Last updated: August 7, 2021

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You have already heard that honey from New Zealand can be a remedy for certain ailments? Then you should find out more about Manuka honey, which is still rather unknown. Due to the active ingredient MGO, it has the ability to relieve inflammation, for example. What other effects does this honey have? In which areas can you use it as a remedy?

Answers to the most frequently asked questions can be found here in the Manuka Honey Test 2021. We introduce you to the highest quality Manuka honey products and want to help you cure various diseases with it. In addition, you will find helpful tips and tricks on how to use the honey in our guide. Whether you choose pure honey or Manuka honey in oil form, we will tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of each type.




Summary

  • Manuka honey is made from the nectar of the New Zealand South Sea myrtle.
  • Due to the active ingredient MGO, the honey has many applications to fight diseases and inflammations.
  • In addition to pure Manuka honey, the oil from the leaves of the shrub is also used for external applications.

The Best Manuka Honey: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Manuka Honey

What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey originally comes from New Zealand. Therefore, it is quite unknown in Germany. It is produced by honey bees from the nectar of the flowers of the New Zealand Manuka bush(Leptospermum scoparium) .

The New Zealand manuka bush, also known as South Sea myrtle, is a relative of the Australian tea tree and belongs to the myrtle family.

Manuka honey is also still produced organically, despite the high global demand. (Image source: unsplash.com / anniespratt)

Manuka honey is traditionally used as a remedy. Even the Maori resorted to honey as a natural remedy for various ailments.

They were also the ones who coined the name: The Maori gave the name Manuka to the South Sea myrtle and the honey derived from it.

Manuka honey is distinguished from conventional honey by the active ingredient MGO (methylglyoxal).

How much does Manuka Honey cost?

There are now many different Manuka Honey products available in Germany. To protect yourself from fakes, it is better to look twice at interesting bargains. Genuine, natural Manuka honey has its price.

Apart from cultivation and quality, the MGO content in particular determines the price of New Zealand honey. Manuka honey with an MGO content of 550+ costs between 30 and 40 EURO per 100g honey.

A honey with MGO 100, on the other hand, can be bought for less than 10 EURO.

Even though Manuka honey can cost you quite a bit of money, it is still a sensible investment for many. (Image source: pixabay.com / PollyDot)

Generally, the bigger the Manuka production in New Zealand, the cheaper the imported honey is here in Germany. The packaging sizes also influence the price by a few euros.

The most expensive Manuka honey is obtained from the organic, wild cultivation of Manuka in New Zealand. There, the plants grow in their natural environment and the growth is not influenced by artificial fertilisers.

In addition, the honey in this very precious Manuka honey is produced exclusively by wild, New Zealand bees.

Effects and uses of Manuka Honey

The vitamins C, B1, B2 and B6 as well as minerals and trace elements potassium, calcium and magnesium have been proven to be present in Manuka Honey.

However, the concentration is present but insignificant because it is too low. A health effect is not to be expected from these ingredients in Manuka honey.

Did you know that Manuka honey contains a lot of biotin?

Biotin is an essential vitamin that nourishes and strengthens your skin, nails and hair. Therefore, Manuka honey has a positive effect on your body.

The main ingredients that make New Zealand myrtle honey unique are the MGO (methylglyoxal) and the essential oils.

Many health-promoting effects are attributed to Manuka honey. As a traditional Maori medicinal tree, honey has been used to treat ailments such as bladder infections, wound infections, gastrointestinal complaints and colds.

Manuka honey should never be heated above 40 degrees Celsius. Above this temperature it loses all effectiveness!

According to studies, the effects of the healing honey range from strengthening the immune system and supporting the digestive system to applications for internal and external inflammations and wounds.

Manuka honey products are also used to treat fungal diseases and are even said to keep teeth healthy, despite the main ingredient being sugar.

Areas of application Application
Inflammations Ingestion for internal inflammations, wound dressings for external inflammations.
Skin (neurodermatitis, psoriasis) external use of honey as skin care.
Teeth, mouth and throat healthy oral flora and healing of inflammations.
Immune system strengthening through regular intake.
Burns and wounds Apply generously to heal wounds. Honey helps build new layers of skin.
Indigestion Ingestion combats pathogens such as Escherichia coli
Colds Ingestion relieves inflammation and strengthens immune system.

The effectiveness of New Zealand honey can even be measurably enhanced when combined with other natural products. The following products can enhance the effectiveness of honey:

  • Propolis
  • Pollen
  • Green Tea
  • Aloe Vera

The combination of medicinal honey and propolis enhances the effect the most.

The ingredient MGO (Methylglyoxal)

The special active ingredient of Manuka Honey is Methylglyoxal, MGO for short.
No other honey contains this healing ingredient in a relevant quantity.

Manuka honey is available for purchase in different concentrations of MGO. The following MGO contents are common for Manuka honey:

  • MG0 100
  • MGO 250
  • MG0 400
  • MGO 550

In addition, there is Manuka Honey with significantly more MGO content, but these are rarely offered due to their rarity. Manuka honey with less MGO is also possible.

We will now briefly explain the chemistry of the active ingredient MGO and its origin.

Besides sugar, proteins and hydrogen peroxide, Manuka honey contains the substance methylglyoxal. MGO gives the honey its antibacterial and active component. It makes Manuka honey unique.

MGO is an antibacterial degradation product of sugar. According to researchers, the Manuka bush contains a substance called dihydroxyacetone . This is converted into MGO after the bees have collected the nectar. As soon as the moisture of the flower nectar evaporates in the honeycomb, MGO is produced.

According to studies by scientists, MGO is highly effective against bacteria of the Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli strains.

The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus causes skin inflammations and muscle complaints in people with a weakened immune system. They are even said to be resistant to antibiotics.

Escherichia coli are also known as coliform bacteria. Besides deliberate strains of these bacteria in the intestine, pathogenic ones can also form. These cause problems for humans, especially if food is not hygienically clean.

How can I recognise real Manuka Honey?

To protect against the many fakes on the market, it is important to know how to recognise the authenticity of Manuka Honey.
At the same time, it is also important to understand how to distinguish it from conventional honey.

The biggest difference between normal honey and Manuka honey is the active ingredient MGO. In Manuka honey, this is present in a very high concentration and thus forms the main active ingredient in it.

As a layman without a laboratory, the concentration of this active ingredient cannot be determined. Therefore, one should pay attention to the so-called UMF certificate. If there is no UMF information on the honey, it is certainly a fake.

The price can also be an indication of a counterfeit product. It is probably honey with a much lower concentration of MGO.

Decision: What types of Manuka honey are there and which is the right one for you?

Manuka honey is mainly differentiated according to MGO content. Depending on the application and complaint, a certain MGO value is recommended. Manuka is also available in the following two forms:

  • pure Manuka Honey
  • Manuka oil

Pure Manuka Honey is very versatile in its application possibilities. Internal use is just as possible as external use. The honey is also suitable for normal consumption.

Manuka oil is an essential oil, which is also contained in honey in a lower concentration. The product Manuka Oil is a concentrated form of the highly effective oil. It is used for skin and cold ailments.

In addition, there are now many other Manuka products to be found: Manuka toothpaste, gel and sweets and many more.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of pure Manuka honey?

Pure Manuka honey is suitable for consumption on bread as well as for fighting diseases.

For external use, the golden medicine is applied directly to wounds and inflammations. At the same time, internal inflammations and diseases such as gastrointestinal can also be cured by taking the New Zealand honey.

Advantages
  • many application possibilities
  • also suitable for consumption
  • contains active ingredient MGO
  • large manufacturer and quality selection
  • long shelf life
Disadvantages
  • dosage difficult
  • expensive purchase or large packs
  • decision for correct MGO content difficult

Honey is one of the foods with the longest shelf life. The same applies to the special Manuka honey. Under the right conditions, such as darkness and room temperature, the precious honey lasts for many years, even when used sparingly.

However, you have to decide on the right MGO content before buying. Products with a higher MGO are highly effective, but also very expensive. The decision for a Manuka honey with a lower MGO content can therefore be advisable, depending on the desired application.

Manuka honey is imported directly from New Zealand. Here in Germany, it is available with different MGO values. (Image source: pixabay.com / Hans)

What are the characteristics of Manuka oil and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Manuka oil is an essential oil. The precious tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the South Sea myrtle, the Manuka bush. The pale yellow to pale blue colour and the slightly earthy, mild odour distinguish manuka oil.

Manuka essential oil is very popular as an ingredient in various skin care products.

It has an antiseptic and disinfecting effect. Therefore, both internal and external application is interesting. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect, Manuka oil is used for skin problems and colds.

A few drops of Manuka oil applied to the skin are enough to achieve the desired effect. It can be used undiluted. For colds, the slightly thick oil can be inhaled.

Advantages
  • internal and external use possible
  • low dosage already highly effective
  • no MGO
Disadvantages
  • expensive purchase prices
  • consumption not recommended

The dosage is easier than with pure honey. At the same time, small amounts of the highly effective essential oil are sufficient for healing. Economical consumption of the precious, price-intensive oil is therefore possible.

The shelf life of most Manuka oil is 3 to 5 years. If the oil becomes discoloured, it should no longer be used.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate Manuka honey based on these factors

You want to buy Manuka Honey? In the following, we would like to show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate Manuka honey. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not.

In summary, the criteria are:

  • UMF Certificate
  • MGO content
  • Cultivation

UMF Certificate

UMF is the most important quality criterion for New Zealand Manuka Honey. The UMF certificate(Unique Manuka Factor) is awarded directly in New Zealand. The higher the UMF, the higher the MGO content in the honey.

For an exact conversion of the New Zealand UMF data into European MGO content data, conversion tables are helpful.

If a Manuka Honey product is not labelled with UMF or MGO, it is probably a fake. All New Zealand beekeepers must be licensed for the production, sale and export of Manuka Honey.

The MGO content is then determined in a laboratory independent of the UMF. Both together, UMF and MGO, are an important quality criterion for the antibacterial activity and health-promoting effect of New Zealand honey.

The UMF information can therefore be used to draw a conclusion about the MGO content and thus make statements about the effectiveness of New Zealand honey.

MGO content of Manuka Honey

Manuka products imported to Germany can be categorised according to their MGO value. The MGO value provides information about the amount of methylglyoxal in the honey and thus about the quality and effectiveness of the special honey.

Available for purchase are MGO 100, 250, 400 and 550, but there are also Manuka honeys with MGO values below and even above this.

For example, the MGO 400 value indicates that there is at least 400mg of methyglyoxal per kg of honey. Normal, conventional honey, for example from Germany, has an MGO content of only 1 to 2 mg per kg.

The content of MGO in honey depends on the collected pollen. The higher the content, the higher the effect. But you also pay more for it.

Cultivation of Manuka

Cultivation is another quality feature of Manuka honey. Manuka is now grown on a large scale due to the high demand for Manuka honey. At the same time, there is also organic cultivation.

Even the natural, wild stock of Manuka is still available and is used for particularly good, expensive honey.

On the one hand, the main production of Manuka honey is done professionally. The South Sea myrtle is cultivated on plantations of several hundred hectares for the production of honey and oil.

Unfortunately, in order to maximise profits, many pesticides are used which are detrimental to the long-term biodiversity of the environment. This can result in damage to the Manuka honey: The artificial pesticides may have introduced additives into the plant and thus into the honey.

Due to the large cultivation of Manuka, many and increasingly cheaper Manuka products are created.

On the other hand, many farmers are increasingly turning to organic farming. To protect the species and the environment, this cultivation produces high quality Manuka honey without hidden additives. Organic Manuka Honey is becoming more and more popular. We also recommend choosing this Manuka honey.

The highest priced Manuka Honey products come from free range Manuka. Although these are highly effective and natural, they are often in no way inferior to products from controlled organic cultivation.

Facts worth knowing about Manuka Honey

Besides buying the best Manuka honey, you may also be interested in the origin and history of Manuka honey.

Another common question is what risks are involved in taking and using Manuka Honey.

Origin of Manuka Honey

The South Sea myrtle originates from the mountainous regions of New Zealand and from New South Wales, in south-eastern Australia. The myrtle plant is related to the Australian tea tree.

Manuka was already used as a medicinal plant by the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The botanist Joseph Banks recorded its traditional use in the 18th century.

Originally, the bark and leaves of the shrub were used. From this, a decoction was made that was boiled as a healing tea. This is where the name "tea tree" comes from, which Europeans gave to the Manuka plant.

It was much later that honey came into use. One reason for this is that honey bees were only brought to the island by missionaries around 1840.

Risks of taking Manuka honey

The risks arise from the fact that Manuka honey is a pure, untreated natural product.

Manuka honey is cold extracted directly from the honeycomb into the jar. If the honey were heated, it would lose potentially dangerous bacteria, but also any important active ingredients. More than this cold, mechanical filtration does not take place.

Since very strong bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum and even listten have been found in natural honey, caution is advised. The intake of Manuka requires a basically functioning immune system.

People such as small children, infants or people suffering from HIV should not take Manuka honey. There is a risk of serious illness.

Image source: stock.tookapic.com / Krzysztof Puszczyński

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