What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is made from the nectar of New Zealand’s Manuka plant (Leptospermum scoparium). Busy bees collect and transform the nectar into the rich and highly valued Manuka honey which is well known for having complex and unique properties.
The main reason Manuka honey has gained such a great reputation, and the reason it stands out among the honey family, is because the nectar of the flower contains unique natural ingredients.
"Manuka honey is one of a kind. No other honey has been so extensively researched and recognised for its wonderful natural qualities."
The Magical Manuka Tree
So, what makes Manuka honey extraordinary? The answer lies within the magical Manuka tree.
The native Manuka tree is uniquely adapted to live and thrive in New Zealand’s challenging natural environment. Manuka is resilient and because of this it acts as a regenerator of the land and a hardy natural protector.
Manuka has a storied history. Manuka has long been used in New Zealand as a medicinal plant by Maori people. The special qualities that distinguish Manuka from any other honey come from the flower’s nectar which stores rare natural compounds.
"The development stages of the Manuka flower guides our honey-making process"
Manuka honey is only made in New Zealand. And the honey can only be made for a few weeks a year when the Manuka plant is in flower. The seasonal and geographical nature of the flower makes Manuka honey a rare commodity.
The bloom of the Manuka flower is both brief and beautiful. As spring turns to summer, the warm weather causes the Manuka plants in the north of New Zealand to begin to flower. The Manuka blooms follow the warm weather and spread down across the country.
It takes approximately 25 days for a Manuka flower to go from a mere bud to a stage 5 flower that no longer produces nectar. As a result, the time for our beekeepers to place their beehives and for the bees to gather the nectar is short!
When the Manuka flower is blooming our beekeepers work around the clock. They even use helicopters to transport beehives to remote and challenging locations.
And that’s not all! The weather conditions are integral and have to be just right. Otherwise the bees won’t be able to make Manuka honey. If strong winds blow the Manuka flowers from the plants or rain keeps the bees from venturing outside of their hives the honey can’t be made. As a result the amount of honey produced by a beehive, and the overall honey production each season can vary greatly.
In part this is why the honey is so unique, costly and cherished. The conditions, the planning and the actions from the bees and the beekeepers have to be perfect.
What makes Manuka Honey special?
Manuka honey is not just your simple table honey.
Extensive scientific research has gone into investigating the honey’s remarkable natural properties. These particular characteristics distinguish it from other honeys and as a result it has become highly prized throughout the world.
It requires both care and expertise to nurture and optimise the honey’s unique natural properties. This is particularly true for Methylglyoxal (MGO), which has been found to be the naturally occurring compound that makes Manuka honey so special. MGO is formed in the honey from Manuka nectar. As the honey ripens, the amount of MGO can increase.
The whole process can be tricky. Therefore, expert storage, handling and testing of the honey is essential to ensure the certifiable quality, potency and purity of the honey. Strict regulations must be complied with throughout the manufacturing process.
Manuka Honey & Wellbeing
Due to New Zealand’s food regulations, we can’t talk about any possible health applications and effects of Manuka honey. However, there is plenty of information and research about Manuka honey out there. We encourage you to discover by searching online and reading scientific research articles. Alternatively, you can simply try it for yourself!
We’ve had people tell us that they use Manuka honey as a natural boost, a wellbeing remedy during winter or as a natural wholefood alternative to refined sugar. You can read some of our ideas on how to enjoy your Manuka Honey, or check out our 'Get-Inspired' section for recipes and DIY treatments.
Original content from: https://www.manukahealth.co.nz/en-nz/