Is manuka honey worth it? It depends. Here's why...


5 minutes, 30 seconds.

Essential Takeaways

Whether manuka honey is worth the cost is up to you. What do you want from your honey?

If you want a natural sweet hit every day, and you’re not too worried about extra health benefits, then any honey will fill that gap.

But if you’re keen for a wellness kick or you want the medical benefits that have made manuka honey famous, then it’s worth buying the real stuff.

Manuka honey can cost quite a bit more than other jars you find at the on the shelves.

So it’s understandable that you might be wondering whether manuka honey is worth it.

But there are good reasons for this price difference.

And in the end, it’s all about what your individual needs are.

So by the end of this guide, you should have a clear understanding of whether manuka honey is worth it for you.

In this guide to whether it’s worth buying manuka honey:

What is manuka honey?

Manuka honey is a type of honey made from the nectar of manuka flowers.

Our manuka honey is monofloral.

This means that mostly manuka nectar was used by our beekeeping partners.

This is measured using chemical and DNA markers that identify manuka nectar in the honey1. It must meet minimum thresholds to be deemed monofloral.

Read more: What is monofloral manuka honey and why does it matter?

Manuka is the Māori name2 for the plant species Leptospermum scoparium. So one thing you need to watch out for when buying real manuka honey is that it came from New Zealand.

Manuka honey has earned a unique reputation for its wellness and healing properties.

And this contributes to its higher price tag.

It also costs more because:

  • Top tier manuka honey often comes from plants and hives at higher altitudes, making access to the highest performing hives limited and difficult.
  • The environment has to be just right for quality manuka honey. Factors that determine this include soil health, climate, and bee health.
  • Only 2,800 tonnes of manuka honey are produced each year (compared to 1.9 million tonnes of other honey). And this needs to supply the global market. As a result, genuine manuka honey is harder to come by.
  • Manuka honey is rigorously and independently tested to certify its authenticity (but we’ll discuss this more later).

So why bother with all that?

Because what’s in manuka honey has proved to be quite special.

And that’s what we’ll investigate next.

What’s so special about manuka honey?

“Significant modern pharmacological and clinical evidence have highlighted the wide medicinal applications of manuka honey as a unique mono-floral honey.”

Manuka honey has earned itself a bit of a reputation. One that sets it apart from other honeys.

And it’s all to do with chemistry.

Manuka honey is highly valued for its non-peroxide antibacterial properties mainly attributed to its exclusive content of methylglyoxal (MGO).

Its health benefits are credited to this unique chemical composition.

It represents an alternative remedy for different ailments to include bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral infections, and is currently exploited in a massive number of patents.”

Dr. Peter Molan of the University of Waikato, New Zealand, was the first to investigate manuka honey3.

That was back in the 1980s.

He found that manuka honey had unusually high antibacterial activity which might offer new natural remedies in health and medicine.

Decades of research later and manuka honey is used by doctors and vets for a huge range of ailments.

Today, we have the evidence that manuka honey:

  • Contains highly potent antibacterial properties that are useful in a range of medical contexts4.
  • Relieves allergy symptoms like sore throats, coughs, and colds5.
  • Has an osmotic effect on wounds6 and burns7 helping them to heal faster.
  • Can be used as an anti-inflammatory and even against ulcers8.
  • Can be used as a supplement in the management of diabetes9.
  • Is used by vets with great success in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria10.
  • Has emollient properties which can help reduce rosacea, soothe eczema11, and help to clear acne12.

Phew! That’s quite a lot of goodness for one jar.

So is it worth paying more for manuka honey?

That depends. And it’s what we’ll discuss next.

Is manuka honey better than other honey?

Whether manuka is the best honey or worth the cost depends on one thing:

What do you want from your honey?

If you want a natural sweetener to add to your morning brew or to foods, and you’re not interested in much else, then any honey will do the job.

But if you want the health benefits that have made it famous, then manuka honey is the best for you.

This is particularly important for medical use, as the beneficial compounds are at their highest concentration in top-grade manuka honey.

Manuka honey is also more traceable than other honeys.

If you see the UMF™ trademark on a jar of manuka honey, it indicates that:

  • This is genuine manuka honey from New Zealand.
  • It has been tested and certified by the independent, official body; the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association.
  • It has been professionally graded based on its chemical composition, so you know exactly what is in the jar.

These are the criteria that you need to look for when buying authentic manuka honey.

The higher the UMF™ and MGO levels, the more potent the beneficial properties. (MGO refers to the levels of methylglyoxal which is associated with antibacterial activity.)

Honey is one of the most faked foods in the world.

Buying UMF™ certified manuka honey ensures that you get the real deal.

Read more: UMF™ Honey and the UMFHA

Buying the right manuka honey for you

So we know that the higher the UMF™ grading, the more potent the good stuff is in manuka honey.

Which means that if you’re after the best health benefits, the top choices are UMF™ 24+ MGO 1122+ and UMF™ 26+ MGO 1282+.

But there are lower grades available too. And these can give you a delicious wellness kick, depending on what you want them for.

Check out our recommendations below to help you live a vibrant life by nature.

Read more: How much UMF™ is enough?

Manuka honey for general wellness and cooking

We recommend a spoonful a day of UMF™ 5+ MGO 83+ or UMF™ 10+ MGO 263+.

This is safe for children and adults, and will help give you a natural energy boost with a delicious sweet flavor.

You can add it to warm (not boiling) drinks, breakfast foods, smoothies, desserts, and even dressings!

Find recipes and more uses for manuka honey here.

Manuka honey for skincare and minor wounds

We recommend using UMF™ 15+ MGO 514+ or UMF™ 20+ MGO 829+.

To help with acne or skin hydration, you can either apply manuka honey to your skin directly on its own, leave it for a few minutes, then wash it off. Or you can create a natural face mask.

When using manuka honey on wounds, it’s a good idea to create your own honey-filled gauze.

Our burns guide describes how to do this safely.

Manuka honey for medical use

If you’re looking to clean a wound and create a natural healing environment around open skin, then you need the highest potency manuka honey: UMF™ 24+ MGO 1122+ or UMF™ 26+ MGO 1282+.  

It’s a good idea to opt for these higher grades for any medical uses where you’re aiming for the maximum impact.

Just make sure that you check with a medical professional that this is the right course of action for you.

So is manuka honey worth it?

Is manuka honey worth the money?

Manuka honey is worth the cost if you’re looking for the health benefits that have made it famous.

With its high levels of antibacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, manuka honey is used in foods, skincare, and medicine throughout the world.

And it has been for thousands of years13.

Super nature that amplifies your life.

Curious about what manuka honey could do for you?

Shop our range here.

Suggested articles for further reading...

Sources referenced in the text (in order):

1 Honey bee products and processing requirements, Ministry for Primary Industries.

2 Manuka: a honey of a plant, NZ Story.

3Honey research, Peter Molan.

4 Antibacterial activity of manuka honey, National Library of Medicine.

5The potential use of honey as a remedy for allergic diseases, National Library of Medicine.

6Honey: a biologic wound dressing, Wounds Journal.

7 Up-to-date use of honey for burns treatment, National Library of Medicine.

8Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcer potential of manuka honey, National Library of Medicine.

9Nutrients and diet, Hindawi Journal.

10Why use manuka honey, The Veterinary Nurse.

11 How to treat eczema with honey, Derm Collective.

12 Honey in dermatology and skincare: a review, National Library of Medicine.

13 Antibacterial activity of manuka honey, National Library of Medicine.

What is monofloral manuka honey and why does it matter? New Zealand Honey Co.

How to avoid buying fake manuka honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey vs regular honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

Why is manuka honey expensive? New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey, a unique monofloral honey, Science Direct.

Coffee with honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey health benefits, New Zealand Honey Co.

Thinking of buying medical grade manuka honey? Read this first…, New Zealand Honey Co.

UMF™ honey and the UMFHA, New Zealand Honey Co.

Decoding UMF™, New Zealand Honey Co.

Fake manuka honey: what you need to know, New Zealand Honey Co.

How much UMF™ is enough? New Zealand Honey Co.

3 ways to use manuka honey for acne, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey face mask, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for wounds, New Zealand Honey Co.

Your wellness journey starts with a spoonful a day.

Thank you!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.