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Honey and Health

For more than 3,000 years people have written about honey and its positive effects on health.  Many ancient texts have documented the use of honey for sweetening and good health.  Examples are found in the writing of Aristotle in 350 BCE and going back further, the Egyptians and others.

The Egyptians knew about honey, wrote about it, and offered it to their goddess Min.  The Berlin Papyrus dated around 1300 BC, documents Egyptian medical use of honey.  The Ebers Papyrus, written about 1500 BC, mentions honey to heal wounds.

Except for the location of the flowers the bees visit, today’s honey is basically the same as ancient honey.  But, with the advantage of modern research, a lot more is known about “why is honey good for you”.

Medical research and advances in knowing what makes a healthy lifestyle have shown that honey can contribute to your good health.

One great way to start the day is with a good breakfast and a lot of folks like to use honey instead of sugar for breakfast and for general sweetening purposes.

While we strongly agree that reducing sweets in your diet is a very good idea, we must admit that honey can be a wonderful taste in a lot of foods, but please consume honey in moderation.

Manuka Use

We are not medical professionals and therefore we do not make any claims related to the health benefits of using Manuka honey.

Please know that no honey is safe for consumption by infants under 12 months of age.

As a reminder, please note that as you access the information on this web site and on the links to external web sites, you do so under the Terms and Conditions Of Use and our Medical Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. Please read them before you proceed.

General Health

Honey in general and Manuka honey in particular is understood to have positive health benefits and we present some of that information in this section and many additional materials in our Honey Library.

But, please note that as you access the information below and on the rest of this web site and on links to external web sites, you do so under the Terms and Conditions Of Use and our Medical Disclaimer.

We are not medical professionals and we do not provide medical advice.  This web site is not a substitute for independent professional advice.  Obtain the opinion of a medical professional before using the products sold on this web site for any medically related purpose.

Please see our note on Manuka Use at the end of this page.

Wikipedia – Honey and Health
This is what Wikipedia shows:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey

Manuka Honey and Health
Manuka honey has been known for a long time for its healthful benefits.  Pioneering research done recently has uncovered its major bioactive constituents.  This discovery has been followed by many additional studies in laboratories and the publication of many reports.

The wealth of Manuka honey information in our honey library varies from user anecdotes to fully disclosed laboratory reports, medical studies and testing.  Please visit our: Honey FAQ - Library.

What is Methylglyoxal (MGO)

It is generally recognised that there are a number of bio-active constituents in all honeys but Manuka honey has been shown to contain Methylglyoxal, a very active component which has been proven in laboratory tests to have effective antibiotic and anti-fungal properties.

The level of the Methylglyoxal in the honey you buy is very important.  The Methylglyoxal content is a major factor in how effective the Manuka honey will be in your health program.

Most persons familiar with the use of Manuka honey think that the level of Methylglyoxal should be at least 100mg of MGO per kg of honey. This is where the “100+” number on the label comes from.

Measuring Methylglyoxal, UMF, and MGO

There are several different testing methods used to determine the bioactivity or effectiveness of Manuka honey.  There are several ways honey producers measure (test), rate, and indicate the Methylglyoxal content of their products.  A Google search will show the background of how and why several methods are used to indicate UMF, Peroxide activity, non-peroxide activity, MGO level and possibly some others bioactive factors.

Two well known references are: MGO and UMF®
These references use different types of tests to determine the effectiveness of the bio-activity of their Manuka honeys.

For more info on these indicators, see: Youtube Manuka Information

The following is a conversion table that will help you know what you are buying.  This table has been prepared by Active Health New Zealand and reflects Professor Peter Molan’s findings, showing how the two measures can be compared:

MGO – UMF® Conversion Table
Active 5+ = MGO 30
UMF® 10 = MGO 100
UMF® 16 = MGO 250
UMF® 20 = MGO 400
UMF® 25 = MGO 550

Professor Molan is a recognised as a pioneering leader in researching Manuka honey.  We recommend that you Google Professor Peter Molan to see what this leading researcher has to say about Manuka honey.

Methylglyoxal (MGO) Testing – Blue Hills

Blue Hills Manuka Honey is labeled with the actual measured amount of Methylglyoxal in the jar of honey, stated as mg per kg of honey. The same as the MGO rating.

Blue Hills employs a third-party independent laboratory to measure the level of Methylglyoxal in each batch of Manuka honey prior to packing.  The minimum level measured is stated as mg per kg on the product label.

For example, 100+ means that the jar of honey contains 100mg of Methylglyoxal per kg of honey.

We can provide copies of several typical laboratory test reports for your review. 
Blue Hills Laboratory Reports

Methylglyoxal – Effective MGO Level

According to recent research, Methylglyoxal has been found to be the most important of several bioactive agents in providing the health benefits of Manuka honey.

Quote from Charles Dragar, PhD.:

Manuka honey has well proven anti-bacterial properties which assist in wound healing as well as nutritional and immune a system stimulatory properties.

Teatree (Leptospermum scoparium) is a shrub which occurs along the south east coast of Australia, in Tasmania and in New Zealand, where it is called Manuka.

The naturally-occurring compound methylglyoxal was identified in mid-2006 as the dominant anti-bacterial constituent of Manuka Honey. Before this discovery, the anti-bacterial properties of Manuka Honey were compared with varying concentrations of phenol, a laboratory standard disinfectant.

Studies at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany and at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, have now proven that the Manuka’s antibacterial properties are directly related to methylglyoxal content.

Methylglyoxal has been reported in foods such as milk products as well as beer, wine and coffee, with concentrations ranging from 3 to 50mg/kg. Levels in Manuka Honey range from 0 to more than 700mg/kg and levels above 100mg/kg are required for antibacterial efficacy.

Comments From Users

Many users advise that they have seen benefits from using Manuka honey:

  • Beneficial for digestive problems including gastric ulcers.
  • May relieve skin conditions by topical application.
  • Nature’s antioxidant.
  • May relieve influenza and cold symptoms.
  • Research from Waikato University says Manuka honey is active against a broad spectrum of bacteria & fungi.
  • Assists the body’s own immune system.
  • Natural energy boost.
  • Suitable as a complimentary therapy in conjunction with prescribed medication.

Google and YouTube

Google and YouTube have a lot of information but we cannot reference specific videos as it is constantly changing. But if you go to Google or YouTube and make a search, you’ll find a lot to see. Try a search on:
Manuka Honey     Tasmanian Manuka Honey     Tasmanian Honey
Blue Hills     Leatherwood Honey

Manuka Information Some References

As you can imagine, a lot has been and is being written about Manuka honey. Please see our Honey Library for information about honey, especially Manuka Honey, consumer information, scientific journals, etc.  Honey FAQ - Library

WebMD Web Site

Fox News

UK Newspaper report

Health Activist web site

National Honey Board Web Sites – USA
This is one of the very best web sites to learn about honey and bees – History, health, recipes, etc. It’s all here.
National Honey Board: Nature’s Cough suppressant/

Australian Government Report – RIRDC
HAH-02-Use-of-Aus-Honey-Wound-Mgmnt RIDC

Medscape Report
Honey Sweet Alternative Coughs Children

Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Children’s Hospital Medical Centre, University of Bonn,
Medical Honey for Wound Care

Food Australia

WebMD Web Site