Manuka honey is one of the most famous honeys in the world because of its medicinal properties, including:
Antimicrobial activity – that is, the ability to kill superbugs (antibiotic‐resistant bacteria and other difficult to treat microbes) that cause serious infections
Wound healing and anti‐inflammatory activity.
What makes Manuka honey so special?
A natural compound called methylglyoxal (MGO) is responsible for much of the unique activity of Manuka honey. The MGO comes from a component, called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which occurs organically in the nectar of flowers of some Leptospermum plants.
One of the most amazing things about the antibacterial activity of Manuka honey is that although bacteria that cause serious infections can develop resistance to our modern antibiotics (which is how they become superbugs), they cannot develop resistance to the activity of Manuka honey (Blair et al. 2009).
Antibacterial potency testing of Manuka honey explained:
For commercially competitive reasons, there have been a number of symbols introduced into the market aiming to represent the antibacterial strength of active honey. These include NPA (Non‐Peroxide Activity), UMF® (Unique Manuka Factor) and MGO (methylglyoxal).
The antibacterial strength can be measured and is often shown as a number on the labels (i.e. NPA 10+; UMF® 10+; MGO 263+). The higher the activity rating the higher the antibacterial properties and strength of the honey.