Manuka Honey: Fact vs. Fiction

It’s no surprise Manuka Honey’s popularity continues to spike across the globe, and with that comes a lot of information. While it is a simple, single-ingredient natural resource, there's still a mysterious intrigue surrounding this gift from nature. Comvita has been harvesting genuine 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 on authentic Manuka Honey:

Comvita Manuka Honey

True or False: Manuka Honey comes from anywhere that a Manuka flower is grown.

False: 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) set new standards requiring a minimum threshold for key markers before it can be exported as "Manuka Honey." 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 has the same level of beneficial qualities as local clover honey.

False: Manuka Honey far exceeds the therapeutic benefits of local clover honey. Backed by science and extensive research, Comvita’s Chief Science Officer, Jackie Evans, shares more"

“The therapeutic properties of honey are derived from the combination of its physical and chemical composition. Manuka Honey contains over 2,000 different plant compounds, which is over 20 times the amount in pasture-type honeys such as clover. It is the abundance and properties of these compounds, in particular its high levels of phenolic and polyphenolic compounds, that gives Manuka Honey its special qualities including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune modulatory bioactivities. These work together with the physico-chemical properties of Manuka Honey and help to explain its range of therapeutic uses from wound healing and calming dry and itchy skin, to soothing coughs and sore throats, and supporting immunity and digestive health.”

True or False: The UMF™ rating on Manuka Honey is important.

True: UMF™ is the Gold Standard rating system for genuine Manuka Honey. The UMF™ Certification (Unique Manuka Factor) is the only independently tested rating system for genuine Manuka Honey, with every batch of our Manuka verified by The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA). Comvita's UMF™ (Unique Manuka Factor) strength ranges from 5+ to 20+, with UMF 20+ indicating the rarest and highest level of beneficial compounds. These key compounds are Leptosperin, DHA and Methylglyoxal (MGO). 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: The higher the rating number on a bottle of Manuka honey, the more bio-active it is.

Neither True Nor 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+.
UMF™ is the only grading system that appraises the signature compounds scientifically proven to be found in genuine Manuka Honey. The higher the UMF™ rating on your jar, the higher the bioactive compounds, notably the MGO, the key natural compound that is known for giving Manuka its healing benefits. Learn more about Comvita’s honey quality in the chart below:
Manuka Honey Chart

True or False: Manuka Honey tastes and looks the same as other floral honey.

False: Rich in golden taste and texture, Comvita Manuka Honey undergoes a creaming process after extraction to even out the crystals and texture. Manuka Honey is sweet and delicious, with a more golden color and intensity of the distinctive taste at higher UMF™ ratings.

Honey is a natural product, influenced by seasonal and regional conditions and the nectar source (the blossoms) visited by the honey bees. Honey color ranges from nearly colorless to dark brown, and its flavor varies from delectably mild to distinctively bold. Some areas produce paler honey than others. Like a good wine, honey will grow in flavor and darken with age.

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.

Comvita Manuka Honey

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. For added immune and digestive support, it can be added as a beneficial sweetener to healthy recipes like granola, toast, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, and more. You can also enjoy a spoonful in the morning or before a workout for natural energy support.

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.

True or False: Comvita makes top tier Manuka Honey.

True: As the pioneer and trusted global leader, Comvita is committed to bringing you the most premium Manuka Honey, with the highest certifications and transparency. With nearly 50 years of beekeeping craftsmanship and a world-class, in-house lab, Comvita’s rigorous standards are unrivaled. All of our Manuka Honey is MGO guaranteed (the key antibacterial marker in Manuka Honey), and our monofloral Manuka is UMF™ certified, ensuring every batch has been independently tested for purity and quality.

Plus, it’s made with the wellness of the Earth in mind too. From the bees, to the Manuka trees, to the land and water, we work in harmony with nature, employing sustainable practices that honor both people and planet to bring you the best Manuka Honey in the world. Comvita’s top-tier quality standards mean peace of mind as you enjoy a spoonful.

Shop Comvita Raw UMF™ Certified Manuka Honey.


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