Manuka Honey was first introduced to me many years ago when my sister brought back a few bottles of if from her New Zealand honeymoon trip. And frankly, when she told me that it was "medicine", I wasn't at all thrilled to eat it. (I guess many of us tend to associate the word with the synthetic medicine prescribed by doctors in the clinics.) Many years later, I came to know the honey as the most treasured honey in New Zealand and Australia that has miraculous healing effects.
Unique Manuka Factor or commonly known as UMF is the only worldwide standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength or quality of some strains of Manuka. It is a guarantee that the honey being sold has the special UMF antibacterial property and a UMF rating of 10 is the minimum recognised. Ordinary manuka has only the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property which is common to most types of honey, whereas UMF Manuka has both the natural hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property and its own natural UMF antibacterial property, giving it increased antibacterial potency. The UMF property is very stable, unlike the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property common in most honey which is easily destroyed by heat, light as well as certain enzymes in body serum.
UMF Manuka, also known as "Medihoney" in some pharmacies, is the preferred honey for wound dressing and other special therapeutic uses and studies are showing Manuka with high levels of UMF could be very effective in helping relieve stomach ulcer symptoms and gastritis, and sore throats, and when applied topically, in assisting the natural cure of skin ulcers, wounds, burns, boils, cracked skin. That is also why many skincare products also contain UMF manuka as a special ingredient and promise positive benefits from their regular application on the skin.
There are varying UMF strengths - UMF 10+, UMF12+, MF 15+, UMF 20+, the higher the UMF, the more expensive is the honey. Manuka honey labelled with a registered trademark UMF� by licensed companies are packed into jars with ratings of UMF 5 or more. In the market, you can now find other established certified measurements and trademarks of the extraordinary antibacterial activity in Manuka honey. They are the NPA Label, Non Peroxide Activity and MGO, the Methylglyoxal rating. A bottle of Manuka with an NPA 15+ is assumed to be comparable to UMF 15+, NPA 20+ is comparable to UMF 20+, and so on, whereas Manuka MGO 400 is the equivalent of UMF 10+ and MGO 800 is the equivalent of UMF 20+.
The taste of Manuka is probably an acquired one; the more you eat it, the more you would be able to appreciate its remarkable depth and the unique unforgetable foresty aroma that stands out amongst the honey varieties. Many find mixing a tablespoon of the honey with warm water or tea helpful in treating a sore throat, cough, cold or flu symptoms, and for countering "heatiness" in the body. I love everything about this honey except its price. I am not sure how easy it is for you to find this honey, but a bottle of Manuka honey with UMF here in Singapore is really expensive - about 10 times or more the price of regular honey! And a pack of 20 Manuka honey and propolis drops/lozenges from New Zealand for soothing the throat costs about 9 Sing dollars (about 6 US dollars).
Warning: According to Dr. Ron Fessenden of The Honey Revolution, daily consumption of Manuka honey is not recommended for those who are diabetic or prediabetic due to its high level of methylglyoxal which could induce complications of diabetes.
1. Did you know that Manuka honey was once classified as a low grade honey and fed to the cattle? Find out more in: Manuka Honey as Medicine.
2. What is the real deal about UMF Manuka honey? My thoughts and take on the subject in UMF Manuka Honey And Its Big Price Tag.
3. Confused by the activity ratings of Manuka UMF, Active, Total Activity, MGO, and NPA? Read: Manuka UMF and Other Activity Terms Explained
4. If you are residing in Singapore, visit e-store Bee Healthy and check out the sale of Manuka honey there. Bulk orders prices available too.