There is a new craze in the healthy foods market, and it is a little-known honey all the way from New Zealand. Manuka honey, a highly medicinal honey found only in the tiny nation, has captured the attention of doctors, researchers and health freaks everywhere.
The honey, with potent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, offers amazing benefits for skin care, digestion, and many other health issues. Often touted as a home remedy for anything from acne, wounds, eczema, herpes to gastritis and cancer, the demand for this wonder product is soaring, despite its odd taste and high price.
To be objective: not all sorts of Manuka honey are equally effective. Its anti-bacterial properties depend on the area, soil, and weather, intensity of blossoming of the shrub and sunlight activity. Besides, honey may differ in quality and composition from year to year.
In this review & buying guide, we will look at some of the best Manuka honey brands available online. Check out their pros and cons, UMF, MGO, Kfactor ratings as well the top features to look for in a premium Manuka brand.
Best Manuka Honey Brand Comparison Table
(Read review by click on product link)
(Read about UMF Rating)
|Comvita (Super Premium)|
|Yes||8.8 oz (250 g)||UMF 20+|
|Kiva||Yes||8.8 oz (250 g)||UMF 20+|
|Manukora||Yes||8.8 oz (250 g), 17.6 oz (500 g)||UMF 20+|
|Steens||Yes||8.8 oz (250 g), 17.6 oz (500 g)||UMF 24+|
|Wild Cape||Yes||8.8 oz (250 g), 17.6 oz (500 g), 35.2 oz (1000 g)||UMF 15+|
|Happy Valley||Yes||8.8 oz (250 g), 17.6 oz (500 g)||UMF 18+|
Famous eco-friendly New Zealand brand
|Yes||8.8 oz (250 g), 14.1 oz (400 g)||UMF 20+|
|Natural Solutions||Yes||8.8 oz (250 g), 17.6 oz (500 g)||UMF 20+|
|Manuka Health||Yes||8.8 oz (250 g), 17.6 oz (500 g)|| MGO 550 (UMF 15+)|
MGO 400 (UMF 12+)
(Read about MGO)
KFactor Certified (Read about KFactor)
|4.0 oz, 8.8 oz, 17.6 oz|| KFactor 16+, 12|
Best Manuka Honey Brand Reviews
Comvita Manuka Honey UMF 15+ – Best New Zealand Manuka Honey
Comvita is one of the best-known brands when it comes to authentic Manuka Honey.
They are a member of the UMF Association, which is the only authentic, independent certification on the planet for Manuka honey. This certification means that Comvita honey is real, authentic and traceable to the exact location of the beehive in New Zealand. The 15+ rating means that it has very high therapeutic values.
Talking about UMF ratings, the actual graph may have numbers as high as 25. But generally, anything above 16+ is considered of the highest quality regarding healing and anti-microbial capabilities. So 15+ is a pretty good rating, not the best, but certainly close to the top. If you want to use the Manuka honey for healing and therapeutic purposes, this is the minimum figure that you should be looking for.
Does the Comvita Manuka honey have any real flaws? The plastic packaging is just about the only issue we can find. It may get busted during shipping. And the price is on the higher side, but that is only to be expected when buying a premium product. Sure, you might find better brands out there with UMF 16+ ratings, but that doesn’t take anything away from Comvita. Incidentally, some people may have issues with the taste of this particular honey.
Kiva looks like the real deal, with honey that is thick and creamy, just as pure Manuka honey is supposed to look.
The honey comes with an official UMF 15+ rating, which means that you can rest assured that you will be getting your money’s worth when you pay for this Manuka honey. We have already explained the benefits of UMF 15+ in an earlier review, so there is no need to repeat that here.
Though it comes in a plastic bottle, the plastic is BPA free, and the black packaging does look quite attractive.
There are very few cons of note regarding the Kiva raw Manuka honey. The pricing and packaging to attract a fair amount of criticism, to be honest. It is expensive, as all authentic Manuka honey brands tend to be. But the way they leave the bottle almost a quarter empty can make one feel disappointed. Using a smaller bottle would have been a better option! When you pay good money, you at least expect a product that looks full, not half empty.
The market for manuka honey is kinda diverse, since the quality and the taste of the honey is highly variable.
This particular honey has the goodness of bee bread, which is a highly nutritious product found in a hive. The honey is raw, unpasteurized, and cold pressed to preserve all the nutrients.
You can trace it back to its source hive, which is a feature that we have come to see as mandatory on authentic Manuka honey products. The brand was created by a beekeeper couple, who have been in the business for more than three decades. They are licensed members of the UMF association.
Steen’s is available in UMF 5, 10, 15, 20, 24 rating, and you do have three options when it comes to quantity. There is a small 3.5 oz jar, a 12 oz jar, and the biggest 17.6 oz jar. The packing and labeling are pretty standard, with a combination of black and amber colors.
Manukora source their honey from a network of trusted bee farms in New Zealand.
And that is not an empty claim, since they have the all-important UMF rating and license. Their honey is tested by independent labs in New Zealand, and have a proven UMF rating of 20+, which means that it is extremely rich in methylglyoxal. The MGO content in this honey has been rated at 825+, which indicates that it has a high potency.
The honey is taken straight from the hive and into the jar, with as little processing as possible. Manukora uses a unique creaming process to ensure a thick consistency for their honey.
Though that creaming process does sound promising, it does have an impact on the texture of this honey. You may not like the grainy texture that it often has. We have also encountered some level of crystallization, which may be a side effect of this process.
But as we have already mentioned, the honey is pure and has a high healing potency. The packing is also pretty good, with attractive black labeling. But the use of a plastic jar is a bit of a letdown for such a premium product.
You can buy manuka honey in two quantities from Manukora. There are the smaller 8.8 oz jar and the more significant 16 oz jar.
When you buy Wild Cape honey, you know the exact region from which this honey is sourced.
And that East Cape region in New Zealand gives this honey an advantage over other versions of Manuka honey. The East Cape honey is milder, sweeter and more palatable while having the same health benefits as other Manuka versions. And Wild Cape is a member of the UMF Association, so authenticity is guaranteed as well.
The honey is also ethically harvested, without unduly harming the bees. When you buy Wild Cape, what you get is high-grade UMF 15+ honey, packed in food grade plastic jars free from BPA.
There are no major flaws associated with this brand. The only thing to watch out for is the flavor of the honey. Manuka is not particularly well known for being a crowd-pleaser regarding taste. Some people are put off by its medicinal flavor. While the East Cape honey is considered sweeter, some may not like it.
Great brand with an actual UMF certification and license.
So there are no doubts or concerns regarding the reliability and authenticity of this particular brand. What you get is 100% real Manuka honey from New Zealand. And you may already have noticed; the UMF 15+ rating means that this is one of the best quality Manuka honey you can buy.
They also sell a lower grade UMF 10+ rated honey for those who need a less potent version of Manuka honey.
Though it comes in a plastic jar, it is BPA free and quite safe. The packaging looks quite pleasing, and they do keep it full, so you don’t end up feeling short changed! The honey itself has a rich flavor and is quite creamy. We found no major faults or flaws with the product.
There have been reported issues of people paying for the UMF 15 product and receiving UMF 10 instead. Other than that, there are no major problems with the Happy Valley honey.
So you can rest assured that you are getting the real deal from these guys. Their brand has an entirely legal UMF rating. When you buy a bottle of this honey, you are getting a product that can be traced all the way back to its source in New Zealand.
This honey has a UMF rating of 15+ which is on the higher side. Each batch is tested by an authorized and independent lab in New Zealand.
This particular honey comes from the North Island region, which one of the two main islands of New Zealand. The beekeepers are located near the city of Hamilton. The raw honey is 100% natural and hasn’t been heated or filtered. This can be used as a healthy spread, or as an alternative sweetener. It also has potent antibiotic properties.
Bee’s Inn sells three different grades of Manuka honey. You can choose between UMF 5+, 10+, and 15+ versions. All are available in 8 and 16-ounce jars. The packaging looks classy and has very detailed information on the labels.
We could not find any faults in this product. Sure it is expensive, but Manuka honey is a really rare product. And the taste does take some time to get used to, but that is not unique to this product.
Most brands these days pay lip service to be ecologically and environmentally responsible. But Tahi is one of those rare brands that bother to go the extra mile to make a difference.
And that is what sets them apart from other licensed UMF honey brands. Yes, they have a license and produce authentic manuka honey in their New Zealand farms. But they do not follow any kind of commercial beekeeping practices and focus on creating organic environments for their bees.
They undertake a lot of steps in habitat restoration, and plant native species of trees, including the Manuka on their estates. Their estates are now home to 63 different species of endangered birds, and some of them adorn the label of this honey.
As for the actual honey itself, it is 100% pure and unadulterated. It is not pasteurized and has only undergone minimal filtration to ensure that each jar contains an extraordinarily pure and potent product. As for the actual potency, Tahi manuka honey has a UMF 15+ rating, which above average. This is what you should be aiming for if you want honey with superior healing powers.
As for the negative aspects, we could only note one or two. The consistency is a bit of a letdown, as it felt too watery. We have come to expect manuka honey that is very thick, and this one feels too runny for us. It is also somewhat sweeter and has a different color and texture. It might be due to the local conditions in their estate.
This honey is sourced from the scenic region of East Cape, which falls on the fabled Te Araroa trail in New Zealand.
The brand is pretty legit and has a UMF official license. So you can be confident that what you get is pure manuka honey direct from New Zealand. What sets this particular brand apart is the emphasis they give to the storage of honey. Manuka honey can lose its potency if it is stored improperly and frequently transported.
This brand makes it a point to ensure that the honey is securely stored in their specially designed “honey rooms” and transported directly to the customer. The honey has a high potency of above 20+ on the UMF scale. That is one of the highest ratings you can get. This is a single origin honey, sourced from the East Cape region.
The labels are bright and have pastel colors. This honey is only available in a single sized bottle. It is available in 8 oz bottles. We wish they also sold in more massive quantities.
As a Manuka Honey brand without UMF membership, Manuka Health does manage to get a few things right. The certification and rating they have used are what separates them from some of the other UMF certified brands out there. Manuka Health uses MGO rating, and their honey is rated MGO 400+, which makes it comparable to a UMF 12 or 13 honey regarding health benefits.
As you can see in our buyer’s guide at the end of this review, MGO stands for Methylglyoxal, the active ingredient that makes Manuka honey so special. An MGO rating of 400 means that the honey has medicinal properties similar to a UMF rated 12+ honey. To clarify further, it may have some therapeutic or healing effects, but it is not comparable to a top of the shelf, UMF 16+ rated brand.
This is undoubtedly one of the most popular brands of Manuka honey available in the market.
It is one of the most affordable brands of Manuka honey out there, which probably contributes a lot to its popularity. According to the manufacturer, the honey is sourced directly from New Zealand, which is the only source of real Manuka honey in the world. It also has a unique KFactor 16 certification, recognized by the New Zealand Government.
Before we get to the cons of this honey, it is essential to explain the significance of the KFactor 16 certification. Unlike the universal UMF certification used by all Manuka manufacturers, KFactor is a certification used by Wedderspoon.
Unfortunately, just because something is popular doesn’t mean that it is the best product available. And the same is true in the case of Wedderspoon. Its most significant flaw is the absence of the standard UMF certification. To be considered authentic Manuka honey, you need to have the UMF certification. And the price is also quite low, which is too good to be true. You can say that there is no such thing as cheap Manuka honey. The packaging is also quite cheap, with plastic bottles implying a less-than-premium product. There are also some wide variations in the taste and appearance of the honey in different batches.
Other Manuka Honey Brands
Best Manuka Honey Brand Buying Guide
Before thinking about buying Manuka honey, it is vital to understand this product and its unique purpose. Here are the major things to know about Manuka Honey:
So beware when you shop for the best Manuka honey brand. Look for the following features to get 100% authentic product:
1. Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) License & Certification
By far, this is the most important thing to look for when buying Manuka honey. This is the only reliable seal of authenticity that proves that a particular brand is selling real Manuka honey. The UMF is an independent industry association, the only one in the world, for manufacturers involved in producing Manuka honey in New Zealand.
2. UMF Rating
UMF Licensed brands will have a rating for their honey, usually between UMF 5+ to UMF 16+. This indicates the medicinal or therapeutic capacity of that particular batch of honey. The higher the number, the more potent the honey. You can learn more about the UMF rating system at their website.
What does UMF mean?
UMF grading system stands for measuring Methylglyoxal (MGO) contained in honey. MGO is a substance responsible for giving honey its well-known and proved therapeutic properties.
Consider the following UMF concentration list:
- UMF concentration from 5+ to 9+: Such concentration is comparable to good normal honey with the minimal level of Methylglyoxal not showing strong therapeutic effect. This kind of honey is great for regular and continuous use. Check these products: Comvita UMF 5+, Manukora UMF 5+, Tahi UMF 8+
- UMF concentration from 10+ to 14+: This honey exhibits a medium therapeutic effect and can be called naturopathic medicine substance. Check these products: Comvita UMF 10+, Manukora UMF 10+, Tahi 12+
- UMF concentration from 15+ to 19+: Such honey has a strong therapeutic effect and is widely used for curing various diseases. Check these products: Comvita UMF 15+, Kiva UMF 15+, Manukora UMF 15+, Happy Walley UMF 18+
- UMF concentration from 20+ to 26+: This is concentrated Methylglyoxal honey with maximum biological activity and medical effectiveness. Check these products: Comvita UMF 20+, Kiva UMF 20+, Manukora UMF 20+, Steens 24+, Onuku UMF 25+
3. MGO Rating
This figure is directly related to the UMF rating of Manuka honey. MGO stands for methylglyoxal, a unique compound that gives Manuka its medicinal and healing powers. A higher UMF rating indicates that the amount of MGO in the honey is also high. You can find the correlation between the two here:
Best Manuka Honey UMF and MGO Ratings Compared
|UMF RATING||MGO RATING|
What does MGO stand for?
Methylglyoxal (MGO) was first mentioned by Professor Thomas Henle, the head of Institute of Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany in 2007. Methylglyoxal can be found in all kinds of honey. However, its concentration ranges somewhere between 1 to 10 mg/kg.
The higher Methylglyoxal level is, the stronger antibacterial properties Manuka honey has, hence the higher its health benefit is. Methylglyoxal concentration of 400 mg/kg and more is enough to fight a wide range of pathogenic flora microorganisms in the human body.
The following products contain the highest concentration Methylglyoxal in mg/kg:
- Yogurt — Less than 2 mg/kg
- Cheese — 4-11 mg/kg
- Wine — Less than 2 mg/kg
- Coffee — 23-47 mg/kg
- Other kinds of honey — 0-10 mg/kg
Considering this data, we can rest assured that Manuka honey with its 100 — 1000 MGO mg/kg concentration is the only product capable of providing the human organism with this valuable substance.
4. Manuka Honey Should Be Raw
What I would like to say here first is that each of 15 products described in this review is raw Manuka honey. In case you wonder why this is crucial, check out interesting research results concerning this issue below.
Valuable Information on Manuka Honey
Health Benefits of Manuka Honey
In 2007 The New Zealand Herald published the article “Scientists uncover key to manuka honey’s benefits”, in which the author said that finally scientists identified UMF marker, which they have been studying for 15 years. This ingredient was called Methylglyoxal (MGO) by a group of researchers led by Thomas Henle, the head of Institute of Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Dresden.
The results of Thomas Henle’s research were based on the fact that Manuka honey MGO marker is greater than in any other product. Hence it could be viewed as one of the most beneficial food. Due to MGO high concentration in Manuka honey, it is widely used in medicine for curing such issues as gastric ulcer, oral cavity diseases, skin conditions, and wound infections.
Check a list of some diseases, which can be effectively cured with MGO:
Nutritionists recommend eating Manuka honey on a regular basis as a preventive means in the following cases:
- Immune system boosting. Manuka honey is a rich source of vitamins and other beneficial substances like Vitamin B1 – B3, B5, B6, Lysine, Niacin, Lysine, Tyrosine, Iron, Zinc, etc.
- Improving skin condition, preventing acne, and smoothing your skin.
- Thanks to calcium and phosphorus contained in honey you can strengthen your teeth.
- Make your hair stronger and prevent such problems as split ends, hair loss, dry scalp, etc.
How to eat Manuka honey?
Taking into account the fact that Manuka honey is perfectly effective in curing a wide range of diseases and is great for preventive measures, it can be used in various ways, depending on therapeutic and prevention effect you need the most.
Manuka honey in preventive measures
In order to prevent certain diseases, to boost the immune system and improve your sleep we recommend taking 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey in the morning before meals. You can either eat it straight or mix one glass of water with 1 teaspoon of honey.
For this purpose UMF 10+ rating in honey is quite enough. It costs less than honey with greater UMF markers.
It’s better to take honey with higher biological activity for treatment, which makes anything above UMF15+. Recommended daily value here is not more than 3 teaspoons.
Take Manuka honey for treatment the same way as for preventive measures.
If you have sore throat or oral cavity diseases, dissolving honey in the mouth is a good way to start treatment. In case of inner organs issues you can either dissolve honey or mix it with warm water for drinking.
Doctors from New Zealand recommend Manuka honey for curing the ulcer. You can find proofs concerning Manuka honey effectiveness in curing ulcer in works of a New Zealand Professor Piter Molan, who studied microbiology. According to his research eating Manuka honey makes the whole process of stomach tissues regeneration go faster. Literally, after 6 days of treatment the ulcer cicatrizes, intestine normal functionality is achieved and pain eases.
For curing outer organs, arthritis, and rheumatism we recommend putting gauze bandages on problem spots.
For curing skin conditions honey should be applied directly on skin with a thin layer, then rubbed gently until absorbed. You can also prepare various honey ointments, crèmes or masks for this purpose.
In order to heal infected wounds use special antiseptic surgical honey and sterile gauze wads. The critical point here is that wounds should, by all means, be assessed by your doctor.
Uses in Cosmetology
This precious beekeeping product is also used in cosmetology as a main ingredient for producing crèmes, decorative cosmetics, gels, serums, tonics, and lotions. If you use honey at home, apply some on your face dissolving it in some water first. Or you can buy medical cosmetics made of Manuka honey.
Minerals and vitamins contained in honey slower skin aging and withering, nourish it, make it softer, tenderer, more elastic, narrow pores, regenerate and fill skin cells with moist, which is extremely important for sensitive, dry and problem skin, and perfect for curing acne rash, irritation, and skin redness.
Many women from all parts of the planet admitted skin conditions improvement after using cosmetics made of this exotic product. Most people who tried to fight various diseases with its help or for skin care reasons admit fast positive results and general well-being mend.
Manuka Honey Counterindications
Knowing the way Manuka honey should be picked and used is important, yet it is equally crucial to learn about counter indications it may have.
First of all, honey with UMF marker 15+ and above is treated as medical. Roughly speaking it’s a broad spectrum remedy for fighting diseases. It’s recommended to use it for medical purposes only.
The main thing concerning health is about avoiding self-treatment when having a disease, but rather consulting a doctor!
Only qualified doctor has the right and can set the right diagnosis and assign proper treatment. If the doctor prescribed Manuka honey as a part of your treatment, then taking it exactly the way he prescribed is extremely important. Consider information on this page only as a buyer’s guide to picking a proper brand.
You will also need to learn possible counter indications even if you’re going to take Manuka honey for preventive purposes or for improving your health. Also, this product should not be used without a doctor’s consultation for the following group of people:
- Children under 1 year. Any kind of raw honey is a source of bacteria capable of causing botulism.
- Those with idiosyncrasy.
- People with honey and beekeeping products allergy.
- People suffering from diabetes.
- Those who have wounds and cuts. In this case, you should use specially prepared sterile honey. Only a qualified doctor can assign a therapy and prescribe medicine.
- People suspecting they have some kind of disease. In this case, you need to undergo diagnostics and proper treatment assignment, which is possible only with the assistance of a qualified medical person.
Manuka honey as a medicine
P. C. Molan, Honey Research Unit, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Identification and quantification of methylglyoxal as the dominant antibacterial constituent of Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honeys from New Zealand
Elvira Mavric, Silvia Wittmann, Gerold Barth, and Thomas Henle
Isolation by HPLC and characterisation of the bioactive fraction of New Zealand manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey
Christopher. J. Adams, Cherie H. Boult, Benjamin J. Deadman, Judie M. Farr, Megan N. C. Grainger, Merilyn Manley-Harris* and Melanie J. Snow
The Manuka honey market is very lucrative. The benefits of the honey are real, and the demand is soaring with each passing year. Theft of beehives is becoming common in New Zealand as a result! Fake and adulterated products have flooded the market. UMF certification is the only way to ensure that you get an authentic product when you pay good money for Manuka honey.
United States Food and Drug Administration did not suggest the products described on this page as goods suitable for diagnostics, treatment or prevention of different diseases. Data on this page is intended to provide information only and shouldn’t be regarded as recommendations for treatment. This information can’t replace your personal doctor or other specialist’s recommendations. You can’t use information on this page for diagnostics or treatment of various diseases. You can’t use products mentioned on this page as an alternative to medications prescribed by your doctor.