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Manuka - the biography of an extraordinary honey - book review

21 October 2014  |  Admin

New Book About Manuka Honey Published

Manuka - The biography of an extraordinary honey - by Cliff Van Eaton


Here is a summary and our mini review of this new book, due for release next month (November).

About the author:

Cliff Van Eaton is a well-known writer on beekeeping subjects and is co-author of two books on bee diseases used by beekeepers in New Zealand and overseas. For over 30 years he worked as a beekeeping adviser and consultant in New Zealand, and has also assisted beekeepers in countries as diverse as the Solomon Islands, Uruguary and Vietnam.


What the book jacket says:

Today New Zealand's manuka honey is known around the world. It fetches high prices, and beekeepers do everything in their power to produce as much of it as possible. Wound dressings containing manuka honey are used in leading hospitals, and it has saved the lives of patients infected with disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to standard antibiotic drugs. In so doing it has forced the medical profession to rethink its position on the therapeutic properties of natural products.

This book chronicles the remarkable 'rags-to-riches' story of manuka honey, as seen through the eyes of a New Zealand beekeeping specialist who watched it unfold from the very beginning. It's a great tale of science, in which an inquisitive university lecturer found something totally unexpected in a product everyone had written off. It's also an entertaining account of the way that seemingly simple discovery caught the international media's attention, helping enterprising New Zealanders to develop manuka honey-based products and take them all around the globe.

But above all else it's a story of hope for the future, sounding a note of optimism in a world that for good reason feels saddened and sometimes even afraid about the future of the special relationship we humans have always had with those marvelous creatures, the honey bees.


Our mini review:

Whilst this book does describe the remarkable antibacterial and therapeutic properties of manuka and the range of uses it has, it is mainly a behind the scenes type look at science discovery has taken a natural honey from the edge of the world to a world leading place as an effective natural product. It is mainly written from a beekeeper's 'insider' perspective, and provides a a reasonable history of some of the people involved from early on.

Of interest on the production side are mentions of some of the difficulties faced in producing manuka honey. Not just in placing beehives in locations that produce honey that does correctly contain the special additional antibacterial properties, but that challenges were faced with the honey being much harder to get out of the comb compared to other honey types.

This book probably mainly appeals to those curious about the history of manuka honey, and some of the behind the scenes aspects from before it became well known. Whether people had an interest in manuka honey itself, an interest in bees and beekeeping, or other natural health products, the 'biography of an extraordinary honey' is an apt indication of what the book holds.

It may help to also indicate what it is not: it is not for consumers or end users of manuka honey expecting a 'twenty things to use it for and how to use it for each' type story.

Manuka - the biography of an extraordinary honey by Cliff Van Eaton - is published by Exisle Publishing. It is available for pre-order on Amazon now, and due to be available through other bookstores from 1st November 2014.

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