If you want to buy Manuka honey you’ll probably want it for its powerful health benefits. Otherwise you would have probably bought a normal honey which is not renowned for its medical uses.
The best manuka honey is characterized by unique antibacterial and antimicrobial activities which can not be found in other honeys. It can cure skin infections where prescribed antibiotics have failed. It not only fights infection it also promotes tissue growth, speeding the healing process.
When you want to buy this New Zealand originated honey there are a few things to keep in mind.
Not All Manuka Honey’s Are The Same
The increasing popularity and public demand have led to a flood of products on the market. Many of these so called active manuka honey’s are not what they seem. Manufacturers and distributors want to gain financially by promoting their products as being active, healing, special and unique. While the cold truth is that a lot of these products are not tested for their antibacterial activities and consequently do not have the unique traits of genuine active manuka honey.
“Some honeys are no more antibacterial than sugar while others can be diluted more than 100 fold and still halt the growth of bacteria.”
Some manufacturers provide manuka honey products that aren’t necessarily consistent from batch to batch. So read on to find out where to buy real active manuka honey and how to find out if it’s tested for its health enhancing properties.
What To Look For When Buying Manuka Honey
Since there has been so much distortion on the market it is actually pretty hard to determine which brands are the best. I would like to give some guidelines anyway. The products displayed on this page are all genuine UMF or MGO Manuka or Molan Gold honeys with special health benefits. These brands have been tested in laboratory (for example the Waikato University laboratory) and are guaranteed for a certain amount of antibacterial activity and subsequent health benefits.
* Scroll down on this page clinical trials and other proof on the effectiveness of Manuka honey.
Manuka Honey Testing and Rating Systems (UMF, MGO, Molan Gold)
At first there was the Waikato University Manuka honey rating system created to benefit customers. The renowned professor Molan is head of the Honey Research Unit of the Waikato University New Zealand. This pioneer in Manuka honey research has discovered the healing properties of this natural product in 1982. At that time it wasn’t clear which process was exactly responsible for the special traits of this honey. That’s why professor Molan called it the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).
Later on, in 2006 Professor Henle, head of the Institute of Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Dresden, identified Methylglyoxal (MGO) being responsible for the ‘spectacular antibacterial properties of Manuka honey’.
A few years later the Molan Gold certification saw the light.
Recent publication by Dr. Molan about ‘rating the activity of Manuka honey’
The existence of both the UMF and the MGO rating system have led to a little bit more clarity on the consumer market. For more in-depth info do a Google search for “Rating the antibacterial activity of manuka honey” by Professor Peter Molan of the Honey Research Unit, University of Waikato.
UMF Manuka Honey
How to recognize Manuka honey that’s been tested for its activity
Personally if I buy manuka honey, and I do so every few months because I always have a jar at home I buy UMF, MGO or Molan Gold honey.
Whatever certification and rating system you choose, there are a few criteria that are important in case you want to buy manuka honey.
First of all the term ‘active’ is no guarantee for the product being tested. In order to make sure to buy the good stuff only buy UMF 10+ Manuka honey. This means:
The product has the name UMF® clearly stated on the front label and has a rating of UMF 10 or more.
There are 4 UMF ratings to indicate the antibacterial potency of Manuka honey:
UMF0 to UMF4: not detectable
UMF5 to UMF9: maintenance level only (not recommended for therapeutic uses)
UMF10 to UMF15: useful therapeutic levels endorsed by the Honey Research Unit at University of Waikato
UMF16+ : superior strength with very high antibacterial levels
MGO Manuka honey
The MGO system was developed after Dr. Henle discovered the existence of Methylgyoxal. Manuka honey with an UMF rating of 10 can be compared with MGO 100 Manuka honey.
UMF® 10 = MGO 100
UMF® 16 = MGO 250
UMF® 20 = MGO 400
Although the UMF and MGO rating system both indicate the presence of antibacterial activity none of the systems is ideal.
From the Waikato Honey Research Website: It is now known that this unique antibacterial activity is due to the combined action of methylglyoxal (MGO) and an unidentified synergistic component(s). Although very low levels of MGO are found in most honey, the high level of MGO in manuka honey is unique, as is the presence of the synergist which more than doubles the antibacterial activity of MGO.
What about the AMHA checklist?
the guideline to determine which honey is the real deal. Only companies that are member of the Active Manuka Honey Association New Zealand (AMHA) are allowed to use the registered UMF trademark.
These AMHA members have to meet stringent criteria in order to use this trademark. Licensed Manuka honey producers have to constantly monitor and audit the quality of their honey.
They need to send samples of the honey they produce to a specially appointed laboratory for testing the antibacterial activity. This laboratory uses testing criteria declared by the Honey Research Unit of the Waikato University, New Zealand. (The Waikato Honey Research Unit and especially professor Molan are THE authority on the research on the medical benefits of Manuka honey).
Customers can use a checklist to identify authentic UMF Manuka honey:
Genuine UMF Manuka Honey complies with all five of the following criteria:
1. It has the name UMF clearly stated on the front label.
2. It is packed into jars and labeled in New Zealand.
3. It is from a New Zealand company licensed to use the name UMF.
4. It has the UMF licensee’s name on the front label.
5. It has a rating of UMF10 or more.
But this checklist is not up to date anymore. Many Manuka honey jars are distributed by for example English distributors who put their own label on it. This way the customer has no clear sight of what he buys.
I bought a 10+ UMF Manuka honey jar recently. I wanted to know up front if it really was genuine UMF manuka honey so I used the checklist. The company, a British distributor, was not on it. So I e-mailed with general AMHA manager John Rawcliffe. He told me the brand I wanted to buy was indeed active manuka honey.
“the product is from a Licence holder, it is distributed by another company “
Conclusion: Until the new Waikato University Testing and Rating system is rolled out it is best to only buy UMF 10+ or higher or MGO manuka honey from established brands like Comvita, Eastcape, Spirits Bay, Haddrell’s of Cambridge and Molan Gold, and Honey New Zealand.
Many Manuka honeys on Amazon are not the real deal..
Bestselling Manuka honey on Amazon is not tested for additional healing properties
Let’s take a look at the Amazon bestseller list and we’ll see Wedderspoon Raw Organic Organic Manuka Honey Active 16+ is
The best selling Manuka honey on Amazon and the amount of reviews (this product has by far the most) also seems to give an indication this is the best product. But I personally would not buy it because as far as I know it has not been tested. At least not by University labs such as those from the University of Waikato or Dresden.
Bestsellers are no guarantee for quality!
Only the fifth Manuka honey on the Amazon Bestsellers List..
is UMF® Manuka honey.
Yes, the price of the genuine Manuka honey is 31% higher than the bestseller. But you’ll buy UMF manuka honey with the health benefits that the others may or may not have. So if you would ask me, the fifth manuka honey has a far better price quality value.
So why spend that much on normal honey?
A five star rating is no indication for certified laboratory tested manuka honey. Some products have very good ratings and reviews:
“I’ve recently read about the benefits of manuka Honey. I was very pleased with this product.”
But people might not be aware of the fact that what they have read about the medicinal benefits of manuka honey may in fact not apply to the product they have bought.
So take good care when buying Manuka honey and buy honey that’s been tested for its antibacterial activity
Best Buy: UMF Manuka honey rating 10+ or higher or MGO 200+ or higher
list of the best brands to buy
I always recommend to buy manuka honey from Comvita, East Cape, Manuka Health and the Watson and Son company. In my opinion these are the most trustworthy brands. Also keep in mind that a manuka honey with a strength of 5+ won’t do you much good. Medicinal benefits start working from 10+ and up. And even then it’s sometimes wise to go for a stronger version. For example when you are planning to use it internally. Let’s say for stomach relief or for acid reflux relief.
The UMF Antibacterial Strength Ratings:
0-4: Not detectable
5-9: Maintenance levels only (not recommended for special therapeutic use)
10-15: Useful levels for therapeutic uses
Buy Manuka Honey at Discount Prices
You can also order Manuka honey at Silverfernz in New Zealand. In some cases you could save considerable amount of money. Not only because of lower prices but also because of the New Zealand Dollars (NZD) and United States Dollars (USD) currency rate (For 7 US dollars you get roughly 10 NZ dollars)
- No extra delivery costs
- What’s also convenient is that the delivery rates are the same! (Compared to Amazon delivery rates *)
- Your credit card will be charged in New Zealand Dollars. All the exchange rates on the Silverfernz website are updated every day from The Bank of New York.
- Delivery takes a little longer
* The Amazon standard shipping rates delivery times for U.S. deliveries are within 3 to 5 business days. The Silverfernz delivery times are 5 to 11 days. So if you are not in a hurry you can save a lot on ordering your Manuka honey products at Silverfernz.
Buy Manuka honey Wound Gel and DressingsUMF 10+ Manuka honey in jars can be used for internal purposes. For example on a sore throat, mouth or stomach ulcers or acid reflux to name a few.
For use on the skin, for example on wounds, cuts, burns, insect bites or ulcers it is strongly recommended to use medical grade manuka honey. This is manuka honey that is sterilized by gamma irradiation. This is necessary because non treated honey might contain problematic microorganisms which make it not suitable for external therapeutic use.
Medihoney/ Comvita products manufactured by the company Derma Sciences, are the only FDA-cleared, honey-infused wound dressings and gels on the American market. They offer various types of dressings and a wound paste
Other companies, such as Honeymark, sell Manuka honey-based wound creams, acne cream, hand soap and lotions online. Honeymark’s products also contain Manuka honey, but they are less tightly regulated by the FDA and aren’t necessarily consistent from batch to batch. Source: US News
Manuka Honey Health Benefits
the medical use of Manuka honey
Not only has Manuka honey healing properties that can’t be found in other honeys but Manuka honey is often more effective than conventional medicines*. It is used effectively for treating:
eye and throat infections
and much more..
This due to the strong anti-bacterial, but also fungicidal, skin regenerating , soothing to skin nerves, anti-inflammatory, anti rheumatic, itchiness relieving and anti-allergic characteristics.
* “The clinical evidence for the effectiveness of honey as a wound dressing” by Dr. Peter Molan provides extensive information and scientific evidence.
A satisfied user
“I got bitten by an Alsatian. It grabbed my hand and gave me a five-stitch bite. So I went off to the doctors, and they solely used manuka honey, nothing else, no other treatment. I’ve got barely a scar now, and that’s only three weeks ago. Now in the medical kit I carry in the truck, I have manuka honey and bandages, and that’s all.”
Professor Peter Molan
biochemist and rediscoverer of honey’s healing powersProfessor Peter Molan has devoted almost 30 years to investigating this honey’s antibacterial qualities.
The more research Dr. Molan has done the more he realized its potential as a medicine:
” I’ve got quite committed to drawing this to people’s attention and get them to start using it.
Dr. Molan has initiated the successful commercialization of Manuka honey products for wound care that are now registered as medical devices with the regulatory authorities in Australia, Canada, the countries of the European Union, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the USA.
A complete list of thepublications by Dr. Molan on the effectiveness and the effects of Manuka honey on; infected wounds, burns, infected skin lesions, ulcers , staphylococci bacteria, plaque and gingivitis, oral wellness, mouth ulcers, wounds infected with MRSA and VRE, and the Helicobacter pylori bacteria.