What Does UMF Manuka Honey Mean?

UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor.

UMF is a registered trade mark of the Active Manuka Honey Industry (AMHIG) that is applied to manufacturers of Manuka Honey that produce it to a certain strength and get this certified using the UMF test in laboratories down in New Zealand.  Only manufacturers that pay to use the UMF trade mark are allowed to show it on their pots of honey.

Chances are you’ve looked at some Manuka Honey and noticed that there is a number on it – a bit like suntan lotion – and, a bit like us when we first came about Manuka Honey, you’re wondering what on earth it stands for?

So, to cut a long story short, the UMF rating, for example 10+, is all about how strong, or in other words, how potent it is. Hence forth why there is a price variation on each strength.   But here’s how and why the UMF appears…

There are two types of Manuka Honey on the market:

  • Active Manuka Honey – for everyday use
  •  UMF Active Manuka Honey – for specific medicinal purposes

Each of the Honey types contain Peroxide and Non-Peroxide Activity to varying degrees.  ACTIVE Manuka Honey is pre-dominantly Peroxide activity (can be as much as 95%+), but, a UMF Manuka Honey will always show a rating using a Non-Peroxide Activity, discounting any Peroxide Activity rating. Both have healing qualities but the Non-Peroxide Activity is the more potent of the two.   Sounds complicated, but essentially, a UMF Manuka Honey is ALWAYS going to be stronger (sometimes by 50%) more than an ACTIVE Manuka Honey.

FACT: It’s the Non-Peroxide Activity in UMF Active Manuka Honey that has special healing qualities!

Each batch of honey that is produced – once it’s been packaged in New Zealand (and NZ only!) –  is product tested and rated accordingly for its activeness and thus it’s UMF.  It’s important to note that not all Manuka Honey has the UMF antibacterial property that is considered especially good for therapeutic use and special healing qualities.

The research centre that rate the honey and give it its UMF rating is the Active Manuka Honey Industry (AMHIG), in association with a Dr Peter Molan MBE, of the Waikato University’s Honey Research Unit, who first discovered the unique properties of Manuka Honey,.

This means that all medicinal strength Manuka Honey produced is certified and rated with an official UMF number that can only be used by licensed producers and distributors who have to meet a strict criteria of both quality and standards!

So no truer word said than “if it doesn’t have the UMF trade mark (UMF) on the pot, it’s not the “healing UMF honey”.

What UMF Number Do I need?

So, when you are considering buying some UMF Manuka Honey you need to think about what you are taking it for.

  • Maybe you are taking it for general well being – a case of ‘prevention is the cure’?  In this instance, you’d be looking at having a UMF 10+ variety.
  • If you are prone to ailments or feel like you’re always catching a cough and cold, or have an on-going illness, so need good protection, then it is recommended you go for a slightly higher strength like a UMF 15+ – UMF 18+ variety.
  • And if you have a serious health condition and need a more ‘superior’ variety then look at a UMF 20+ to UMF 22+ honey.

Top Tip: If you are still unsure about what type of honey you want or need then we’ve found this website to be particularly useful www.manukahoneydirect.co.uk  – what’s more, if you want to discuss something try giving them a call – we have and nothing is too much trouble – 01483 205431.

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  1. What is honey made up of? – Manuka Honey Blog

  2. Donna
    18/03/2014 at 21:46

    Sounds like I need the highest level, chronic sinusitis, ear aches, acid reflux, and old age. Thanks very much.

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