The Manuka is found throughout New Zealand and often forms extensive areas of bush. The leaves are dotted with oil glands, and when bruised give off a gingery peppery smell. The flowers vary from brilliant white through to rose-pink.
The Maori people used Manuka as a medicinal plant, from treating fevers and colds to sedatives and early European settlers called it the "tea tree". Apart from the medicinal properties contained by all honeys, Manuka honey contains a number of natural compounds with strong antibacterial properties. This is a strong flavoured honey but with a fresh clean bite.
Manuka Honey also has this varying degree of antibacterial activity due to H2O2, but has been found to have a further amount of antibacterial activity that is present after the Glucose Oxidase and H2O2 have been neutralized with Catalase. This activity is referred to as the Non Peroxide Activity (NPA). Recently the letters UMF ("Unique Manuka Factor") have been privately trademarked in New Zealand (UMF®) to represent a standard of NPA antibacterial activity. This standard represents a manuka honey with an NPA that is equal to, or greater than, the antibacterial activity of a 10% solution (%w/v) of phenol/water. The UMF® letters may be appended with a number. This number refers to the %phenol/water. e.g. UMF12 equals an NPA activity equal to or greater than a 12% solution (%w/v) of phenol/water. Unlike Glucose Oxidase (the source of PA), the NPA in Manuka is stable to moderate heat, light and even Gamma radiation.
The best of