If you were like many other people, you’d think that any honey produced from manuka trees takes what it requires to rank as a medical grade honey.
But the truth is- there exist different grades of manuka honey based on the quality of its contents and their potency.
To qualify as medical grade manuka honey, the manuka must pass a chain of tests of standard as well as consistency and quality. It’s tested for microbiological contaminations, assayed to determine water content and phytochemical composition, among other things.
Indeed, there are many things that manuka honey must conform to so as to attain the medical grade status.
In this post, we’ll discover the important factors that define the medical grade manuka honey.
Let’s do this:
What is Medical Grade Manuka Honey?
The process involved in the production of medical grade manuka honey is similar to that of normal manuka honey. That is, it depends on the bees that gather nectar and pollen from the manuka bushes (sometimes referred to as tea tree).
However, the production of high-quality Manuka honey is highly strict; and even more stricter for the medical grade manuka.
It MUST be free of contaminants
Yes, people involved in the overall production of the medical grade honey must observe a very strict production as well as quality management to ensure the honey purity remains at par. They must be careful to ensure not even pesticides find their way into the production chain at any processing stage.
To do this, the producers must be ready to take on strict guidelines right from sourcing, harvesting, extraction and even product testing.
The process is carried out with so much care that even the beehives must be covered to ensure no dust contacts them!
The extraction and processing of honey are usually carried in the state of the art facilities to ensure that contamination does not occur- this can even be performed in some air-locked facilities.
It’s also good to note that the extraction process also demands rigorous control to minimize any cross-contamination chances from the tools utilized or from the environment.
At the testing process, the honey is carefully examined to ensure it hasn’t undergone any forms of microbiological contaminations.
The sterilizations process for the medical grade manuka is very different from that of the manuka honey you use in your kitchen.
It is carried out using the gamma radiations to destroy all the potential microbes present (that might affect the antibacterial activity of honey).
The radiations do not affect the effectiveness of honey.
Factors That Make Medical Grade Manuka Honey
Several factors are taken into account when it comes to determining the potency of medical grade manuka honey.
The methylglyoxal, commonly abbreviate as MGO, refers to the long-lasting antibacterial enzyme and its ONLY found in manuka honey.
Though all honeys bear hydrogen peroxide which gives them the antibiotic capabilities, the manuka honey boats of antibacterial properties as well due to the presence of this enzyme.
What’s the difference between antibacterial and antibiotic? You might wonder…
Antibiotics refer to a wider range of antimicrobial compounds that can act on bacterial, fungi, among other compounds.
Although the antibacterial fall under the antibiotics, they can only kill bacteria.
2. UMF (Unique Manuka Factor)
This primarily refers to the measure of leptosperin, MGO, and DHA. It is overseen by the UMF Honey Association.
In addition to hydrogen peroxide, manuka honey has shown some additional antibacterial properties. Since these properties are known, they’re known as UMF. The higher the rating, the better the honey.
DHA stands for dihydroxyacetone and refers to a compound present in the nectar collected by bee from manuka flowers.
When “new,” manuka honey contains low MGO and high DHA concentrations. Over time, the DHA in the honey interact with variety if naturally occurring amino acid and proteins to create MGO
Thus, manuka honey matures and hits he peak at around 18 months.
4. Molan Gold Standard
Named after Professor Peter Molan MBE, the pioneer of the manuka honey research, this is an international organization [http://www.mgs.org.nz/] that authenticates manuka honey.
To be labeled as medical grade honey, manuka must have an UMF rating of about 9.5plus, moisture <50, microbe level <500. Don’t forget that it must also pass a range of tests to check for any contaminants- these should be below the set thresholds.
NOTE: The above values are just rough estimations to give you a clear picture of what the medical grade manuka honey is like.
Uses of Medical Grade Manuka Honey
Medical-grade manuka honey enjoys wide usage in two main sectors- beauty and health sectors.
It’s used in many clinical as well as over the counter products to treat wounds, burns, ulcers, and cuts.
You’ll find wound dressings that contain medical grade honey.
Due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and therapeutic properties, medical grade manuka honey also enjoys usage in the beauty industry.
Now you have an idea what medical grade manuka honey entails. It’s a special grade of honey that has been produced with the ultimate care to ensure to meet the set standards of quality and consistency. The honey has a unique sourcing, harvesting and extraction process and undergoes rigorous tests to ensure it has what it needs to qualify for the “medical-grade” label.
Because of its high antibacterial potency, this unique manuka finds usage in healthcare and beauty industry.