Here’s the thing: Not all honeys are created equal. Manuka honey is like nature’s version of liquid gold, and it has different health benefits than other types of honey.
Manuka honey’s healing properties are well-documented, as it’s been a natural remedy for thousands of years. It’s so sought after that the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMF), a third-party based in New Zealand, has produced a rigorous, science-based grading system to help retailers and consumers differentiate which brands supply real (or “genuine”) Manuka and determine the potency (or “activity levels”) of specific product offerings.
Made of nectar from the Manuka flower, Manuka honey is a product of New Zealand—hence its name. True Manuka has varying levels of certain compounds: Leptosperin, DHA, and methylglyoxal (MGO). The UMF traces the concentration of these compounds in products and gives ratings based on purity and quality. Comvita, for example, sells honeys that are UMF 5+, 10+, 15+ and 20+. Higher UMF ratings often translate to a higher cost, but that’s because the concentration of real Manuka nectar—the good stuff—is highest in UMF 20+, a supply-constrained grade that comprises only 1 percent of an entire crop.
Just in case you needed another reason to sweeten your tea with honey, or simply take a spoonful, here are six science-backed reasons Manuka honey is incredible: