Manuka Honey: Fact vs. Fiction
There are lots of rumors about Manuka Honey – and some of those rumors are true. Real Manuka Honey has little in common with conventional varieties (except for the sweet taste). The Manuka tree and the honey from its flowers has been part of healing traditions for centuries, dating back to early Māori settlers in New Zealand who used it for everything from fever and muscle aches to first aid and skincare. While it is a simple, single-ingredient natural resource, there's still a mysterious intrigue surrounding this gift from nature. Comvita has been harvesting Real Manuka Honey for over four decades - so much of the mystery is clear to us. Now let us clear a few things up for you:
True or False: Manuka Honey comes from anywhere that a Manuka flower is grown.
False: Real Manuka Honey must come from Manuka flowers grown natively in New Zealand, just like real champagne must come from the Champagne region of France. We're pleased that New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) recently set new standards requiring a minimum threshold for key markers before it can be exported as "Manuka Honey." Real Manuka Honey is made by bees that pollinate the Manuka flower, which is native to New Zealand and blooms just 2-6 weeks per year. Manuka Honey can only be produced in areas abundant with native Manuka blossoms, which is why our hives are located in some of the most remote, untouched parts of New Zealand. From the rugged central North Island volcanic plateau, to the bush clad hills of Northland, our bee hives are spread across the country – with some areas only accessible by helicopter. Having our hives located in these extraordinary places makes it possible for us to produce the premium and rare Manuka Honey, independently certified with a range of UMF™ ratings.
True or False: Manuka Honey tastes the same as other floral honey.
False: Our honey undergoes a creaming process after extraction to even out the crystals and texture. Manuka Honey is sweet and delicious, with more colour and intensity of the distinctive taste at higher UMF™ numbers. Like a good wine, Manuka Honey grows in UMF™ and darkens over time.
True Or False: The UMF™ rating on Manuka Honey is important.
True: Comvita's UMF™ strength ranges from 5+ to 20+, with UMF 20+ indicating the rarest and highest level of beneficial compounds. The higher the number, the higher the concentration of these compounds, the more targeted the usage for common wellness remedies, which is why higher UMF™ levels also tend to have a darker color and distinctive taste (some might call it medicinal).
True Or False: Babies shouldn't take Manuka Honey.
True: We do not recommend that honey be given to children under the age of one. This is a World Health Organization (WHO) directive, and is not specific to Comvita or New Zealand honey. However, Manuka Honey is a great way to sweeten up snacks for older kids and provides soothing qualities which is why Manuka Honey is a key ingredient in our Winter Wellness elixir.
True Or False: Heat can diminish the properties of Manuka Honey.
True AND False: Some properties of Manuka Honey can be affected at high temperatures, but some low heat during processing does not negatively impact the properties of honey. We guarantee the UMF™ level of our UMF™ Manuka Honey for the life of the product.
True Or False: You should only take Manuka Honey when you're sick.
False: While it is ideal to help soothe your throat (especially by the spoonful or in herbal tea or warm lemon water), you can enjoy Manuka Honey every day. It can be added to healthy recipes like granola, toast, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, and more; you can enjoy a spoonful in the morning or before a workout. Try our 3 step Manuka meditation for a more mindful morning, here.
True or False: The higher the rating number on a bottle of Manuka honey, the more bio-active it is.
True AND False. There are a variety of different grading systems and distinctions that exist in the marketplace today, which makes it tricky to decipher between science and marketing. A "15+" (without UMF), "Bio-Active 24+", or "Factor" of 16 would outrank a UMF™ 10+, right? Not so fast. A higher number does not necessarily imply higher quality, unless you're working within the UMF™ rating system of UMF 5+, 10+, 15+ and 20+.
The UMF™ (Unique Manuka Factor) trademark was established by the Unique Manuka Factor™ Honey Association (UMFHA) in 1998. UMF™ is the only grading system that appraises the signature compounds scientifically proven to be found in genuine Manuka Honey. The higher the UMF™ number, the higher the concentration of these beneficial compounds.
True Or False: Comvita makes top tier Manuka Honey.
True: Comvita is REAL Manuka. We've been nurturing bees and harvesting honey since 1974 - and our founder Claude Stratford had already been beekeeping for over 50 years by then. Our practices are sustainable to honor the natural state of Manuka Honey, and make sure this extremely rare nectar is available for generations to come. Comvita Manuka Honey products are UMF™ graded, which means they are tested both by Comvita and by independent laboratories to meet strict quality standards for Manuka Honey. Our Manuka has the UMF™ independent certification, guaranteeing specific levels of Manuka's 3 key compounds, also ensuring it has been sourced, packed and labeled in New Zealand, and meets MPI's standards. We trace every single drop from hive to shelf.