Choosing the best Manuka honey is actually not so easy. Every person’s taste differs and matters. Not all honey is the same. And, with every option out there, finding the right one is not that easy. Even when buying honey, every person looks for something that will benefit their health.
You ask why? Because every honey comes from different bees that gathered various nectars of different flowers. Additionally, some kinds of honey are pasteurized while others are sold as raw honey (as raw as when they are right from the beehives! Sometimes, with bits of honeycomb too!)
In a hurry or just plain curious?
A shortlist of the best manuka honey brands
- Comvita Raw Manuka Honey
- New Zealand Honey Co. Raw Manuka Honey
- Manuka Health - MGO 100+
- Manuka Doctor Bio Active Honey
- Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey
- PRI Manuka Honey
- Tasmanian Honey Company Bio Active Manuka Honey
The Manuka Bush and Honey
What is manuka honey? And, curious to know where this honey comes from? It is honey from New Zealand. This honey is specifically derived from honey produced by bees which gathered the nectars of flowers from the Manuka Bush (Leptospermum Scoparium).
The Manuka Bush is a native plant thriving in southern Australia and New Zealand.
New Zealand is home for cultivating this bush specifically for the honey. This kind of honey is produced when our six-legged friends gather nectar from the flowers of the bushes. It is then processed for its medicinal benefits in the pharmaceutical industry.
Hence, some beekeepers cultivate this tree for the honey.
Components of the Best Manuka Honey
Most honey acts as antibiotics because of the presence of hydrogen peroxide in them. This includes manuka honey. The antibacterial effect of honey varies depending on the kind of honey.
But this type of honey has other ingredients having anti-bacterial and antiviral qualities.
Glycerone or Dihydroxyacetone, a simple saccharide, is highly concentrated in the nectars of manuka flowers. Converting this compound produces methylglyoxal (MGO).
While most honey has MGO, the manuka honey has higher MGO because of the high concentration of glycerine. That is because this simple saccharide is prominently present in the nectars of the flowers of the manuka plant.
And research claims that anything with a higher MGO has more effective antibiotic qualities.
The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)
Beekeepers and those who produce honey rates the potency of manuka honey based on the presence of MGO. The higher the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), the higher the MGO.
The UMF rating is the measurement of the potency of the medicinal properties of this honey. The higher the rating, the more potent is the honey.
This rating is managed by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA) in New Zealand. This organization keeps track of the authenticity of manuka honey in the market.
UMF ratings are from 5+ to 20+, the latter indicating that the honey has the highest grade of beneficial components. These ratings ensure the purity and quality of manuka honey.
A UMF rating of 10+ or MGO rating of 250+ reflects that quality manuka honey is the primary and active ingredient. Hence, you are sure to derive its medicinal benefits.
If you are purchasing this kind of honey for its medicinal benefits, then choose one with a higher MGO or UMF.
The Best Manuka Honey
What is the best manuka honey?
Choosing the best manuka honey brand depends on how you wanted the taste to be. It is also dependent on what specific purpose you want it or what health benefits you want from it. Therefore we have decided to gather a list of our favorites for you.
Manuka Honey with High UMF and MGO
A UMF rating on a jar or bottle of manuka honey symbolizes the genuineness and high quality of such honey.
The higher UMF and MGO in these honey products like this Comvita Raw Manuka Honey portrays the purity of its content. Sourced and manufactured in New Zealand, it has a UMF 15+ rating which assures us of authenticity. The company producing this product is a member of UMFHA which proves that we are buying authentic (and not fake!) manuka honey.
Most raw honey are considered natural superfoods. But this one is one of the best because it is GMO-free without any additives.
It has been shown that honey with a higher UMF rating and MGO content has a stronger flavor than one with a lower UMF and MGO.
Generally, it has a herbaceous flavor mixed with caramel and a tinge of bitterness.
Milder Tasting Manuka Honey
If you are one who loves milder tasting honey, select one with a UMF of lower than 10 or with less than 250 MGO.
So, if the two above tastes too strong for your palate, this Manuka Health - MGO 100+ might be suitable to your taste buds.
Yet, you can still get the medicinal properties that this honey can offer.
Or take, for instance, this Manuka Doctor Bio Active Honey. It has a milder taste yet still contains the same honey goodness for your wellness.
Raw Manuka Honey
And if you’re looking for a more natural honey flavor, this raw manuka honey will give you earthy tastes and caramelized sugars. It surely tickles your taste buds. It is certified as a non-GMO and pure unpasteurized raw honey.
There is also this one which was cool processed (raw). As such, it comes in its natural flavor with all its antibacterial properties.
If you are a fan of Australia, this Tasmanian Honey Company Bio Active Manuka Honey has 100% manuka ingredients, produced by bees which gathered nectars from the manuka bushes in Australia.
Manuka vs. Regular Honey
Besides the taste and color, there are other differences between regular honey and manuka honey.
Regular honey is one that underwent pasteurization to prevent fermentation by killing any yeast. This pasteurization process, however, eliminates some vitamins and natural enzymes that would have been beneficial to consumers.
It may also come as raw or unpasteurized or one that has not been heated or did not go filtration or heating. It is honey exactly as when taken from the beehive and put inside a jar.
Regular honey looks cleaner and smoother, translucent in color, and has a syrupy, more spreadable consistency.
The origin of Manuka honey traces back to the manuka tree, abundantly found in New Zealand and the southern part of Australia. Hence, some people call it New Zealand honey.
This type of honey is derived explicitly from honey produced by bees who fed on the nectars of the manuka bushes. This honey cannot be produced other than from the flowers of the said bush.
The manuka bush is indigenous to New Zealand and Australia. Hence, only these two countries produce this kind of honey. Then, they are imported into the US.
It is also one of the underlying reasons why this honey is so expensive. The rarity of supply and the fact of importing this honey into the US get into the pricing factor.
But for most people, the price of this honey is worth the medicinal benefits you can get from it.
The honey is rich in methylglyoxal and leptosperin and has long been known for its medicinal properties. The presence of this chemical is what makes this honey unique as it is not found in some honey.
In contrast to regular honey, this type of honey is darker in color and thicker in consistency and fudge-like, and is more difficult to spread.
What are the benefits of eating manuka honey?
Although the regular honey is healthy in itself, the anti-bacterial properties of manuka honey brings it to another level from regular honey. This has been the perception and claims of most users who have tried and tested its benefits.
As mentioned above, the UMF rating displays the concentration of MGO. The higher the UMF and MGO concentration that the honey contains, the more potent are its medicinal properties.
Over the years, honey has been considered to treat some medical conditions due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
But with manuka, these qualities are more potent.
Because of this, many people used this type of honey to treat wounds, burns, and infections. Some even used them in treating wounds in pets.
Some people use this honey in treating and improving skin conditions, as a sweetener for those with diabetes, as a remedy for coughs and colds, and many other medical conditions. It boosts the immune system, too!
This kind of honey has also been presented for use in lowering body cholesterol. Additionally, treating gastrointestinal and digestive problems, flu and sinus infections, and even preventing cancer are also some perceived benefits one can attain from this kind of honey.
There are also claims of this honey being effective in the treatment of acne and inflammatory diseases. While these claims are unsubstantiated by research and medical studies, the testimonies of those who have tried using them seems to be enough for those wanting and looking for solutions to their medical problems.
Can you consume this honey every day?
Inasmuch as there are claims of the highly effective therapeutic benefits of manuka honey, these claims are based on studies done on a limited number of people. Some of these studies were performed on mice and other animals.
These studies are not conclusive. To substantiate these claims, more research and studies are necessary.
These claims are not a substitute for a doctor’s diagnosis and prescription. It is always best to consult with medical professionals before trying out medications or alternatives to them.
While this type of honey indeed has health benefits, it is best to minimize its consumption, especially for people who have diabetes.
Honey, no matter how healthy it is known for, it still contains glucose and fructose, components of many carbohydrates. During digestion, our blood assimilates them directly into our bodies. Hence, for people who are into a low carb diet, the intake of honey should be at a minimum.
To sum it up
There are lots of high praises and high recommendations for Manuka Honey.
But please also note that each of us has different levels of tolerance for food and ingredients. Some of us are even allergic to some specific food.
But with that aside, by itself or as an addition to any recipe or our daily meals, we surely agree that manuka honey is indeed one great superfood.