how to choose manuka honey mgo

How to Choose Manuka Honey MGO: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Choose Manuka Honey MGO: A Comprehensive Guide


When it comes to honey, not all varieties are created equal. While most people may not give much thought to the type of honey they buy, there is actually a wide range of options available, including rooftop honey, raw honey, chunk honey, orange blossom honey, and the highly sought-after manuka honey. Manuka honey has gained popularity for its antibacterial properties and potential health benefits. However, it’s important to know that not all manuka honey is created equal. Some manufacturers dilute the honey with cheaper varieties, taking away its potential benefits. In this guide, we will provide you with everything you need to know about choosing the best manuka honey, including how to spot genuine manuka honey and recommendations for top brands.

What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is a type of honey that is derived from bees that feed off the manuka bush, which is native to New Zealand. Studies have shown that manuka honey has superior health-boosting and antibacterial properties compared to other types of honey. Honey, in general, has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history, particularly in treating skin infections and wounds. It also contains prebiotics that promote gut health. However, manuka honey is believed to have special health benefits, with claims that it can work up to 100 times more effectively than regular honey. Scientific research suggests that manuka honey has stronger antibacterial activity than regular honey, making it more resistant to the digestion process. It has been found to aid in wound healing, as well as help with coughs and colds, gum pain, mouth ulcers, indigestion, and even stomach ulcers. However, some scientists argue that the additional health benefits of manuka honey may be overstated, and that there is not enough conclusive evidence to prove its superiority over regular honey.

How to Spot Genuine Manuka Honey

When shopping for manuka honey, it’s important to look for certain indicators to ensure its authenticity and quality. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Certification Marks: In the UK, the New Zealand Manuka Honey Appellation Society has been granted a certification mark by the UK trademark registry. This mark guarantees that “manuka honey” from New Zealand possesses certain properties. Manuka honey produced in Australia does not come with this guarantee.

  2. Grading Systems: Manuka honey is often graded based on its antibacterial activity levels. Here are some grading systems to be aware of:

    • Unique Manuka Factor (UMF): This is an international quality trademark used by New Zealand producers. Look for a UMF rating of at least five, with higher ratings indicating better quality.

    • Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA): This is another grading system that measures the antibacterial strength of manuka honey. It is sometimes referred to as MG (methylglyoxal) rating. The higher the rating, the stronger the antibacterial properties of the honey.

    • Active/Total Activity: This grading system refers to the overall amount of antibacterial action in the honey and is different from UMF and NPA grading.

  3. Authenticity Checks: Reputable manuka honey brands often provide batch testing and certification of origin. Look for brands that can trace the honey back to its original hive, ensuring its authenticity.

Our Recommendations

Here are some of our top recommendations for the best manuka honey brands:

  1. Comvita Manuka Honey: Comvita claims that every batch of its honey is independently laboratory-tested and comes with a scientific certification of origin. This ensures the authenticity and quality of the honey. The honey has a rich butterscotch color and a sweet taste. It is suitable for consumption as well as for topical applications.

  2. Royal Manuka Honey: This brand boasts high levels of leptosperin and germ-attacking MGO, surpassing more expensive manuka honey brands in tests. It has a darker color and a slightly thinner consistency compared to other manuka honeys. It has a sweet taste and pairs well with lemon in hot drinks.

  3. Steens Raw Manuka Honey: Steens guarantees the quality of its raw honey with a unique cold-process extraction method that preserves its natural properties. The honey has a thick and luxurious texture with a rich flavor. It is perfect for consuming directly or as a topping for various foods.

  4. Manura Manuka Honey: This affordable manuka honey brand offers exceptional levels of leptosperin and MGO, surpassing even more expensive options. It has a deep flavor with a concentrated sweetness, making it a great choice for adding to porridge or spreading on toast.

  5. Cartwright & Butlers Manuka Honey: With a 10+ antibacterial potency, this honey offers a slightly bitter and earthy flavor, which appeals to those who prefer less sweetness in their honey. It comes in an aesthetically pleasing Kilner-style jar and has a thick and gooey texture.

  6. Tahi Manuka Honey: Tahi’s manuka honey has an impressive UMF rating of 20+ and is known for its intense, savory flavor. This brand is also committed to sustainability and contributes a portion of its profits to conservation projects.


Choosing the best manuka honey requires careful consideration of factors such as certification marks, grading systems, and authenticity checks. By following the guidelines provided in this guide, you can ensure that you are purchasing genuine manuka honey with all its potential health benefits. Our recommended brands offer a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets. So go ahead, indulge in the delicious and health-boosting qualities of manuka honey, and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

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