Talking about Manuka Honey is bound to be met by either jubilation or eye rolling. No matter who you are, knowing how to tell what the best manuka honey is will ensure you get the one right for your needs.
Although traditional honey has some antibacterial properties since it produces hydrogen peroxide, manuka honey has nine times the germ-killing qualities as regular honey! In a 1991 study from the Honey Research Unit in New Zealand, a range of honeys had their hydrogen peroxide removed. Only manuka was found to retain its bacteria-killing ability. This was a result of methylglyoxal, now proven to have specific antimicrobial properties. Following this discovery, many brands of manuka honey hit the market.
The genuine New Zealand manuka honey is produced by bees pollinating the manuka bush (Leptospermum Scoparium) of the tea tree family, and is popular for healing wounds, soothing sore throats, improving digestive issues and preventing tooth decay.
With so many brands available in the market, how do you rule out counterfeits? Yes, that is an actual issue! You can read up more on this in our article here. Our aim today is to equip you with knowledge on how to select the best manuka honey. We will compare and review 5 of the leading manuka honey brands. We will then give you some pointers on what to look for when shopping for manuka honey. Finally, we will share with you our thoughts on the topic. If you want to know where to buy manuka honey, this guide will walk you through all the best options.
|Product||Weight||Microbial property||Other Features||Check on Amazon|
|Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey||17.6 Oz||-||K-factor 16||Check Price Here|
|Kiva Certified Raw Manuka Honey||8.8 oz||UMF 15+||-||Check Price Here|
|Good Natured’s 100% Raw Australian Manuka Honey||8.8 oz||820+ MGO||-||Check Price Here|
|Manuka Health -100% Pure New Zealand Manuka Honey||8.8 oz and 17.6 oz||400+ MGO||-||Check Price Here|
|New Zealand Honey Co. Raw Manuka Honey||8.8 oz||UMF 15+ (MGO 514)||-||Check Price Here|
Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey – Best in Budget
Wedderspoon manuka honey is a non-GMO, raw, and unpasteurized honey that can be traced to hives in New Zealand, where it is produced and packed. This product is free from pesticides, antibiotics, and glyphosate. In fact, it has a somewhat minty smell and an authentic bold flavor of caramelized sugars and earthy notes with hints of pepper and ginger. It is liquid-gold colored and extremely viscous.
The honey is used in many home remedies, in beauty regimes, is sprinkled on favorite foods, or taken as an energy supplement for those with active lifestyles. It’s a delight to many, including nutritionists and athletes.
The packaging slightly differs across batches, but it comes in the form of non-leaching poly jars that are BPA-free. This could partly explain the low cost. There is no need for refrigeration, even after the jar is opened (this goes for all real honey).
Unfortunately, this product does not bear the UMF rating. Instead, it uses the ambiguous K factor, which can leave you lost as to whether you are getting more or less of the antibacterial properties and other factors. The honey’s maker, Wedderspoon, defines this as a measurement of the amount of pollen grains in the honey.
According to their website, here is how they break down the “K factor”:
- K factor 12 represents 65% pollen grains
- K factor 16 represents 75%
- K factor 22 represents 90%.
It is hard to simply go by the presence of pollen, with UMF, because all flowers have pollen. Besides, even with manuka plants, UMF is not found in the nectar of all Manuka flowers. Regular manuka only has the hydrogen peroxide microbial property, common to most types of honey.
However, if all you are only interested in is affordable manuka honey that is a pretty good value, then this would be a good choice.
- Fairly priced
- The K factor is recognized by the MPI, New Zealand
- Certified non-GMO
- Pure unpasteurized raw honey
- Authentic New Zealand honey
- Does not bear the universally accepted UMF rating so hard to compare with others
- Taste and packaging varies from batch to batch
Kiva Certified Raw Manuka Honey – Best Premium
Kiva Raw Manuka honey is sourced from New Zealand’s coastal areas, forests, and remote and pristine hills. It is therefore genuine manuka honey. Furthermore, it has been independently tested and is rated UMF 15+ which indicates that it is good quality therapeutic honey. This is no surprise as Kiva’s mission is providing high quality, great tasting, innovative, and healthy food.
The honey comes in a sleek black BPA free plastic container. It is most useful for colds and the flu, to soothe sore throats, support digestive health, boost energy, care for wounds, and as a beauty mask.
The honey is creamy and thick, which are characteristics of pure manuka honey. It is also available in UMF 20+ variety.
The one downside we found with this honey is that its container does not fill to the brim, with almost one third missing oftentimes. It would make more sense to use a smaller container that fills up completely. As things stand, consumers feel cheated when they only see the jar filled two-thirds. This feeling is further strengthened by the high cost of the honey. However, manuka honey is generally pricey. That’s why it is important to know what you are looking for when buying it. Although this product doesn’t get filled to the brim, it doesn’t take away from the good quality of this manuka honey.
- Sleek packaging
- Authentic manuka honey traceable to New Zealand
- Has the universally recognized UMF rating
- UMF 15+ rating
- Poor customer service
- Highly priced
- Partially filled container
Good Natured’s 100% Raw Australian Manuka Honey – Best Australian Manuka
Good Natured has a 100% Raw Australian Manuka Honey which boasts of honey being its only ingredient. This is since it has no additives, GMOs, fillers, stabilizers, preservatives, binders, artificial flavors, or artificial colors. It is also non-irradiated. Good Natured is confident of this because their bees are naturally and organically managed without sugar feeding, chemicals, or veterinary pharmaceuticals. This is truly exceptional!
The honey often tests higher than 820 MGO levels, which is comparable to that in honeys with UMF 20+ rating. This is due to the fact that they use cold extraction of their honey, which preserves more of the antibacterial properties.
In colder climates the honey is creamed by heating to control crystallization. Good Natured’s 100% Raw Australian Manuka Honey is not creamed, so it may have more potency as no enzymes are destroyed by heat. The brand has other varieties like chocolate manuka and healers manuka.
One downside of the honey is that it comes from the jelly bush, a different species of manuka from the manuka bushes of New Zealand. This paints an unclear picture as to whether the honey is the same New Zealand manuka product, although it is supposed to provide the benefits honey from the manuka bush provides.
- More potent cold extraction
- Authentic manuka honey
- MGO 820+ rating which is equivalent to UMF 20+
- Many varieties
- Highly priced
- Non-return policy even when they ship you the wrong variety
Manuka Health – Best in Wound Care
The deliciously smooth Manuka Health honey has been featured on Good Morning America, because of its potency on wounds. It is reputed to be 100% Pure New Zealand Manuka Honey. It is fully traceable from beehives in remote New Zealand to the shop shelf.
It is loaded with MGO 400+ benefits which are equivalent those with a UMF of 12 or 13 and its quality, safety ,and purity are independently tested. This brand therefore has some therapeutic benefits. However, they are not comparable to other products with higher ratings.
Since it is quite affordable, it can be used daily without you stressing out that it is dwindling too fast.
- Not too expensive
- Moderate therapeutic benefits
- Authentic from New Zealand
- UMF 12 is average
- Non-premium plastic packaging
New Zealand Honey Co. Raw Manuka Honey – Best in Authenticity
New Zealand Honey Co. Raw Manuka Honey has the anti-inflammatory and healing properties you look for in a good manuka honey product. It may also support immune and digestive health, as well as relieve symptoms of coughs and sore throats. This was one of the first companies to clearly identify both the UMF and MGO levels of their Manuka honey, front and center on the jar labels.
With UMF 15+, this honey can supercharge or boost the benefits of everyday food as it still contains the natural enzymes and pollen present in the original liquid produced by the bees. Each batch is independently tested to prove this. In addition, the New Zealand Honey Co is a member of the UMF association which makes it ensure that its honey strictly meets the grading level.
The honey is foraged, harvested, tested, and packed in New Zealand. It has the unique manuka honey taste – herbaceous flavor with undertones of caramel and a slightly bitter taste. This non-GMO, no additives or antibiotics honey is very smooth but thick in consistency. It is processed, labeled, and packaged in New Zealand, in BPA-free plastic jars.
The downsides of this honey include the higher price point and potentially less servings, although the quality of this honey is hard to beat.
- UMF 15+
- Can be traced from hives
- Member of UMF association therefore quality is assured
- High price
- Seems to have less servings
What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Manuka
Before delving into the important features that distinguish the genuine product, let us establish a few important facts.
From the Medical Perspective
Although in the lab Manuka honey has been found to inhibit about 80 species of bacteria including E. Coli, Salmonella, and species resistant to antibiotics like Staphylococcus, there is still a lot to be done to conclude its effectiveness in combating these microbes in humans.
There is therefore limited medical evidence supporting Manuka honey’s potential health benefits in lowering cholesterol, inflammation, acid reflux, and treatment of acne.
In addition, medical grade honey used in wound dressing is not the same honey sold in stores. It is sterilized, has all impurities eliminated and specifically prepared as dressing. It is important to have wounds and other infections attended to by a healthcare professional. If you do want to be brave to apply manuka yourself, discretion is advised.
Proven Benefits of Manuka Honey
The good news is that while scientists and the medical fraternity have remained skeptical and cautious (as they always are), necessity has driven people to seek relief from manuka honey for a wide range of conditions, and the results have been amazing. Testimonies of the honey’s positive impact abound in the following areas:
- Colds and flu
- Sooth sore throats
- Treatment of acne
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Support the digestive tract health
- Sinus and other allergies
- Boosting of energy
- Care for wounds
- Beauty masks
- Cough relief
We aren’t just going by the personal reports of others here. The manuka plant is of the tea tree family, which means that the medicinal properties of the tea tree plant are undeniable, having been proved to have antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Other Interesting Uses For Manuka Honey
We already covered a lot of the uses for manuka honey, but let’s go over some unique, unusual, and unexpected uses for this liquid gold.
- Improves memory thanks to the vitamins and minerals which prevent cellular damage and cognitive decline
- Make baked goods softer since it helps attract and retain moisture
- Reduces hangovers by helping the body digest alcohol quicker
- Makes for an effective face scrub given its antibiotic and antibacterial properties
- Suppresses nighttime coughs better than on-the-counter medicines
- Help you lose weight by speeding up your metabolism
- Helps you sleep by getting your body to release serotonin, which is converted into melatonin thanks to the sugars it contains
- Helps scars fade away when mixed with equal parts of either coconut or olive oil
- Reduces allergies because of the pollen in raw manuka honey helps your body produce antibodies
- Kills parasites if you combine it with apple cider vinegar and water
- Improves eyesight and helps treat conjunctivities and glaucoma according to the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine
- Adds sweetness and thickness to sauces since it’s an emulsifier
- Gets rid of bad breath and its causes like halitosis given its antibacterial properties
- Combats acid reflux and helps soothe the throat
- Reduces the duration of diarrhea and soothes gastroenteritis in children
- Preserves fruit when mixed with a ratio of 1:10 along with water since manuka honey never goes bad
- Relieves pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn and morning sickness
- Protects lips when used as a lip balm, along with beeswax, cocoa butter, vitamin E, and olive oil
- Gets rid of dandruff when used in a mixture of 90% manuka honey and 10% warm water for three hours
- Prepper food for when SHTF given its indefinite shelf life and it being calorie-dense and carb-rich
- Shaving cream alternative when combined with warm water thanks to its viscosity
- Lower blood sugar by being a healthy alternative to sugars like table sugar (sucrose) as well as dextrose
- Boost athletic performance by eating a tablespoon of manuka honey before your next workout
- Clear up dry elbows by rubbing some manuka honey on them and leaving it there for half an hour
- Reduce frizzy hair by coating the ends of it with honey after you wash it and then wash it out after a few minutes
- Make hair shiny and lighter in color by adding a teaspoon of honey to a quart of water after you wash your hair and pouring it over your head
- Have a more soothing bath by adding a few tablespoons of manuka honey into your bathtub to make the water smell sweet and feel softer
The fact that Manuka honey has higher antibacterial properties than regular honey is also irrefutable.
Other Facts About Manuka
Manuka honey is unique and rare, only produced in the wild of New Zealand and Australia. This means that the honey can only be manufactured there. This is mainly why it is a lot more expensive than regular honey.
The honey has an unusual flavor that is not everybody’s favorite, and a creamy fudge-like texture that is almost chewable in some brands. Location of the plant, as well as the season, have a direct impact on the texture and flavor. This makes it so that different batches of the same brand may appear different.
You can choose to incorporate manuka honey in your daily diet – spread on bread, put it in shakes and drinks, or drizzle it right into your cereal. This boosts your overall health. However, because of its high cost, you may opt for using it specifically for its numerous medicinal benefits. It can last you literally years it you use it in this way.
These are some excellent ways of eating manuka honey:
- Spread it on toast or crackers
- Use it in drinks as an alternative to sugar
- For a refreshing drink, mix it with hot water and lemon
- Mix with other spices for a marinade or add to cooking
- Combine it water oil and vinegar for use in salads
- Mix with a warm nut-derived milk
- Just eat on its own – a spoonful of pure deliciousness!
No matter how you eat manuka honey, you will enjoy its benefits and great taste.
How to Buy Real Manuka Honey
Manuka honey has been highly counterfeited. About 80% of the globally sold manuka honey is either adulterated or fake. In 2014 for example, only 1,700 tons of the honey was produced in New Zealand, while the global sales hit 10,000 tons.
So, how do you avoid falling prey of the fake manuka honey?
What to look for when buying Manuka honey
The labeling on manuka honey jars increases the confusion several-fold!
Some jars have the UMF rating, some display MGO (methylglyoxal – which actually relates to the same form of measurement as the UMF), while other jars talk of NPA (non-peroxide activity) or TA (total activity). The NPA rating is also founded on methyglyoxal and denotes its level in the honey once the hydrogen peroxide has been removed. TA, on the other hand, includes the hydrogen peroxide, which is also present in regular honey.
But wait, there’s more!
Some jars have ‘Activity’ or ‘Active’ next to numbers, and others just the numbers alone without justification or explanation. Talk about ambiguous! To help you decide which label is safe, we will now look at the markings of a genuine manuka honey product.
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) License and Certification
The UMF is a unique independent association of manufacturers of manuka honey in New Zealand. Any manufacturer with their certification and appearing on their list is authentic.
You should do your due diligence to ensure the manuka honey’s manufacturer is a trusted New Zealand brand. Look for labels with a New Zealand origin.
The manufacturer should be able to trace the honey from the hives to the market. If it’s missing these, skip over it.
The UMF Rating
This is a measure of the therapeutic or medicinal capacity of the honey and ranges from UMF 5+ to UMF 16+. The more potent the honey, the higher the rating. More information about the UMF rating system can be found at this website.
The UMF rating is the certified Methylglyoxal (MGO) content in the honey. Methylglyoxal is the ingredient responsible for manuka honey’s potent/therapeutic properties. It is the main recommended and approved rating by the New Zealand government. The grading is as follows:
- Concentrations 5+ to 9+: for general health – take one teaspoon of the honey each day or swap it with your normal sugar in your tea or coffee for honey
- Concentrations 10+ to 14+: for when you feel slightly under the weather e.g. having a small tickle in your throat – one spoonful of the honey a day will do you good.
- Concentrations 15+ to 19+: for when you are quite ill – take 1-2 spoonfuls daily
- Concentrations 20+ to 26+: for when your immune system is compromised by an ongoing medical condition – take 1-2 teaspoons daily
The MGO Rating
Since MGO stands for methylglyoxal – the potent ingredient in manuka honey, this rating directly relates to the UMF rating. This is because a high UMF rating means high levels of methylglyoxal.
Finally, authentic manuka honey should be raw and unpasteurized as extreme heat denatures the active ingredients.
According to the medical establishment, manuka honey is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. However, according to many consumers, it is a wonder product with antimicrobial and potent healing properties. If you decide to discover for yourself how true these claims are, we believe you now have enough information to select the best manuka honey. Since it has a steep price, your selection may be decided by whether you want slowly test the waters by going budget, or jump in with both legs, by going the premium route. Whatever your mode of entry, be sure you get the genuine stuff!