Articles, News, and Resources about Manuka Honey
September 13, 2018
Our Manuka honey is region specific, produced in Taranaki, which is on the west-central part of the North Island. The areas where we produce our Manuka honey are remote even by New Zealand standards. Much of the land either borders on or is part of publicly owned native forest reserves. We place our hives in some of the most remote and pristine areas of the New Zealand backcountry.
One of our landowner partners is the New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust whose mission includes purchasing recovering farmland, and overseeing the land’s management to support and enable regeneration of the native forest. We are partnering with this group on a block of land called the Omoana Bush Extension in the heart of the area where we operate. This year, plantings of Manuka seedlings began on the land purchased jointly by our company and the Trust back in 2016 to jump-start this regeneration process on some of the land that had been most intensely developed and farmed - roughly 10 acres around the old homestead. The remaining 500 acres of land is already well underway with Manuka growth that is coming back on its own after the completion of farming operations and removal of the stock (in this case sheep) when the property was purchased.
The Native Forest Restoration Trust is dedicated to protecting New Zealand’s native forests and wetlands. Not just for today, but for generations to come. Since its founding in 1980, the Native Forest Restoration Trust has acquired land to promote the regeneration of forests, protect important species and restore their habitats, and to improve the quality of waterways. It has purchased and protected well over 7,000 hectares of native forests and wetlands throughout New Zealand.
The Trust was formed in 1980 when a group of people got together to protest the felling of giant totara in Pureora Forest. Their ethos remains the same as it was back then – if we all come together, we can achieve extraordinary things. And they have achieved extraordinary things. Today, the Trust manages over 7,000 hectares of reserves, protected forever for all to enjoy.
Each piece of land that they look to purchase is assessed on its ecological significance, viability for ensuring the long-term sustainability of that particular type of habitat and capacity to naturally regenerate. When it has been purchased, they place it under a covenant for permanent protection through the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust. A covenant ensures that New Zealand’s native species are protected forever. This ensures that the land can never be harvested, cleared or developed. They appoint an honorary ranger and establish a management plan for the area, often working with local volunteers to carry this out. This often includes making sure that the area is protected from invasive pests and predators through predator-control and plant management programs, fencing the property to keep stock out and creating paths and information boards for visitors.
The Trusts invites you to explore the extraordinary natural beauty that New Zealand has to offer further by learning more about the reserves. You can find their details here.
Because we use these remote, pristine areas for our bees to forage on the Manuka plants, and we harvest and sell raw, hive-to-jar Manuka honey, you can be sure that you are getting the highest quality Manuka honey possible. We believe supporting these natural areas is a win-win situation for all involved. We are able to help restore native lands, produce one of nature’s finest natural foods, and provide you with a natural food that can help you become healthier and stay well. We’re committed to providing the highest quality Manuka honey available.
September 6, 2018
Manuka honey has been well studied for its effectiveness on a wide variety of issues and ailments. We recently posted an article on our blog journal about the effectiveness of Manuka honey on tooth decay/cavities. As part of our continuous efforts to educate and inform consumers about Manuka honey, we are proud to contribute our Manuka honey to additional research on the effects of Manuka honey as it relates to remineralizing and reversing initial dental caries (tooth decay) in children. This research will examine Manuka honey’s ability to arrest or even reverse the spread of devastating carious lesions (tooth decay) in children. The study is being conducted at the Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, JSS Dental College and Hospital, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research in India.
September 5, 2018
Nobody wants tooth decay, otherwise known as a cavity. And we especially don’t want our children to have a cavity. But unfortunately, tooth decay is all too common. But what exactly causes tooth decay?
The sugars in foods like bread, beans, fruit, potatoes, and many others act with bacteria already in your mouth to form acids, which then combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acid in plaque, over time, will wear a hole in a tooth. Once a hole gets in a tooth, then the bacteria can get inside the hole. When that happens a cavity starts forming.
The best way to prevent this from happening is good oral hygiene, which includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. And since the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars, it’s important to rinse the sugars off of your teeth after every meal by drinking some water. In addition, research has shown that Manuka honey can also be helpful in reducing the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay.
Researchers at the Department of Periodontics, Modern Dental College & Research Centre in India explored strategies for reducing dental plaque. One of the strategies explored used Manuka honey. In the group of study participants that used the Manuka honey treatment, the subjects were trained to apply the honey gently into the space between the tooth and the gum tissue that surround all the teeth, wait for five minutes and then repeat the procedure twice. The honey was applied twice a day after meals. The study concluded that the Manuka honey reduced plaque formation significantly better than other treatments.
In another pilot study with children, Manuka honey was deposited on the surfaces of the teeth twice daily. After application, the children were instructed to hold the honey in the mouth and not swallow it for one minute; they were then asked to spit out the honey at the end of one minute, and not to eat/drink/rinse for 30 minutes thereafter. There were statistically significant reductions in the bacteria that cause plaque and tooth decay. The study concluded that the use of Manuka honey emerged as an effective adjunctive oral hygiene measure.
It’s important to note that high activity Manuka honey was used in these studies. And don’t forget, when looking at a Manuka honey product label, just be sure it has the actual methylglyoxal (MG) level or the UMF rating. Anything else can’t be trusted.
Click here to order a jar of Bees and Trees Manuka honey.
If still in doubt or you have a question not covered in this article, just ask us; we are happy to help.
At Bees & Trees Manuka Honey, we are on a mission to bring understanding and assurance to you as the consumer. We put the MG level right on our jar. We happily provide our independent lab test to you for each and every batch of honey that we produce showing the actual MG content (linked at the bottom of each product page on our website). We provide origin certification from Oritain, a global leader in preventing food fraud. When you buy Bees & Trees Manuka honey, you can be confident that you're getting the real thing. You deserve to know and to get what you are paying for.
September 5, 2018
“Hi, Just heard about your honey from a SIBO summit and would like to give it a try. I'm not sure if I need to buy the higher activity product to help heal my gut-maybe SIBO. Do you have any suggestions as to how much to take each day and whether on empty stomach or not? I am fairly new to Manuka Honey. Currently, I have a few other brands to help with a wound that didn't want to heal and to take internally. I would like to switch to your company going forward after visiting your site and feeling a real connection. It's pricey for my budget, so I want to use it wisely to get the benefits. Thank you for any help so I can place my order soon!”
(SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth is a disorder of excessive bacterial growth in the small intestine)
Bees & Trees:
First and foremost, be sure to check the label of any brand you purchase to make sure it has either a UMF rating or the actual amount of MG (methylglyoxal) on the label. I am not a doctor and don’t have medical training, so any advice I give is based on personal experience or anecdotes from others. Typically, I suggest taking 2-3 teaspoons of honey per day for gut issues - I would eat it right off the spoon. If you are switching to Bees & Trees brand, I would try the 550+ MG activity honey if you are dealing with a specific issue. But if cost is an issue, our 350+ MG activity honey is a solid medium activity honey and still has good potency.
Thank you for the feedback on our site, we work hard to inform and educate our consumers about the benefits of Manuka honey and how to identify if a jar is properly labeled. I hope this information is helpful.
Bees & Trees Founder
Bees & Trees has been working hard to educate and inform consumers about the misleading labeling of Manuka honey in the US market through our website blog posts and Facebook posts. This article reinforces what we've been sounding the alarm about. They mention the UMF rating, but they don't say that the other legitimate way to label Manuka honey is by displaying the actual amount of methylglyoxal (MG) on the label, which is what we do.
UMF is a trademarked term that can only be used by companies who pay to participate in the "Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association," an industry trade association. We, along with a many other producers, choose to use the actual concentration of methylglyoxal on our labels.
Here's another quick update from the Toko School. They've been checking on their hives. Don't forget - it's winter there!
Click here to read their latest blog entry.
August 2, 2018
Despite being a while since we heard from the Toko School, they have been busy learning about honey bees. They've sold most of their honey and are learning about the life cycle of the bees.
For those of you who may be new to the Bees & Trees Community, we previously donated honey bees to the Toko School in New Zealand for a class project. Our head beekeeper, Raul, has been working with the children through all the phases of beekeeping. It's been quite fun to watch.
Read all about it on their blog: Toko School Bee Blog.
Various Manuka honey brands say lots of convincing things on their labels. For the unsuspecting consumer, the descriptions on these labels really do sound legitimate. They talk about pollen count, naturally occurring peroxide activity levels, and even DHA content. The problem is that none of these things have any relevance to what makes Manuka honey unique – methylglyoxal (MG). All Manuka honey is valued and sold based on the amount of MG in the jar – not pollen count, peroxide activity levels or DHA (a precursor to MG) content. You have to wonder why they don’t just put the amount of MG on the jar. Probably because the actual amount of MG in the jar does not equal the deceiving number they portray on the jar. Usually, these companies will put a number that looks like a UMF rating. UMF stands for “Unique Manuka Factor.” It is trademarked by the UMF Honey Association (UMFHA). Companies can only use a UMF designation if they belong to this organization. If they don’t belong, they can use the actual MG amount. Sounds simple, right? It should be. But companies will use a number that looks like a UMF number, but not actually say “UMF”, thereby hoping the consumer doesn’t realize or notice that there is no UMF designation. Here’s an example:
Here is what they say:
This label says 20+ Bioactive Manuka Honey. It also says that the “total activity level is a reflection of naturally occurring peroxide activity levels.”
Here is what they don’t say:
All honey has naturally occurring peroxide activity levels. Glucose oxidase, when combined with the moisture of a wound, will convert to hydrogen peroxide, and is an antiseptic. However, this type of “activity” has none of the benefits of Manuka Honey, which was discovered in the early 1990s to have a different, much more potent, broad-spectrum anti-bacterial property. At the time, this was coined “Non-Peroxide Activity” or NPA and later trademarked as "Unique Manuka Factor" or UMF. Further research identified that Manuka honey’s potency is directly correlated to the naturally occurring organic compound methylglyoxal (MG). And the MG is what is laboratory tested to determine the potency and efficacy of Manuka honey.
Here is what they mean:
We take a bunch of floral type honeys and mix them with a really cheap, low-grade Manuka Honey so we can still say its Manuka honey, and label our jar with a 20+ hoping to make you think that it’s a 20+ UMF Manuka honey (which would be equivalent to a really high potency 870+ MG Manuka honey). So unless you know about MG and UMF designations, you will pay big money for very cheap honey. You can find us on the shelves of some of the biggest name retail stores in the US. In our experience, the US consumer has not really caught on yet. We have a much tougher time in Europe and Asia where the consumers are more aware of how to read Manuka Honey labels. We really hope you buy a lot of our product before you figure us out.
Tricky, aren’t they?
“Profit is sweet, even if it comes from deception.” -Sophocles, Greek Playwright
Here is what you should do:
When you are purchasing Manuka honey, make sure the label says the actual amount of methylglyoxal, abbreviated as MG or MGO, OR says UMF. If you just see numbers, it’s probably not what they want you to think it is. To know what the numbers mean, take a look at this chart (1).
If you still have questions, let us know. We want you to be certain about what you’re paying for and what you’re getting. Whether you buy our product or another legitimate Manuka brand, it’s good for our industry to have educated, aware consumers.
You can see how we label our honey here.
1. This chart shows the correlation between a UMF rating and the MG concentration of the honey. To display the UMF trademark on the label the honey must also be tested for threshold levels of Leptosperin and Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). These are two of the 6 chemical markers, plus a DNA marker that are typically tested for on Manuka honey. Four of the six chemical markers, plus the DNA marker are required by the NZ government before Manuka honey can be exported.
July 5, 2018
We had a lot of fun in New York City this past weekend at the Summer Fancy Food Show. Wow, what a gigantic tradeshow! The Show, established in 1954, is now the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty foods and beverages in North America. The Specialty Food Association, a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs, owns and produces the show. The Fancy Food Show has helped launch such brands as Popchips, Honest Tea, Ben & Jerry’s, Stonewall Kitchen, Walker’s Shortbread, Tate’s Bake Shop, ZICO Coconut Water and Vermont Creamery.
From New York to Hawaii to Louisiana to Maine, more than 1,300 U.S. specialty food companies presented the latest chocolate, cheese, olive oil, baked goods, jams, salsas, tea and of course, honey. Honestly, there were too many products to name.
Registered attendees represented top names in specialty retailing, restaurants and foodservice including Kroger, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, UNFI, KeHE and Southern Season. Others signed up included Barnes & Noble College, Zingerman’s, Marriott, and thousands of buyers from local specialty food markets.
So as you can see, this show was a BIG DEAL. We had folks stop by our booth from the likes of Whole Foods, Dean & DeLuca, Formaggio Kitchen, Williams Sonoma, and, wait for it - O, The Oprah Magazine! There were lots of others too. We're anxious to follow up with everyone we spoke with, and are excited about bringing on some amazing new retailers to carry our honey.
Stay tuned for updates as we grow our family of retailers and customers!
Our beautiful booth...
The Bees & Trees Crew on Set-Up Day...
The Fancy Food Show...
Bees & Trees on the What's New Shelf...
The Bees & Trees Crew in the main lobby of the convention center...