We’ve all had honey at one point or another, whether it is honey sandwiches, honey drizzled on porridge or honey stirred in warm water with lemon when a cold strikes. It is no secret that honey, and particularly raw honey, as a whole is great to have around. What many people don’t realise is that honey isn’t all the same.
The chances are you’ve heard of Manuka honey and may have even seen some of your favourite celebrities using it, but many people aren’t entirely sure what it is. It’s often referred to as being one of the latest superfoods we should all be incorporating into our diet but what’s so special about it? Let’s take a look at Manuka honey and what makes it so special.
Understanding Manuka Honey: What Is It?
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate Manuka bushes, a plant that is native to New Zealand and the reason Manuka honey has star status is due to its health benefits. Raw honey has been used for centuries to treat and heal medical conditions and injuries (thanks to its ability to fight bacteria) and honey is one of nature’s richest antimicrobial sources. Each type of honey does so in a different way and therefore some are better suited for some uses, than others.
In relation to Manuka honey, researchers have discovered that discovered that Manuka honey has a considerably higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide that works as an antibacterial. Some strains of this New Zealand honey are particularly rich in hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone, meaning it has a high antibiotic effect and is more useful when it comes to fighting bacteria, treating medical problems and healing.
You may have seen that Manuka honey in shops come with an activity rating specified. This is because Manuka honey is given a UMF rating so buyers can easily see how much methylglyoxal is in the honey and how good the quality is. Not all Manuka honey contains the same amount to be considered useful and a UMF rating of 10 or above is required for it to be considered active.
There are lots of different uses of Manuka honey and thanks to its high concentrations of antibacterial agents it can be beneficial for different reasons. It is because of the wide range of health benefits that Manuka honey is popular with celebrities; both Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson are fans.
Should You Be Using Manuka Honey?
In short, yes. We could all benefit from using Manuka honey. Arguably one of the most naturally useful foods in terms of healing uses and antibiotic properties, Manuka honey can be used in so many different ways it is definitely a useful item to have at home. However, one thing that puts people off buying Manuka honey is the cost.
Manuka honey is relatively expensive and this is because of its rarity. Though we won’t be running out of Manuka honey anytime soon, it is only native to New Zealand meaning it isn’t easily accessible worldwide and this allows suppliers to increase their cost. Additionally, Manuka bushes only flower for a few weeks each year and the amount of honey created is relatively low, so supply and demand increases the price for buyers. Though it is on the more costly side, Manuka honey makes up for this in the number of ways it can be used.