I know manuka honey has the most beauty benefits compared to other strains of honey. But that doesn’t mean shopping for one is easy. There are simply way too many brands on the market. All of them claim their honey as “natural” or “100% made in New Zealand.” However, the most confusing part isn’t the brands. It’s the ratings. They are as many as the stars in the sky. And there seems to be no industry standard. Every company can claim their rating to be the most accurate and reliable. As a consumer, I simply want to know, which one is actually the most reliable?
Let’s look at three of the ratings of manuka honey on the market, and you will know how confusing, and misleading, the rating system is.
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)
This is the most widely known rating of manuka honey. It measures the potency of non-peroxide antibacterial activity in manuka honey (here is a primer of manuka honey if you want to know more about this superfood). Such antibacterial properties stay potent even after exposure to dilution, heat, and light. According to Active Manuka Honey Association, manuka honey with a UMF12 to UMF15 is considered to be effective against a wide array of bacteria. UMF10 is generally considered to be the minimum antibacterial level.
Methyglyoxal is a naturally occurring component responsible for manuka honey’s antibacterial activity. According to MGO Manuka Honey, if manuka honey has low or no MGO, it’s a natural or manufactured blend of manuka with other honeys. MGO 100 is considered to be the minimum antibacterial level.
Debate Between UMF and MGO
Given that MGO is a representative of the antibacterial property in manuka honey, you might think the higher the UMF rating is, the more MGO the honey has. There must be little difference between the two, right? I thought so, but upon further research, I find out the story isn’t as simple.
According to Apitheraphy News, although MGO is an indicator of manuka honey’s antibacterial activity, its interaction with other components in the honey may alter its antibacterial property. Thus, the actual antibacterial activity of manuka honey may differ. That’s why MGO may not be a good indicator of honey’s antibacterial property.
Well, does it mean that UMF is a more reliable rating? There may not be an easy and definite answer. It is because, according to Mail Online, tests done at different times on the same batch of honey can give very different results. For this, however, Active Manuka Honey Association retorts that results vary only by a few points, and it takes this into account when rating the honey.” Can things be more confusing?
Total Antibacterial Activity (TAA)
I don’t know the popularity of this rating in other parts of the world. I bought one simply because I wanted to see if there is any difference between manuka honey at different price points. TAA measures the total antibacterial activity in honey. Because it includes both the peroxide and non-peroxide antibacterial activity in manuka honey, it may be a less ideal choice if you are looking for manuka honey with unique antibacterial property, as in UMF.
The Most Reliable Rating of Manuka Honey
If you are still reading this and are not the least lost in this maze of ratings, chances are you might be one of those who are curious to know the answer to this riddle: what in the world is the most reliable manuka honey rating?
I am not an expert on honey and can only speak from my personal experience. For me, reputation is still important. So, yes, the one I am using is the UMF one. It’s most well-known, and has been on the market for over 10 years. I feel comfortable using it and am satisfied with the result I get. So, if you ask me, UMF will be the one that I choose.
Do you use manuka honey in your beauty routine? How do you decide which one to buy? By its price? Brand? Rating? Or personal preference? Share it below.