Real Food for Better Being Newsletter

Sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter containing articles, research and recipise. We will never pass your details to anyone else, and you can stop receiving our emails at any time. 


      Manuka Honey

Many people have only a vague understanding of Manuka Honey and how it differs from other honeys so we have put together this overview for you.

Manuka Honey has always been an important part of the Green Bay Harvest offer as it is a food that is attracting increasing amounts of medical and scientific interest.

In particular the work of Professor Peter Molan (MBE) who is Professor in Biological Sciences and Director of the Honey Research Unit at Waikato University and the 'godfather' of the Manuka Honey industry.

His research into the anti-bacterial properties of honey in the early 1990s created world-wide interest in Manuka Honey. He continues to pioneer exciting research about the therapeutic benefits of honey world-wide.

At Green Bay Harvest we assess eight quality factors when we choose honey, including: taste; colour; total activity level; age; pollen count; proportion of manuka pollen and moisture content.


Manuka_Honey_Branch_new2.gif Manuka_Flower_2.jpg


           Manuka Honey and its unique properties

Many honeys have some antibacterial properties; enzymes in honey naturally produce hydrogen peroxide, which is an antibacterial agent.

However, these properties are easily destroyed by heat and light (processing is included here), and by the enzyme catalase in our bodies which breaks down hydrogen peroxide, further damaging the antibacterial strength.

Active Manuka Honey, sourced only from New Zealand where the Manuka bush grows, is different. It contains high concentrations of another antibacterial compound called methylglyoxal, which is a natural by-product of glucose produced by humans, animals and plants.  Methylglyoxal is very stable and not damaged by heat, light or catalase enzymes.

Although Methylglyoxal is found in a variety of honeys, research into more than 80 honeys from around the globe found that levels in Manuka Honey were unique - up to 70 times higher than those in other honey.

Working with another as yet unidentified compound, Methylglyoxal provides antibacterial protection that is twice as effective as other honeys against bacteria in infected wounds and far better at beating the helicobacter pylori bacteria, the common cause of peptic ulcers.

The antibacterial activity of Manuka Honey penetrates more deeply into skin tissue, enabling it successfully to treat infected wounds which have resisted all other treatments, including strong antibiotics. 

            Manuka Honey Activity numbers

The activity rating (+) shows the unique type of antibacterial activity which is naturally present in some honey made from the nectar of the Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), native to New Zealand.

The activity numbers for honey can be confusing.  Clinical trials show that Manuka Honey below 8+ has negligible therapeutic value so stick to honey with values above 10+.

Very high numbers, 18+ can be misleading as it may mean the honey has been heat treated.  This increases the active factor but destroys the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of the honey.

A very high number could be because people have combined the peroxide and non-peroxide scores as well as the active Manuka Honey scores.

With Green Bay Harvest Manuka Honey each drum is verified by a ISO 9001 approved test in a laboratory and taste tested by a member of the Glass family to make sure it is delicious.

            Manuka Honey and its efficacy in treating wounds

Many traditional remedies for clearing infections can be damaging to skin. Not so honey - it cleans and heals, while the anti-inflammatory properties soothe the pain of a sore knee, making it good for grazes, cuts and burns.

"There's much more evidence, clinical evidence, for honey in wound treatment than for any of the pharmaceutical products," says New Zealand biochemist Peter Molan, who has researched the antibiotic powers of honey for more than 25 years. "It's been used on wounds where nothing else will work."

Particularly suitable for use where changing dressings is problematic, honey dressings do not stick to the wound so don't cause further tissue damage and don't have to be replaced as often as conventional dressings - so fewer sticky plasters needing to be pulled off!

At a military clinic in Iraq Manuka Honey-based dressings have been used to treat children with severe burns, where it was discovered that children treated with honey healed faster than children with traditional wound dressings.

Green Bay doesn't recommend using food grade, unsterilised Manuka Honey for wound care; Medically certified Manuka Honey dressings, which use medical grade, sterilized Manuka Honey are now commercially available.

However, as a store cupboard remedy, Jo Glass, uses her own Green Bay Harvest 15+ Manuka Honey to treat cuts and grazes incurred by the children whilst picking raspberries or falling off swings and scooters. 






Solution Graphics