What's the buzz with Mānuka?

Whilst all types of honey are active to some degree (peroxide activity) and have medicinal benefits both internally and externally, Mānuka Honey produced with nectar from New Zealand’s Mānuka tree (Leptospermum Scoparium species), commands a premium price due to its scientifically proven, unique anti-bacterial “non-peroxide activity” (NPA) which results in superior effectiveness as a medicinal treatment over other types of honey.

Our Mānuka honey’s thick, earthy, caramel flavours are produced naturally, just as our bees intended. But in order for it to be called Mānuka, the honey must pass a series of tests proving its nectar source and composition.

 

IS YOUR MĀNUKA HONEY AUTHENTIC?

There’s now NEW testing that confirms Mānuka honey is in fact the genuine product. In April 2017 our Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) launched a 5-attribute test (then revised it in December 2017), which ensures the authenticity of New Zealand mono-floral and multi-floral Mānuka Honey.

From 2014 to 2016, MPI ran a Mānuka Honey Science Programme to develop criteria for identifying Mānuka Honey from New Zealand. This work was important because of the questions that had been raised in overseas markets about the authenticity of some honey being sold as New Zealand Mānuka Honey. The programme found that a combination of 5 attributes (4 chemicals and 1 DNA marker from Mānuka pollen) are required to separate mono floral Mānuka Honey from other honey types.

Attribute

Mono-floral Mānuka levels

3-phenyllactic acid

≥ 400 mg/kg

2’-methoxyacetophenone

≥ 5 mg/kg

2-methoxybenzoic acid

≥ 1 mg/kg

4-hydroxyphenyllactic acid

≥ 1 mg/kg

DNA from mānuka pollen

< Cq 36, which is approximately 3 fg/µL
(the lower the Cq value =
the higher the concentration of DNA)


Our mono-floral Mānuka Honey is certified and full independent test results are available on request. Simply email us or complete the form below ensuring you quote the batch number on the jar.

You can find more information on MPI’s Mānuka Honey Science Programme here.

MORE SCIENCE STUFF 

Ok, so now that the honey is proven to be authentic, why are some Mānuka Honeys more expensive than others? 

The health properties of honeys are normally attributed to a natural mild hydrogen peroxide antiseptic released when the enzyme glucose oxidase (produced by the bees as a preservative) comes in contact with moisture in the body. However, this 'peroxide activity' is easily destroyed by exposure to fluids, heat and sunlight.

Enter the late Dr. Peter Molan from the Waikato University. During his analysis of various honeys samples and their ability to kill bacteria on a petrie dish, he discovered a unique property of Mānuka honey which was more potent and stable, something he called 'non-peroxide activity' (NPA). The fact that it was more stable, opened up the possibility of a wide range of medicinal uses. The term "Unique Manuka Factor", or UMF® was then created (and trademarked) by a privately owned organisation and used to describe this property. It varies in strength, as measured from different batches of Mānuka honey produced in various parts of New Zealand. It’s a scale that compares the honey’s bacteria killing strength to that of standard Phenol solutions of varying concentrations. Thus a 5+ NPA (UMF®) rating means that the honey has the same effect on MRSA bacteria as a standard 5% Phenol solution.
On the other side of the world professor Thomas Henle at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany set out to isolate what it was in Mānuka honey that was producing this ‘non peroxide activity’. He isolated a compound, Methylglyoxal (MGO), as having a direct correlation to the NPA level of Mānuka honey. MGO can be measured in mg per kg (parts per million, ppm). NPA (UMF®) ratings typically range from 5 to 20, and MGO from 100-1000.  The presence of the special non-peroxide activity values are detected by scientific lab testing and calculated using a correlation curve based on published data* for NPA and the concentration of the primary active ingredient, Methylglyoxal.
When it comes to labelling, in years gone by terms such as ‘active’ or ‘total activity’ were used to display the active properties of  Mānuka honey. However in recent years it has also been used to describe the standard (total) activity which is present in most honeys – and NOT necessarily an accurate representation of the more stable 'non-peroxide activity' present in Mānuka Honey, which resulted in confusion amongst consumers. So in January 2015 the New Zealand government stepped in and set honey labelling guidelines to help combat this confusion. Mānuka Honey is now only to be labelled with the level of Methylglyoxal present (which may be displayed as MG, MGO) or if brands pay to become a member of the UMFHA then they can use the trademark UMF® to display the non-peroxide activity.

NB: Even though UMF® is a direct correlation to NPA, we are no longer permitted to put “NPA” on our labels.
Our honey is tested by MPI recognised labs, either Hill Laboratories or Analytica, and all test results are available on request.
The below chart converts the MGO content of Mānuka Honey into its NPA ( UMF®) equivalent. 

MGO

NPA

80+

5+

100+

6+

250+

10+

500+

15+

800+

20+

SO MANY USES

When taken by the spoonful, and depending on the concentration of MGO present , Mānuka Honey is reportedly used to soothe sore throats, maintain general well-being, help fight the symptoms of cold and flu, and improve digestive health.
NOTE: it's important not to add Mānuka Honey to boiling or very hot water/tea as the extreme temperature can destroy its anti-bacterial properties. Also, never ever microwave honey to return it to a liquid state. Simply keep it stored in the hot water cupboard or immerse the jar in warm water. You can find out more about why honey crystallises here.

Used topically, Manuka Honey has been known to help heal boils, burns, sores, ulcers, acne, cuts & scratches, and some people find it an effective way to relieve skin irritations such as dermatitis and eczema.

Under laboratory conditions Mānuka Honey has been proven to be very effective in treating MRSA and other antibiotic resistant bacteria, and is often used in hospitals to promote faster healing of wounds and surgical scars. It's also very popular with veterinarians when applied as a dressing, where other treatments have failed to promote healing and repair in animals such as dogs and horses.

PURCHASE OUR MONO-FLORAL MĀNUKA HONEY HERE

NB: This information is provided as a guide only. Please always seek professional advice before using Mānuka Honey for medicinal purposes.

 

*Isolation by HPLC and characterisation of the bioactive fraction of New Zealand manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey. C. J. Adams, et al. Carbohydrate Research 343 (2008) 651-659.
And,
Corrigendum to ''Isolation by HPLC and characterization of the bioactive fraction of New Zealand manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey” [Carbohydr. Res. 343 (2008) 651]. Carbohydrate Research 344 (2009) 2609. C. J. Adams

 

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