Honey, I’m Sick


In every tourist shop and supermarket, I noticed a certain honey for sale that I’d never heard of. The more I learned about it, the more it became clear that this was no ordinary honey. It’s a super-honey. Manuka honey. Evidence indicates that it helps to heal wounds, promotes digestive health and is anti-bacterial. One of our bus drivers on the tour, who used to work on an emergency response team, always used manuka honey as a salve on victims with open wounds.

There is a classification system, called Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), that corresponds to the strength of the honey’s antibacterial properties. The higher the number, the more antiseptic it is. The honeys with higher UMF ratings have a distinctive, medicinal taste. Pretty strong stuff.

But, it’s very expensive. We did a lot of price-checking as we browsed through stores. The highest price we encountered was NZ$ 70 for a specific 250g bottle (UMF 20+). Eventually, we saw the same bottle for as low as NZ$ 44 at a fruit stand near Cromwell, about an hour or so east of Queenstown. It pays to shop around.

Postscript: I read on Dr. Mercola’s site that manuka honey is every bit as potent as it claims to be. Apparently, it can even be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains, such as MRSA.