There are over 300 different kinds of honey that can be found all around the world. Manuka Honey is not only one of the oldest types of honey; it is also stated to be one of the oldest substances found on planet Earth.
Manuka honey originated in the Island of Australia and New Zealand and to this day, it is only made in that very continent, despite the increasing levels of popularity and consumption.
The reason behind this exclusivity is directly related to how it is produced. Manuka honey is made by only one kind of bees that pollinate “Manuka Bush” and these bushes are only found in the island of (you guessed it) New Zealand and Australia.
Cultivation & Harvest
Now, to harvest and crop this specific type of honey, beekeepers actually have to remove bee hives from their original spots and into the region where there is an abundance of Manuka bushes.
Even then, there’s a catch. Most of the Manuka bushes grow in a regenerative process in the successive native forests of New Zealand. The mature native New Zealander forests will generally not contain much or in most cases any Manuka trees or bushes.
However, a destroyed, burnt or crush forest, in its primary stage of regeneration, will start to show signs of life with the growth of Manuka trees.
During the regeneration process of the native forests, Manuka comes back into the steep hillside of the mountains primarily as a bush or a shrub.
Eventually these bushes will get thicker and thicker, slowly becoming a large tree ranging from 15 to 25 foot tall. The first stage of regeneration in a native forest lasts up to 75 years, which also serves as the lifetime of an average Manuka tree.
The growth pattern of these trees is very unique and distinctive, making it rather easy to find areas with a lot of Manuka trees or bush.
The decent life span of Manuka doesn’t hurt either. Beekeepers can just place the hives near such forests and wait for the bees to do their jobs. Then, later on, they harvest the Manuka nectar.
All seems fairly easy up until now, doesn’t it? Find a forest that has started its regenerative process and is on its first stage. After locating such a region, as a beekeeper, gather the bees in hives and put them near locations that have a lot of Manuka trees growing nearby.
If that was all, it wouldn’t be considered very difficult to harvest Manuka honey at all, would it? But that’s the catch, right there. That’s not all that the beekeepers have to do.
Assurance of Authenticity
There are certain seasons when bees can pollinate these “native to Australia and New Zealand” Manuka bushes. So, the beekeepers actually have to keep their eyes peeled as to when the season rolls out as well as make sure that their bees are at work.
However, even after all of that, the beekeepers can’t really be 100% sure that all the nectar gathered or harvested by their bees are from the flowers of the Manuka trees.
So, there is actually no real assurance that all the honey that they have cropped is absolutely pure Manuka honey.
However, like in everything else, there are more and less experienced people in the beekeeping side of things. Here, the more experienced ones have figured out more than a few ways to gather higher concentrated Manuka honey, than their less experienced counterparts.
But, even that brings about another question: How do you measure the purity? You can’t just taste a spoon full of honey and speculate how much of it is pure Manuka Honey, right?
So, there has to be a scientific way to determine how much of the honey that the keepers have collected is pure Manuka Honey.
And of course, there is. There are two laboratories in New Zealand that measure the dietary Methylglyoxal in honey. Dietary Methylglyoxal is a naturally found organic compound in honey and in Manuka Honey.
Since it is way more densely concentrated in Manuka Honey than in any other variation of honey, the more the amount of dietary Methylglyoxal in a batch of honey, the more pure Manuka honey it possesses.
That is how Manuka honey is produced and cropped.
Specialty of Manuka
But, what is the big deal about this specific type of honey? The big deal is that Manuka Honey is now being touted as a “Super food”.
So, not only does it have all the general characteristics and properties of honey such as being anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, the potency level of Manuka honey in these aspects are almost unparalleled.
Also, did I mention that it is absolutely delicious? And, unlike most other natural remedies, there is no one way by which you need to consume this honey as a remedy.
You could take a spoon full of honey and swallow it for maximizing the pleasures of your taste buds if you are a person with more of a sweet tooth.
If not, you could mix a spoon full of Manuka Honey with a warm cup of tea or water or just add it on your cereal for regular use.
Moreover, if consumed daily, Manuka Honey does a great job of taking care of your skin. Courtesy of its medicinal properties, it can help in treating ailments and minor illnesses or pain caused by bacterial infections or inflammations.
Oh, and think of it as this way: if you are trying to cut sugar out of your diet but cannot quite find the right healthy alternative that tastes just as good, you can always turn to Manuka Honey as a natural sweetener, which has a lot fewer calories than sugar does.
On the other hand, it comes with a manifold of vitamins and minerals that will make you healthier and happier.
So by now, you have probably realized that cropping Manuka Honey from Manuka tree is very complicated to say the least.
But given how healthy it is and how it is gaining popularity at such a fast rate, it’s not difficult to fathom as to why so many Aussie and Zealander Beekeepers are putting their efforts into producing Manuka honey these days.