Bees & Trees Journal

Articles, News, and Resources about Manuka Honey

Although Manuka honey is an effective treatment for many issues, acne and facial blemishes tend to be one of the more common reasons people use Manuka honey with great results.  Let’s face it (no pun intended), whether it’s one pimple or a whole smattering across cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin, acne is no fun because it tends to be very obvious.  You may have tried over-the-counter treatments with some success, maybe you’ve even tried prescription treatments with varying success.  But honestly, these treatments are man-made, chemical-laden products, and they don’t always work.  This can cause frustration, desperation, and a host of emotions, all while you still have a face full of acne. 

Well, as luck would have it, Nature has provided a perfect remedy – Manuka honey.  Honey has been used as a skin treatment for thousands of years. 

Nature’s Antibacterial

According to researchers at the School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences at the University of Sydney, bacteria, including those with high levels of antibiotic resistance, were killed by Manuka honey.  And further, the bacteria did not become resistant to the Manuka honey. (1)  Bacteria are largely responsible for skin infections such as acne. 

Manuka honey contains a special antibacterial property known as methylglyoxal, abbreviated as MG or MGO. Because this property is unique to Manuka honey, your local honey does not have the same properties and does not work in the same way.  The methylglyoxal works synergistically with all of the other amazing properties of honey to claim the title of one of Nature’s most potent superfoods.

Warning:  Not All Manuka Brands Are Equal 

Manuka honey brands have various ways to convey the level of methylglyoxal (MG or MGO) potency in their honey.  As you look at different labels, it can be very confusing.   In order to help reduce this confusion, the New Zealand Government has stepped in to regulate the labeling of Manuka honey.  As a result, there are now only two ways to properly label Manuka honey.  Manuka honey should either be labeled with the actual amount of methylglyoxal (MG or MGO), or with a UMF ranking (Unique Manuka Factor).  UMF correlates to the amount of methylglyoxal (MG or MGO) in the honey.

When you see anything else on a label of Manuka honey, you should steer clear.  Examples of what continues to show up on labels include: “Active 15+”, “Bio-Active 15+”, “Total Activity 15+”, “K-Factor 15+”, and others. The 15 in these examples is just an example; you will find numbers ranging from 5-20 typically.

For treating acne, we suggest using a Manuka honey with a methylglyoxal (MG or MGO) level of at least 500 or a UMF 15 or above.  The higher the amount of methylglyoxal (MG), the more potent the antibacterial fighting power. 

Acne-Fighting Benefits of Manuka Honey 

Manuka honey: 

-Fights microbial infections that cause acne without irritating your skin. 

-Gently pulls out impurities like excess oil and acne-causing bacteria from the pores without further clogging pores. 

-Balances the pH level of the skin, keeping bacteria at bay. 

-Soothes inflamed skin making it softer and smoother. 

-Heals the skin more quickly as it works its magic, all while leaving less scarring.

How to Use Manuka Honey on Acne

After cleaning your face with a gentle cleanser, apply Manuka honey to your clean face and neck and keep it on for 20-30 minutes.  Rinse off with warm water and gently pat dry with a soft hand towel.  Then follow with an oil-free moisturizer if you’d like.  This process is gentle yet on the skin, but effective in fighting acne.  Manuka honey is very safe to use, but be careful with your clothing – honey is sticky!  For spot treatment, you can also dab a smidge on a pimple or blemish and cover with a bandage.

We also suggest eating Manuka honey to promote intestinal wellness, which will help your body’s natural balance of good and bad bacteria, and prevent acne from forming in the first place.  We recommend a teaspoon a day for wellness. 

Click here to order a jar of Bees and Trees Manuka honey today.  If you have any questions, we’re happy to help!


(1) Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2009 Oct;28(10):1199-208. doi: 10.1007/s10096-009-0763-z. Epub 2009 Jun 10.


November 15, 2017

Our beekeeper, Raul, was back to visit the school to check on the hives we donated to the children. It sounds like they are having a lot of fun with the bees!  Read about their latest adventures on their bee blog:  Toko School Bee Blog.


November 1, 2017

"With 500MGO this stuff is hard to beat! I've used it for sore throats, skin rashes, and on my son's surgery wounds. It works wonders!!! I have a friend who used it to heal up his finger after a wart removal! And I saw the before and after - totally amazed with the healing power of Manuka! Always look for 400 - 500 MGO, the rating systems between brands are crazy! I order directly from Bees and Trees. Thank you"

Holistic Nutrition Specialist, Ft. Collins, Coloarado

October 31, 2017

We've donated beehives to the Toko School in Stratford, New Zealand so they can learn all about honey bees. The kids are having a great time with Raul, our beekeeper!  You can read about their adventures in beekeeping on their blog:  Toko School Bee Blog.

October 27, 2017

For years the scientific community has regarded Manuka Honey to possess remarkable antiseptic qualities, however, recent medical research confirms multiple health benefits not previously revealed.  Read article.


October 20, 2017

The amazing "waggle" dance that instructs the rest of the hive where to find a food source. Click here to watch.


October 10, 2017

"Your advice is just what I needed. FYI: I had severe acid reflux and 3 t-spoons of your honey, at intervals yesterday, cured my reflux within 12 hours. It has not returned. Thanks!!"

Faye M., New customer

October 1, 2017
They’re not angry, hungry, scared or bored. Swarming is a natural event in the life of a bee colony and occurs in the springtime when food sources are readily available and the bee numbers are rapidly increasing. It’s a good sign, indicating that the hive is strong enough to split. The old queen and about two-thirds of the bees leave the old hive behind to search for a new home. Prior to leaving the old hive, they will make several new queen cells, so a new queen will be born and take over the remaining hive. 




Nature played with the Manuka crop this year across much of New Zealand. After a very tepid flowering of the manuka during the 2016 summer (Jan-Mar), the flower during the 2017 summer was as strong as anyone can remember. Unfortunately, many areas of New Zealand did not get the warm weather needed to produce a nectar flow when they needed it. Reports in the industry include statements like “worst crop in 30 years”. Bees & Trees Honey and other beekeepers in the Taranaki region fared better than most, as a result of some good luck with the weather coupled with the strong flowering.

September 15, 2017

The Manuka on the North Island of New Zealand flowers earliest in Northland (Sept-Oct), then proceeds around the Island in a clockwise fashion, finishing in our region Taranaki. We typically flower starting in late December or very early January. The weather did not “come right”, as they say, this summer in much of New Zealand until about February. Fortunately for Taranaki beekeepers, the Manuka flowering was also 3-4 weeks late and came on strong in late January. Even our Taranaki summer weather was not great, but we did manage to eek out enough short strings (5-7 days) of sunny warm weather for the bees to get a halfway decent crop.

September 1, 2017

What effect the lack of sunny, warm weather in New Zealand this year causes for international markets is uncertain. While there are currently good quantities of Manuka honey inventory, a lot of it is not high activity Manuka honey. As the NZ government tightens controls and testing on Manuka honey, there is a lot of low activity honey coming onto the market ahead of possible regulations that would alter how honey must be labeled at retail.

Longer term, the upward pressure on pricing of the higher activity honey will most likely continue. In many cases, the highest activity honey produced this season will likely be used to blend lower activity honeys up to a level that will pass the new stringent testing requirements to be labeled a true “mono-floral” Manuka honey.

Of course at Bees & Trees, we don’t do any blending. Our honey is hive to jar, raw, unpasteurized and delicious. We are now carefully selecting our best batches of 2017 honey to put in our glass jars, ready for your kitchen or pantry. More news to come on our 2017 honey later in the year.



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