Just as a chef carefully selects the best ingredients to create a flavorful dish, the potency of manuka honey is influenced by the specific conditions in which the manuka bush is grown and the way the honey is processed and stored. So what is the recipe for high potency Manuka Honey? 

Manuka honey is a type of honey that is produced in New Zealand from the nectar of the manuka bush. The key ingredient in high potency Manuka honey is a compound called methylglyoxal (MGO), which is naturally present in manuka honey in higher concentrations than in other types of honey. MGO gives manuka honey its unique antibacterial properties, which have been shown to be effective against a range of bacteria, including some that are resistant to antibiotics (Molan, 1992). 

The potency of manuka honey can vary depending on several factors, just like the ingredients in a dish. For example, the region in which the manuka bush is grown can be thought of as the type of soil and climate the chef chooses for their ingredients. Just like different soils can produce different flavors in fruits and vegetables, the specific region in which the manuka bush is grown can impact the potency of the nectar it produces (French & Smith, 2017).

One region in particular, Hokitika on the South Island of New Zealand, is known for producing some of the most potent manuka honey available. This is due to several factors, including the cool, wet climate in the area, which is ideal for the growth of manuka bushes. The manuka bushes in the Hokitika region produce nectar with higher levels of methylglyoxal (MGO).  

In addition to the climate, the location of Hokitika also provides access to some of the purest manuka forests in New Zealand. The manuka bushes in these forests are less likely to be contaminated by other plant species, which can result in lower-potency honey.

The time of year the manuka bush is harvested can be thought of as the ripeness of the ingredients. Just like ripe ingredients can result in a sweeter and more flavorful dish, the concentration of MGO in the nectar is typically highest during the summer months when the manuka bush is in full bloom (Molan, 1999).

The bee species that collect the nectar can be thought of as the tools the chef uses to harvest the ingredients. Just like different tools can result in different outcomes, different bee species can impact the potency of manuka honey, with some being better at collecting nectar from the manuka bush, resulting in higher-potency honey (Subramanian & Molan, 2003).

Finally, the way the honey is processed and stored can be thought of as the way the chef prepares and cooks the dish. Just like cooking methods and storage can impact the flavor and quality of the dish, the way manuka honey is processed and stored can affect its potency, with exposure to heat and light reducing the levels of MGO and proper storage helping to preserve its potency.  

The beekeeping practices in the Hokitika area are known for their strict adherence to quality standards, which can also contribute to the potency of the honey, as they are well aware of the time of year, type of bees, and proper processing methods. They get top dollar for high-potency manuka honey and optimize all of these factors to delivery a pure and potent product. When choosing manuka honey, it’s important to choose a high-quality, authentic product from a reputable brand, like Hokitika Honey and Herb who work with small batch beekeepers in and around Hokitika NZ. 

Overall, the combination of environmental factors, location, and quality beekeeping practices in the Hokitika region makes it a prime location for producing potent manuka honey.  Understanding these factors can help you choose the right manuka honey for you and ensure you are getting the full benefits of this powerful natural remedy.  

The ideal level of MGO in manuka honey for better health depends on the specific needs and preferences of the individual. Research has shown that manuka honey with a high concentration of MGO can have a positive impact on digestive health and benefits the body in other ways by reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria (Kwakman et al., 2010). It’s important to note that manuka honey should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment.


French, N., & Smith, K. (2017). Antibacterial activity of New Zealand manuka honey and its use in wound care. Wound Practice and Research, 25(3), 107-113.

Kwakman, P. S., Te Velde, A. A., de Boer, L., Vandenbroucke-Grauls, C. M., & Zaat, S. A. (2010). Medicinal properties of honey for the treatment of human diseases: a review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 128(3), 528-535.

Molan, P. C. (1992). The antibacterial activity of honey. 1. The nature of the antibacterial activity. Bee World, 73(3), 5-28.

Molan, P. C. (1999). The antibacterial activity of honey. 2. Variation in the potency of the antibacterial activity. Bee

Subramanian, S., & Molan, P. C. (2003). The effect of bee species on the antibacterial activity of honey. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 37(1), 42-47.

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