Choosing the right Manuka Honey

These days there are many brands of Manuka Honey available, and a number of different standards used to indicate the strength and/or quality of the honey.  You may see for example,  MGO, NPA, UMF, AHH+, Active and Activity, AAH (Antibacterial, Antioxidant Honey), Bio-active and bio-activity,  any prominent number between 1 and 50, with or without the '+' symbol.  Not only can it be very confusing to have so many different ratings, but by many accounts some of the ratings do not mean much and some claims are misleading (see information below).  While most honeys have healing properties - see Manuka as Medicine, if you are going to try Manuka Honey for specific health issues ensuring that you use good quality honey is important.  Manuka Honey from Manuka Health New Zealand (550) and Watson and Sons (20+) have both been used by people I know and have worked extremely well for gastrointestinal disorders.   This is not to say that countless others are not good quality and effective, but if you can ask for advice before you buy as Manuka Honey can be expensive. 

In terms of the case study described here, the child took Manuka Honey 550 MGO from Manuka Health New Zealand.  I have heard that some children don't like the taste of Manuka Honey and it can sometimes be hard to get them to take it. Oliver - the child in case study - still actively seeks out his dose, and he loves it.  Keep in mind that different brands have different tastes so don't despair if you can't get them to take the first one you try.  Please let us know how you go.  There might be some brands  that are more desirable to a younger palate!


Manuka Honey Labelling 

Thankfully, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand is working towards having labelling guidelines for Manuka Honey defined by the end of June 2014.  "The aim is to achieve a clear, scientifically robust definition of mānuka honey and to implement the definition so consumers have confidence in the authenticity of the honey they are buying. Last year both Hong Kong and the UK had issues with honey labelling and the guideline will hope to ensure New Zealand mānuka honey is correctly labelled.

Pollen analysis is used internationally to classify monofloral honeys and is a possible method that might be used to identify mānuka once some difficulties of classification are overcome and other possible methodologies are also being reviewed by the science team. Mānuka honey would carry an additional label specification relating to its content of methylglyoxal.

The MPI says the final guideline, which will be voluntary, should minimise the potential for false or misleading label statements, minimise fraud, be practical and feasible to implement, be backed by robust evidence-based science, at reasonable cost and sustainable benefit".   Read Full Article - Sweet Job for Honey Expert, March 2014.


What's Special About Active Manuka Honey?

It was discovered at the University of Waikato that manuka honey has a very unusual type of antibacterial activity that potentially is more effective for treating infections.  Only some of what is sold as manuka honey has this special activity, and the term 'Active Manuka Honey' originally referred to this honey.  Now there is on sale as "Active Manuka Honey" products in which the activity is due to hydrogen peroxide just like in other, cheaper, honeys... Read Full Article

Manuka Honey's Medical Marvels Measured in Gold

"The surging global demand for the proven health values of New Zealand manuka honey is creating a major ethical concern in the way it is being marketed to consumers, says Professor Molan MBE, from the University of Waikato's Honey Research Unit.  Manuka is now one of the world's great health honeys and one of the great food icons of New Zealand. This year parallel research by science teams in both the UK and Australia confirmed New Zealand's manuka honey to be a powerful antibiotic against drug-resistant super-bugs.

However, care is needed in marketing to consumers, Prof Molan says. "Not all manuka honeys have true medicinal bioactivity beyond the range that's normal of all honeys, and the industry is exposed if it does not make the distinction clear for consumers," he says. "Several manuka honeys called 'active' in combination with a number have little or none of the non-peroxide activity that is the key to its distinctive antibacterial qualities."

Prof Molan, who is now regarded as the world's foremost authority on medical honeys, is concerned non medical-grade manuka honeys could be used for medicinal purposes by unknowing consumers. Active manuka honey can sell for about $65 for a 250gm jar in countries such as the UK.   "The more powerful the research results proving manuka honeys health benefits, the more important it is for consumers to purchase the correct honey," Prof Molan says.  Source: Read Full Article Waikato News, October 2009

Please note that the information provided here is not intended to be a recommendation. It is not medical advice, nor is it intended to be medical advice, and it is strongly advised that you consult with your medical practitioner prior to commencing any new treatment.  Also please note that this website and work is independently funded, and the owners have no affiliations, financial or otherwise, with producers or suppliers of Manuka Honey.