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Active Manuka Honey - 5 Tips You Should Know

Manuka Honey is a unique honey that is native to New Zealand.  Recently it has been gaining increasing global publicity for its natural healing properties.

As a natural remedy, Manuka honey is one that actually has some proper academic research to support it.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence and success stories on its usage. Helping with digestive disorders, peptic ulcers, wound treatment, and leg ulcers are some of its regular uses.

Most of the early actual research on the benefits of active manuka honey has been undertaken by the honey research unit at New Zealand’s Waikato University. Here they were able to identify the extra antibacterial and antibiotic properties found in some manuka honey, that are not present in most honeys. To obtain further clinical evidence, there are currently trials underway by University of Auckland on manuka honey’s use for leg ulcers, and in Wales, the University of Wales Institute Cardiff is doing research on its effectiveness in helping fight MRSA.

Manuka honey can work and can aid you in several areas, but bear in mind it is not a magic cure for everything.

Unfortunately as it has gained in popularity, there is now the inevitable people wrongly promoting it. A common mis-promotion currently is to wrongly use the ‘UMF’ term for lesser manuka honey.

You should therefore have an understanding of what makes active manuka honey special, and that you realise not all manuka honey contains these properties. They naturally occur in different levels of potency.

So what is it that makes active manuka honey special? All honeys have a level of hydrogen peroxide, which provides some level of antibacterial power from the actions of the enzyme glucose oxidase that is also found in honey. But this can be adversely affected by other enzymes found in wound fluids and body tissue. However, active manuka honey also contains what has been named  the ‘unique manuka factor’ (UMF). It is the UMF that creates the special properties, including the extra antibacterial and antibiotic properties, that is found in active manuka honey, as the UMF is not affected by the other enzymes, and is much more stable and active in a variety of conditions. To find the existence of UMF in manuka honey, it needs to be tested for its level of antibacterial activity. This test should be done  by an independent laboratory for each batch of honey.

This test determines if a given sample of honey is standard manuka honey (which is still great tasting, but not containing any additional healing properties), honey that has some of the extra healing properties but not sufficient to be given the ‘UMF’ label (these can be called active honey, but not UMF honey), or that it meets the requirements for the UMF label and for what level.

The ‘UMF’ label is actually a registered trademark, so as to protect you, the consumer, that you are getting a manuka honey that does actually contain the healing properties it has become famous for.

If you are wanting the healing honey, look for the ‘UMF’ on the actual label of the jar, not just in the advertising.

If you want ensure that the manuka honey you are buying, whether from a high street store or online, is the proper UMF active manuka honey, then below are the guidelines as issued by the Active Manuka Honey Association.

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 labelled 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.

Regardless whether you are purchasing manuka honey from your health food store in the high street, or online, keep the above points in mind. Then you can make sure you are getting the genuine active manuka honey that you are expecting.


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