I got stung on the neck the other day.
The bee caught me off guard. I got in his way and he not so politely told me to move.
When I bought my first beehive nearly a decade ago, I had no idea what I’d be getting into. Hardly a week goes by when our phone doesn’t ring with somebody on the end begging for some of my honey.
I just installed 10 new hives… and I still won’t be able to keep up with demand.
It’s one of the hottest health trends on the planet – especially in these odd times.
The world is finally figuring out what many of us have known for a long time… that honey is nature’s wonder drug.
But the latest craze isn’t for the sort of honey we’re all used to. No, this time health experts are going gaga over a little-known form of honey that comes almost solely from a tiny sliver of the planet.
This island’s honey can’t be found anywhere else. And folks are draining their wallets to get their hands on the stuff.
Where a pound of standard clover honey from the States might cost you $12, the same amount of New Zealand’s manuka honey might cost you $40 or more.
To understand why there’s such a huge difference in price and whether you should pay it, you need to understand a bit about how bees make honey.
By now it should be clear that not all honey is the same. In fact, the final product has very little to do with the bees and a whole lot to do with the trees and plants that surround the hive.
Put some bees in a field of clover and you’ll get light, sweet honey.
Put them near a field of buckwheat and you’ll get dark, bitter honey.
And put them in a forest surrounded by the fragrant, pink flowers of manuka trees that grow only in New Zealand and you’ll get what so many folks are paying big bucks for.
It all has to do with the chemical composition of the nectar produced by various plants. When it comes to manuka, the key ingredient is an enzyme called methylglyoxal (MGO). Manuka honey has more of it than any other form of honey… much more.
The best way to think of MGO is as one of the planet’s strongest natural antibiotics.
It’s so strong, in fact, that some doctors are now turning to it instead of modern medicine. After all, scientists have yet to find a bacterium that has the ability to grow resistance to it. While folks are dying from drug-resistant infections and modern medicine’s inability to fight back, manuka honey has been quietly hiding in the remote mountains of New Zealand.
But the secret is out, and things are changing fast.
Now hospital bandages are coming soaked in the stuff. Doctors are rubbing it onto their patient’s wounds. And superbug infections are on the decline.
For folks with serious skin infections, manuka honey is a savior.
But that doesn’t mean you should go pushing traditional honey aside. After all, many of the beneficial properties of MGO are lost when our body’s digestive system gets done with its job.
After digestion, manuka honey and various other forms of (cheaper) honey are on par with each other.
In other words, the miracles happen before the stuff gets to our gut – like on our skin and in our throats.
That means manuka is a superior skin treatment, better at fighting the nasty germs that cause strep throat and the common cold, and a leader when it comes to treating sinus issues.
But once it hits your gut, it’s not all that different from the lower-priced, American-made variety.
What to Buy
Be warned, though. Not all manuka sold in the States is worthy of the high price tags.
As with things related to a craze, there are lots of folks looking to take advantage of excited buyers who are desperate for some help.
Fortunately, there are some easy things that will tell you if you’re buying the real deal.
First, there should be one or two numbers on every bottle of manuka honey. If you don’t see these numbers, don’t buy it.
The first number represents the MGO level. It tells us how much of the special enzyme is present in the honey. It’s measured in milligrams per kilogram. Look for anything higher than 260.
The next number measures the same thing, just a bit differently. The honey’s non-peroxide activity (NPA) is measured as a total percentage of the overall composition. Look for an NPA figure of 10 or higher.
If the numbers are lower, there may be manuka present in the honey, but it’s not enough to show any real medicinal benefit.
Don’t buy it.
The bottom line is if you have a skin condition or feel like you may be getting sick, a bit of manuka honey may fix what ails you.
But when it comes to the many benefits of ingesting a spoonful of honey (which is what most folks are looking for these days), traditional honey is just as good.
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