7 Facts About Manuka Honey

Facts About Manuka HoneyYou’ve probably heard of manuka honey but you may not know much about it.  Here are 7 facts about manuka honey and the manuka bush from which the honey is derived.

1. Monofloral Honey

Manuka honey is a monofloral honey, which means that the bees that make it gather nectar mostly from one type of plant, which is the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium) in the case of manuka honey.  Monofloral honeys are more expensive than other honeys because each type has a distinctive flavor and unique properties.  Manuka honey is particularly special because of the health benefits attributed to it.

2. Indigenous Use

The Maori people of New Zealand knew of the benefits of the manuka plant. They used the leaves and flowers of the manuka bush medicinally.  They treated colds by inhaling the steam from boiling manuka leaves, they rubbed the bark on their skin to treat skin conditions, and they make an oil from the leaves to be applied topically as an antiseptic.  

3. Labeling

In order to be called manuka honey, it must get at least 70% of its pollen from the manuka plant.

4. Flavor and Appearance

Manuka has a much darker color and a stronger, earthier flavor than other honeys.  Many people are surprised by this at first, but once they’ve tried manuka and gotten used to it, they rarely go back to “regular” honey.

5. Medicinal Properties

Manuka has been the subject of many studies in recent years and it has been found to have some incredible medicinal properties.  In particular, it has been found to be especially beneficial in wound healing and has potent anti-bacterial properties thanks in part to the MGO (methylglyoxal) it contains.  MGO is a compound that has been found to be effective against MRSA and other bacterial infections.

6. Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)

The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) of manuka refers to the unique properties of manuka honey that is not found in other honeys.  Not all manuka honey has the same antibacterial properties so manuka is tested in laboratories and assigned a UMF rating.  Anything above a level 10 UMF is considered “active” and of high quality.  UMF can go as high as.  When buying manuka, make sure to buy one that has a UMF rating and one that is 10 or higher.

7. Birds Love It

Kakariki parakeets rid themselves of parasites by ingesting the leaves and bark of the manuka bush.  They also apply it to their feathers after chewing it and mixing it with preen gland oil.

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