It is time to Bee happy – Get real Manuka Honey

Sunday 07 Sep, 2014 

Just one powerful word for today’s letter.


Manuka Honey to be precise, and we’ve just taken delivery of the very freshest and newest into the UK.

It is sitting in its own security compound in the warehouse, guarded by round the clock henchmen and fierce dogs.

Search lights sweep the floor space around it and infra-red beams criss-cross the floor.

I do think my publisher is going to extra-ordinary lengths to stop yours truly pilfering a box or two of the stock!

Get your hands on the new season Manuka Honey – click here to refill your cupboards now

It’s always worth revisiting just why this particular honey from J Friend and Co is worth waiting for every year.

Much like a fine wine producer Jeremy and his team of artisan beekeepers watch over their precious workers as they feed on the Manuka bushes and load the hives with a fine mixture of honey, propolis and pollen that gives us the finest in healthy honey.

They close off the hives once the bushes have finished flowering making sure that the only nectar and pollen in the jar comes from the Manuka plants and not any other flowering species.

As such this is a true ‘mono-floral’ honey – absolutely guaranteed.

It is also a full honey, handled with love and care. Never heated or pumped through pipes at speed and pressure, and definitely never mixed with anything else – which means you get the full health giving experience you expect.

That’s not always the case, even with honeys that cost twice as much as ours.

In sampling across Europe, food inspectors found so called Manuka Honey to be anything but.

Sugar syrup, mixed with a range of honey from China showed up in several markets as pure powerful Manuka.

Testing the pollen grains exposed the flaw and scientific tests showed that it none of the health properties demanded of the true product. 

Things have got so bad that a whole new legislation about what can be called Manuka Honey is about to launch – which includes a standardisation of measurement for oxidative quality too.

Hopefully this will end the ‘mines got a bigger number than yours’ farce of many years where producers slapped a claim of UMF ratings on their jars claiming the bigger the better.

As I have written about before, this UMF reading is just a marketing exercise and often provides a misleading claim, rather than showing true healthy property.

The new standards might stop this bun fight in New Zealand and ensure that only properly effective Manuka Honey leaves their shores, but a lot of what we see in the UK actually gets shipped in bulk to processing plants elsewhere.

So, this means you can only rely on the honey that comes direct from New Zealand.

Now yesterday I was saying that we should avoid food that travel halfway around the world to get to us wasn’t I?

In this case I’m prepared to make an exception because it really is the only way to get pure Manuka Honey, properly tested and authenticated.

Plus, by getting your stock from real artisans who take care over their produce you will be able to track your jar back to the hive that it actually came from (each jar has a tracking number on that allows you to do this!)

Stock up your medicine chest and kitchen cupboard with tasty, pure and healthy Manuka Honey

Healthy honey – or not?

This new legislation will also be used to stop people making extra-ordinary and unsubstantiated health claims about Manuka Honey.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulations Agency (MHRA) and the Advertising Standards Authority have been cracking down on what they believe are incorrect or misleading claims.

Or so they say.

What they are really doing is hassling anyone who is trying to find safe and natural ways to be healthy – preferring instead to promote the products from Big Pharma.

Even we at the Good Life Letter have been warned off from telling you about the really potent health benefits honey provides.

But the authorities problem is lots of research keeps showing how effective it really is.

For instance a paper(1) published a month ago concurred that Manuka Honey:

- ‘has been shown to eradicate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from colonized wounds.’

- ‘ is also known to have a relatively low pH (3.5–4.5), which, besides inhibiting microbial growth, stimulates the bactericidal actions of macrophages.’

- ‘has been shown to specifically decrease the inflammatory response associated with ulcerative colitis.’

So I’m sorry nice people from Advertising Standards and MHRA but I’m just quoting from published, scientific journals here, using the exact same words that appear in print, and if that means you feel the need to clap me in irons... then so be it!

Just for the fun of it I thought I would also quote you a bit more from this study where they say:

‘Finally, in healthy individuals, Manuka Honey has been evaluated for its safety: its consumption showed: (1) no significant effect on the allergic status of the subjects; (2) no detrimental effect in relation to advanced glycation end products, which are implicated in a number of serious diseases, including renal disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease and heart disease; and (3) no change in gut microbiota homeostasis, confirming its safety for healthy individuals.’

So basically a safe and effective health product that can be enjoyed by all!

The real power of medicinal Manuka Honey

Pure raw and wholesome honeys contain high levels of hydrogen peroxide which confer antibacterial properties on them – hence we stock a wide range of delicious and healthy honeys in the shop.

But real Manuka Honey has additional factors which boost these anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties.

The key is methylglyoxal, a potent anti-bacterial compound which is found in high concentrations in the nectar of Manuka flowers.

But to keep this in its most potent state you need a honey producer who cares for their product, understands that speed is not important and protects the unique flavours and textures of their bee’s labours.

Just look what else they are doing with their honey:

- 100% Organic; absolutely no chemicals are used within a 3km range of any sited hive, nor in the management of the bees or production process.

- The first zero carbon honey; This is the first honey in the WORLD to achieve this accolade and conforms to ISO 14000 – audited by inspectors from the New Zealand government.

- Single origin; Each jar has the name of the beekeeper on it and is guaranteed to be from the same source flower and the same year – it is never blended. This means each jar can be traced back to the you on the internet!

- Processed with care; Processed in accordance with the organic ethic, the honey is extracted and rough filtered at low temperatures which retains all of the healthy enzymes and antioxidants that can be lost.

This honey is also put through a procedure called creaming which occurs at low temperature, with the honey being gently stirred for five days, breaking down the long chains of honey crystals...and that means it will not crystallise in the jar and will always be smooth and silky.

It is always my pleasure to open the stock cupboard to all you honey lovers out there, and as always this stock will be on a first come first served basis – never let it be said I would stop anyone getting every jar of honey they wanted...

...unlike my publisher!

Now where’s my Mission Impossible kit? It’s time I broke into Honey Fort Knox for my healthy sweet tooth fix.

Make a grab for your own pots of gold – but be quick it always sells fast

Yours, as always


(1) Alvarez-Suarez, J. M., Gasparrini, M., Forbes-Hernández, T. Y., Mazzoni, L., & Giampieri, F. (2014). The Composition and Biological Activity of Honey: A Focus on Manuka Honey. Foods, 3(3), 420-432.




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