Many people believe that the best honey in the world is Manuka honey. But unfortunately, not all brands of Manuka honey are packing the type of healing powers you’ve read about. So, how can you avoid buying a cheap substitute and find the real deal? If you’ve never had Manuka honey, but you’ve read about it and you’re eager to try this amazing super food, there are a few ways you can avoid buying imitation Manuka.
First, don’t get confused by the numbers listed on the jar. To experience the maximum health benefits of Manuka, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how each brand measures the important compounds found in Manuka.
Total activity or TA based brands measure the amount of hydrogen peroxide activity. This type of measurement is not a stable or reliable way to judge the potency of the honey. Total activity honey just isn’t comparable to genuine UMF certified Manuka.
Some consumers recommend purchasing your honey only from New Zealand based online stores because they’re known to offer only UMF certified honey. The UMF rating is the level of the special antibacterial properties found in the honey.
How can you be sure you’re getting authentic Manuka? Only some brands of honey contain the unique, extra antibacterial compounds that are responsible for the proven benefits of eating Manuka. This additional factor can’t be tasted or seen. Essentially, you’re trusting the accurate and honest labels on the product to determine the honey’s quality.
Jars marked with UMF certification should give you confidence that the honey you’re purchasing is genuine. The UMF labels will only state the levels of the special non-peroxide activity.
What makes Manuka so Special?
All types of honey contain a level of hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide provides some level of activity from enzyme glucose oxidase that’s also found in the honey. However, this can be adversely affected by certain types of enzymes that are found in body tissue and wound fluids. It also reduces over time and isn’t considered stable.
However, with Manuka, this honey also contains a non-peroxide antibacterial compound that has been named the Unique Manuka Factor. It’s the Unique Manuka Factor that’s responsible for creating the special properties including the extra antibacterial properties that are only found in some types of Manuka. The UMF isn’t affected by other enzymes and it’s considered very active and stable in a wide variety of conditions. In order to determine UMF in honey, it must be tested for the level of non-peroxide antibacterial activity. This test is conducted for every batch of honey by independent labs.
All Manuka honey research has been conducted on honey that contains sufficient levels of this non-peroxide activity. These tests determine if a sample of honey is standard Manuka. If the honey contains some of the extra healing properties but the levels are not high enough to qualify for the UMF label, this honey is instead labeled as active honey.
The UMF mark found on labels of honey is only given to brands of honey that contain certain levels of the healing properties. This label ensures consumers that they’re purchasing genuine Manuka honey.
Genuine Manuka should comply with the following list of criteria:
- It has the UMF trademark stamped somewhere on the label.
- It has been packaged in New Zealand.
- If has a UMF rating of five or more.
Dihydroxyacetone, methylglyoxal, and hydrogen peroxide help to make up the UMF. As we have explained, this is the global standard for measuring and identifying the honey’s antibacterial strength. The UMF stamp basically guarantees that the Manuka you purchase is of medicinal quality. After some research and comparison shopping, once you have found a trusted brand stick with it.
Adding Manuka Honey to your Diet
Once you’ve purchased the honey, you’ll probably be excited to start using it in order to enjoy many of the health benefits it has to offer, but you may not know how much to add to your daily diet or what type of effects it can have on the body when consumed
While this honey is commonly used to treat wounds, minor infections, rashes, and other types of skin issues, ingesting the honey daily will come with benefits of its own.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable and bloated, one tablespoon of Manuka honey can help to reduce discomfort associated with stomach ulcers, indigestion, acid reflux, and upset stomach. Simply stir the honey into a cup of tea or hot water.
If you feel like a cold is coming on, try adding a teaspoon of the honey into a cup of hot water with lemon juice. The high antibacterial levels in the honey can help to treat cold sores strep throat and soothe symptoms caused by the common cold. It’s also known to instantly boost the immune system, so it can quickly help your body to fight off a cold.
Are you suffering from mid-day syndrome? Is your energy totally gone and you find it hard to stay productive at work? This honey is also great for a short-term energy boost since it contains glucose and fructose, which are energy sources for the body.
Adding some Manuka to your tea or a smoothie can give you the energy boost you need to get through the rest of your day. Just be careful about how much honey you consume in general, as it does contain quite a bit of sugar.
A Matter of Taste
Did you know that Manuka honey can have a very bitter, tart taste, or it can have a sweet, rich flavor, depending on where the honey was harvested? While essentially one brand of Manuka is the same as any other, the taste can vary greatly depending on a wide range of environmental factors such as the weather, the area it was harvested from and the soil type. Most people can agree that honey that was harvested from the South of New Zealand is often creamier and sweeter, while honey harvest from the North usually has a darker and richer flavor that tends to taste almost medicinal. If you’ve purchased honey that was either too bitter or too sweet for you, you can try diluting the honey with a little water or coconut oil to lessen the flavor.