My family and I have just returned from a sunny summer trip to New Zealand to visit our relatives. It was so fun for me to check out the local plants and herbs growing there. Much of New Zealand is lush, green, and bursting with plant life, many of which I had not seen before. Some plants were relatives of the medicinal plants we have here in the Pacific NW. One plant I did not get a good photo of was the Manuka bush. Honey made from the bees that frequent these bushes can have extremely high antibacterial qualities. You can actually find some here in the states. There is a rating system which uses UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) as a strength indicator, so you know what you're looking for:
The UMF Ratings (measure of antibacterial strength):
- 0-4: Not detectable
- 5-9: Maintenance levels only (similar to table honey and not recommended for special therapeutic use)
- 10-15: Useful levels endorsed by the Honey Research Unit at The University of Waikato
- 16 and over: Superior levels with very high activity.
It's mostly useful for external wounds---to help with the healing process. If you've ever used hydrogen peroxide to clean a cut or scrape, Manuka honey will do just as well (without the free radical damage done by peroxide). In fact, Manuka honey does use some peroxide activity to kill bacteria, a very small amount mixed in with other anti-microbials. So yay for honey!
I'll leave you with some of my own photos taken of the other plants I liked! Enjoy a little slideshow and a slice of NZ scenery.