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Which Manuka Honey Is Best? UMF, MGO, K+ and Raw Honey Explained - Aotea Wellness

Which Manuka Honey Is Best? UMF, MGO, K+ and Raw Honey Explained

During 2020, the hype around Manuka Honey boomed. We recently released a post on Manuka Honey and its benefits during the coronavirus outbreak.

As the price tag suggests, not all Manuka honey is equal. There are a lot different terms surrounding Manuka Honey such as UMF, MGO and K+ Factor, medical-grade and raw or unpasteurised and these can all help us understand the quality and features of the specific pot of honey.  We wanted this article to provide all the information you need to clearly understand what these terms mean and what it means in terms of the quality of Manuka honey so that you can make an informed decision!

What Is The UMF, MGO and K+ Rating?

UMF®, MGO and K+ Factor are all rating systems for the potency and quality of Manuka honey.

UMF® (Unique Manuka Factor) - is a registered trademark of a regulatory body - the UMF Honey Association of New Zealand. Honey producers must be a (paying) licensed member and adhere to the set criteria and standards to use the UMF rating system. The number correlates to the content of Methylglyoxyl (MG) - the higher the MG count, the higher the antibacterial activity.

We have a current offer on our Premium UMF 26+ Grade Manuka Honey - Buy 2 get 1 Free - you may find it here

Manuka Honey UMF 26+ Manuka South  

The highest UMF produced in the world - therefore "the best" Manuka honey in terms of its antibacterial activity is UMF 28+.
Precious and difficult to source, it is available in limited supply here

MGO - is short for methylgloxyl and correlates to the strength and potency of antibacterial properties in Manuka honey.
It is important to note UMF and MGO are both trusted rating systems and their numbers can be converted to one another 
e.g. UMF 10+ is the equivalent to MGO 250+ which is considered "Medium-Grade" by Manuka Honey Organic.
While UMF 24+ was considered "Superior Rare High Grade". 
Again, the higher the MGO rating, the higher the antibacterial activity and so the higher the quality of Manuka Honey.

Avoca uses the MGO Rating system and has a wide range of Manuka honey at all levels - you can view their extensive range and special offers by clicking here!

Manuka Honey UMF Rating conversion to MGO Rating



K+ Factor is another grading system approved by New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries which sets and evaluates Manuka Honey here in New Zealand. It covers a wider range of factors for Manuka Honey (rather than just its methylglyoxal content) including raw and unpasteurised honey, free of substances like antibiotics, NON-GMO, traceability back to the hive,  the honey is from New Zealand and finally if the Manuka honey is multi-floral (comes from a variety of plants including the Manuka tree and other fauna) or mono-floral - made mainly from Manuka trees (Leptospermum scoparium) - which is much harder to achieve. 

Manuka Honey MGO vs UMF vs K+ Factor

 (Infograph via Manuka Honey Organic)

What is Medical Grade Manuka Honey?

Honey has been an ancient therapy which more recently has been reintroduced into modern medicine. Medical-Grade Honey has been incorporated into wound care. Comvita claims that Medical-grade Manuka Honey is honey that has a  certified UMF® rating of 10+ or higher. It is commonly used in wound care such as dressings and gels to aid wound repair. Therefore, regular honey or Manuka honey under UMF10+ would not be considered "medical-grade".

Manuka Honey for Wound Care

What is Raw Manuka Honey?

Raw Manuka honey is Manuka honey that exists as it did in the hive - it hasn't been treated by pasteurisation or fine filtration. Steens states unless mentioned otherwise, most Manuka honey is pasteurised by being heated up to 66 degrees and then ultra-filtered in order to remove hive components like wax or pollen,  prevent spore formation, ensure a smooth consistency by preventing coarse crystallisation formation and facilitate pouring ability. 

Steens also shares for them, raw Manuka honey means honey that has not been heated past 47.7 degrees and has not been fine filtered - thus maintaining "the nutritious bee bread, pollens, enzymes and minerals.", flavour and aroma. 

raw vs regular honey

While studies are limited on whether raw honey has more health benefits than regular honey raw honey generally will contain bee pollen, propolis, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and amino acids not found in regular honey. Raw honey will also be more grainy and cloudier due to not being processed like regular honey!
We have a previous post which talks about the health benefits of bee propolis here.


We hope this article has provided you with clear information one which Manuka Honey is best and what the terms UMF, MGO, K+ Factor, Raw/Unpasteurised mean!

For 40+ years Aotea has been a trusted retailer of the world's finest Manuka Honey - taking pride in supplying high-quality, authentic Manuka Honey all across the world.

Thanks for reading!
The Aotea Team

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