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What Is Manuka Honey, And Why Is It Everywhere Lately?

If you are someone who frequently visits health food stores or has a passion for natural medicine, you may have noticed a trend lately. Manuka honey, also often sold as "raw manuka honey" seems to be popping up all over the place, and customers are buying it. So, what is manuka honey, and why is it everywhere all of the sudden? Take a look.

What Is Manuka Honey?

Types of honey are usually named after the plants whose nectar is used to produce the honey. Clover honey, for example, is made from the nectar of clovers. Manuka honey is no different — it is named after the manuka, which is a species of evergreen bush. This bush grows in Australia and New Zealand, which means that manuka honey is produced in Australia and New Zealand. You tend to see more of it coming from New Zealand as manuka bushes are more common there.

What Is Manuka Honey Like?

Manuka honey is quite different from the average honey you might find in a grocery store. It's a really dark, caramel-like brown in color, and it has a thick consistency, similar to molasses. Its flavors are also deep and complex. Many say it has a fruity flavor that reminds them of blueberries. This is likely because manuka honey is really high in anthocyanins, a flavonoid compound also found in blueberries.

What Is Manuka Honey Used For?

While you could certainly buy manuka honey to simply use and enjoy like any other honey, but most people who buy it do so because of its health benefits.

Manuka honey is generally sold raw because it contains a lot of antioxidants and other beneficial components that would become less potent if it were heated. One of these components is methylglyoxal, which is known for its antibacterial properties. Various antioxidants in the honey also help alleviate inflammation. As such, people use manuka honey to manage a wide range of ailments, including:

  • Gingivitis or gum disease
  • Burns — it can be applied topically, in this case
  • Eczema and other skin irritation
  • The common cold and flu

While manuka honey is not a substitute for medical care, it can be a helpful supplement to medical care.

Manuka honey is surely becoming popular, and for good reason. If you come across some of this honey from New Zealand, give it a try. Not only is it beneficial, but it's also tasty. You can find the product at health food shops and specialized stores such as Hokitika Honey & Herb Co.