What is UMF Manuka Honey? Unique Manuka Factor or commonly known as UMF is the only worldwide standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength or quality of some strains of Manuka. It is a guarantee that the honey being sold has the special UMF antibacterial property and a UMF rating of 10 is the minimum recognised. Ordinary manuka has only the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property which is common to most types of honey, whereas UMF Manuka has both the natural hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property and its own natural UMF antibacterial property, giving it increased antibacterial potency. The UMF property is very stable, unlike the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial property common in most honey which is easily destroyed by heat, light as well as certain enzymes in body serum. UMF Manuka, also known as "Medihoney" in some pharmacies, is the preferred honey for wound dressing and other special therapeutic uses and studies are showing Manuka with high levels of UMF could be very effective in helping relieve stomach ulcer symptoms and gastritis, and sore throats, and when applied topically, in assisting the natural cure of skin ulcers, wounds, burns, boils, cracked skin.
That is also why many skincare products also contain UMF manuka as a special ingredient and promise positive benefits from their regular application on the skin. UMF is not in the nectar of all Manuka flowers, which are known as Leptospermum scoparium and belong to the the Tea Tree bushes found only in New Zealand's coastal areas. Some Manuka bushes do not produce honey with the UMF property every year, and the concentrations of UMF can vary from batch to batch and year to year. The reason why only some Manuka honeys have the unique UMF antibacterial property is not yet known.
It could be from a subspecies of Manuka or due to some environmental factor such as soil type. In the shop, you will find the varying UMF strengths - UMF 10, UMF 15, UMF 20, UMF 25, and the higher the UMF, the more expensive is the honey. All genuine UMF manuka honeys from New Zealand are packed into jars and labelled with a registered trademark UMF® by licensed companies, and have a rating of UMF 10 or more. These licensed users of the UMF® label in New Zealand have to meet standards of regular monitoring and auditing of their honey quality.
So if you come across an UMF honey which is packed in New Zealand and is labelled UMF 8, you should know something is amiss. Another reason why Manuka honey, which is available in most Kiwi homes, is favoured by so many honey fans is that it has a higher than normal conductivity, which is an indirect measurement of mineral content of a honey -- about 4 times that of normal flower honeys. I particularly love the taste of Manuka - it has a lot of depth and a unique unforgetable foresty aroma stands out amongst the honey varieties. I often find myself mixing a tablespoon of the honey with warm water or hot tea whenever I experience sore throat, cough, cold or flu symptoms, or when feel "heatiness" in my body. Now, the honey shops here (in Singapore) also sell New Zealand made Manuka honey lozenges for soothing the throat.
I paid about 9 Sing dollars (about 6 US dollars) for a pack of 20 such honey drops with UMF 20+ and propolis which contained very high level of bioflavonoids. Its ant-inflammatory properties worked perfect in curing my phelmy throat and it was delicious despite that it tasted a bit bitter due to the propolis, and it gave me a slight numbing effect on my tongue as I sucked it. Copyright (c) 2008 Ruth Tan.
Ruth Tan runs the popular website Benefits of Honey which is an immensely rich, quality resource on honey and its benefits, and a plethora of health-related issues. Discover the amazing health benefits and all the positive spin-offs super-food honey can bring to your life and the lives of your loved ones at http://www.benefits-of-honey.com