Is Irish heather honey the new super honey?

My cupboard is brimming with Irish honey. I am married to an Irishman and we frequently go back to Ireland to see family. Sticky pots of local honey from beekeepers sit on my shelf, representing the various counties in Ireland, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary. You can read my review of a County Cork coastal honey from Youghal  here.

It was with great interest I took note of a recent study in into Irish honey led by researchers at Dublin City University and Trinity College, Dublin.

Irish Study into honey

The study found that Irish heather honey contains health benefits comparable with Manuka honey from New Zealand.

Honey provides many benefits for overall health due to its antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The crown for the most potent honey has mainly resided with the world renowned Manuka honey from New Zealand.

Manuka honey is a produce of bees that pollinate the Manuka bush, native to New Zealand. Manuka honey has strong properties and can treat wound infections and prevent damage to cell tissue.

Antioxidant Properties 

The Irish research was exciting because it found a similar overall presence of powerful antioxidants called phenolic compounds in Irish heather honey, which are found in Manuka honey.

Study Highlights 

The highlights of the study into Irish honey were:

  • Urban multi-floral honeys have a higher total phenolic content than rural honeys.
  • Heather honey has the highest total phenolic content of all Irish honeys.
  • Irish heather honey has a higher total phenolic content than Manuka honey.
  • Irish heather honey has similar physiochemical characteristics to Manuka honey.

Research for this study was led by PhD student Saorla Kavanagh of the school of chemical sciences and DCU Water Institute, and supervised by senior academics Dr Blánaid White of the school of chemical sciences in DCU and Prof Jane Stout of the school of natural sciences, Trinity College Dublin.

For the study, honey samples for the research, were donated by beekeepers across Ireland.

Single-origin honey 

The research is also the first ever comparison of Irish single-origin honeys, such as heather, ivy and oilseed rape and multi-floral honeys.

The full study is published in Food Chemistry.

The study has helped put a spotlight on Irish honey and show that Irish honey is high-quality and of value. On my next trip, I will be stocking up.