I freakin' love honey. And as I've written about in past posts, I tend to be loyal to the honey I grew up with, produced on an apiary near my hometown. Its fantastic, and I've never found a honey as good!
But over the past few years I've heard all the talk about manuka honey and wondered what all the fuss is about. So I was happy to agree to sample some from Comvita.
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand and comes from manuka trees. It is valued for its antimicrobial activity and unique flavour.
Comvita brand manuka honey has a UMF® license with the UMFHA (Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association). In addition, genuine UMF® Manuka Honey complies with all five of the following criteria:
1. UMF® is clearly stated on the front label
2. It is packed into jars and labelled in New Zealand
3. It is from a New Zealand company licensed by UMFHA to use the name UMF®
4. It has the UMF® licensee’s name on the front label
5. It has a rating of UMF® 5+ or more.
The UMF® trademark is a quality trademark that is internationally verified and recognised. It is backed by an industry quality standard, independent audits and a network of accredited laboratories around the world. You can be sure that you are buying the best quality Manuka honey and your rights as a consumer are protected.
The number rating (5+) represents three chemical markers that indicate the content of this honey to ensure purity and quality. This includes the key chemical markers DHA, MGO, and Leptosperin (antibacterial components). Apparently, manuka honey has more powerful antimicrobial activity than other types of honey. It is used to prevent infection topically to wounds, and for treatment of various infections and for ulcers. One study found that, despite manuka honey being a source of sugar, it also reduces plaque and gingivitis.
Though you should not give kids under 1 year honey of any kind, after that, its generally recommended as a remedy for sore throats and coughs for children, since they cannot take conventional medications. Conveniently, Big A has had a cold and when the jar from Comvita arrived, she'd lost her voice. She was happy to swallow a spoonful of the manuka honey to see if it would help soothe her throat. Almost immediately she felt some relief, and by the next morning, she had most of her voice back. This is an anecdotal experience, of course, but consistent with research on its therapeutic properties.
Of course, it can also be used as a sweetener in your tea, yogurt, on toast, etc.
In terms of how it tastes? Yummo!! Very different from my honey, but its amber in colour, and thick and creamy, with a really rich, floral flavour. I definitely like it a lot. Adam doesn't really like honey, and Big A doesn't use it that often, so it will probably be Little A and I who consume most of it.
Just keep in mind that while honey may have therapeutic properties, it is still pretty much sugar. It may not be safe for anyone with diabetes or blood sugar issues. It is also high in calories, at 60 calories a tbsp, so best to consume in moderation.
So do I recommend it? Absolutely!! Delicious and with some health benefits. But it doesn't come cheap. The company sells a kilogram of 5+ (it goes up to 20+ in strength) for $36 US (plus $38 shipping to Canada). I found it on Amazon.ca for us Canadians, but its even more expensive so better to buy direct.
Disclosure: The company sent us the product to test but all opinions on this blog are our own.