Manuka honey has become a buzz word because of its unique taste, organic production methods and not least because of its long list of health benefits. If you are a regular buyer of manuka honey and already have a favourite brand, buying it online can be a convenient way to make sure your supply is never out of stock in your own home!
Beneficial properties researched but competing rating systems
If you are new to manuka honey and have heard about its reported good health benefits as well as its taste where do you begin? Firstly, it is important to ask yourself are you buying it for the taste alone or because you are interested in its health benefits, such as its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties?
Two types of manuka honey
These unique properties have been researched and documented but not all honey labelled as manuka honey has the special antibacterial properties. This is not a problem is you just want great tasting, delicious honey, but if you are interested in manuka honey with the special benefits you need to know what to look for on the label.
However, there is more than one system for rating manuka honey that has antibacterial properties, and this has become a source of confusion for consumers. It is important to know about them so that you can be sure you are getting the product you want.
The word ‘active’ manuka honey
The term ‘active’ Manuka honey has sometimes been used to describe manuka honey containing the special antibacterial properties. Using the word ‘active’ may not be enough to ensure that the honey you are buying has the special benefits associated with it.
To ensure you are getting genuine manuka honey with antibacterial properties you need to look for other information on the label, such as one of the rating systems and trademarks to show the honey has been verified and tested as having antibacterial properties.
What are the rating systems for manuka honey for?
The two main manuka honey rating systems, which are registered trademarks and appear on the label as either UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) or MGO (methylglyoxal ), basically tell you that the honey has been independently tested and contains the special antibacterial properties for which the honey has become so famous.
The two ratings systems both test the antibacterial strength of the honey but use different methods and you can read more about the UMF and MGO systems on this website. However, whichever system you go with if your jar of manuka honey has either label then you will know that the product is what it claims to be.
Other rating systems
Some of the larger brands of manuka honey producers also have their own system for verifying the properties of manuka honey, such as Wedderspoon manuka honey, which does not subscribe to the UMF or MGO system. Wedderspoon has developed its own systems for testing the honey and its products are also independently tested.
Another recognized trademark and rating system is the AAH, which stands for Antibacterial Antioxidant Honey, and this system was pioneered by Lincoln University in New Zealand.