December 9, 2019
The Gift Of Honey And The Benefits Of Manuka
By Michael D. Shaw
Honey is a sweet, viscous liquid food, dark golden in color, produced in the honey sacs of various bees from the nectar of flowers. Flavor and color are determined by the flowers from which the nectar is gathered. Chemically, the nectar goes through an inversion process whereby most of its sucrose (a disaccharide) breaks down into the monosaccharides fructose and glucose.
Inversion is accomplished via enzymes in the bees’ crop. In practice, when a honeybee returns to the hive, it passes the nectar to another bee by regurgitating the liquid into the other bee’s mouth. This regurgitation process is repeated until the partially digested nectar is finally deposited into a honeycomb. The evaporation of excess moisture is accomplished by groups of bees fanning the honeycomb cells with their wings.
In 2018, author Joseph Nordqvist compiled an impressive list of honey’s health benefits…
1. Wound healing. The respected Cochrane Reviews stated that: “There is high quality evidence that honey heals partial thickness burns around 4 to 5 days more quickly than conventional dressings. There is moderate quality evidence that honey is more effective than antiseptic followed by gauze for healing wounds infected after surgical operations.”
2. Decreases the severity and duration of diarrhea.
3. Prevents acid reflux.
4. Fights infection. Protein Defensin-1 is the active agent. Manuka honey (more on this later) has shown efficacy against Clostridium difficile. Efficacy against certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria has also been demonstrated.
In item 4 above, we referenced Manuka honey. Manuka honey comes from Australia and New Zealand, and is produced by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush Leptospermum scoparium. While all honey exhibits antibacterial properties, some types are more potent than others, and Manuka honey is rich in methylglyoxal, a powerful antibacterial. The more methylglyoxal, the stronger the antibiotic effect.
However, with all the great results being touted for Manuka honey, it is becoming one of the world’s most fraudulently labeled ingredients. In one celebrated case, Trader Joe’s had a class action lawsuit filed against it for selling Manuka honey fraudulently labeled as 100 percent pure that tested between 57.3 and 62.6 percent manuka honey. Trader Joe’s did prevail in that action.
One way to assure that you are obtaining the real deal Manuka honey is to get as close to the source as possible, which brings us to Awhi Single Harvest Mānuka Honey. Awhi is an ancestral collective of close-knit Māori families. Their home is a remote wilderness in New Zealand’s North Island, at the foothills of Mount Ruapehu. In this spectacular landscape, they nurture the lands that have been home to more than 25 generations of their ancestors.
As they put it, “The Awhi way is about being connected to the land. It nourishes us, and we treat the land and everything on it with care and respect.” Pure and potent, Awhi Mānuka honey is harvested by hand just once a year. The bees have a single home for life, to reduce stress and ensure the honey they produce is consistently high quality.
Awhi Mānuka honey is certified for purity and quality by the independent Unique Mānuka Factor (UMF) Honey Association. Its testing process measures three signature compounds—Leptosperin, DHA and Methylglyoxal—and verifies that each jar contains genuine Mānuka honey from New Zealand.
Andrew Beijeman, CEO of Atihau Whanganui Incorporation told me…
“We have a deep kinship with the natural world, as such we give first to nature, so it can give back to us. We call this ‘The Awhi Way’. By minimizing stress on our bees, we can truly say that Awhi Single Harvest Mānuka honey is ‘Better for bees, better for nature, better for you’.”