Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mānuka?

Mānuka is the Māori name for the native Aotearoa New Zealand plant, Leptospermum Scoparium.

The scrub-like plant is usually found on remote areas of the coastline and is identifiable due to its dark green colour and small white flower.

What are the traditional uses of the Mānuka plant?

Although honey only became popular after the arrival of the early settlers in Aotearoa New Zealand, Mānuka was already well-known by Māori for its health and healing properties. For centuries the flora has been embraced by Māori culture - revered for its versatility.

Traditional uses include an infusion of the bark, used both externally and internally as a sedative and to treat scalds and burns. The ash from the bark was also rubbed onto the skin to treat skin diseases, while vapor from leaves boiled in water was used for colds.

The hard wood of Mānuka was also used for everything from paddles, weapons, spade blades to house building. The bark was used for making water containers and waterproofing.

What is Mānuka honey used for?

Health and wellness benefits of the Mānuka honey are practiced today through medical, food and skincare applications.

As we learn more about Mānuka honey, the uses are becoming more diverse - it's no longer just a table spread alternative,

Medical grade products are being used in hospitals to treat wounds and skin infections, particularly those non-responsive to standard treatments such as bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

The strong flavor and sweetness of Mānuka honey also makes it a great alternative for a health-conscious consumer.

Why is Mānuka honey special?

Mānuka honey is special due to its additional antimicrobial activity, but it also boasts a rich and distinctive taste.

Every type of honey contains antimicrobial properties due to hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic naturally present in it. However, it can quickly be destroyed by heat, light and enzymes. This reduces its effectiveness in treating ailments. The activity in Manuka honey is not broken down in the same manner. This means its potency in treating human ailments, particularly in wound treatment, is not reduced like that of other honeys.

Mānuka honey has additional antimicrobial activity in the form of unique chemicals such as methylglyoxal (MG). The MG and the other antimicrobial activity are often referred to as its Unique Manuka Factor (UMF®) activity.

MG is formed by a chemical reaction that occurs after the bees have processed the Mānuka nectar into honey. The levels of this activity present in the honey are reflected in the UMF™ grading system.

Due to the remote Mānuka bush, the short blooming period, changeable weather and other harvesting variables - plus the skill needed from a devoted apiarist (beekeeper), high-grade Mānuka honey is rare and highly prized.

Mānuka honey is also distinct in taste, colour, and viscosity. While each region of New Zealand produces a distinct flavour profile - the honey should retain a rich, earthy taste and deep golden colour.

Is Mānuka honey only from New Zealand?

Yes. Mānuka is the Māori name for the plant and is unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. Just like Champagne can only be recognised from certain areas of France, Mānuka honey can only be from New Zealand.

The UMF grading system is also specific to New Zealand. All Mānuka honey should be harvested, packed and graded in New Zealand to prevent any adulteration of the product.

How is Mānuka honey tested?

New Zealand export requirements for food and labelling standards are upheld by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). This is a government agency, and is independent of the honey industry. All exported Mānuka honey must meet their definition of Mānuka honey, and all testing must be carried out by approved testing facilities.

The test introduced is comprised of five attributes. Four (4) are chemical and one (1) is DNA of Leptospermum scoparium. The honey must pass all five tests to be labeled as Mānuka. This testing came into effect on 5 January 2018.

The Mānuka honey flavour Explainede

Mānuka honey has a distinct earthy, rich flavour. Each region of New Zealand also produces a slightly different flavour profile. This can be attributed in part to terroir. This term is usually associated with wine, but the French word describes environmental factors that affect the taste of a food product - so it's rather fitting.

Common uses for Mānuka honey

As we learn more about the benefits of Mānuka honey, the uses are becoming more diverse. No longer just a table spread or sweetener alternative, Mānuka honey is now used in the food and beverage, cosmetics, nutraceuticals/natural health and medical product industries.

Due to the antimicrobial properties of Mānuka honey, it is now used for medicinal purposes. Medical grade products are being used in hospitals to treat wounds and skin infections, particularly those non-responsive to standard treatments such as bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

The strong flavour and sweetness of Mānuka honey makes it a great alternative to sugar for a health-conscious consumer.

How to spot genuine Mānuka honey

Check the label - all genuine Manuka honey should be packed, labelled and certified in New Zealand. The UMF™ or MG grade should be easily identifiable. The honey provider should also have a unique number associated to their UMF™ certification.

We offer a batch number with our Single Origin initiative - this means you can trace your purchase to the source.

How do I store Mānuka honey?

Store out of sunlight and do not expose to direct heat.

Can children ingest Mānuka honey?

Mānuka honey should not be given to children under 2 years of age.

Are there any additives in Ka Noa Mānuka honey?

No. Our Single Origin Mānuka honey is unblended and direct from the hive.

What is the UMF™ grading system?

The UMF™ grading system recognises natural markers within the Mānuka honey, and in doing so grades the quality and purity of the honey.

The basis is - the higher the UMF™ grade, the more concentrated the strength, and so beneficial natural components.

The UMF grading system is specific to New Zealand.


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