You better believe the hive! The antibacterial and soothing properties of Manuka honey have come to light in recent years, and a lot of people are now discovering what this high-quality honey can do for them. Held in high regard in the health world, manuka honey is special because it is made by bees who are very picky when it comes to plants. They predominantly use the Manuka bush – an indigenous plant from particular regions of New Zealand (it’s found in Australia too) - and the nectar they gather makes the much-loved manuka honey!
What is so good about Manuka honey?
Manuka honey from New Zealand is no ordinary honey. The Manuka honey bees work their little bee-hinds off buzzing around their favourite bush – the Manuka bush (Leptospermum Scoparium) – collecting nectar to take back to their hive.
Sometimes a few of the more adventurous bees will go and collect nectar from other floral plants, but Manuka honey will always be made mostly from Manuka bush nectar. All Manuka honey has to contain four specific naturally occurring chemicals and a DNA marker that are unique to New Zealand Manuka honey.
You can also find the manuka bush in Australia, but most high-quality manuka honey comes from New Zealand, including the brands: Manuka Doctor, Manuka Lab and Manuka Pharm.
What are the health benefits of Manuka honey?
When most people think of honey and health, using it to provide relief for a sore throat springs to mind. However, using Manuka honey for sore throats can help in more ways than one due to its antibacterial properties. DHA is naturally produced by the Manuka bush and stored in its nectar. It then goes through the Maillard reaction to form the MGO (Methylglyoxal) which is key to Manuka honey’s antibacterial benefits.
What is the Manuka honey MGO rating?
You’ll see an MGO rating on most Manuka products and this is simply telling you the level of methylglyoxal in honey and how strong its antibacterial properties are. The Manuka honey Holland and Barrett sells ranges from MGO 40 to MGO 1000 – so you can decide on what strength best suits your needs.
The New Zealand government tests this too, so you can rest assured that it is of a high quality and 100% authentic manuka honey.
How to take Manuka honey for a cough:
Dissolve it into hot water or tea (it’s delicious with Jasmine tea) or just sip it from a spoon to soothe the throat.
What else can you use Manuka honey for?
Another benefit of Manuka honey is it’s moisturising and soothing properties when applied directly to the skin. You can even mix it up into a face mask!
Of course, you can also use it in food as you would use normal honey. Manuka honey has a naturally richer flavour than runny honey, so a little goes a long way. Drizzle it over yoghurt, porridge, rice cakes, or anything else you want to give a sweet natural flavour to.
Monofloral and multifloral honey, what’s the difference?
When searching for the right Manuka honey product for you, it’s inevitable that you will come across the terms monofloral Manuka honey and multifloral Manuka honey.
As the name suggests, monofloral means that the honey comes from bees that have predominantly collected nectar from the Manuka bush. There is vigorous testing surrounding this bold claim, and two of the four chemical manuka markers in the final honey product must meet a higher level than those in multifloral honey.
Multifloral means that the bees visit many other floral sources and bushes as well as the manuka bush – but of course the Manuka bush will always be its favourite. It still has to be tested and found to contain ‘wholly or mainly’ nectar from the Manuka bush. This is done with the same naturally occurring marker test and pollen test that all Manuka honey is bound to.
What is Pure Gold Manuka honey?
If you’re a honey lover with the taste for something a little more luxurious, Pure Gold Manuka honey may be the choice for you. It is darker in colour, thicker, opaquer and has a creamier texture than other types of runny honey you find in the supermarket. It’s known world-over for it’s rich and decadent flavour, as well as its health benefits.