Liquid Gold. Manuka honey is a hot item right now. And with all food trends, it’s important to step back before jumping on board. A good three questions to ask yourself are: Do I enjoy the taste? Are the proposed health benefits true? What is the impact on the environment? Because yes, food and the environment intersect.
Manuka honey tastes like honey, which means it’s delicious, but why is it considered superior? It’s comes from bees in New Zealand that pollenate the Manuka bush. This specific plant allows the honey to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Some research has shown this to be beneficial in wound healing, sore throats, and help to promote good oral health. Sounds cool, right?
But what is the actual impact on your health? Minimal. Fortunately we have the miracles of modern medicine to help with wound healing and I would never encourage anyone to apply honey to their own wounds (interestingly, some wound dressings do contain honey but let’s leave that to our experts in wound care). Oral care? Brush and floss regularly and you will be fine. Let’s not forget the cost. I’m talking $30 – $50 dollars for a small jar.
Now to the environmental impact. An increased demand for specific foods may help boost economies but often these local farmers end up being exploited in the name of profit. In the case of Manuka honey, the bees are actually dying. Manuka is expensive. People want in on this multiple million dollar industry. Bees are being poisoned and stolen for profit. Why? Destroy your neighbours hives, then your honey will be bought.
Additionally, Manuka honey is grown in New Zealand meaning it’s needs to be shipped thousands of kilometres before ending up in your cupboard, if you live in North America. We have beautiful local honey at our fingertips. Let’s support our local bee keepers!
Bottom line: The health benefits are not worth the cost and not worth the negative impact on the environment and the bees.