We know that all natural honey varieties have amazing healing properties, but not all honey is the same. How potent as a healing agent a honey will be, depends on the type of honey, ie on the type of plants it was made of.
Honey is so beneficial for our health, that it’s often referred to as “liquid gold”, and with reason. It helps prevent cancer and heart disease, reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, increases athletic performance, heals wounds and burns, etc.
However, what makes Manuka honey special is that it has 4 times the power of ordinary honey!
It contains unique antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, stomach-healing, wound-repairing, and overall health-promoting properties that make it one of the “power foods” that no household should be without.
Raw Manuka Honey Nutrition Facts
Manuka honey stands out from all other types of honey because of its nutritional composition.
Raw honey is collected straight from the honey extractor, and is unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. On the other hand, most of the honey found in the supermarket is not raw honey but “commercial” honey, which means it’s been pasteurized. In other words, it was heated at 70 degree Celsius or more, then cooled rapidly in order to make it easier to filter and bottle. During the pasteurization process, its delicate aromas and enzymes which represent the healing property of honey, are partially (sometimes completely) destroyed.
Although honey is the oldest kind of sweetener, it is much more than sugar. For thousands of years honey has been used in different ways and for different reasons to help give the human body energy and health.
Unlike commercial honey, raw honey contains all the pollen, enzymes and other micro-nutrients that are usually filtered out or destroyed by heat when the honey is processed
Raw, unheated and unfiltered honey is a rich source of: Amino acids, B vitamins (B6, Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid), Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc).
But, although all raw honey has powerful immune system boosting abilities, it is produced from different plants and comes from different locations, which all affect its nutrient content and quality.
Manuka raw honey is produced only in New Zealand, in a pollution-free location. This makes it a unique, healthy and very rich source of these nutrients, which can be up to 4 times that of the regular raw honey.
This is what is called the Unique Manuka Factor.
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) is a global standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka honey. In other words, UMF is a guarantee that the honey you buy is of a medicinal quality.
In the 1980s, New Zealand researchers discovered that Manuka honey has a considerably higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide that works as an antibacterial. Some strains of this New Zealand honey are particularly rich in hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone, and it is the concentration of these elements that makes Manuka honey highly effective at treating wounds, burns, and other skin problems.
However, UMF is not found in all Manuka flowers. This means that some varieties of Manuka honey contain antibacterial properties just like other honey varieties. That’s why the UMF grading system is used. It identifies the natural unadulterated Manuka honey that has a special unique natural property found only in some strains of honey.
The concentration of UMF shows how successfully a particular strain of honey can fight bacteria and promote healing, which is why it has to be indicated on the jar.
All Manuka honey jars have to have a label claiming that it’s genuine Manuka honey, as well as a number which represents the unique signature of the honey. For example, UMF10+, UMF15+, etc.
The UMF quality trademark ranges from 5 upwards
0-4 Not detectable
5-9 Low levels
10-15 Useful levels
16+ Superior high grade levels
The following is the UMF grading system
0-4 Non-therapeutic (ie like other ordinary types of honey)
4-9 Maintenance level with general honey health benefits
10-14 Supports natural healing and bacterial balance
15+ Superior levels of phenol’s that are highly therapeutic but shouldn’t exceed taking 1 tbsp at a time
Understanding the UMF Grading System
Basically, the higher the level of UMF, the higher the level of effectiveness and healing benefits.
Manuka honey UMF20+ is one of the highest certified grades. It is only available in very limited quantities and is in huge demand.
Manuka honey can be used internally or externally. You can mix it with warm water or tea, or spread on bread or toast.
The ideal UMF rating varies depending on what you need it for, but generally, UMF12 to UMF15 Manuka honey is considered highly effective against a wide range of very resistant bacteria.
You should not give it to babies under 1 year of age (this goes for all types of honey)..
How to Verify if Manuka Honey is Authentic
Because Manuka honey is used for its exceptional medicinal qualities, it has to undergo a number of tests to show it is natural and unadulterated and that the grading claim on the label is true.
The minimum UMF rating recognized is UMF5, however, it is not considered medicinally beneficial unless it carries a UMF 10+ level of antibacterial activity in the honey. Anything ranging from UMF10-UMF15 is a useful level, and anything UMF16 and up is considered a superior quality.
Genuine UMF Manuka Honey will have these four things
UMF trademark clearly labeled on the front of the container.
From a New Zealand UMF licensed company and labeled in New Zealand.
It will have the UMF company’s name and license number on the label.
It will have a UMF rating number of 5-16+. If it is labeled without the UMF or without a number, then it is not the genuine article.