If you have been doing some research on manuka honey, you would have already know that high-grade Manuka is not cheap. You would probably also know that the pricing of manuka honey is linked to a standard known as Unique Manuka Factor or UMF. While the benefits of manuka honey has been well-discussed, it can be tricky to ensure that you are buying one that is effective as claimed.
Just like other types of honey, Manuka honey contains hydrogen peroxide that gives an antibiotic quality. However, it has other components such as methylglyoxal (MG) that have additional antibacterial qualities.
The Unique Manuka Factor
When manuka honey was first discovered, the additional antibacterial factor became known as the Unique Manuka Factor. For decades, this prestigious trademark UMF dominated the market despite some suppliers tricking consumers into buying other brands with a similar label such as UMV among others.
Non-peroxide activity existed in the Manuka honey, although no one knew what the system quantified until the MGO labeled the Manuka honey appeared on the market in 2008. MGO stands for Methylglyoxal. It revealed that methylglyoxal was responsible for the antibacterial action. This trademark has no particular governing laws controlling the claims of the ratings. The higher the level of the MGO; the higher the effects of antimicrobial. 100+ MGO is equal to 10+ UMF.
Genuine UMF Manuka honey has to comply with the following:
- There has to be a clear UMF label on the front
- Licensed by Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA)
- Should have the UMF licensee's name
- Should have a rating of UMF 5+ or more
As a consumer, it is easy to be tempted by low priced gimmicks, given that the name Manuka honey can be used by fraudulent manufacturers. So how should you choose the best Manuka honey?
Any Manuka honey brand without either label is low-grade and has no beneficial characteristics. Also, without trademarks, it means that the honey has not been tested independently by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA)
UMF ratings match up with the MG concentration. The number specifies the actual level of antibacterial activity of the Manuka honey brand. While there are many brands that get into the market with a particular number but not the trademark. It means that the brand is not regulated by the UMF Honey Association.
Any honey that comes with a factor of less than 10 is low level in activity. The best potency should fall between 10 and 18. For the honey to be considered potent enough for the therapeutic purpose, it has to have a minimum of 10 UMF. How can you be certain you are getting the authentic Manuka honey?
- Know that not all Manuka honeys have the extra antibacterial factor responsible for Manuka honey’s benefits
- The extra factor can neither be seen nor tasted.
- UMF is a quality trademark meaning that you can be confident that the content inside is as the label suggests.
- The label states the right levels of non-peroxide activity.
- The stamp of approval on the jar verifies independent production tests against the honey's adulteration.
Did you know that competition for the Manuka honey dollar has increased label claims? Well, there are many different brands on the market today, at vastly varying prices. Claims touch on the antibacterial activity of the honey in the jar. It takes the form of a grading system including Active 15+, UMF Active 10+, Certified NPA Manuka 15+ and more.
Understand that the higher the number of each grading, the higher the claimed level of activity. As much as reading the labelling is important, how should you know what you are buying is the right Manuka honey?
First, you have to unravel the jargon and debunk the myths. Note that anything labeled Manuka may be Manuka but not the potent, highest grade or most healthy. A high-grade product is what you need to pay for to establish Manuka honey benefits. Watch out for ratings of 10+ labeled UMF or MGO New Zealand, since they are the highest grades of Manuka.
We have compiled a short list below of some of the certified UMF Manuka Honey that can be found on Amazon for your convenience. Do visit the UMFHA website for the full list.