Honey- the most popular types being raw and manuka honey– has earned praise all over the globe for its many health benefits.
It’s not a surprise that everyone is turning to this natural sweetener as a sugar alternative in drinks, wounds, and as a natural treatment for various problems (like wound and acne).
That being said, manuka honey has been shown to differ from the raw honey regarding properties, healing capabilities, among other things.
In this article, I’ll explain the differences that exist between the two types of honey.
Difference Between Manuka Honey and Raw Honey
First, we start by giving a little explanation of each type for those who don’t have a clue what all this is about.
Raw honey- refers to honey that exists in the natural state, either as obtained after extension or in the beehive itself. In other words, it has not been pasteurized or filtered. It might contain some bits of pollen and wax.
Manuka Honey- Manuka honey, on the other hand, refers to one that is made by the bees from the flowers of the manuka tree. By just placing your hives in areas dominated by this vegetation, you’ll get manuka honey.
The trees are mainly found in New Zealand and Australia.
Unlike raw honey, manuka tends to display some unusual viscous properties- i.e., its gel-like in still state and turns liquid on stirring.
Major Differences Between Manuka and Raw honey
Now that you’ve got a slight idea what each type of honey entails, it’s time to dive into details of the differences setting the two apart…
As we’ve already seen above, manuka honey comes from one particular type of tree- the manuka bushes. In other terms, this means that this honey does not contain blends of other types of honey. Thus, all the bio-active compounds in it will remain consistent.
Manuka honey enjoys a wide popularity as the honey that carries excellent health and medical properties than the generic honey.
Manuka honey also scores highly when tested for the concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO), a natural antibacterial compound. Might you have seen this on the honey labels?
One thing worth noting about this compound is that it’s incredibly heated stable. So, even if heating manuka honey might damage other bio-active compounds, the MGO compound will remain intact and will show in the final product.
According to some recent studies, MGO has shown to effectively inhibit several pathogenic bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Several other antibacterial compounds have also been identified in manuka. These will exert beneficial health properties to your body when you consume the honey.
However, it’s good to note these compound aren’t as stable as MGO and tend to degrade easily when exposed to light/heat.
You can easily tell the total antibacterial properties that come with the manuka honey you want to buy by looking at its score- the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). This is mainly dictated by the concentration of the MFO compound in the honey.
Raw honey is created from any plant. That being said, it’s unique in that it has not yet been subjected to any heating process before being sold. In the raw state, most of its bio-active compounds remain active.
Did you know that raw honey contains a much higher variety of bio-active compounds than even manuka honey? However, since the honey is derived from various plants, the type and quantity of the compounds tend to vary.
One of the primary compounds unique to raw honey is the bee-defensin, a peptide that exists in two forms (bee defensin-1 and bee defensin-2). This acts as natural part of the bee hive immune system. As a potent antibacterial agent, the peptide helps promote your immune and digestive system.
Other compounds you’ll get in raw honey include several polyphenols- like catechins (also present in green tea) and caffeic acid. These polyphenols introduce antioxidant properties in your body, which keep your body from many ailments that arise from oxidative damage.
Although you might find these compounds in manuka honey as well, they tend to show a higher concentration in raw honey.
Manuka vs. Raw Honey: Which Is the Best One for You?
From our discussion above, it’s clear that both manuka and raw honey come with additional antibacterial compounds which might offer other health benefits to your body.
Manuka honey, in particular, demonstrates a higher consistency of its contents. Plus it comes tested for its antibacterial potency. When heat-treated, however, the honey tend to lose most of the bio-active compounds, e.g. bee-defensin and polyphenols.
On the contrary, raw honey carries a higher concentration of these compounds. Unfortunately, it’s not tested for the quantity of its contents and varies depending on the plants it’s formed from. Therefore, a high content cannot always be guaranteed.
So, which honey should you buy?
The answer to this question heavily depends on your intentions.
If you want the honey just to give you a great taste, then you can with either type of honey.
And if you want honey for unique properties, like MGO enzyme, then you need to go for manuka honey.
Important Note: It’s good to note that honey contains a high sugar content. Though it comes with some significant medical and health properties which promote your health, the high sugar content might negatively affect your insulin levels.