The manuka honey that you spread on your bread in the morning is really only half of the manuka honey story. Worldwide interest in the honey stems from its recognized and unique antibacterial properties, and there is now a considerable and ever increasing body of research focusing on its many beneficial properties. Manuka honey’s famous antibacterial activity has also led to the development of medical products and skin care products, especially in the field of wound care, which are made using a special medical grade manuka honey.
The production process of medical grade manuka honey is obviously similar to the manuka honey you eat and depends on bees that forage for nectar and pollen off the manuka tree or the tea tree as it is sometimes called (Leptospermum scoparium). The production of high quality manuka honey is very strict and is even more so for medical grade manuka honey.
Free from contaminants
Producers of medical grade manuka honey have to maintain a very strict production and quality management chain in order to ensure the honey’s purity and that means making sure no pesticides or other contaminants can enter the production chain at any stage of the process.
This means producers of medical grade manuka honey follow strict guidelines that cover the sourcing, harvesting and extraction of the honey and also product testing. For example, beehives will be covered before leaving the area in which they are located to make sure no dust can contaminate the hive.
The honey will then be extracted and processed in state of the art facilities that ensure no contamination can occur, and this can even be inside air-locked facilities. The extraction process is also rigorously controlled to avoid any chance of cross contamination from the environment or tools used in the process. The testing process checks that there has been no microbiological contamination of the honey.
Sterilization a different stage
Where medical grade manuka honey differs from the honey in your kitchen cupboard is the sterilization process. The sterilization process is usually carried out using a gamma irradiation method, which is important because while it destroys any potential microbes it does not affect the antibacterial activity of the honey.
What is medical grade manuka honey used for?
Medical grade manuka honey has become a key ingredient for two sectors: the beauty industry and healthcare sector. The honey is used in a variety of clinical and over the counter products for treating wounds and burns, giving rise to a whole new industry in a little over a decade with brand names such as Medihoney, Activon and ManukaMed.
Medical grade manuka honey has long been a key ingredient for many beauty products as the sector has long recognized the importance of this natural product and its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties.