Manuka honey is a form of mono-floral honey which is produced by bees that feed on the flowers that grow on the Manuka plant which is indigenous to New Zealand. According to studies, many types of honey contain low levels of hydrogen peroxide, enough to provide an antimicrobial effect without causing tissue damage. However, the hydrogen peroxide in standard honey would not last long because it is rapidly decomposed into water and oxygen upon contact with catalase, an enzyme that is present in our blood and body fluid. Manuka honey is found to contain a non-peroxide antibacterial activity that has stronger antimicrobial effect than other types of honey. It is stable and maintains its healing properties even in the presence of catalase. Manuka honey has extraordinary healing properties that are effective in treating wide variety of health conditions if taken orally or applied on skin such as surgical wounds, ulcers, acid reflux, eczema, ringworm, etc.
UMF is an acronym for 'Unique Manuka Factor' which is the term given to the antibacterial property present in Active Manuka Honey. Not all types of Manuka honey have the special antibacterial activity, therefore, UMF is used to identify those that possess such activity. The higher the rating , the higher the antibacterial activity. It is generally accepted that Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 10 or higher is appropriate for medical use. Optimal UMF rating for therapeutic use is between 10-18. Some reports have indicated that certain individuals can experience sensitivity to Manuka honey with a high UMF rating (20-30).
There is a difference between 'UMF' & 'Active' Manuka honey. UMF Manuka honey guarantess a Non-peroxide activity. On the other hand, Active honey guarantees a total antibacterial activity mostly from the hydrogen peroxide activity of honey. Therefore, UMF Manuka honey should not be confused with Active Manuka honey. For therapeutic purposes, Manuka honey which carries the UMF registered trademark should be chosen instead.