Manuka honey, produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush, is one of the most unique and beneficial forms of honey in the world. There are many Manuka honey uses that range from healing sore throats and digestive illnesses, to curing Staph infections and gingivitis.
What makes Manuka honey different is its amazing nutritional profile. Regular raw honey is already known for its tremendous nutritional and immune boosting abilities.
Yet with Manuka honey, the nutritional content is up to 4 times that of normal flower honeys. This is what is called the Unique Manuka Factor.
Unique Manuka Factor
Mountain Landscape, New Zealand in 1981, researchers at the New Zealand University of Waikato discovered that Manuka honey has a considerably higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide that works as an antibacterial. Some strains of this New Zealand honey are particularly rich in hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone.
This medicinal trilogy helps make up what is referred to as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), a global standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka. (3) Essentially, the UMF is a guarantee that the honey being sold is of a medicinal quality.
UMF is not found in the nectar of all Manuka flowers and, comparatively speaking, regular Manuka only contains the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property that is common to most types of honey.
What separates UMF Manuka from other Manuka varieties is that it has both the natural hydrogen peroxide and its own natural UMF antibacterial property, which greatly enhances it effectiveness. The UMF properties of Manuka is extremely stable and, unlike the hydrogen peroxide common in most honey, is not easily destroyed by heat, light and enzymes in the body.
How to Verify Genuine UMF Manuka Honey
The minimum UMF rating recognized is UMF5, however, it is not considered beneficial unless it carries a UMF 10+ level of antibacterial activity in the honey. Anything ranging from UMF10-UMF15 is a useful level, and anything UMF16 and up is considered a superior quality.
Genuine UMF Manuka Honey will have these four things:
It will have a UMF trademark clearly labeled on the front of the container. UMF 20 sign label stamp
It will be from a New Zealand UMF licensed company and labelled in New Zealand.
It will have the UMF company’s name and license number on the label.
It will have a UMF rating number of 5-16+. If it is labeled without the UMF or without a number, then it is not the genuine article.
According to the UMF association the UMF rating actually tests the antibacterial performance of a honey and compares it to phenol, a disinfectant. The Active Manuka Honey Association(AMHA) that does the testing states:
“The presence of the special non-peroxide activity can be detected only by an array of scientific testing directly relating to the phenol standard. The rating has a one-to-one relationship to the phenol standard. “
This means that a UMF rating of 20+ is equivalent in strength to a 20% solution of phenol. The ideal UMF rating varies depending on your purpose, but laboratory studies have shown that manuka honey with a non-peroxide activity level of UMF®12 to UMF®15 is effective against a wide range of very resistant bacteria.
Production of Manuka honey by Victoria, conforms the regulations and process of UMF and NZ MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) to maintain products excellence. Lab reports testify the UMF indicator for each batch.