Manuka Honey Guide
The Essential Guide to Manuka Honey from Manuka Honey Direct
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka Honey is a honey from New Zealand that contains active enzymes that help your body function as it should. The Honey Bees collect nectar from the delicate flowers of the Manuka Bush (Leptospermum scoparium) which is native to New Zealand. The Manuka Bush has several close relatives one of which also grows on New Zealand called the Kanuka Bush, whilst the other relatives; Jellybush and the Australian Tea Tree, are grown abundantly in Australia. Native Tribes to Australia and New Zealand, particularly the Maori's from New Zealand use Manuka Honey and its close relatives in their traditional medicine to treat all kinds of illnesses and even more serious conditions.
How is Manuka Honey made?
The Manuka Bush Plantations are generally found in remote areas of both New Zealand's North and South Island. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed to the UK and so Manuka Honey is harvested between December and March depending on the weather and the abundance of the crop. The honey is collected from the beehives once the nectar has been collected and the honey has been made. At this point, the Manuka Honey will be tested in independent laboratories to determine its compliance with the new scientific definition that was introduced by the MPI (Ministry of Primary Industry) New Zealand’s Government department responsible for certifying New Zealand products, in February 2018. #
Manuka Testing methods
Manuka Honey is either Multifloral or Monofloral and these are the only legal standards required for an export certificate by the New Zealand government. More information on the scientific definition is shown on the following link to the New Zealand Government’s website: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-business/honey-bee-products-processing-requirements/manuka-honey-testing/. This new test determines certain chemical markers and Manuka pollen DNA both which are unique to Manuka Honey, which until February 2018, wasn’t a legal requirement. To find out the scientific breakdown to the new regulated test, check out this MPI infographic pdf: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/17374-manuka-honey-science-definition-infographic
Multifloral Manuka Honey is the lower grade Manuka Honey as it contains less Manuka pollen than Monofloral Manuka Honey. Monofloral Manuka Honey will therefore be more potent because of the higher levels of Manuka pollen.
All other testing methods & certification indicators, like UMF, MGO & KFactor are trademarks the manufacturers use to also differentiate their brands historically, but they are not legal requirements to determine that a Manuka honey is genuine and they are not required to get an export certificate to export Manuka Honey from New Zealand, Manufacturers & brands importing into Europe have always had a strength number with their rating system, based on scientific lab tests, that are shown on the label.
Manuka Honey Strengths
Most of the Manuka Honey out of the hive has a total activity level between 10+ and 18+, and so the lower Manuka Honey strengths are generally in good abundance. To produce Manuka Honey for the higher activity factors i.e. 20+ and 25+ the honey is generally left for 1 year and sometimes up to 2 years in secure warehouses, to allow the enzymes to grow and make the Manuka Honey more active. After this time, the honey is re-tested and potted according to its strength. No matter which rating system your Manuka Honey is tested to, generally speaking, the higher the number, the stronger & more concentrated the honey is. Just be sure to understand what the manufacturers test, tests for – some test for MGO, some for Manuka pollen, so it is important to know so you determine the correct Manuka Honey for your needs.
The most important thing with Manuka Honey is to make sure that you're taking the strength that is best for you. If you are just looking to help give you an energy boost or helping your everyday health, then generally speaking, a Multifloral Manuka Honey is the best Manuka Honey for you.
If you feel your body needs extra support and help, or you have a more severe condition, then we recommend, as do our other customers in the same situation, to use Monofloral Manuka Honey, as this honey is stronger than the Multifloral.
How to take Manuka Honey
Manuka Honey can be taken in a variety of ways, so it depends what works for you best. If you can, taking Manuka Honey off the spoon is definitely the easiest and best way to take Manuka Honey as it will not dilute until the Manuka Honey enters your stomach. Bear in mind though, that Manuka Honey is not as sweet as UK or European breakfast Honey and that it is more thick set honey rather than runny honey so taking it by the spoon may not suit you. The next way to take Manuka Honey is to make it part of a Drink. NEVER put Manuka Honey into boiling or very hot water as once the water has reached 40deg centigrade, it will have killed most of the active enzymes, the reason you brought the Manuka Honey in the first place! We always suggest to boil the kettle, allow it to cool and then add a teaspoonful which allows you to drink it as a warm drink, but you can also add it to a third of a glass of cold water so you can drink it either as a cold or warm drink. Manuka Honey can also be used as a sweetener in Tea and Coffee although again you should not add it to boiling water. And finally, particularly suitable for young children, Manuka Honey can be added to Toast, Breakfast Cereal or into Yoghurt as it’s a great way to take Manuka Honey without realizing it, so it’s quick and simple to add into your daily routine!
What does Manuka Honey taste like?
Most of the Manuka Honey sold in the UK is a thick-set Honey and is not as sweet as normal UK Breakfast Honey. Although Manuka Honey is the same product, there are slight taste differences in the tastes of the Manuka Honey brands, depending on where the Manuka Honey has been farmed. We've tried all our Manuka Honeys and can tell you that generally speaking Manuka Honey produced on the South Island of New Zealand is sweeter and generally more creamy. Whereas those Manuka Honeys produced in the North Island of New Zealand is generally richer and fuller in flavour compared to its South Island counterpart. The reason for these slight differences are based on the soil type and other environmental factors like how much and how long the Manuka Bush has flowered for in a season and how much rain has fallen. If you are not sure which Manuka Honey to try first, call our office on 01483 205431 and we'll be happy to give you some guidance.
What can you use Manuka Honey for?
Manuka Honey can be used to help you. Due to its high anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties Manuka Honey is extremely effective against internal infection and inflammation particularly for Stomach and Bowel Conditions including allergies or intolerances (NOT suitable for any allergy that produces an anaphylactic reaction), Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's Disease, Stomach Ulcers as well as Food poisoning and upset stomachs. Manuka Honey is also superb at helping people with low Immune Systems. This can be as a result of a comprised Immune System like an auto-immune disease (MS, ME or general tiredness) or those who are fighting life-threatening conditions.***
We also have a range of Medical Grade Manuka Honey products (Actilite, Actibalm, Activon) that can provide Manuka Honey dressings for application to external wounds and sores which according to our many customers, have been superb at helping to clear persistent wounds and sores. The anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka Honey really help to reduce inflammation throughout the body and is great for damaged Joints for those with Arthritis particularly Osteo-arthritis. The dressings are used on wounds by the NHS in hospital.
*** These suggested uses are based on our customers personal experiences and is not designed to be used to diagnose, treat, or give any medical advice. We strongly recommend you speak with your Medical Professional for diagnosis of any condition you may be concerned about.
Can Diabetics use Manuka Honey?
As Manuka Honey is a 100% Natural Honey its contents are primarily sugar based, and so it is very similar in regards to that of citrus fruits. We have some customers that use Manuka Honey, some that do not.
Diabetes is a personal condition and we ALWAYS recommend you speak with your medical professionals before taking Manuka Honey. It is important to identify and check with your medical professional, whether it is suitable for your needs and with your Diabetes regime.
We generally find, based on customer experiences that those individuals with Diabetes Type 1, which are normally controlled by Insulin, should NOT take Manuka Honey due to its high natural sugar content. However, if you are taking Manuka Honey for health reasons, it may be worth speaking with your Diabetes nurse or your GP as some of our customers have Diabetes and they are able to use it. Diabetes is a personal condition and we ALWAYS recommend you speak with your medical professionals before taking Manuka Honey.
We generally find, based on customer experiences that those individuals with Diabetes Type 2, which is normally controlled through exercise and diet, CAN take Manuka Honey. Although it should be noted that if you experience any changes to your condition or you feel unwell, you should seek medical help immediately. Diabetes is a personal condition and we ALWAYS recommend you speak with your medical professionals before taking Manuka Honey.
Manuka Honey activity ratings
There are now three main Manuka Honey ratings being sold within the UK – UMF™ Manuka Honey, KFactor™ Manuka Honey and Methylglyoxal Manuka Honey (also known as MGO).
UMF™ Manuka Honey uses a test developed by the trade organisation, UMF Honey Association, and tests for the Methyglyoxal (MGO) ratings of the Manuka Honey. The UMF™ range of numbers is from UMF5 – UMF25. All UMF Manuka Honey must also have a rating of Monofloral or Multifloral Manuka Honey, as approved and tested by the New Zealand government; the Manuka5 scientific definition test is the only test that certifies that the Manuka Honey is genuine.
KFactor™ Manuka Honey rating system is unique to Wedderspoon Manuka Honey, the number 1 selling brand in the USA. KFactor is a multi-stage authentication system used to measure a variety of unique key factors inherent in Manuka Honey at the molecular level. The measurements are performed in a laboratory to ensure the high quality and purity of each batch. The relatively new KFactor system is based on using a specific lighting technique, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), which measures the Manuka pollen grain count. It is a reliable way to identify the type and concentration of the Honey based on the plant (Manuka) it originates from and has been approved by the New Zealand government as a rating system. The KFactor range of numbers is from KFactor 12 – Kfactor 16. All KFactor Manuka Honey must also have a rating of Monofloral or Multifloral Manuka Honey, as approved and tested by the New Zealand government – the Manuka5 scientific definition test is the only test that certifies that the Manuka Honey is genuine.
Methylglyoxal Manuka Honey ratings (also known as MGO™ Manuka Honey), is now commonly used in the UK and Europe. The Methylglyoxal or MGO range of numbers is between MGO30 – MGO1100. All Methylglyoxal & MGO Manuka Honey must also have a rating of Monofloral or Multifloral Manuka Honey, as approved and tested by the New Zealand government; the Manuka5 scientific definition test is the only test that certifies that the Manuka Honey is genuine.