Manuka honey is one of Mother Nature's best natural healers. Since ancient times, people have used honey to treat wounds and health conditions. Made exclusively by bees that pollinate the wild Manuka tree flowers of New Zealand, it boasts unique antibacterial properties that can't be found in other honey varieties.
Below, we'll break down everything you should know about the manuka honey, buying guide and highlight some of the best manuka honey products and brands on the market.
What Is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is a special type of New Zealand honey. To create the unique variety of honey, these bees pollinate the flowers of wild Manuka plants found along New Zealand's hillsides and coastlines. In addition to its sweet taste, it's best known for its potent healing properties.
Like all honey varieties, manuka honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which gives honey a natural antibacterial quality. Though it looks and tastes like regular honey, studies show that New Zealand manuka honey offers additional health benefits.
To verify you're purchasing authentic manuka honey, double-check the bottle to see if the product is UMF-certified. This ensures the honey contains manuka's three signature compounds: leptosperin, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and methylglyoxal (MGO).
Monofloral vs. Multifloral
All manuka honey falls into one of two categories: monofloral and multifloral. Just as the name suggests, the difference is between the type of flowers pollinated by the bees that creates the honey.
Though no honey can be entirely sourced from single nectar, monofloral honey is created by bees whose diet consists primarily of Manuka plant flowers. On the other hand, multifloral honey is produced by bees whose diet includes a variety of plant sources but contains a significant amount of Manuka plant flowers.
In general, monofloral honey from New Zealand is considered a better choice, as it contains higher levels of the manuka plant's unique chemical compounds. Because of its strict quality and purity standards, monofloral honey is typically more expensive than multifloral honey. For a money saving tip, check out Thrive Market.
The Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
For hundreds of years, authentic manuka honey has been used to treat wounds, sores, and burns. Modern scientific studies have found that manuka honey has natural antibacterial properties, antiviral properties, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to consumption, it's used in home remedies, beauty treatments, and wound dressings.
Most notably, manuka honey has exceptional healing capabilities by preventing infection, speeding up tissue regeneration, and decreasing pain. One two-week study found that applying manuka honey created a favorable wound healing environment and reduced the size of 88% of non-healing wounds.
Other health benefits of manuka honey include improving digestive symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and irregular bowel movements. It is a great ingredient for DIY skincare to support a glowing complexion and perfect for acne-prone skin. Promote oral health by inhibiting the growth of harmful oral bacteria that cause gingivitis and tooth decay. And because manuka honey is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, many use it to strengthen the immune system, fight infections, and help relieve cold symptoms like sore throat or cough. The health benefits of manuka honey are endless.
To fully reap the benefits of manuka honey, it's recommended that you eat 1 to 2 tablespoons per day. This ensures you receive a sizable amount of the MGO and other healing compounds inside.
Ways to Use Manuka Honey
Manuka honey's sweet flavor and creamy texture make it far too easy to eat straight off the spoon. In addition to enjoying it plainly, here are a few common ways to use manuka honey:
- Skin Care— Manuka honey's antibacterial and antimicrobial properties help to soothe and moisturize dry skin. Apply a smooth, even layer over your entire face or as a spot treatment on dry patches and sore spots.
- Sore Throat Remedy— To soothe a sore, scratchy throat, add a spoonful of manuka honey to tea or warm water. The anti-inflammatory properties help to minimize swelling, alleviate discomfort and ease inflammation.
- Better for You Sweetener— If you're looking to cut back on processed sugar, try using manuka honey to sweeten your coffee, beverages, yogurt, and other sweet treats.
*Never put it into boiling or very hot water as it will kill most of the active enzymes. Best enjoyed raw.
How To Find The Best Manuka Honey?
Before purchasing expensive honey products, it's important to understand how to determine the quality of manuka honey and the grading systems to ensure you're getting your money's worth.
The best manuka honey should come from New Zealand, where the native manuka tree grows and gets extracted. This plant can grow anywhere in the world, such as Australia, but the plant is native to New Zealand. Australian versions are also a great option and are often referred to as tea tree honey.
UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) Certification And Rating
Manuka honey is graded using the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), which determines the amount of antibacterial active ingredients. The higher the UMF rating, the more MGO the honey contains. In most honey products on the shelves, the potency ranges from UMF 5+ to UMF 20+.
A 2017 study showed that manuka honey with a rating of UMF 10+ or above provided greater antibacterial effects. It also showed that manuka honey with a rating of UMF 20+ was potentially effective against drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
While UMF measures various potency markers, you'll also see manuka honey rated by the MGO content itself. Remember, the higher the MGO content, the higher the grade of the honey. Products with a UMF rating of 5+ have an MGO rating of around 83+, while products with a UMF rating of 20+ have an MGO rating of approximately 829+.
Wedderspoon brand created a k-factor grading system: Kfactor 12 (multifloral), 16 (monofloral), or 22 (Rare find, have the highest pollen count). It is a scale that describes the quality based on several distinct components, elements, and micro-nutrients. It is standard to ensure you are getting:
- Unpasteurized and raw honey
- Free of antibiotics, glyphosate, and pesticides
- Traceability from hive to home
- Comes from New Zealand
The Best Manuka Honey
Wedderspoon Raw Monofloral Manuka Honey
The contents of each bottle of Wedderspoon's Raw Monofloral Manuka Honey can be traced back to a specific hive in New Zealand's South Island. It's been independently tested to ensure it exceeds the New Zealand government's Monofloral Manuka standards and given a rating of KFactor 16.
The honey is left unpasteurized, keeping it as close to its natural state as possible and ensuring it's filled with living enzymes and healing compounds. It's free from GMOs, antibiotics, pesticides, and glyphosate. It's triple-filtered and lightly creamed for a rich flavor and smooth, creamy texture to enhance the honey's natural sweetness.The higher the UMF grade, the more potent it is. For everyday use or nonmedical use, a lower grade is sufficient. For medicinal use, choose one that has because below this grade does not have significant antibacterial activity.
Comvita Raw UMF Manuka Honey
Comvita is one of the most trusted sources of high-quality manuka honey brands. Comvita Manuka honey is one of the purest and rawest options out on the market produced in New Zealand. Each batch is independently tested and UMF certified by Honey Association to ensure it has the key antibacterial markers of genuine monofloral manuka honey.
Comvita manuka honey is available from UMF 5+ to UMF 20+, so there's something for every budget and health concern. All products are guaranteed to be GMO-free, gluten-free, and kosher.
Kiva Raw Manuka Honey UMF 20+
Kiva's monofloral manuka raw honey is harvested from New Zealand's remote hills, forest, and coast. Their high-quality UMF 20+ honey is one of the highest potency products available at this price point.
Kiva is a member of New Zealand's UMF Honey Association, meaning each batch is independently tested and guaranteed to meet strict quality and purity standards. Each jar is free from GMOs, antibiotics, additives, and glyphosate.
Manuka Health 100% Pure New Zealand Manuka Honey
Manuka Health's potent manuka honey is made from 100% pure New Zealand honey. It has a rich golden color, deliciously sweet flavor, and a smooth texture that can't be beaten. It's undergone strict testing and certification to receive a rating of UMF 13+ and MGO 400+, making it the perfect choice for home remedies and wound care. The raw and unpasteurized honey is Non-GMO Project Verified and can be traced directly back to the beekeeper.
Steen's Raw Monofloral Manuka Honey UMF 15
Steen's raw and unpasteurized manuka honey is 100% verified by the official UMF Association for purity, potency, and quality. It is raw, unpasteurized, and minimally processed. It tastes like it's straight from the honey cone with a grainy texture, rich aroma, and full of flavor. All honey is tested and packaged in New Zealand and is available from UMF 10+ to 24+. And if you are interested, you can trace your honey to the hive using the trace code on your label!
Manuka Doctor Multifloral Honey
Most Budget Friendly
Manuka honey is notoriously expensive, making its health benefits inaccessible to many budget-conscious shoppers. If you're looking for high-quality honey that won't break the bank, go for Muka Doctor's Multifloral Manuka Honey. They are harvested, packed, and tested in New Zealand. Each jar of delicious honey can be traced back to an individual beekeeper and hive. It's independently tested to ensure it contains an MGO rating of 80+ and a UMF rating of 5+. Plus, the honey jars themselves are BPA-free.
Happy Valley Certified UMF
Happy Valley's New Zealand and traceable manuka honey is lab tested, so you know you are getting the real deal. Characterized by golden brown caramel color with a distinctive flavor and rich, creamy texture, it is the honey you would want to get your hands on. And unlike some of the other best manuka honey brands that work with local farmers, Happy Valley owns some land sites.
Best Honey Pops
Wedderspoon's Manuka Honey Pops are a kid-friendly treat packed with manuka honey's potent health benefits and 100% of kids' recommended daily amount of Vitamin C. They're made with simple ingredients and contain no artificial colors or preservatives. Each variety pack includes a mix of 24 orange, grape, and raspberry lollipops.
BeePower's Manuka Honey Lozenges are made from premium MGO 500+ honey filled with antibacterial and healing properties. The individually packed lozenges are perfect for soothing a sore throat on the go. They come in a 40-pack and are currently available in both lemon and ginger flavors.
Best For Travel
Wedderspoon's On-the-Go Travel Packs make it easy to enjoy manuka honey anytime, anywhere. The convenient single-serve packets are perfect for sweetening your coffee on the go or using it for home remedies while you travel.
Each package contains 24 individually packaged servings of raw monofloral honey that's K Factor 16. The raw, unpasteurized honey is free from GMOs, antibiotics, and pesticides and filled with potent antibiotic compounds and live enzymes.
Best Manuka Face Mask
This Savor Beauty manuka honey mask is a nice treat for the skin. With an EWG score of 1 (ingredients are very safe to use on your skin), this product is free of parabens, formaldehyde, synthetic fragrance, dye, phthalates, and sulfates. It is also cruelty-free, gluten-free, and ethically sourced.
This mask is perfect for exfoliating cell regeneration to help reveal soft, radian, and even-textured glowing skin that you have been dreaming of.
Best for Skin
Eczema Honey offers a blend of high-quality ingredients like manuka honey (from New Zealand), beeswax, almond oil, colloidal oats, and sunflower oil to support people living with eczema, irritated skin, acne, rashes, shingles, or psoriasis.
This cream is all-natural and non-GMO with no artificial fragrance that is safe for children and infants. It is also made in the USA in a GMP certified facility.
Is Manuka Honey Good for Diabetes?
Though research shows that honey contains anti-inflammatory qualities and antioxidants that are beneficial to overall health, experts disagree on whether honey is suitable for people with diabetes. Studies in humans have shown mixed results on the effects of honey on blood sugar.
While the USFDA approved manuka honey for wound treatments, you should still talk to your doctor before using it on wounds or foot sores.
Why is this type of honey so creamy and thick?
The honey is processed in a very short period in removing wax and other hive components. Practicing this step enables a very fine degree of crystallization, resulting in creamy and thick honey. If your manuka honey becomes solid or forms a bit of a crunch, it is because the honey is unprocessed, and it is natural for crystallization to occur. You can resolve crystallization by placing the jar in warm water to dissolve the crystal.
Can It be enjoyed in Hot Water
Like other types of honey, manuka honey is best to enjoy in raw form. As the high heat or prolonged exposure to high temperature can destroy the enzymes. When using this type of honey, place it in warm water instead of boiling water.
How to choose manuka honey umf?
The higher the UMF grade, the more potent it is. For everyday use or nonmedical use, a lower grade is sufficient. For medicinal use, choose one that has a minimum of UMF 10+ because below this grade does not have significant antibacterial activity.
Is Manuka Honey Safe?
Manuka honey is generally safe for most people to consume. However, some people should consult a doctor before using it:
- People with diabetes
- Have allergies to honey or bees
The Best Manuka Honey Brands