Friday, April 22, 2016

**ApothaCare** For the Love of Honey: Manuka Mania

In the last post, I talked about my love of honey and the various favorites I have. This post, I have to talk about one that I would just love to try:

Image result for manuka honey

Manuka honey is a prized type among honey lovers. While I do think it's a very potent honey (as far as its healing benefits), I've learned about other honey types that may be just as good. I'll be talking about those later. For now, on to Manuka and why it's such a big deal.

By the way, there is a bit of Manuka honey in the Antioxidant blend that I mentioned in the previous post, I don't know how much is in the blend, or how "active" it is. And by "active" I mean- Well, just keep reading and it will start to make sense.

The first place I looked for some info on Manuka honey and other types was WebMD, and this is what they had to say in part:
Looks like peanut butter, huh?
"But not all honey is the same. The antibacterial quality of honey depends on the type of honey as well as when and how it's harvested. Some kinds of honey may be 100 times more potent than others." (source)
Basically, it goes on to say that where most honey types are known for being protecting against bacteria and infection, as well as being anti-inflammatory,  Manuka honey (MH) and some other types of honey have multiple components that are beneficial.

As I mentioned in last post, I learned that one of the key components in honey is hydrogen peroxide.

Since I do love honey so much, I really wanted to see if I could find some that I could afford (like maybe in a sample size), and I did find some. One Seller on Amazon lists a reasonably-priced jar of Manuka, but... something about the wording on the label made me hesitate.

When I doubt, read the reviews! I'm really thankful to the other people who take time to review products online (whether "in exchange" for a product or not). When I checked reviews for the brand of Manuka I was thinking of buying, I noticed one that stood out. It was very informative and detailed. I'm not kidding when I say this reviewer did an amazing job of listing some things to look for when buying Manuka honey. I sure hope he/she doesn't mind my copying his comments to share because I love their reviews on the site (my emphasis on certain points).
1. It says UMF, MGO, or OMA clearly on the front of the jar
2. It says “Active” on it
3. It is packed into jars and labelled in New Zealand
4. It’s from a New Zealand company that is licensed to use the name UMF (which is actually a trademarked name), OMA, or MGO
5. It has the UMF, OMA, or MGO licensee’s name on the front label
6. It has at least a rating of UMF or OMA 15+ or more, or if it is MGO, then at least 250+
Apparently 16 is the highest rating that is naturally found. While there are manuka honeys rated above 20, I've heard that some companies artificially reach this lofty rating for marketing purposes, so I’m sticking with 16 and probably wouldn't go lower than that.
0 – 10 is pretty much just normal honey, and while ratings 10 – 15 are less expensive and have some beneficial properties, they don’t have as much as we’d like. I figure that if I’m going to shell out for honey that’s pricier than normal, I may as well go ahead and get the real good stuff!
 Now that is a super helpful review. It sure saved me from possibly adding the wrong item to my Shopping Cart.

You should definitely check out the full article on WebMD if you've been interested in trying (or learning about) Manuka honey. It even explains something else I was wondering about: what's up with the different types of ratings I've been seeing while browsing for Manuka honey. Remember what that reviewer mentioned about the ratings? Well, here's some clarification on that:
  • MG =  methylglyoxal  which is an  found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.In manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound -- dihydroxyacetone -- that is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers.The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect. 
  • UMF = "Unique Manuka Factor" . To be considered potent enough to be therapeutic, manuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF.  (my emphasis)
  • "Active" = Honey at or above the 10 UMF level is marketed as "UMF Manuka Honey" or "Active Manuka Honey."
When I checked around. I went back to the best source to explain the grading system for Manuka honey. If you're super-vigilant (or just nosy like me), you can go in and search for one of the many, many papers and reports written by researchers.

Of course, I can look lots of places for the claims about the power of Manuka honey, like here, but I'm still educating myself. I've contacted the UMF org for more information since using their search system for licencees was tricky. I'll keep you posted.
Now that thing is, I was really wanting to try the Manuka honey. Until I saw those Manuka prices at local health food stores and online. Yikes. If that honey really is as healing as is claimed, I'd need it to heal my pocketbook after buying any of it. I saw prices from $49 to $112 for anywhere from 4 to 8 ounces. Whenever I found a jar that was more in my price range (I saw one jar for around $30), I noticed that the rating was low (in the 5+ range).

I will wait until I can find a decent jar of Manuka that doesn't require me to go without any other groceries for a month! Probably, I will go ahead and get the same brand pictured at the start of this post. For one thing, I was able to check that Y.S. is one of the suppliers that is actually licensed and legit. For another thing, the price was decent for the 15+ rated honey.

Next post, I will talk about some of the honeys that might be as potent as Manuka honey. Stay tuned.