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What is Manuka Honey?

What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is a monofloral honey produced in Australia and New Zealand from the nectar of the manuka tree. The honey is commonly sold as an alternative medicine. While a component found in manuka honey has antibacterial properties in vitro, there is no conclusive evidence of medicinal or dietary value other than as a sweetener.
Manuka honey is produced by introduced European honey bees (Apis mellifera) foraging on the manuka or tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) which grows uncultivated throughout New Zealand and southeastern Australia.

Manuka honey is markedly viscous, having the highest viscosity among a range of honeys.[citation needed] This property is due to the presence of a protein or colloid and is its main visually defining character, along with its typical dark cream to dark brown colour. To be labelled New Zealand manuka honey, at least 70% of its pollen content should come from Leptospermum scoparium.

The manuka tree flowers at the same time as Kunzea ericoides, another Myrtaceae species also called kanuka, which often shares the same growing areas. Some apiarists cannot readily differentiate these species, as both flowers have similar morphology and pollen differentiation between the two species is difficult. Therefore, melissopalynology as identification for the type of honey is valid only in association with other identification tests. In particular, L. scoparium honey is dark, whereas K. ericoides honey is pale yellow and clear, with a "delicate, sweet, slightly aromatic" aroma and a "sweet, slightly aromatic" flavour, and is not viscous.

Heather (Calluna vulgaris) honey is also viscous, but the plant flowers in late summer and its mountain distribution in north temperate Europe and central Asia does not correspond with that of Leptospermum scoparium. Therefore, its harvest cannot be mistaken for that of manuka honey
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