Antibacterial Manuka Honey

All honey has some naturally occurring antibacterial qualities (peroxide activity).  This is due to the high levels of natural sugar in the honey, therefore fewer water molecules, which makes it hard for bacteria to grow. Hydrogen Peroxide can easily be damaged by light and heat.  This is one of the reasons why at Sweetree Honey we are very careful not to damage our honey with heat, so all our honey retain some antibacterial properties. Find out how honey is tested for heat damage.


What is Special About Manuka Honey?

Some Manuka hoManuka-Flower-89-856-163ney has a special healing quality that occurs when the bee takes manuka nectar and adds a honey ripening enzyme as they are storing the honey in the hive.   This healing quality has a special antibacterial activity, it gives a wider range and greater antibacterial power and allows the honey to absorb deeper into human tissue.  This special component is only found in NZ Manuka and Australian Jellybush honey.  In New Zealand it has been known as 'active Manuka honey'. 
Consumed regularly manuka honey will help relieve joint pain, improve sore throats, relieve stomach ulcers, lower blood pressure, nourish & heal skin, and increase immunity to sustain great health naturally.

What's the Difference Between Mono-Floral and Multi-Floral Manuka?


Mono-Floral Manuka

Mono-floral honey comes from a single flower source.  Mono-floral manuka honey means that the bees predominately foraged on manuka flowers, therefore it's a more pure manuka honey.


Multi-Floral Manuka

Muti-flora honey is from a mix of flower sources. For manuka honey to be labeled as 'multi-floral manuka it means that there are other floral sources in the honey as well as manuka.


What Do The Manuka Honey Ratings Mean?

Manuka rating labels can be so confusing!  But to ensure you purchase real manuka honey you do need to understand them. Look for the following ratings, just having 'active' or 'bioactive' on a label is not a true indication it is pure manuka honey.

Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA)

Only manuka honey has NPA. This non-peroxide activity is rated to signify the level of antibacterial strength. The higher the rating the higher the activity and therefore the greater the healing power (just like SPF in sunscreen is an indicator of sun protection). Generally, a rating of 0-4 is undetected, 5-9 is used for maintenance, 10-14 for therapeutic usage and 15+ has very high activity levels for therapeutic usage.


Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)

Unique Manuka Factor is a branding that is generally affordable for large commercial operators and provides an assurance to overseas customers that testing for activity meets international requirements.  The test for this rating is NPA (as discussed above), for example, a 5+UMF is the same at 5+ NPA.


Methylglyoxal (MG or MGO)

There is disagreement within the industry on the consistent reliability of NPA results and therefore methylglyoxal testing is now required.   Methylglyoxal is the active ingredient responsible for the non-peroxide antibacterial activity in Manuka honey. It is a naturally occurring and stable compound that can be consistently and reliably tested. Methylglyoxal does correlate to NPA, the higher the MG rating the higher the NPA rating.

 For example here are some comparisons:

Methylglyoxal (MG)

Non Peroxide Activity / UMF,
approx equivalent

83 5+
146 7+
356 12+
829 20+
1200 25+
Methylglyoxal is the new industry marker for antibacterial activity, so you will see this on most manuka honey labels, or UMF for those that pay for the UMF branding.

Microscope-81Sweetree Testing

All Sweetree manuka honey is tested at Analytica Laboratories, an IANZ-accredited laboratory.  We test for Methylglyoxal (MG), Non-peroxide Activity (NPA), Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), colour, conductivity, and Tutin (Tutin is a toxin the bees inadvertently collect from tutu, a poisonous New Zealand shrub).  We also test for Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), this is a precursor compound of MG and is a good indicator of the potential levels of MG that will develop as the manuka honey matures in storage.

On our labels, we show if it's mono-floral or multi-floral manuka and the MG rating.

Here's the manuka honey Sweetree currently has in stock:  

Monofloral ManukaMG139-167-126  

Ohui Mono-Floral Liquid Manuka – 138MG (6+NPA)

Multifloral ManukaMG104-775  

Four Brothers Reserve Multi-Floral Manuka - 104MG (5+ NPA)

See Sweetree's Honey Range

Read our blog to see what’s happening

Read our blog to keep up to date with what we are up to!
Find out more

What do our customers say?

"This honey so delicious!  It taste just like when I was a kid, rather than the supermarket brands"  Anna Bradford, Rotorua
Read more customer feedback