Published on 10 Feb, 2022
WHY IS MĀNUKA HONEY SPECIAL?
Published on 10 Feb, 2022
We believe your well-being starts with Knowledge, so let’s unpack some of the basic information you need to know about Mānuka honey, and why it’s special.
What is Mānuka?
Mānuka honey is derived from the Manuka plant (Leptospermum Scoparium) which is endemic to Aotearoa New Zealand.
It is a scrub-type tree that grows prolifically around coastal areas of New Zealand and is identifiable due to its dark green colour and small white flower.
For centuries, Māori have used the Mānuka plant for everything from house building to medicinal applications. As a result, it was well-known by Māori for its health and healing properties.
What makes Mānuka honey special?
Mānuka honey has only recently gained notoriety – largely due to its special additional antimicrobial activity, but also its 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 Mānuka honey is not broken down in the same manner, which makes it unique.
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.
What is Mānuka honey used for?
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.
The basis is – the higher the UMF™ grade, the more concentrated the strength, and so beneficial natural components. https://umf.org.nz
The UMF™ grading system is specific to New Zealand.
What UMF™ grade should I buy?
The grading system is used to show the concentration of the compounds, or potency of the honey. Deciding which grade to buy comes down to the usage (or purpose). If you are seeking a table spread honey with added nutritional benefits, a lower grade will suffice – however, if you are seeking a honey for topical usage a high grade will be more beneficial.
Shop our full Mānuka honey range here.