Manuka honey is well-known for its natural antibacterial properties and has been used for ailments such as wounds, ulcers of the skin, cold sores, sore throats and stomach health for centuries.
The Manuka plant grows predominantly in Australia and New Zealand. Honey producers place the beehives near the Manuka bushes where bees will collect nectar from the flowers to harvest pure Manuka honey. Manuka flowers come in white and pink, and these colours do affect the taste and texture of the honey that is produced.
Nature’s Glory Manuka Honey is harvested from beehives on the South Island of New Zealand, situated on land that is protected by the Department of Conservation. Tourists and heavy industries are prohibited in the area and the unspoilt beautiful scenery, fresh air and clean water make our honey taste so great.
Grading of Manuka Honey
There are many different ways to grade the quality of Manuka honey, including measurements such as Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), Total Activity (TA) or Methylglyoxal levels (MGO). Due to differing private standards in New Zealand, the government is reviewing a standardized way to classify Manuka honey, including testing for chemical markers and DNA of the Manuka pollen.
This does not, however, stop unscrupulous suppliers from buying the same type of chemicals and adding them into the honey, so as to classify as Manuka. One such example is when the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) stopped the sale of one brand a few years ago, after discovering that chemicals DHA and MGO were artificially added into the honey.
Therefore, for Nature’s Glory Manuka honey, we look at other factors such as Pollen Count and Total Activity levels to classify our honey. Furthermore, our Manuka honey is organically certified by NASAA and AgriQuality NZ (now AsureQuality NZ), enhancing the level of quality standards from harvest to production.
Pollen count and Total Activity (TA)
A small sample of the harvested honey from each batch is sent to a New Zealand government-accredited laboratory to test for these two important parameters:
In the wild, one cannot direct or instruct the bees which plants or flowers they should visit. A honey that is high in Manuka pollen count indicates that the bees have visited mainly the Manuka plants.
In general, a pollen count of above 70% Manuka pollen indicates that the honey has been harvested mainly from Manuka bushes. This standard is applied to all kinds of honey exported to European countries. Nature’s Glory Manuka honey generally has a pollen count of between 80%-95%.
Total Activity is a test of the antibacterial strength of honeys in killing bacteria and microbes compared to standard percentages of phenol solution in the laboratory. For example, the ratings of TA 15+ shows that the honey has an antibacterial strength of a 15% phenol disinfectant solution. A 25+ or 30+ rating would be equivalent to the antibacterial strength of a 25% or 30% disinfectant solution.
Generally, the higher the TA, the stronger or more effective the honey is in killing bacteria. A research paper in the Department of Agriculture and Food (Western Australia) by Rob Manning describes how this is done.
Total Activity Scale
< 8.2 + : Not detected
8.2+ to 10+ : Low Activity
10+ to 15+ : Medium Activity
> 15+ : High Activity
It is accepted that Total Activity of 10+ or more is regarded as important in the killing of bacteria and germs that cause diseases, for example, Staphylococcus Aureus. The Manuka honey that we sell is rated High Activity (> 15+) and therefore effective against these bacteria.
Nature’s Glory Manuka Honey is tested by New Zealand government-accredited laboratories for TA and is certified organic to International Organic Standards. No sugar, antibiotics or chemicals are added to the honey. We carry the Manuka honey with a TA of 15+ and 30+.