Saturday, April 14, 2018

**REVIEW** Manuka, Manuka, Manuka

As promised, I am going to review a product that I have been talking about forever: Manuka - but not just the honey. Thanks to my "angel", I have a small bottle of the oil and a jar of the honey. So, let's get to it.

I didn't get the EcoBee brand that I have talked about before because, as I told you, I have an angel purchaser. When someone else is footing the bill, I try hard to look for the best price as well as a quality item. I still want to try the EcoBee brand, but that's for another time. For now, I went with the Steens. The first reason is that they passed all the tests of being UMF-certified and licensed as an authentic Manuka brand. The next reason is that, after reading a ton of reviews and doing some other light research, I was impressed with the quality. Now, about the details:

The Taste

Not the usual off-the-shelf texture, sweetness, or color. The honey has a grainy-ness that you can see, but it's not very noticeable on the tongue. Its flavor is more molasses-sweet than table sugar-sweet (but doesn't taste like molasses). If I have to relate the taste to a sugar, it would be more a raw-sugar-sweetness. Though the product page talks about the "bee bread" being included, don't expect what you get with a brand like Really Raw where some of the comb and propolis is very visible when you open the jar. With the Steens Manuka, all that seems to be blended into the honey itself. The coloring is almost that of a very dark peanut butter:

This best captures the color of the honey

Also, I have to mention that this jar was clearly labeled with the UMF rating and country of origin. Even more important, it was sealed for safety in every way.

The Smell

I chose the least expensive jar of Steens. If you remember from my other posts, I talked about the much-lauded UMF rating system.This one is UMF 10+ and cost about $25 for 12 ounces (so around $2/ounce). The other choices on Amazon are UMF 15+ (approx $55)  and 20+ (approx $120). If I had chosen either of those, I would not have been able to choose other products to review for this period. Even my angel has a budget.

A good texture, even after refrigeration

Of course, I can't, for now, check the honey for certain benefits - such as faster healing of sores/wounds. What I could test immediately was for whether or not it would give me an energy boost. Not only did I try this, but I had my brother give it a test also. Result: he felt more energy than I did. I did feel a slight boost during the day that I took 2 teaspoons, but that could be psycho-whatchacallit. My brother has been on a new work schedule that is disrupting his sleep and he said he definitely got a boost the second time he tried 2 teaspoons - one in the morning and one at midday. So, okay.

It's going to probably take me a while of taking my daily teaspoon of this before I can say yay or nay about the benefits. Right now, I am trying to work the honey into my intermittent fasting routine. I like to add some to cucumber water and out it in the fridge overnight to chill. That way, I have a nice big helping of water for first thing in the morning. On the days when I fast - like I will be doing tomorrow - I make up at least 3 jars of the drink to have in between cups of (ugh) unsweetened lemon or mint tea.

In addition to the 10/15/20 UMF Manuka, there are other products at the Steens site.

One last thing about the quality and authenticity of the honey. There is a trace code on each jar that allows consumers to track and trace the origin of their particular jar of honey. If you want to see a test of this tracing feature, head over to here and try out the sample code. I was able to trace mine, but I couldn't zoom in on the map itself.

While Manuka honey has a UMF rating system, the essential oil has a different grading system.

This Inn & Co Manuka Oil I have is rated at  MβTK 25+ Certified.  MβTK stands for Manuka Oil ßeta triketones. I won't get deep into it because it will make my head hurt, but the triketones are important because - according to the NIH and other sources - of their antimicrobial activities.

Getting away from all the technical details and five-dollar words, I was mainly interested in the oil for these touted benefits (especially the ones I italicized):

  • Proven to Kill Bacteria And Other Microbes – 30 TIMES MORE Effective Than Tea Tree Oil
  • Laboratory Tested and Proven Effective Against 35+ Bacteria Harmful To Humans: Streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as Pathogenic Fungi.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Treats Aching and Stiff Joints, Strained and Painful Muscles, Back Aches, and Arthritis Pain. Rubbing Just A Few Drops May Help Relieve and Alleviate the Symptoms.
  • Cicatrisant /Cytophylatic– The Oil Helps Scars and After Marks on the Skin Fade Away Promoting New Cell Growth and Healing of Wounds
  • Relaxant/ Aromatherapy – Has Remarkable Soothing and Relaxing Effects. Helps Fight Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Stress, Nervousness, and Disturbances As It Provides a Relaxed Feeling. 

I have actually been using the oil for almost a week so I can speak to the benefits I have enjoyed.

  • Psoriasis on my feet is showing a lot of improvement. I've been using other balms and oils that soothed the skin and gave it a better appearance. This oil after just one treatment seems to be clearing up the problem areas. There is a lot less of the scaling and flaking. I've been using the amazing Pumpkin Seed oil as a carrier and adding just a small drop of the Manuka for each foot. 
  • Again, using the tiniest drop or two in my humidifier, this oil does have a calming effect. I've started using it every night to help me sleep better. Side note about humidifiers: they will set off your smoke detector. I learned that at this morning around 4am...
  • I added about a drop of this to about 3 tablespoons of my hair twist cream and it seems that I got more shine as a result. I've read that the oil is a dandruff remedy as well as a hair growth treatment.
  • To test the oil as an underarm deodorant, I rubbed some manuka and coconut oil on my palms then rubbed under my pits. Works.
  • To test this as an alternative to feminine hygiene spray, I dabbed a small bit of the manuka onto the sticky side of my panty liner. This makes me nervous though because who knows what kind of personal hell it would be to get this oil on your private parts. I have decided to get a fine-misting spray bottle to mix some 10 parts filtered water with 1 part manuka oil to spray my freshly laundered panties and let dry before wearing. If anyone else decides to use the oil as a personal hygiene deodorant, all I can say is, be careful and know the potential risks. LOL
I have added a little bit of the oil (about 5 full drops) to a 1-quart spray bottle and I use it to clean counters in the kitchen and bathroom and to spray the shower curtains with. 

The only halfway negative thing I can say about the oil is that the smell can be strong and has a medicinal tinge to it. I notice it most when using it in the humidifier. On the other hand, the smell dissipates quickly into the air and it also does not linger too long when applied to the skin. I don't find the smell "nasty" like with some highly beneficial oils (hello, Neem), but it isn't a perfume-like oil.

To Summarize

Do I think that these products live up to the hype? Yes. Surprisingly, it is the Manuka oil that I plan to purchase for myself in the future. I am getting a lot of use from this bottle - from use on my skin, hair, in the air, and for cleaning. The honey will last longer and I can see myself not having to replenish the stash for another couple of months.

When I think of the cost of these products, I have to look at the overall use and value. They are worth what they cost in health and mental well-being. The oil is my favorite.

To leave you with something to think about, while I was doing a bit of research on these two products, I discovered that there is still another type of honey to be looked into. It's called Kanuka honey. Kanuka, not Manuka. Seriously. I will have check that out much later. I already have to finish reviewing the products my angel has lined up for the next few weeks.

It might be a minute before I do get to the other reviews. I've been dealing with yet another health issue the past couple of weeks and am just now starting to bounce back. Hang tight though because I have some good stuff coming up - not to mention the May Giveaway...


DISCLOSURE The products reviewed in this post were paid for by an "angel" sponsor who is in no way affiliated with either product or brand or seller. My opinions are not influenced by the "angel".