Today, we wanted to explore the difference between raw honey and Manuka honey. Honey has been used for centuries, traditionally, for its medicinal properties. Nowadays, it is used for a myriad of reasons! Whether that be for allergies, to calm a scratchy throat, for skin ailments or even to sweeten a homemade dessert. We all know and appreciate honey for its sweet and rich properties, but do we really know how it is created? Let's start with the basics...

What is honey?

Honey is a substance created by busy groups of honey bees feeding off of the nectar of flowering plants. It is then used by the hive as a source of energy. They store honey in wax structures known as honeycombs. The process of turning nectar into honey is actually more detailed than imagined. Bees create honey through a rigorous process including digestion, regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and evaporation.

What makes raw honey unique?

Raw honey is just that: pure and straight from the hive. Additionally, it is unprocessed and unpasteurized. The only “processing” it experiences is a light filtering to remove clumps of wax before being transferred into jars.

What makes it so unique is all of the active properties of the honey. Being unpasteurized means it is not heated over 118 degrees F, it contains a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. In fact, raw honey consists of over 30 types of bioactive plant compounds! Furthermore, raw honey features traces of bee pollen which is touted for its high antioxidant properties.

In terms of raw honey, there are many varieties to choose from! Browsing the aisles, we see so many options such as clover or wildflower raw honey. The further identification of the honey explains what types of flowers the bees pollinated. Each type of honey bears a different flavor. Clover honey is a lighter and delicate flavor. Wildflower honey has a sweeter and more fragrant taste. Appreciate the uniqueness in variety!

What differentiates Manuka honey from the rest?

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Native to New Zealand, this honey is produced by bees who pollinate the flower Leptospermum scoparium, also called the Manuka bush. What makes Manuka honey so sought after is its potent phenolic compounds. Specifically, the compound Methylglyoxal also known as MGO. It is a desirable component of Manuka honey due to its potential antibacterial properties.

Alongside MGO, another important Manuka honey grading scale is UMF, otherwise known as the "Unique Manuka Factor". This rigorous testing process ensures the quality and purity of the honey. The higher the MGO & UMF label, the more active compounds the product contains.

Its high content of beneficial compounds means that it can be used for a variety of ailments. We love to eat Manuka honey when we get a sore throat, and to promote oral health, healing wounds, and perhaps even digestive health! Add a scoop of honey to a cup of tea. Spread a small amount onto a scratch or burn. Or, just grab a spoon and eat straight from the jar! Just be careful to read the serving size on the jar.

We hoped this helped to better explain the many benefits and differences of raw honey and Manuka honey. Have you tried either of these options? Let us know in the comments below, or visit us in-store if you have any questions.