The other day, I was deep in conversation with a friend of mine who is a native Maori New Zealander. The origin of Manuka honey was introduced into our discussion because it has received a lot of attention lately in many health and wellness publications.
My friend’s eyes rolled back in their sockets as he sighed and breathed deeply of some imaginary aphrodisiac. When he was finished remembering an experience long past, he looked at me and proceeded to describe this incredibly intoxicating scent that permeated the New Zealand forests where the native Manuka bushes grew. He told me how his friends would collect the flowers from the bushes, and the honey from the bee hives.
Manuka honey is a hot topic! The press and media are raving about the therapeutic and medicinal properties of Manuka. The question is other than tasting incredible, does Manuka honey deserve the accolades it is generating worldwide? And if so, which Manuka honey should you invest in, and what should you look out for when choosing one of many new brands of Manuka on the market?
Here are some facts to consider. Manuka is a mono-floral honey that originates from an unspoiled and pollution-free region in New Zealand. The nectar of the Manuka tree/bush is collected by native bees introduced from Europe, and is unprocessed with active antibacterial properties. The honey appears to be “thixotropic” in nature and quite viscous like a paste. Unless Manuka honey is heated, it cannot be poured, but spread with a knife or spoon. The active ingredient in Manuka that gives it its antibacterial therapeutic property is called Methylglyoxol. The levels of methylglyoxol will determine whether or not the Manuka you choose is authentic and medicinal in nature.
In recent years, The University of Waikato in New Zealand has performed many studies on Manuka honey. They have determined that it does benefit health in several ways but only when the Manuka is active at 10+ Bio and higher. You can purchase Manuka honey that is as high as 20+ Bio. The UMF rating will tell you whether or not the quality of the honey is low or high. According to scientists, not all Manuka honey shares this antibacterial factor. Consumers must look for Manuka that is from New Zealand and has been tested and proven to be either “ordinary” or “active”. To be labeled Manuka honey, 70% of its pollen must come from Lepto spermum scoparium.
Beware of impostors. Ever since Manuka has exploded on the health and wellness scene, many indistinguishable knockoffs have been introduced at lower cost to consumers. Kanuka is one such impostor. Other blends have been developed, some using straight honey from regular bee hives. Real Manuka is not cheap and you are making an investment in your health if you choose to purchase it. But remember, once you start using Manuka you won’t want to settle for regular honey ever again.
“Apitherapy” is the term given to describe treatment with honey, and has been used for centuries by cultures around the world. I can remember when I was a child my mother would give me honey and lemon in a shot of whiskey. I’m sure the only medicinal property in her remedy was that it knocked me out! Regular comb honey is straight sugar and does not share the same properties and benefits as Manuka honey does.
Manuka honey is being used to heal superficial wounds and burns, fend off super-bugs like the flu, assisting in dental hygiene because of its ability to fight plaque formation, and also to help in treating cancer patients.
The first Manuka I purchased came from a Super Supplements health food store. It cost $23.00 for 500 grams and was only Bio Active 5+. The manager claimed that she couldn’t get any that was stronger. Since then, I’ve found several good websites that offer high-grade Manuka from New Zealand and are Active Bio 20+! One company is called Wedderspoon. You can also purchase high-grade Manuka honey from Amazon. The Manuka in the photo is the brand I’m currently using. Check it out. It’s delicious!