What should you look for when buying a Manuka honey?

Manuka Honey has become famous in recent years due to its health properties and a host of celebrity fans, making it one of the best selling products in health store Holland and Barrett. But why is it so special?

Where does it come from?

Firstly Manuka can only be called so if it is made by bees who collect nectar from the Manuka bush, a wild shrub which grows widely across New Zealand but flowers for only a few weeks a year. The New Zealand Government has a very strict set of tests to make sure any Manuka Honey meets the grade before it is exported to reduce the risk of fakes and diluted products being sold around the world.

What makes Manuka Honey special?

In essence, it’s the antimicrobial properties that other honey does not have. Research shows this activity is unique to Manuka Honey, and gives it significant antibacterial effects. A compound in the Manuka Nectar called DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is converted in the hive to a natural substance called MGO (Methylglyoxal). And it is MGO that has been shown in lab tests to have anti-microbial properties.

What is antimicrobial activity and why is it a good thing?

An antimicrobial is an agent that kills micro-organisms or stops their growth.

The primary difference between antibacterial and antimicrobial substances is the types of micro-organism they act upon. While antibacterial products prevent the development of bacteria, Antimicrobial products have the ability to kill or slow the spread of microorganisms, which may include bacteria, parasites, or fungis. Merilyn Manley-Harris, associate professor of organic and analytical chemistry at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, says: “MGO is an antibacterial agent and research shows it is very difficult for bacteria to develop immunity to it because it has multiple methods of action. Some experts believe that Manuka honey can boost your immune system and even improve gut health. It’s also used for wound healing in hospitals and to soothe inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Some people use it to soothe a sore throat and it is also thought to help with infections of the upper respiratory tract.

What should you look for when buying a Manuka honey?

Sadly like many expensive and rare products, Manuka Honey is also subject to copies and passing off. Some dishonest companies have been caught either diluting their Manuka Honey with cheaper European honey outside of New Zealand, or artificially adding chemicals to make their Manuka appear stronger than it once was.
Look for a trusted brand like Manuka Doctor who has the New Zealand Government’s standard stamped on the top of every jar, and whose products are all packed in New Zealand itself. Meaning once the jars are sealed there is no change to your product from New Zealand to your home.

A special deal for Silversurfers members on genuine Manuka honey

We have teamed up with Manuka Doctor to give readers a discount on genuine manuka honey. You can now buy the best selling 70MGO Manuka for just £19.50, down from £65 in the shops, meaning you save more than £45.



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26th Aug 2019
Thanks for voting!
New Zealand only produces about 7 thousand tons of Manuka Honey yet 12 thousand tons are sold as Manuka so a lot of it is a mixture and according to Standards agencies that is fine,
20th Aug 2019
Thanks for voting!
We absolutely love Manuka Honey and it is one of those luxuries that is very good for you-unlike chocolate.

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