I am not adding a new item to my long list of expertise, okay? It just happens that Manuka Honey is the latest thing in my life and I have this crying need to share information with anybody who appreciates out-of-the-box matters. Of course, this could very well be like my coke-syrup-for-nausea advice. I thought it was valuable new information but turned out I was the last one to know!
Why am I suddenly so into Manuka honey? It’s because I’m like George Mallory, the British dude who in 1924 tried the first ascent to the world’s highest peak. When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he replied, “Because it’s there.” I am consuming Manuka Honey because it’s there in the pantry.
My niece, her husband, and their two children, Filipino expatriates in New Zealand (NZ), recently toured the U.S. and brought “pasalubong” (arrival gift) for every relative on their to-visit list. I can imagine the deliberation that transpired between husband and wife to determine who should get which gifts. My stateside relatives are easy. They all received delicious NZ chocolates, peanut slabs and NZ-motif doodads.
“What about Aunt Celia? Shall we give her special NZ skin moisturizers?” I imagine the husband asking during the discussion.
“Not for my Aunt Celia!” My niece probably replied, indignantly. “Her timeless beauty needs no enhancements.”
I’m loving this imaginary conversation!
“How about NZ Manuka honey? Aunt Celia has cancer. Manuka honey will be good for her.”
“Let’s do this!”
And now in my pantry sits a 2″x2″x3″ glass jar packed with Airborne Manuka Honey weighing eight ounces. That’s half a pound jammed into a tiny container! To visualize that kind of density, think two quarter-pounders of uncooked hamburger meat or two sticks of butter. You get the drift. Unlike regular honey, it doesn’t pour like thick gravy because Manuka honey has the consistency of hot fudge. I have to use a teaspoon to scoop out an amount the size of a small gum ball for me to savor the honey’s “robust rich flavor with overtones of caramel and malt.” So the jar information label says. It is, in fact, yummy. At $60 per pound, it better be yummy.
To learn more about my latest gastronomic acquisition, I audited the course Manuka Honey 101 in my alma mater Google University (GU).
According to reliable GU experts, Manuka honey is produced when NZ bees pollinate NZ’s Manuka bush flowers. Because of the uniqueness of Manuka honey, the NZ government tightly controls the market. At least it tries. I don’t blame the NZ powers-that-be. From what I’ve read on the UK Daily Mail, there are three times more Manuka honey being sold around the world than being produced in NZ! Do the math. Buyer beware.
Manuka honey has a grading system. While suntan lotions have Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating to determine which best prevents sunburn, Manuka honey has Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) to determine the amount of Manuka pollen necessary for antibacterial potency. The more Manuka pollen present, the more potent the honey.
I’m proud of my very own Manuka honey. It came straight from the backyard of beekeepers and Manuka bush growers in NZ. Authentic stuff! The jar label says it contains 76% Manuka pollen. The Manuka flower has a chemical component not present in other flowers pollinated by bees. Its antibacterial property is supposed to be potent against infections when applied directly on burns. I imagine that would be burns caused by minor stove cooking accidents. For open wounds, medical-grade honey is used. Manuka honey is also marketed to treat gastric problems. The WebMD website states that in 2010, the scientific steering committee of the National Cancer Institute approved a proposal for the use of Manuka honey for the reduction of inflammation of the esophagus associated with chemotherapy.
I presently don’t have wounds or gastric issues. I gave up Tarceva zits long ago. I haven’t had chemo or radiation so far. However, being with cancer albeit stable, I am acutely aware that all sorts of nasties are floating in my system. I don’t worry about them, but this jar of awesome Manuka honey is for the taking. So I do what every red-blooded lung cancer survivor will do: I consume it. Every morning, I stir one heaping teaspoon of Manuka honey in my steaming hot “Grande” coffee, which consists of two cups of strong Tanzania Peaberry or New Mexico pinon brew and one-half cup of half-and-half. Is that high standard of living or what! I’ll take whatever Manuka honey does to my system floaters. At the very least it adds a hint of unique sweetness to my morning java. And when the jar is empty, I’ll wait for my niece’s next visit from NZ for my next jar of Manuka honey. Hope springs eternal!