Manuka honey contains a heightened stable form of natural antibacterial activity often known as Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA). Such intensified antimicrobial activity can be quantified using a range of testing methods.
Considerable research has been undertaken to determine the cause of this activity, with it recently being attributable to the naturally occurring chemical Methylglyoxal (MGO) in 2006. Manuka honey can contain more than 70 times the level of MGO found in normal honeys.
Today, following extensive clinical testing in Australia, New Zealand and other countries, the unique value of Manuka has been recognised worldwide. Manuka Honey is now sought after around the world for use in hospitals, burns units, family health care, digestive health care, beauty and skin care, veterinary practice, diabetes clinics and other specialist clinics and as a general health food.
Active Manuka Honey is sold with varying levels of antibacterial activity, which is assigned using a rating such as Active 5+, 10+ or 15+. The scale relates to the increasing antibacterial inhibition effect of the honey on cultured bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus), in comparison to what phenol achieves. Phenol is a strong organic compound that has clear antibacterial effects, providing a stable standard for comparison purposes.