Melora, a company in New Zealand, is debuting its manuka honey in the U.S. this month at select Costco stores in Hawaii, Arizona, and SoCal/Orange County. Manuka is a bush (commonly called tea tree) native to New Zealand that many hail as a “super plant” for medicinal benefits.
I’ve heard of manuka and its uses in other products before (my friend, Bonnie, used to give me manuka ointment). It’s an extremely popular plant that has, in recent years, inspired enough low-quality or mislabeled products, that now the government is stepping in (in a move that is, to me, reminiscent of Hawaii’s controversy with labeling Kona coffee.)
“Mānuka honey is a premium product that’s growing steadily as a high-value export for New Zealand,” according to the Ministry for Primary Industries’s website (t.nz/growing-and-harvesting/honey-and-bees/manuka-honey/), which goes on to confirm that this month, it “finalized a robust and sophisticated scientific definition that can be used to authenticate whether or not a particular honey is New Zealand mānuka honey.”
According to Melora (http://meloralife.com), manuka honey has these benefits:
• Natural anti-inflammatory with 16 phenolic compounds that protect against oxidative damage.
• Kills bacteria over 10 times more effectively than regular table honey.
• High in hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal, and DHA that helps the body’s immune system fight bacteria.
• Helps wound healing, and serves as a antimicrobial agent with a wide range of topical bacteria.
Melora goes on to say that it provides not only a great product, but one that fulfills social responsibility as “the ONLY non-GMO, UMF-certified honey on the market;” UMF, or Unique Manuka Factor, is a Honey Association grading system for purity and quality in the honey. Melora says it has a Fair Share profit partnership with local Maori landowners, a first of its kind agreement that compensates landowners for letting the beekeepers use their land.
As someone who likes both tea tree and honey, I had to give it a try – and was not disappointed. The honey is thick, earthy, dark, and strong, but beautiful in my tea, or even drizzled on a muffin. Look for it in Costcos in Hawaii.