The 10 Best Manuka Honeys

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This wiki has been updated 39 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Some people claim that manuka honey has antibacterial, antiinflammatory, and antioxidant qualities, and that it can help treat ailments like stomach aches, wounds, allergies, sore throats, and acne. There's a lot of contradictory science around, however, so the best move would be to find out for yourself by trying one of these selections, rated by purity, bioactivity, and taste. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Kiva Raw

2. Steens Raw Monofloral

3. Happy Valley Honey

Editor's Notes

November 29, 2020:

Today the well-rated Steens Raw Monofloral comes on board, which is sold in an 8.8-ounce jar and features a high unique manuka factor of 24. It’s independently tested and certified, and its manufacturer is a member of the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association. You can use the code on the label of each jar to trace the product back to it source in New Zealand. It works well as a sweetener for things like ginger and lemon tea, or taken with apple cider vinegar, and some use it in a homemade face wash. You’ll also find it sold in formulas with unique manuka factors of 10, 15, and 20, if you’re looking for lower-priced alternatives. It replaces Manuka Doctor Bio Active, which is not unique manuka factor certified.

We kept Kiva Raw in a prominent spot, which boasts a thick and smooth texture that’s good as a sweetener for tea or coffee. Its ingredients are sourced from farms that practice sustainable methods, and it has just 60 calories per serving. It’s sold in either a tightly sealed jar or convenient single-serve packets. It bears a unique manuka factor of 15+, like Happy Valley Honey, which also remains a reliable choice when it comes to quality and taste. It bears a deep golden brown color, and its rich flavors of caramel and malt make it a good option for spreading on fruit or toast. To help you get started, the manufacturer provides recipes online. Like the newly added Steens honey, the Comvita Premium is also traceable from hive to seller. This gluten-free choice bears a subtle, mild flavor, makes for a nice addition to a hot cup of tea, and also tastes great right from a spoon. As mentioned in our last update, for safety’s sake, check with your doctor before attempting to use manuka honey to treat any physical ailments.

December 11, 2019:

While organic honey is a great choice for conscientious consumers, some prefer manuka honey instead, since it’s believed to be healthier than the standard fare, and many believe it has superior antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. Many use it when treating ailments like sore throats, stomach aches, wounds, acne, and more.

Today we incorporate into our list some updates of established products in the industry. If you’re researching these products for the first time, you’ll quickly start to see the term “UMF” mentioned in many of their descriptions. This stands for “Unique Manuka Factor” and is a grading system developed by the UMF Honey Association in New Zealand, where much of the world’s manuka honey is produced. In a nutshell, the higher the UMF number, the higher the antibacterial activity (and corresponding believed healing properties) of the honey. As you’d imagine, the price also goes up as the number goes up. This metric can range from 0 to 20+. To be considered potent, manuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF.

Kiva Raw retains the top spot in this update, as a choice with a UMF of 15+ where each batch is independently tested, verified, and traceable – so you know you’re getting a quality product. Like many others, this one is harvested from the remote hills, forests, and coastal areas of New Zealand. Other popular choices that remain high on our list are Happy Valley Honey, which also carries a UMF 15+ rating and is tested frequently for quality, as well as Comvita Premium, which maintains a 10+ UMF rating and is trackable from hive to store. This latter choice is raw, non-GMO, unpasteurized and halal and kosher certified. It’s also gluten-free, so it’s safe for anyone with related dietary restrictions.

While manuka honey is safe to consume for most people, it does have a high sugar content, like other honeys. As with any type of alternative treatment, be sure to check with your doctor before using manuka honey to treat any physical ailments.

Special Honors

Earthbound Manuka Honey This hand-harvested honey is collected from native New Zealand Manuka flowers, and it’s rich in nutrients, vitamins, and amino acids that your body needs. It’s from a family-run business based in the pristine Bethells Valley, northwest of Aukland. Their bees forage freely in the coastal dense local forests. The honey is available in 310- and 500-gram sizes.

4. Manuka Health 100% Pure

5. Comvita Premium

6. Tahi Carbon Neutral

7. Wedderspoon Raw

8. Airborne Natural

9. East Cape Active

10. Pacific Resources Fancy Grade

What is Mauka Honey?

Experts believe this is due to high levels of certain types of proteins.

Manuka honey is a monofloral honey that is a derivative of the manuka tree, which is native to New Zealand and southeastern Australia. It is produced by introducing European honey bees to areas that have a large concentration of wild growing manuka trees during their 6 week blooming period. Since these tress are uncultivated and grow in a relatively pollution free environment, they haven't been exposed to the industrial chemicals or pesticides most other agricultural plants have. This results in an all natural, chemical-free product with a range of health benefits.

Manuka honey has a higher viscosity than most other honeys, meaning it is thicker and gooier. Experts believe this is due to high levels of certain types of proteins. It typically has a dark cream or dark brown color and a strong earthy flavor with herbaceous undertones that some people may love, while others find off putting.

As with almost all other honeys, Manuka honey is roughly 80% sugars and 17% waters, with the last bit being comprised of minerals, organic acids, and enzymes. Its sugar content is made up of about 31% glucose, 38% fructose, and a mixture of more complex sugars that are harder to breakdown. It also contains hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxal, which is where it gets the majority of its antibacterial properties. All raw and unfiltered honeys are a good source of amino acids, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, but Manuka honey has up to four times the nutritional content of normal flower honeys.

Health Benefits Of Manuka Honey

Manuka honey has a wide range of health benefits internally and externally. When used as a salve, it can help cuts and burns heal faster while preventing them from getting infected. If you have acne or eczema, applying Manuka honey on the affected area for a few minutes and then washing it off with soap and water can help it clear up quicker. For best results it is recommended to do this a couple of times a day. It can also help to give your skin a more youthful and healthy appearance by improving skin tone and texture.

It can also reduce systemic inflammation from a variety of ailments.

Researchers in the UK at Cardiff Metropolitan have even found that it down-regulates the most potent genes of the MRSA bacteria, which is responsible for nearly 20,000 deaths yearly in hospitals across America.

When taken internally it is believed it can help treat or even prevent certain types of cancers, reduce high cholesterol levels and alleviate many gastrointestinal problems. Manuka honey also has anti inflammatory properties, as proven by the fact that the National Cancer Institute approved the use of Manuka honey to treat esophagus inflammation caused by chemotherapy. It can also reduce systemic inflammation from a variety of ailments. Recent studies have found that it can be effective in reducing plaque buildup, thereby helping to prevent gingivitis and a wide range of other periodontal diseases.

Another great thing about Manuka honey is that, unlike traditional doctor prescribed antibiotics, it won't cause the development of drug resistant bacteria, known as "superbugs". When a person is infected by one of these superbugs, it requires treatment with really powerful antibiotics that cause significantly more negative side effects than their less potent counterparts.

How To Choose The Best Manuka Honey

As Manuka honey has gained in popularity, more and more producers have looked to jump on the bandwagon. Just a quick search on Amazon comes up with hundreds of brands to choose from. It is more important now than ever before to know what to look for in Manuka honey and how to purchase the best quality product. Since the Manuka tree only grows wild in New Zealand and southeastern Australia, your first step should be to find a honey produced in one of these regions, preferably New Zealand as they have stricter regulations regarding its production and sale. You'll also want to keep an eye out for raw, unfiltered, and organic honey as these will have the most health benefits and the least amount of unwanted chemicals.

This is important because if it hasn't been independently tested, how do you really know the efficacy and authenticity of your product?

Another term you'll see thrown around a lot when looking at the different Manuka honeys for sale is UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor. This is a registered trademark and only members of the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association of New Zealand who have their product tested in an independent laboratory can display it on their honey jars. This is important because if it hasn't been independently tested, how do you really know the efficacy and authenticity of your product?

Next to the UMF logo, you'll see a number. This number rating is directly linked to the antibacterial activity in the honey and corresponds with the concentration of methylglyoxal. The higher the number, the more potent the antibacterial properties of the honey. The ideal level is between 10 and 18 UMF as anything below a 10 is not generally considered strong enough to have any therapeutic use. If you see just a number without the UMF trademark, then that producer is not regulated and more than likely has no independent lab testing done on their honey.

Karen Bennett
Last updated by Karen Bennett

Karen Bennett lives in Chicago with her family, and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found practicing yoga or cheering on her kids at soccer games. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and a bachelor’s in English, and her writing has been published in various local newspapers, as well as “The Cheat Sheet,” “Illinois Legal Times,” and “USA Today.” She has also written search engine news page headlines and worked as a product manager for a digital marketing company. Her expertise is in literature, nonfiction, textbooks, home products, kids' games and toys, hardware, teaching accessories, and art materials.

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