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UMF Manuka Honey - 5 Tips You Should Know

Do you expect to get something special from your Manuka?

  1. It is very simple. Not all Manuka Honey available is the same!
  2. Don't be confused by there being a number on the jar. For your health, it is important to be clear on what each brand has actually measured.
  3. 'TA' or 'total activity' based brands measure the hydrogen peroxide activity. That is both common to all types of honey, and is not stable so can reduce while jars are on the shelf.
  4. The reputation and supporting research behind manuka honey is based on a special, unique, extra antibacterial property only found in some Manuka honey.
  5. A 'TA' honey can simply not be compared to a genuine UMF® certified jar. (apples v pears)

Order your Manuka Honey from The New Zealand Honey Shop because it is strict in only offering UMF® certified Manuka Honey as the UMF® rating is the level of the special unique antibacterial property - it will contain the special extra benefit that you are seeking.

See some actual test results further below.

why umf honeyEducate your friends,
this page.

umf manuka honeySo how can you really be certain you are getting the authentic honey, instead of the honey equivalent of canned fruit salad?
  • FACT: Some, and only some Manuka honey contains the extra, unique antibacterial factor which is responsible for the internationally researched benefits of Manuka.

  • This additional factor cannot be seen, and cannot be tasted.

  • You are totally trusting and reliant on honest and accurate labels on the jar.
genuine umf manuka honey
  • UMF® is a Total Quality mark for Manuka honey, so you can be confident the honey inside is true to label.

  • It is an independent, internationally recognised verification program.

  • The UK's own Food and Environmental Research Agency (FERA) can verify UMF® labels.

  • A UMF® label states only the levels of the special non-peroxide activity.

  • The UMF® stamp of approval also independently verifies production methods and tests against adulteration of the honey.

NOTE: The above is important for jars of Manuka for internal use. For external use on wounds a properly approved medical grade honey should be used.

FACT: The New Zealand Honey Shop has only ever sold genuine UMF® Manuka honey, and approved medical grade items.

Manuka Honey is a unique honey that is native to New Zealand.  Recently it has been gaining increasing global publicity for its natural healing properties.

As a natural remedy, Manuka honey is one that actually has some proper academic research to support it. If referring to the correct grade of honey that is.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence and success stories on its usage. Helping with digestive disorders, peptic ulcers, wound treatment, and leg ulcers are some of its regular uses.

Most of the early actual research on the benefits of manuka honey has been undertaken by the honey research unit at New Zealand’s Waikato University. Here they were able to identify the extra antibacterial and antibiotic properties found in some manuka honey, that are not present in most honeys. To obtain further clinical evidence, there are currently trials underway by University of Auckland on manuka honey’s use for leg ulcers, and in Wales, the University of Wales Institute Cardiff is doing research on its effectiveness in helping fight MRSA.

Manuka honey can work and can aid you in several areas, but bear in mind it is not a magic cure for everything.

Unfortunately as it has gained in popularity, there is now the inevitable people wrongly promoting it. A common mis-promotion currently is to wrongly use the ‘UMF’ term for lesser manuka honey, or implying that ordinary product is equivalent to the UMF® standard when it is not.

You should therefore have an understanding of what makes UMF® manuka honey special, and that you realise not all manuka honey contains these properties. They naturally occur in different levels of potency.

So what is it that makes some manuka honey special? All honeys have a level of hydrogen peroxide, which provides some level of activity from the actions of the enzyme glucose oxidase that is also found in honey. But this can be adversely affected by other enzymes found in wound fluids and body tissue.  It is also not stable, and reduces over time.

However, some manuka honey (and only some) also contains a non-peroxide antibacterial property, what has been named  the ‘unique manuka factor’ (UMF). It is the UMF that creates the special properties, including the extra antibacterial and antibiotic properties, that is found in only some manuka honey, as the UMF is not affected by the other enzymes, and is much more stable and active in a variety of conditions. To find the existence of UMF in manuka honey, it needs to be tested for its level of non-peroxide antibacterial activity. This test should be done  by an independent laboratory for each batch of honey.

The following table shows the independent test results from 3 jars of manuka honey taken from UK high street shop shelves in 2011 (each a different brand and all not UMF® certified). Testing done in the UK by FERA, the government Food and Environment Research Agency.

All the research supporting the benefits of manuka honey is based on that honey which contains sufficient levels of the non-peroxide activity.

 Label Claim of Honey
Total Activity (incl peroxide activity)
 Non-peroxide Activity (per UMF® test standard)
 Sample 1 - 'Active 15+'
 not detectable
 not detectable
 Sample 2 - 'Active 15+'
 11 not detectable
 Sample 3 - 'Active 18+'
 21 not detectable
For a genuine UMF® 15+ Manuka Honey
not relevant
> 15
 the limit of detection = 5.

Educate your friends, this page.

This test determines if a given sample of honey is standard manuka honey (which is still great tasting, but not containing any additional healing properties), honey that has some of the extra healing properties but not sufficient to be given the ‘UMF’ label (these can be called active honey, but not UMF honey), or that it meets the requirements for the UMF label and for what level.

The UMF® mark is actually a registered trademark, so as to protect you, the consumer, that you are getting a manuka honey that does actually contain the healing properties it has become famous for.

If you are wanting the healing honey, look for the ‘UMF®’ mark on the actual label of the jar, not just in the advertising.

If you want ensure that the manuka honey you are buying, whether from a high street store or online, is the proper UMF®  manuka honey, then below are the guidelines as issued by the UMF Honey Association (previously called the Active Manuka Honey Association).

Genuine UMF® Manuka Honey complies with all five of the following criteria:

1. It has the name UMF® 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 to use the name UMF.
4. It has the UMF licensee’s name on the front label.
5. It has a rating of UMF5 or more.

Regardless whether you are purchasing manuka honey from us or elsewhere, keep the above points in mind. Then you can make sure you are getting the genuine antibacterial manuka honey that you are expecting.

Natural Solutions is a brand of true UMF Manuka Honey

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