Manuka Honey

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What is Manuka Honey?

The Manuka bush is native to New Zealand, found growing wild throughout the country. Manuka honey has been used medicinally by the Maori people for centuries. Bees collect nectar from the flowers of the Manuka bush, producing Manuka honey. Taste wise there is a noticeable warm spiciness in the flavor. But this is no ordinary table honey, studies have shown some strains of Manuka honey have unusually high levels of antibacterial properties, a factor that is unique to Manuka honey. Studies and treatments using Manuka honey have proven it to be effective for medicinal use in healing skin, ailments and infections. It's possible this may be due to the fact that the New Zealand Manuka bush is distantly related to the Melaleuca Tree (or Tea Tree), which is native to Australia. Tea Tree Oil is well known for it's medicinal, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

What is UMF? 

UMF or Unique Manuka Factor, refers to the non peroxide antibacterial activity (NPA) found only in some strains of Manuka Honey, but not in all Manuka honey.


Types Of Manuka Honey

Regular Manuka honey contains an enzyme which produces hydrogen peroxide, this antiseptic, antibacterial property is common in most honeys.

UMF Manuka honey contains the hydrogen peroxide producing enzyme and the non peroxide activity, a more stable antibacterial property. Research shows these combined properties increase effectiveness.


Why Is UMF Not In All Manuka Honey?

There are several variables being researched. But it is known that UMF is not in the nectar of all Manuka flowers and concentrations of UMF can vary from year to year and by batch.


What Do The Manuka Honey Numbers Mean? 

The UMF rating indicates and guarantees the strength of the Unique Manuka Factor property. This is the industry standard used to measure and rate the antibacterial strength. Since not all Manuka honey contains UMF, each batch of honey is tested to detect the presence and measure the level of UMF.

Ratings are as follows:
0-4: Not for therapeutic use
Increased vitality and immunity
10-15: High antibacterial activity
16 and over:
Superior levels for therapeutic use.


The labeling on Manuka honey can be confusing with companies using different rating systems, wording, and trademark terms. When in doubt, contact the company directly for a statement regarding their product.

"Active" ***More information is needed, as many sources are conflicting.

"TA" refers to Total Activity, predominantly peroxide activity.

"NPA" Non Peroxide Activity.

"UMF" The name coined by Dr Peter Molan for Non Peroxide Activity (NPA).  

"MGO" or "MG" Methylglyoxal content, the antiseptic compound mostly responsible for NPA.

*Images: Manuka honey I'm currently testing. The Wedderspoon brand makes "Active" Manuka honey, I plan to try more Manuka honeys and compare for you soon.

I hope you found this article helpful. More information will be updated here soon. Plus more articles on how to use Manuka honey in your skin care regimen coming soon.


You Might Also Like


  1. Would like to hear or rather read more about this thanks again.

  2. The picture of the Manuka Honey you are showing is not UMF though.

  3. Thanks Cutesmile, many more articles
    coming soon!

  4. Carole, much more information on Manuka honey, types and activity coming soon.