Honey is big business throughout the world and in New Zealand, manuka is the honey of choice. It is made from the flowers of the tea tree bush, a plant that also provides tea tree oil. Honeybees find this bush very attractive and they gather nectar from its attractive flowers. After carrying the nectar to their hives, they place it in honeycombs where it serves as food to sustain them through long winters. Beekeepers harvest some of this honey and sell it to people throughout the world. One reason this substance is in such demand is its potency.
What Makes Manuka Honey Unique?
Each type of honey has different qualities because it is made from nectar of different flowers. The substance is distinguished by its flavor, color, and even its smell. One distinguishing quality that is undetectable to the eye is potency. While all honey has antibacterial qualities due to its hydrogen peroxide content, Manuka is unique because it has additional components that have antibacterial qualities. Methylglyoxal, or MG, is one antibacterial substance that is found in larger quantities in honey made from tea tree flower nectar.
MG is created when the compound dihydroxyacetone, which is found in the flower nectar, is converted. The higher the MG concentration, the stronger the antibiotic quality of the honey. Producers of honey created a scale to measure MG concentration and called it the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). It is important to note that not all Manuka honey has significant levels of MG.
What Is Active Manuka Honey?
Manuka that is labeled "Active" or "UMF" has a UMF rating of at least ten. This indicates that the substance is more potent than versions with a UMF less than ten. Ratings extend to 16 but some honey can be found with a UMF of 18. Consumers should find the UMF rating displayed prominently on the product label because manufacturers are proud to produce active Manuka honey.
Active versions can be consumed in the same manner as non-active varieties. Common uses include topping for ice cream or oatmeal, ingredient in baked items, or a sweetener for water, iced tea, and hot tea. Some people enjoy honey straight out of the jar, consuming a tablespoon every morning for a boost of energy. Others spread it on biscuits, muffins, or bread or make peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwiches.
Other Manuka Honey Uses
This type of honey is not just for eating. It is also used to make first aid treatments including antiseptic sprays and anti-itch and anti-fungal creams. Honey soap comes in both liquid and bar forms, so it is perfect for either the kitchen or bathroom. Honey beeswax candles are extremely popular with consumers who enjoy a subtle fragrance within their homes.
Active Manuka honey is becoming more popular as media stories reveal that honey from certain countries is not as pure as claimed. When the urge strikes to try a different type of honey, consider the kind made from New Zealand tea tree flowers. If the taste is not appealing, explore other products made from this unique substance.