Manuka Honey is unique to New Zealand and is produced from the nectar of the Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and Kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) trees.
Honey has long been used topically as a healing agent for wounds and ulcers. Recently there has been renewed interest in the medicinal applications of honey, particularly for the treatment of slow healing wounds in hospitalised patients.
Whilst all honey possesses healing properties, Manuka Honey is considered superior in this regard. This is because Manuka Honey has a powerful antiseptic property not found in other types of honey - this property is termed Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).
Research has shown Manuka Honey to be effective at killing a variety of pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus and Helicobacter pylori, and even some strains of bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics.
Safety of honey in infants
There is some concern around the safety of using honey in infants under 1 year old relating to the possible presence of Clostridium botulinum spores in honey. This bacteria is responsible for an extremely rare condition in infants, infant botulism. This illness typically affects babies between 3 weeks and 6 months old as they lack the gut microflora which controls the replication of the bacteria after ingestion of the spores. The bacteria is typically harmless to older children and adults as their digestive systems are more mature. 94% of cases of infant botulism have occurred in infants under 6 months.
Worldwide the level and frequency of spores found in honey is generally low and 90% of the reported cases of infant botulism have occurred in the US and especially California.
There have been no notifications of human botulism in New Zealand through the notifiable disease surveillance system since records began in 1987. While extraction and processing practices are used as the principle control measures, we undertake full testing on all honey used in Kiwiherb products, including for Clostridium spores, to ensure it can safely be incorporated into our products.
Kiwiherb products containing Manuka Honey: