How Manuka honey from New Zealand differs from other honey



“The pedigree of Honey does not concern the Bee –
A Clover, any time, to him, Is Aristocracy.”

Emily Dickinson, American poet (1830-1886)


How Manuka honey from New Zealand differs from other honey


Jim Gardner


If you’ve already read the introduction on LMP’s Wound Care site titled: Why Manuka honey works, you know there are at least 300 types of honey available in the United States.


You also learned that Manuka honey is the most unique and sought after honey in the world. And  it’s the only honey produced by bees foraging from the New Zealand Manuka bush, scientifically known as Leptospermum scoparium. Plus, you now know it’s the primary honey actually playing a role in changing the way medical practitioners are caring for wounds.


So why does Manuka honey really differ from all other honey? Well, as discussed very briefly in the previous blog, most all types of honey contain some level of hydrogen peroxide, the strength of which is sometimes referred to as peroxide activity (PA). But research has shown that it’s the non-peroxide activity (NPA) created by another element that makes Manuka honey so exceptional. More specifically, only Manuka honey contains the clinically significant active level of the chemical compound methylglyoxal (MG).


By 1991, due to the work of Manuka honey research pioneer Professor Peter Molan, at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and others, it was well established that Manuka honey had a unique characteristic that gave it exceptional antibacterial power. But only relatively recently was this factor specifically defined as the honey’s content of MG.


In was in 2008 that Professor Thomas Henle, at the Food Chemistry Institute of the Dresden Technical University in Germany, published the definitive studies which proved MG was the element directly responsible for the strong antibacterial activity of Manuka honey.


With Professor Henle’s new data and the fact that Professor Molan and others had already shown Manuka honey could defend against MRSA and other antibiotic resistant bacteria, the medical community really began to sit up and take notice of this most unusual honey.


The astonishing ability of Manuka honey to fight even the bacteria that penicillin and other antibiotics can’t kill has become a major argument for the use of this extraordinary honey in wound care. And today, as a result of these revolutionary findings, there are more and more wounds being treated all over the world with Manuka honey dressings.


So, in all difference to Ms. Dickinson, I’d argue that the pedigree of honey is in the bee-holding.



Next Time – “What is medical-grade Manuka honey?”

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