New Zealand Manuka Honey has gained superfood status all around the globe. From health supplements to skincare and cosmetics, NZ Manuka honey is widely used in many different products, and comes with a glowing reputation. But what makes it so special, and do the benefits really live up to its hype?
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is made by honeybees with nectar collected from the NZ native Manuka flower, Leptospermum scoparium. With white or deep pink flowers, the Manuka bush is a small woody shrub with distinctive spiky leaves and an earthy, cedar-like scent. What sets it apart from other honeys is it’s unique Manuka compounds, which get passed from the nectar and into the honey itself. For a honey to be called “Manuka Honey”, it needs to be made from at least 70% Manuka nectar.
Unique Manuka compounds
Manuka honey contains a number of compounds which can’t be found in any other honey anywhere in the world. These include Methylglyoxal (MGO), Leptosperin and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Scientific studies have shown that these compounds have special properties. Along with these special compounds, Manuka honey also contains amino acids, B vitamins, and minerals including calcium, iron, zinc and potassium.
Not all Manuka Honey is created equal
When it comes to choosing Manuka honey, there are a few rating systems to look out for, which basically indicate the potency of the honey. These include UMF (Unique Manuka Factor), MGO (Methylglyoxal) and MGS (Molan Gold Standard) which measure the levels of MGO, leptosperin and DHA in within the honey. Put simply, the higher the UMF, MGO or MGS rating number, the higher the number of beneficial compounds you’ll be getting. You’ll find these certifications printed on the label.
Manuka honey uses
Because of its unique compounds, Manuka honey is a popular ingredient in many natural health supplements and cosmetics. From soothing scratchy and irritated throats, supporting a healthy immune system, to nourishing and hydrating dry itchy skin, Manuka honey has a number of uses. As a staple superfood it can also be added to smoothies, used as an alternative for refined sugar in baking, and used as a natural sweetener in tea and coffee. It can even be used as a delicious spread on your morning toast, or eaten straight from the spoon for a sweet treat.
Manuka is used in traditional Rongoā Māori plant medicine. Manuka bark has a sweet resin known as ‘Pia Manuka’, traditionally used for supporting airways. It looks and tastes like a lump of damp icing sugar – keep a look out for it on your next native forest visit! Traditionally, Manuka leaves were also used as a substitute for tea by early European settlers. This earned it the common name ‘tea tree’.
Manuka Honey is rare
Manuka is much harder to come by than other honeys. Clover is the world’s most common honey because bees LOVE clover nectar - it’s their favourite. If bees have a choice between collecting from clover or Manuka flowers, they make a ‘bee-line’ for clover every time. To get Manuka honey, honeybees therefore need plenty of Manuka flowers and limited access to clover.
How does it taste?
Popular for its unique, characteristic taste, Manuka honey has a herbal, woody and earthy flavour. It’s clear with a warm amber hue, with quite a liquid consistency compared to other more common honeys.
Here at HealthPost, our Natural Health Expert team ensure that all our NZ Manuka Honey products meet our strict standards for quality and purity. With our Ethical by Nature Promise, you can trust you’re always making a healthy choice for you and your family’s wellbeing. Shop our range of Manuka honey online now.