the rapid growth of technology and climatic changes, there is an equivalent potential for developing microbes that become resistant to our commercial medicines.
With this speculation in mind, I was looking for specific natural alternatives and came to know about manuka honey. Perhaps the wonder of my life. It has high medicinal values, and I have been using it for a long time.
Initially, I was worried about how to select a pure quality honey, and I ended up trying more than 20 different varieties. With my personal experience, I will put here the best manuka honey products and their outstanding features.
Need a quick decision? Here's my top 5 Manuka Honey picks:
What is Manuka Honey?
After knowing that there is another variant of honey, I wondered what's the difference between manuka honey and regular honey is.
It is a type of honey that is produced by European bees from the nectar of the manuka tree. This tree is a native of Australia and New Zealand.
It has a unique dark color due to the presence of an unknown protein. It is also thicker/viscous than the regular honey.
The Maori group of people who are the native indigenous population of New Zealand were the first to use this thing for treating wounds. They used it as an ointment for bruises and cuts.
Not only the honey, they even used the tree bark and its ash for treating skin diseases.
The name manuka also originated from the Maori language. Other names of the manuka tree include Tea tree, New Zealand tree or Broom tree.
Another unique feature of this particular type of honey is that it is monofloral meaning which the nectar of a single flower is the source of it. Regular honey is made from the nectar of multiple flowers.
Our Nutrition Picks Of Best Manuka Honey For 2019
Here are our top picks which will meet user requirements at their fullest. Check their top features in our review, and you might find some insights about each product listed in our analysis.
1. Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey KFactor 16
Before buying any commercially sold manuka honey, our first criteria were to buy honey which isn’t altered chemically or which is sold as it is. I was personally very much inclined to the fact of natural freshness in the product.
Wedderspoon sells manuka honey in raw form. They don’t pasteurize it, and additionally, they use their patented K-Factor which is a measure of manuka pollen.
It is best suited as an additive to many foods such as yogurt, granola, and toasts. You can also use this product for beauty regimes. A spoonful of this product every day will result in wonders.
Use this product in beauty masks, or you can use this as an energy booster for pre or post-workout sessions.
UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) certification determines the quality of the honey. It is developed by UMF Honey Association (UMFHA), New Zealand.
Surprisingly, the Wedderspoon does not provide any UMF label on its products, but it has K-Factor 16. This means that the honey contains 75% manuka pollen.
That was the buying factor for us, and it did not disappoint. The New Zealand’s Ministry officially recognizes the K-Factor for Primary Industries which develops and monitors standards for Manuka honey.
2. Kiva Certified UMF 20+, Raw Manuka Honey
Now we know that UMF decides how much healing factor does manuka honey have. So, we went for looking for a product which has high UMF.
Having a potentially huge UMF does not do any harm. Kiva’s raw manuka honey answers to all these questions. It has UMF 20+. I am blown away.
Anything above UMF 15 is considered a superior product. Kiva is no exception for this. With such a high UMF, it can be used as a remedy for wounds, cold, flu, throat infections, and digestive health.
You can also use this in DIY beauty packs. A sip of this honey works as an energy booster.
The honey is harvested from the apiaries present in the pristine hills, mountains and coastal areas New Zealand. The harvested honey is tested and verified by independent labs.
The honey is not pasteurized and is supplied raw to preserve its natural healing properties.
Not only me, but plenty of users also found this product so helpful. It is useful particularly in relieving the symptoms of asthma and chronic bronchitis. It effectively clears mucous from the epithelial lining of the respiratory tract.
3. MANUKA HEALTH - MGO 400+ Manuka Honey
Well, what is MGO? It is a chemical compound naturally found in manuka honey. MGO stands for Methylglyoxal. It has certain medical benefits on the human body.
I was little skeptical about UMF and MGO. I wasn’t aware of the fact about the correlation between these two factors. After in-depth research over the internet, I found that an MGO 400+ is equivalent to UMF 12-13.
When they said ‘crafted with care from hive to home,’ Manuka Health lives up to their name. The honey is MGO 400+ making it one of the quality products available out there in the market.
Tested by ISO certified labs (ISO17025), there is no compromise in quality, state, purity, and efficacy of the honey. The honey is traceable right to the hive where it came from.
With UMF 12-13 equivalent, it is excellent for healing the wounds. It also reduces the severe symptoms of throat infections.
There are countless possibilities regarding how to use this product. You can use it in smoothies, as a sweetener for your coffee or tea, as a moisturizer for the skin, as an energy booster, and the list goes on.
4. Comvita Certified UMF 15+ (MGO 514+) Manuka Honey
If you are looking for manuka honey whose UMF rating tested directly by the standard UMF Honey Association (UMFHA), Comvita is your destination.
With its heritage in production over four decades, Comvita is one of the largest suppliers in the world. They own nearly 40,000 beehives which are dedicated to the creation of manuka honey.
The UMFHA tests other core ingredients in the honey such as methylglyoxal (MGO), leptosperin, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These compounds are natural parts of the raw and pure form of the honey.
The honey is certified to have UMF 15+ making it a superior product in the long line of other suppliers. The honey is traceable from the hive to the shelf.
It is useful for general digestive health and immunity. You can use this for other conditions such as sore throats, wound healing, and energy supplement.
Each batch of Comvita honey is non-GMO, halal, and Kosher certified. It is one of the very few products which is used to cure injuries such as cuts and burns in health care centers.
5. Manuka Doctor Bio Active Honey
The name Manuka Doctor isn’t any coincidence or an accidental nomenclature for the product. It is a perfect doctor with a bioactive rating of 24+.
You heard about UMF, MGO, and K-Factor. Now you may be wondering what this Bio Active honey is. For beginners, bioactive means the number of active compounds that confer to health to the human body when consumed in a specific dose.
The bioactive compounds are phytochemicals (derived from plants) which can exert a health benefit by modulating metabolic activities.
The main bioactive compound in this product is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Manuka doctor has TA rating 24+. Independent laboratory tests have certified the bioactive compounds to be extremely beneficial to health.
It is an excellent source of energy. Since it has hydrogen peroxide, it is good anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. One spoon of this honey in your daily diet can do wonders.
You can use this for bacterial infections, fevers, injuries, and acne issues. Apart from all these properties, the honey is raw and 100% New Zealand origin.
The bottle must be stored to make it sticky and thick. You can also store it at average room temperature, but some prefer gooey and viscous manuka honey.
6. Bee's Inn Manuka Honey UMF 10+, 500g (17.6 oz
After knowing about UMF labels, we thought of trying other products which abide by the rules of the standard UMF association.
Bee’s Inn was standing tall in the list as they not only follow the rules during manufacturing but also the harvesting and beekeeping.
Their apiary is also registered license number 1040 (UMFHA Lic No). These points are sufficient to prove that the company adheres to the quality of their products.
The beekeeping and harvesting are done by the local/native farmers, south of Hamilton.
I got a mountainside fresh feel even before buying the product, just by looking at the description.
The Bee’s Inn manuka honey has UMF 10+ which means it is good for health and has excellent antibacterial properties. It is tested and certified by independent labs of New Zealand.
The honey is supplied in raw and non-pasteurized form. Aren’t these factors enough to consider as one of the best raw manuka honey! That’s why it made into our list.
It is suitable for overall general health. You can use this as a moisturizer for the skin too.
7. Airborne (New Zealand) Manuka Honey
The name sounded little peculiar to me. I was a little hesitant to test this product, but after reading the labels and little research, I thought to give it a go, and it didn’t disappoint me.
The Airborne manuka honey is perhaps the only brand which will openly state the quality of the honey by describing the pollen count. Pollen count indicates how genuine is the product.
Airborne manuka honey has a pollen count of 70+ which is way too high than many other commercial brands.
The honey is NPA (non-peroxide activity) certified which is tested by independent labs. This rating means that the honey has no peroxide additives and it fights bacteria and other infections with its inherent natural properties.
It also has an HMF rating of 5.5 which means there is no heat damage to the product. All the batches are traceable to the apiaries in New Zealand.
The pollen count, HMF rating 5.5 and NPA rating between 8 -12 were our buying factors. They don’t even fool us by selling the honey in dark jars to mimic a darker manuka, honey.
It can be used as a health-boosting supplement along with wound healing applications.
8. Happy Valley UMF 15+ Manuka Honey
Another product which we tested with high UMF rating comes from Happy Valley. With UMF 15+ it proudly stands among the superior varieties of manuka honey.
The honey is tested by UMFHA certified labs and is traceable back to its origin. It is also MGO 510+ equivalent.
Happy valley supplies pure and raw honey without any additives to claim it as bio-active or active. Simply put, it is natural and unaltered superior quality of honey. Natural honey which isn’t contaminated with additives is always a good point to buy it.
To maintain a good customer relation and transparency, Happy Valley publishes all its test results and certifications online. So, there are no fancy marketing gimmicks to make consumers buy this. I liked this approach a lot.
Since it has high UMF, it is good for overall general health, general digestive health, immunity booster, and wound healing.
One of the most uses of this product is its ability to cure gastric related disorders such as reflux disease, colitis, and Clostridium difficile infections. I have a moderate acid-reflux, and after using this product for four weeks, I was utterly relieved — a worthy product.
9. Manukora UMF 20+/MGO 830+ Raw Mānuka Honey
When I was pursuing my nutrition course, I’ve learned that a product which has a fewer number of ingredients is more natural, unaltered and healthy. I was looking for manuka honey which doesn’t have such ‘added’ ingredients on its label.
Manukora raw manuka honey is one of the rarest products which supplies raw honey directly from the apiary without altering its natural potency. It has UMF 20+ which is equivalent to MGP 830+. Significant figures, aren’t they!
On top of it, every jar from Manukora has a QR code on the lid with which you can scan and verify its authenticity. This step is to keep away fake products which claim to sell pure and raw honey.
Manukora is a member of UMFHA, and each batch is comprehensively analyzed to determine the quality. Another plus point is the company is EU and FDA accredited.
With a high UMF and MGO, the honey is excellent for wound healing, general digestive health, immunity, cough, and cold.
Manukora honey is one of the few products that are great suited to treat gastric disorders. It is an excellent remedy for IBS, leaky gut, and reflux disease.
10. Wedderspoon Raw Manuka Honey KFactor 12
Another product in our list from Wedderspoon is its raw manuka honey with K-Factor 12. One peculiar feature of this product is that the honey is multi-floral.
We all know manuka honey is mono-floral honey which is derived from the flowers of manuka plant. I was hesitant to test this product before. But, surprise surprise!! It is excellent honey with all properties of real manuka honey.
K-Factor is a unique rating system developed by Wedderspoon to determine the quality of the honey. K-Factor 12 means it contains at least 65% manuka pollen.
The non-GMO project from Wedderspoon is dedicated to providing the quality honey to its consumers. Though it does not have UMF rating, their independent certification with K-Factor can be sufficient to know the quality of the product.
This honey is very good for wound healing and general wellness. You can consume this in raw form or add it to your daily drinks such as milk and tea.
11. Premium Manuka Honey UMF Certified 15+
Natural Solutions is a renowned company known for its quality of products. Te Araroa is a walking trail located in New Zealand. It stretches a distance of nearly 3000 kilometers.
Natural Solutions named their product in honor of Te Araroa stretch. The East Cape Te Aroroa premium manuka honey has UMF 15+ equivalent to 668 MGO. With its high UMF tested by independent labs, you are assured to get a good quality product.
All their tests, results, and certifications are published online for public access. You can check them for further clarification before buying.
Since it has UMF 15+, it is ranked as a superior quality product. It is excellent for digestive and respiratory disorders. My cousin who was suffering from chronic allergic bronchitis found this product immensely helpful. There was a significant reduction in mucus and wheezing.
Apart from bronchial disorders, it is excellent for digestive disorders, wound healing, sore throats, and general health. It is also excellent for treating acne. Use it in direct applications, or you can make face packs by mixing with other products.
The honey is supplied in raw form without additives and heat damage.
12. WildCape UMF 15+ East Cape Manuka Honey
The East Cape of New Zealand is unique in its flora and fauna. It is geographically separated from the western part by Raukumara hill ranges. Due to its isolation, the east region is sparsely populated and contains virgin forests.
WildCape manuka honey is produced from the manuka trees of the eastern virgin forests. It has a unique flavor than other products and also contains one of the purest forms of honey.
The company is a member of UMFHA, and each jar is certified UMF 15+ which is 514 MGO equivalent. The honey is traceable back to the hive. WildCape takes extra care while harvesting the honey from the combs. They ensure that the honeycombs are not destroyed so that they are reusable by the bees.
The taste of the manuka honey is affected by the climate. Since this product is harvested from the forests of eastern cape, you might find a peculiar taste. It has a feeling of caramel.
As it has high UMF, it is excellent for wound healing, tissue repair, and chronic infections. It reduces acne very effectively.
13. Tahi Manuka Honey UMF15+ bee-friendly, eco-friendly, raw and pure.
Delivering quality honey isn’t the only factor to consider a company to be good. As individual users, we check their mode of manufacturing and beekeeping. Natural beekeeping and harvesting aren’t merely letting the bees to work on their own.
Tahi takes a step forward regarding nature by producing the honey from natural bushes which are not fertilized or sprayed with chemicals. The bees aren’t fed with sugar syrups. This practice assures the greatest quality of natural honey. It is purest manuka honey out of several products in the market.
They also do not supply the honey jars from the hives which are not under their management no matter how good they are. The company is also dedicated to protecting the habitats of other animals. For a decade, they have planted over 250,000 trees in their estate which is now a home for more than 69 bird species. Out of 69 species, 23 are threatened or rare.
With UMF 15+ the honey is a superior quality of honey with excellent wound healing and immunity boosting properties. UMFHA accredited labs independently test each jar. The honey is raw, unpasteurized, and minimally filtered to keep the natural features intact.
14. Jelly Bush Raw Manuka Honey MGO 820+ (UMF 20+)
While we know that the bees produce manuka honey from the nectar of manuka trees which are native to New Zealand, there is another tree which is a relative to manuka tree of and is found in Australia.
The scientific name of the tree is Leptospermum polygalifolium. This tree is native to Australia, and the honey from the nectar of these trees have similar properties to manuka honey.
It has 820+ MGO meaning which it has 20+ equivalent UMF. The honey is cold extracted to preserve the antibacterial and wound healing properties. It is supplied raw and unpasteurized.
The honey is enhanced with certain bio-active ingredients to make it medicinally strong. The product is made from non-GMO bees and does not have any added sugars or artificial sweeteners.
Like Tahi, this product is also manufactured from natural trees which are not sprayed with chemicals or pesticides. The bees are not fed with sugar syrup.
Jelly bush raw manuka honey has excellent healing properties. It acts as a digestive aid by curing certain disorders such as bacterial infections and ulcers.
15. Steens Manuka Honey MGO 83 (UMF 5)
If you are looking for honey with only concern for the taste, try Steens. Though it has less UMF and MGO, it tastes perfect.
Steens stores the honey by cold processing as heat will damage the natural properties. Their unique filtering system ensures the bee pollen is preserved.
The honey is raw and unpasteurized. You can trace back the honey from hive to home. Independent labs individually test each batch. Even though the honey has less UMF, it is a premium and ultra-grade product.
The texture of the honey is suitable for cooking it which means you can add this honey flawlessly to number recipes, mainly desserts.
The honey still has proper healing and anti-bacterial properties. It is suitable for general health, digestive disorders, and acne.
One effective use of this honey is that it suppresses seasonal allergies efficiently.
Good Quality Manuka Honey Buying Guide for Beginners
We are done with manuka honey reviews and now comes the question about quality of the honey. Quality isn’t just mentioning all the mumbo-jumbo regarding the product. Like any product, be it food or electronic device, manuka honey is no exception for fakes.
There are plenty of products which brag that their honey is high quality or a premium quality honey. A good quality manuka honey must meet and have specific properties to qualify as a premium product. Let’s get you through them
Unique Manuka Factor
The quality of the manuka honey is determined by the unique manuka factor (UMF). It is a grading system developed by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA), New Zealand.
The grading system is focused on categorizing the products based on the UMF levels. The UMF grades determine the quality and anti-bacterial properties of the honey. Different varieties of manuka honey based on UMF are:
The UMFHA directly gives the UMF certification if the product passes the tests or it can be issued by independent labs which are authorized UMFHA license issuing firms.
A label which mentions ‘UMF equivalent’ isn’t officially UMF certified. The honey jar must have the UMF certified label which explicitly indicates the grade.
Methylglyoxal is a natural compound produced in body cells when they are fed with glucose. It keeps the cells healthy and aids in healing or tissue repair. MGO is naturally found in manuka honey. It is in the form of dihydroxyacetone (DHA).
The MGO present in honey is quite stable even after exposure to heat and enzymatic activity. This property makes manuka honey far superior to regular honey.
UMF can be used to assess the MGO levels in the honey. If a company mentions only MGO levels without any UMF label or certification, it still can be good honey with good anti-bacterial properties.
Natural markers such as leptosporin or methylglyoxal are used to determine the UMF of the honey. UMF is used to measure the levels of MGO and DHA. So, there is a direct relation between MGO, DHA, and UMF.
The relation between MGO and UMF:
0 - 5
can correlate these values to determine the quality of the product.
Non – Peroxide Activity (NPA)
Medicinal honey suppresses the growth or kills certain strains of bacteria in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. Most of the regular honey do not have this ability because the hydrogen peroxide is easily disintegrated into hydrogen and water due to enzymatic activity.
0Manuka honey has strong anti-bacterial activity even without hydrogen peroxide, mainly because of MGO. This property is known as Non – Peroxide anti-bacterial Activity (NPA). It is one of the main features that made manuka honey so popular with its medicinal values.
Note that the degree of NPA is mentioned through UMF. That means UMF is nothing but the amount of NPA the honey has. If any company mentions only the NPA without UMF or MGO, you can still buy it based on the following chart:
5 – 6
The bottom line is UMF, MGO, and NPA are all related to each other. If a product mentions only MGO or NPA, you can follow this chart and determine its quality. But it is always advised to buy honey which mentions their UMF certification.
Some companies even publish the lab tests and certifications online for public access. You can go through their database and narrow down to the best product.
K-Factor is an independent grading system of manuka honey developed by Wedderspoon. It is a measure to determine the pollen quantity in the honey. More the pollen the purer it is.
Based on the pollen count Wedderspoon has three products with three different K-Factors:
Note that K-Factor does not determine the level of anti-bacterial properties and is just the measure of purity which means, purest honey need not have highest anti-bacterial properties.
Since this grading is to determine the pollen count, there can be confusion between similar honey such as Kanuka honey. Kanuka produces similar pollen as manuka, and hence a K-Factor honey can be either of these.
K-Factor does not determine or evaluate the therapeutic properties of the honey. It fails miserably to assess how genuine the product is.
Active or Total Activity or Bio Active
Some companies incorporate certain additives to increase the peroxide and anti-bacterial activity. This is considered as poor rating system or highly misleading system.
The peroxide is highly unstable to light and enzymatic activity. Any such additions will not increase the nutritious or anti-bacterial properties of the honey. It is just a marketing gimmick.
These additives make them USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) incompetent. Any product which is consumable but contains additives does not get the accreditation of USDA.
I would suggest avoiding companies which do not provide UMF and MGO labels but mention about the active or bio-active ingredients.
Check the brand
It is always good to buy a product from a reputed company. A good company usually will have the UMF certification and also publishes the certifications and lab tests online.
It is advisable to buy products from such companies. Also, check if the company is a member of UMFHA. Some companies donate some part of your purchase to support the local bee farmers and habitat conserving projects. It is good to buy manuka honey from such companies, and you will be part of such good initiatives.
Don’t get fooled by the fancy labels. Also, do not fall for the fake promises.
Another factor that you must look upon is the traceability of the honey from your jar back to the hive where it is manufactured.
A software called ApiTrack usually does it. The main motto of traceability is to promote the manuka honey’s integrity and safety. It also helps the promotion of bee farming in remote areas.
ApiTrack can be used to track down the bee farm from where the honey is manufactured, extraction units, and storage facilities.
If the companies mention the traceability, it means the product is genuine and authentic. This particular tracking system is useful to prevent the fake products swarming into the market in the name of manuka honey.
Although this is not a must feature, it is okay if it has and it indicates the brand value of the company.
Manuka honey has anti-bacterial properties because of the methylglyoxal. It is present in the form dihydroxyacetone (DHA). The DHA converts into MGO which has excellent anti-bacterial properties. This anti-bacterial property of manuka honey through MGO is known as Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA).
UMF rating is based on MGO and DHA. If the honey has more MGO, it means that it has high NPA. Buy a product which mentions its UMF. If there is no UMF, the second choice is to check for MGO. I would suggest avoiding the honey which infuses them with additives to make it active or bioactive.
What Are The Best Manuka Honey Brands In The Market?
Now that you know how to buy manuka honey, now arises the second question. Which is the best brand that supplies high quality of manuka honey?
Even I was confused initially regarding the selection of the top manuka brands. But we have a set of golden rules to choose from various brands.
Just go for UMF label first. If UMF is not available look for the MGO levels or some brands mention NPA levels. Since all these three factors are correlated to each other, it is good to opt for a brand which provides the details of any of these.
Some brands provide all the three (UMF, MGO, and NPA) factors on their product meaning which they would like to maintain good customer relationships as well as to keep transparency.
You might want to know about what is the best manuka honey!
Very few companies are UMFHA certified and members of this association. They abide by the rules and adhere to the assurance of quality and safety. These companies produce one of the great quality manuka honey in the world.
Established in 1974, Comvita is one of the largest manufacturers of the manuka honey. They mention the UMF on their products. Independent labs test each batch of honey.
They also mention the equivalent MGO levels on the honey jars. The honey is traceable back to the hive. You can find all these test results on their official site.
Comvita produces honey from the forests of remote areas which has the least pollution. A great to point to consider isn’t it! It is also one of the few companies whose products are researched by British Food and Environment Research Agency (BFERA). They tested the product and confirmed the authenticity of the health effects mentioned on the label of the jar.
Tahi is one of my favorite company in the long list of manuka honey manufacturers. Not only the honey is raw, but even the plants from where the nectar is collected by the bees are also not chemical sprayed or pesticide grown.
Their estate is so large that they have planted more than 250,00 trees which is now a natural home of few endangered bird species. Every purchase contributed to the conservation program of Tahi. They are also members of Zeitz Association which are aimed for Intercultural ecosphere safety.
No, am not just impressed by their noble work! The mode of harvesting the honey and bee farming methods impressed me a lot. The bees are not fed with sugar syrup, and the honeycombs are not squashed. They let the bees use them again.
The honey has UMF 15+ and is unpasteurized. It is raw and pure.
Kiva harvests honey from the hives on the pristine hills, forests, and the coastal regions. It is one of the few companies which produce the highest UMF rated honey. Their products have UMF 20+ making it a superior product with great health benefits.
The honey is independently tested UMFHA accredited labs in New Zealand. You can trace honey back to the hive where it came from. With high MGO (825+), it is one of the popular manuka honey brands available in the market.
Happy Valley is undoubtedly one such company which maintains the quality customer relations. Labs independently test the honey from Happy Valley, and all these findings are published online.
It has UMF 15+ which means it has excellent healing and anti-bacterial properties. They don’t brag themselves by saying that their honey is active or bio-active because they need not to.
The honey does not contain any additives and is unadulterated. They supply raw and pure honey. Rest assured you get the best quality of manuka honey.
Manukora is known for their unique quality of the honey. It is one of the few companies which have FDA approved facilities. The honey has a high UMF around 20+ which is parallel to MGO 830+.
Independent labs test each batch and the honey is traceable back to the hive. The honey is produced from non-genetically modified organisms (non-GMO).
You can find all these tests and publications online. With nearly two decades experience in manuka honey harvesting and exporting, Manukora will not disappoint its users.
How Can I Check The Quality of Manuka Honey?
One must understand that manuka honey is mono-floral honey. It is produced from the nectar of manuka flowers only.
Bees cover vast areas to gather the nectar from various types of flowers. In remote forests and the coastal regions of New Zealand, the fauna is dominated by manuka plants and the bees have no other choice for nectar other than these plants.
Hence the manuka honey is so unique and native to New Zealand. The quality of the honey depends on the place from it is manufactured. Some companies alter the natural quality of the honey by adding corn or starch syrup.
Some add few other chemical compounds and label them ‘active’. I suggest refraining from buying the products which say active as most of them supply fake manuka honey.
The quality of manuka honey is attributed to its anti-bacterial properties. DHA levels determine these properties. The DHA will convert into MGO which is the active ingredient of the honey.
In summary, to check the quality of the honey look for UMF label and MGO levels. Do not fall for other labels or the health effects they mention without UMF and MGO rating.
I would also suggest you not to fall for other independent rating systems that determine the quality of honey or the amount of manuka pollen. These are not accurate ratings, and they do not, in any way define the anti-bacterial properties of manuka honey.
Different uses of Manuka honey
Manuka honey is unique and different from other traditional or regular syrups. It is because of its mode of production as well as its ability to help in tissue repair and anti-bacterial properties.
The active compound methylglyoxal (MGO) of manuka honey is the primary ingredient which gives the medicinal properties to the manuka honey. Remember that MGO alone is toxic to cells and there are some other factors which play their part in making MGO non-toxic and beneficial to the human body cells.
Apart from anti-bacterial properties, it has antiviral and antioxidant properties. The Maori people used manuka honey for wound healing, but it wasn’t known to the outer world until the settlers from other countries saw its benefits.
Wound Healing & Tissue Repair
Honey is used for the treatment of wounds from time unknown. As it has excellent antibacterial and antioxidant properties, it is very good at healing the damaged tissues.
Manuka honey is no exception for this. The FDA has approved manuka honey as an alternative treatment regimen for wounds.
It also relieves pain by its natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have proved its effectiveness in reducing the severe pain caused due to burns. A dressing on these burns with manuka honey has greatly relieved the pain and initiated tissue repair as well.
It also helps in healing the stubborn wounds of diabetic patients. In diabetics, one of the most common wound-related disorder is the diabetic foot. The injury usually lasts for several days, and in some cases, it will overgrow.
Scientific studies have revealed that a 4-week application of manuka honey has arrested the progress of diabetic foot and also healed it to a great extent.
You can use it as an alternative to petroleum jelly for the healing of cracking of lips. It is more effective and has rapid action than the petroleum jelly or Vaseline.
Combats Antibiotic Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
With the ever-growing technology, there is an equivalent hazardous effect on us. I believe that Newton’s third law is contextual in life as well. It states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
As we are overusing the antibiotics or antimicrobials, these microbes have found a way to combat these compounds. It resulted in the development of germs which became antibiotic resistant.
These microbes are informally called as superbugs. Once such superbug is Staphylococcus aureus which is resistant to methicillin. The Methicillin has an action similar to penicillin and can be administered in patients with penicillin allergies.
S. aureus is one of the common commensals seen in about 30% of the world’s population. It causes several diseases such as bacteremia, endocarditis, skin infections, and joint infections.
Invasive surgeries must be used to treat some of these diseases. S. aureus has become resistant to antibiotics, and it spreads very rapidly. It can cause life-threatening conditions in acute cases. It spreads from person to person through physical contact. Hospitals, trauma, and health care centers are the most infective places.
Manuka honey will suppress the methicillin-resistant S. aureus. (MRSA). It prevents the multiplication of the bacterial cells in wounds and other injured areas. The honey has the potency to inhibit the bacterial replication by suppressing the genes. Regular application of honey on the injuries or infected areas will prevent the incidence of MRSA.
Promotes Oral health and Fights Gingivitis
The oral cavity is one of the primary sources of infections for the human body. It is also one of the most robust organ systems that combat microbes, foreign objects, and other potentially hazardous chemicals.
Several systemic infections or disorders can be first seen in the oral cavity. For example, if a person has bleeding disorders, it can be initially noted in the oral cavity as bleeding gums. The gums bleed frequently, and it won’t stop soon.
But the oral cavity is no stranger to diseases and infections. One of the common oral diseases is periodontitis. The pre-form of periodontitis is gingivitis. It is characterized by swelling, redness of gums and bleeding during brushing if untreated gingivitis will progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is characterized by loosening of the periodontium of the tooth and bone loss resulting in mobility of the teeth. If untreated there can be a complete loss of the tooth.
Periodontitis is associated with Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. Both are gram-negative anaerobic bacteria associated with aggressive and chronic periodontitis respectively.
Manuka honey suppresses the activity of these two bacteria and thereby promotes oral health. It reduces the multiplication of these two bacteria, and it also kills them (bactericidal and bacteriostatic).
It also reduces the plaque and bleeding of the gums. You may get a doubt that sugars will initiate tooth cavities so does manuka honey. But the answer is no. Manuka honey does not contain refined sugars, and hence it does not cause tooth decay. Its antimicrobial properties will eliminate the bacteria which cause tooth decay.
Cures Digestive Disorders
The changing lifestyle of made us prone to plenty of infectious and non-infectious disorders of the gut. The prominent disorders of the stomach are:
All these disorders (or diseases) will drastically reduce the quality of life. The treatment costs are also climbing high for these ailments. People are looking for natural ways of healing these conditions, and manuka honey is one such natural wonder which will help in reducing the symptoms of all gastric disorders.
Many reasons can cause gastric ulcers and the most common reasons being H. pylori infection, alcohol abuse and acid reflux disease.
Manuka honey reduces all kinds of gastric ulcers. As it has anti-microbial properties, it will directly inhibit the H. pylori multiplication thereby reducing the incidence of ulcers. It also reduces the alcohol-induced ulcers.
Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the common bowel disorders in developed countries. Females are most frequently affected with this disease. Symptoms include constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-C), and pain and diarrhea (IBS-M). Another form IBS is an acute condition which is a result of infection and is known as IBS -PI.
Manuka honey suppresses the symptoms of all variants of IBS through its anti-inflammatory properties. The reduction of symptoms is dose-dependent. Low doses of manuka honey showed improvement in lipid peroxidase activity thereby improving morphological and histological changes.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition which involves chronic inflammation of the small intestine and colon. The common forms IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Consumption of manuka honey reduces the inflammation of the entire digestive system as it has natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Other infectious diseases which cause inflammation or irritates the gut include Clostridium difficile, S. aureus, different species of Campylobacter, Shigella, and Salmonella. Manuka honey directly suppresses the activity of these infectious pathogens and reduces their particular symptoms.
Many scientists wondered why people feel instantly good after consuming manuka honey especially while suffering from certain infections. In 2007 scientists were able to separate a compound which was responsible for inducing cellular immunity.
Manuka honey stimulates the production of cytokines from various types of cells. Cytokines are chemical messengers which initiate an immune reaction.
Another study conducted in 2011 proved that manuka honey enhances the immune system by signaling the production of a protein called toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4). Upon stimulation, TLR-4 will lead to intracellular activation of the immune response.
Regular consumption of manuka honey will strengthen and boosts your immunity system and keeps many infections at bay.
Acne is a condition which is caused due to clogging of pores on the skin. The clogged pores are infested by bacteria resulting in an inflammatory response. Hormonal changes can also cause acne, but manuka honey can help reduce acne in both situations.
Direct application of manuka honey on the skin will act as a great moisturizer. Its antibacterial will clear the clogged pores off the bacteria.
Another characteristic feature of acne is the inflammatory response. Manuka honey has anti-inflammatory properties which are very useful in reducing such symptoms of acne.
Mild acidic soaps or face packs mixed with manuka can be used as face packs which are an excellent cure for acne.
Precautions & Safety Measures for Using Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is generally considered as safe for consumption. People with ongoing treatments or on any medications can use manuka honey as there is no evidence that manuka honey will interact with other drugs.
It is safe to consume manuka honey during pregnancy or breastfeeding if you are a healthy individual without any allergies or medical disorders.
But there are certain exceptions and precautions which need to be followed while using it. If you have any medical condition such as diabetes or allergies, consult your doctor before using it. You must have your physician’s consent before you can start adding manuka honey to your diet.
Avoid feeding infants
Children below the age of 12 months must not be given manuka honey. It will result in a specific condition called as botulism. It is a type of food poisoning caused by Clostridium botulinum.
If you have children below one year of age, strictly refrain from feeding manuka honey to them. Older children, young adults, and elders do not have such problems.
Avoid if you have pollen allergies
People with allergies to pollen or bee venom must avoid consuming manuka honey. The allergic reaction will cause a cascade of reactions in the body and may also lead to anaphylaxis.
If you are unaware of pollen allergy or bee venom allergies, you can do a skin patch test under the supervision of a doctor or a professional. Never attempt to do this test if you are unsure.
Consult your endocrinologist if you are diabetic
Like any other honey, manuka honey is high in concentrated sugars. It will elevate blood glucose levels after every consumption. If you have diabetes and consume it without proper care, you will experience dizziness, tiredness, fatigue, thirst, frequent urination, and blurred visions.
It is advised to consult your endocrinologist before starting manuka honey diet. Your doctor may alter the treatment plan or will increase the does. In some extreme cases, you might need to avoid manuka honey completely.
Can cause weight gain
Manuka honey is high in calories. It will alter the amount of calorie input in your daily diet. Appropriate countermeasures such as workouts must be done while consuming it.
If you do not change your routine lifestyle and continue consuming manuka honey, it will increase your weight and can lead to obesity. These results are on a prolonged period of consumption only and not a must.
Walk for 15 to 20 minutes if you want to burn those extra calories you consumed.
What Is The Difference Between Regular Honey and Manuka Honey – Which One Is Better?
As you leap into the concept of manuka honey, you will have some obvious questions. The first one being the uses of manuka honey which we have already discussed. The second one is the different types of honey or the difference between regular honey and manuka honey.
To understand the difference, you should know the definitions or meanings of different types of honey.
Regular or Table honey
It is the most processed honey which has additives like sugar and corn syrup. The honey is processed, filtered, pasteurized, and even aged.
It is also the honey with the least nutritious and health value.
Raw honey is the one which is supplied to you directly from the hive. It is not processed, pasteurized, and filtered. Sometimes you can see bits of wax of the honeycomb in it since it is unfiltered.
The raw honey can be any honey. It can be multi-floral regular honey or even manuka honey.
Now comes the hero of the honey, the manuka honey. It is a type of honey produced by the bees from the nectar of single flower (mono-floral). These flowers are of a plant called manuka plant (Leptospermum scoparium) which are native to New Zealand.
The term manuka is derived from the local group of people called the Maori group. Other names of the manuka tree are tea tree, broom tree, and New Zealand tea tree.
This honey is so famous because of its potent antibacterial and wound healing properties. It is due to the presence of a compound called methylglyoxal abbreviated as MGO.
Regular honey has hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as an antibacterial agent. But the hydrogen peroxide is unstable and dissociates quickly. Manuka honey has MGO which kills or prevents bacterial multiplication. This mechanism is known as Non-peroxide activity. It is first discovered by Dr. Peter Molan of the Waikato University in New Zealand.
Manuka honey is always superior to other types of honey. It is rare, unique and has powerful healing properties. Consider this as a treasure gifted by nature which must be cherished and protected.
By checking the UMF label, you can always buy a suitable product from a wide range of products available in the market.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are UMF, MGO, NPA, K-Factor and Bio-active related to each other?
UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor. It determines the levels of methylglyoxal (MGO) in the honey. The non-peroxide activity (NPA) of the honey is dependent on the MGO levels.
In summary UMF, MGO, and NPA are related whereas K-Factor and Bio-active aren’t. The K-Factor is developed by Wedderspoon which determines the purity of the honey. Certain companies add peroxides or other additives and label them bio-active. Both K-Factor and Bio-active does not define the antibacterial properties or quality of the manuka honey.
Q. Is regular honey good or manuka honey?
Regular honey does not have any antibacterial properties or has very less antibacterial properties. Manuka honey has MGO (which regular honey does not have) which has potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Manuka honey is always superior to other types of honey.
Q. Is it okay to buy manuka honey with high UMF?
It depends on your need. Use low UMF manuka honey for regular consumption or non-medicinal uses. You can use a product with UMF between 10-15 for medicinal uses.
Both these range of products can be consumed directly, at least two spoons a day. Higher UMF honey (20+) should be used as an additive or flavoring agent in your foods and recipes. Simply put, use higher UMF manuka honey in diluted form.
Also, remember that higher UMF manuka honey might be heated or pasteurized which means, it is not as pure as it was during harvesting.
Q. Can I consume small quantities of manuka honey if I am diabetic?
Yes, you can, under one condition, you must do simple workouts such as walking or jogging to expel the excess calories. But it is strictly advised to consult your diabetologist or endocrinologist before starting honey consumption.
People with uncontrolled diabetes must avoid at all costs. Some people have high diabetes but under control with insulin therapy. Even these group of people must consult their doctor before consuming the honey.
Q. Can I consume manuka honey when I am on a keto diet?
No. Manuka honey is high in carbohydrates and is not keto friendly. If you are on keto diet avoid it.
Q. How to know if I am allergic to manuka pollen or bee venom?
A simple skin patch test will confirm if you are allergic or not. Apply a small quantity of honey (1-2 ml) on your skin, preferably on forearm (between elbow and wrist). If you are allergic to it, a skin rash or inflammatory response will develop. No changes will occur if you are not allergic.
It is advised that you carry this test strictly under professional supervision. Some people who are extremely sensitive may trigger an anaphylactic reaction.
Q. Some manuka honey brands provide thick and chocolate colored honey while some have golden brown and thin honey. Why there is such a difference?
Geographical location and seasonal changes greatly influence manuka honey production. So, it is evident that there can be differences in physical appearance.
Q. What is the daily dose?
It depends on the UMF of the honey. Low UMF (5-10) honey can be consumed two teaspoons a day while higher UMF (10-20) honey should be consumed once a day.
Q. Is it safe to consume during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
If you are healthy and do not have any allergies, hereditary disorders, and underlying medical conditions, it is safe to consume manuka honey during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Q. How to store manuka honey?
Like all other raw kinds of honey, manuka honey will last long for years. There is no need for refrigeration too. Make sure you don’t heat it or place directly in sunlight. Also, not that some manuka honeys which contain additives (bio-active) will not last as long as the raw and pure manuka honey.
Manuka honey is an excellent gift from mother nature. I don’t brag myself as an expert user or bookworm on this subject. As I have used this product personally and after trying multiple brands, I can confidently say that manuka honey is the best natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and protective agent.
As I stated earlier, I had the acid-reflux disease. After using manuka honey, it is gone. I call it miracle and wonder!
I always relied on natural ways of treatments for any medical conditions or even specific injuries and infections. Manuka honey is one such natural product which will be helpful for most common diseases, wounds, and burns.
Just make sure you buy a legitimate product. Check for the label for UMF and MGO levels. You can also check these values online on the company’s official site. By considering all these features, you can buy the best manuka honey.
Before starting any alternative diet habits, it is good to consult a diet specialist or physician. If you have any medical ailments such as diabetes, allergies, digestive disorders, and hereditary disorders it is advised to ask your doctor.
Refrain yourself from consuming manuka honey if you're unsure about its side effects. Do not feed children under 12 months of age as it can result in the life-threatening condition.