We all grew up being told honey is good for us — and Mānuka honey is even better — but what exactly is so good about it?
First things first: what exactly is Mānuka honey?
Mānuka honey is a honey produced from the nectar of the flowers from the Mānuka tree, Leptospermum Scoparium (also known as “tea tree”). Real Mānuka honey only comes from New Zealand.
It is the nectar from the Mānuka flower that gives Mānuka honey its unique properties, including antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties believed to contribute to the health and wellness of those who use it.
The UMF (Unique Mānuka Factor) is the number you can find in all jars of Mānuka honey and essentially tells you what potency Mānuka honey you’re buying.
The UMF rating is obtained from the concentration of three of Mānuka honey’s key chemical compounds.
MGO (methylglyoxal) is one of the main components that gives Mānuka honey its antibacterial properties. Essentially, the higher the MGO concentration, the stronger the antibacterial effect of the honey.
Mānuka honey is a premium product, rigorously regulated and tested in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Primary Industries has two classifications for Mānuka honey: Multifloral Mānuka Honey and Monofloral Mānuka Honey. Monofloral Mānuka Honey is scientifically tested to contain more Mānuka Honey than Multifloral Mānuka Honey.
Okay, but why is it so expensive?
Mānuka honey is considerably more expensive than other honeys, for a few very good reasons. In addition to its incredibly unique healing properties, it is also fairly rare and difficult to harvest.
The Mānuka tree which, as we mentioned, only exists in New Zealand, is not abundant and only exists in fairly remote locations. This means it is no easy feat for beekeepers to access it. In fact, helicopters are often required for the collection of the honey - which means it is not cheap to transport the beehives from those locations at high altitude.
On top of that, the Mānuka flower only blooms two to eight weeks per year, with some individual flowers only open for five days, so that is quite a small window for honey collection.
Mānuka flowers are also very delicate and, as such, very susceptible to the climate. Differences in rainfall and wind strength can affect the harvesting during what is already a very small bloom period.
Common uses for Mānuka honey
Honey has been used as treatment for numerous conditions since ancient times but it wasn’t until the 19th century that its antibacterial qualities were discovered. In fact, researchers are still finding new incredible uses for honey all the time.
From treating sore throats to easing coughs and healing wounds, or even as a general health boost and as a spread on your morning toast, Mānuka honey is used to help with a wide variety of issues and ailments.
While New Zealand’s strict food regulations do not allow us to go into the possible health applications of Mānuka honey, the reality is that many people swear by it as a way to prevent and cure some issues. Mānuka honey is also believed to have antibacterial effects and anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease pain and bring down inflammation.
In particular through winter time, much like Vitamin C, Mānuka honey is used as a natural wellbeing remedy. The golden nectar is used to soothe sore throats, and some even believe it helps with eczema and acne, among other skin conditions.
As we’ve seen, not all honey is created equal and even within Mānuka honey, there are wide differences in strength and potency, depending on how and when it’s harvested. When you hold a jar of Mānuka honey, you are holding the product of a labour-intensive and delicate process that starts with millions of bees in New Zealand’s remote areas. It’s little wonder they call it “liquid gold”.
Receive your daily shot of Mānuka honey without the sticky mess! All of the gummies are made in New Zealand with New Zealand's finest Mānuka honey, choose from Mānuka Honey & Apple Cider Vinegar, Mānuka Honey, Turmeric, Lemon & Ginger and Mānuka Honey, Blackcurrant, Vit C, Zinc