Active honeys are sourced from the flowering plant species of Leptospermum that are native to Australia and New Zealand. The indigenous people from both lands have been using Manuka in their traditional medicines for centuries. Honey is naturally antimicrobial arising from factors such as the osmolarity, pH, hydrogen peroxide content and saturation of sugars. Active honeys have a far greater antibacterial capability to normal honey. Active honeys commonly have a naturally thick consistency with a strong rich flavour, being relatively dark in colour when compared to most honeys. The antimicrobial properties in active honeys help to heal cuts, wounds and abrasions, and even fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot and ringworm.
The most popular active honey is Manuka and despite common belief, it is not unique to New Zealand. It is commonly found in Australia and performs identically to what New Zealand produces. Jarrah honey on the other hand is lesser known but highly active honey that is truly unique to Australia.
Why is Manuka Honey so good.
Manuka honey contains a heightened stable form of natural antibacterial activity often known as Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA). Such intensified antimicrobial activity can be quantified using a range of testing methods.
Considerable research has been undertaken to determine the cause of this activity, with it recently being attributable to the naturally occurring chemical Methylglyoxal (MGO) in 2006. Manuka honey can contain more than 70 times the level of MGO found in normal honeys.
Today, following extensive clinical testing in Australia, New Zealand and other countries, the unique value of Manuka has been recognised worldwide. Manuka Honey is now sought after around the world for use in hospitals, burns units, family health care, digestive health care, beauty and skin care, veterinary practice, diabetes clinics and other specialist clinics and as a general health food.
Active Manuka Honey is sold with varying levels of antibacterial activity, which is assigned using a rating such as Active 5+, 10+ or 15+. The scale relates to the increasing antibacterial inhibition effect of the honey on cultured bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus), in comparison to what phenol achieves. Phenol is a strong organic compound that has clear antibacterial effects, providing a stable standard for comparison purposes.
Dish containing bacteria showing zones of inhibition
Reference standard is phenol.
The activity rating of Manuka honey is independently tested against MRSA bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus – Golden Staph). The ‘zone of inhibition’ (honey kills bacteria) is measured.
An activity rating (NPA) is used to communicate the activity of the honey:
Non-active: 0% activity – No zone of inhibition
Active NPA5+: 5% activity – Creating a zone of inhibition equivalent to the antibacterial activity of a 5% phenol solution
Active NPA 10+: 10% activity – Creating a zone of inhibition equivalent to the antibacterial activity of a 10% phenol solution
The higher the activity rating, the higher the unique antibacterial properties of the honey.
A little bit about Barnes Naturals
Barnes Naturals™ quality and heritage is attributed to the excellence and long standing success of the Barnes Honey brand, which started in regional Victoria in 1876. The Barnes brand forged a reputation for trust and quality with its pure and natural honey based products.
All of Barnes Naturals™ Active Manuka honey is independently tested and verified for activity by an independent laboratory, according to world standard testing methods.
If you are interested to learn more or would like to purchase Manuka Honey head over to earthly passion food
Attracta & the earthly passion team