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What Does UMF Stand for with Regards to Manuka Honey?



UMF represents the Unique Manuka Factor part of Manuka Honey, a popular natural health supplement. UMF Manuka Honey is a more potent form of the same product, which contains unique elements not found in more typical versions of the honey. Manuka honey itself derives from trees and bushes found in New Zealand and South-Eastern Australia. European honey bees extract nectar from these sources and produce honey that can be harvested. The pollen content of this nectar is uniquely marked by its Leptospermum Scoparium source, and by the resulting honey’s earthy and aromatic taste.

As well as being a rich table supplement, Manuka Honey includes hydrogen peroxide enzymes that can be used as an antibacterial treatment. The honey’s strengths were identified by Dr. Peter Molan in New Zealand, with its antibacterial properties enabling it to be used to treat burns, cuts, and stomach complaints like ulcers and gastritis. Manuka Honey has consequently become one of the most popular natural remedies for treating these kinds of problems and has extended beyond New Zealand and Australia to be used worldwide.

What is UMF?

UMF honey is a particular strain of Manuka Honey that is not commonly found in the bush and flowers it derives from. Ordinary Manuka Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which forms the key part of its antibacterial properties. By contrast, UMF honey contains an additional active ingredient, which has been proven in research at the University of Waikato in New Zealand to be more potent as an antibacterial agent.

The presence of this ‘Unique Manuka Factor’ is measured through a Total Activity scale through trials of the honey’s effectiveness. Effectiveness of 0-4 and 5-9 is common to normal Manuka Honey, with honey showing properties of above 10-15 held as the standard for being promoted as having a UMF factor. Some forms of Manuka Honey go above that, and 16+ Manuka Honey is the most potent form of the supplement. In terms of its chemistry, the UMF factor is derived from the original plant or bush itself, rather than the honey produced by bees. The rare quality of UMF honey is partly due to specific conditions of climate and growth. Research is also continuing into exactly why some bushes and plants are able to produce a stronger version of Manuka Honey.

Effects of UMF Manuka Honey

UMF Manuka Honey has been prized for its ability to better combat stomach problems, bacteria in sore throats, and the healing process of wounds and skin ulcers. Given its more potent effects, UMF Manuka Honey has also been linked to its effect on conditions like MRSA, as well as for its fast-acting benefits for stomach complaints and gastritis. As a result, only Manuka Honey with the UMF label should be purchased if you want to receive this additional benefit. While standard Manuka Honey will have antibacterial properties, investing in this rarer form will mean that you will see more potent results if used as a natural supplement and antibacterial agent.