What the world may know is that Manuka Honey comes from New Zealand and it is native the Land of the Long White Cloud and the Kiwis. The Manuka industry is so competitive there that as an outsider, we sometimes will have a tough time to decide which Manuka brand is the best to consume. While Manuka Honey is THE most expensive type of honey in the world, not many know why it has become such a high-priced item and what factors contribute to the high demand of this unique, one-of-a-kind honey. The answer is Methylglyoxal or commonly known as MGO.

In 1990, Professor Peter Molan at Waikato University in New Zealand discovered that certain Manuka honeys have additional stable antibacterial properties that do not exist in other honey. He was not though able to determine what exact component gives Manuka honey this specific unique property, therefore he coined the term UMF (unique manuka factor). It wasn’t until 2006 when Professor Thomas Henle from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany discovered very high levels of naturally occurring Methylglyoxal (MGO) in Manuka honey are responsible for its unique reliable anti-bacterial activity. What sets Manuka Honey apart from the other natural, raw honey is the presence of MGO. MGO comprises a high level of anti-bacterial activity that contributes to Manuka honey’s ‘magic’ power and makes it beneficial to fight against sicknesses such as sore throat, colds and flu by eliminating pathogenic bacteria in the gut and also encouraging the growth of ‘good’ gut bacteria, which will help to fight infection and boost the immune system.

In various studies conducted by researchers, they explain that a high number of MGO found in Manuka Honey not only can kill bacteria but also have bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects across a broad spectrum of wound-associated bacteria.

The higher the number of MGO on the label, the better the health benefits and anti-bacterial properties are. There are many ranges of MGO ratings that suit many different needs and together with MGO, there is also Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) ratings that co-exist with MGO as the grading system to determine the authenticity and the concentration of some of the bioactive chemical compounds found in manuka honey.

The higher the level, the better the nutrition we get.

Some of the most commonly-used grading numbers are:

MGO Level

UMF Level




Excellent nutritional supplement



Helps to maintain good health



Prevent bad bacteria and maintain good bacteria



Superior antibacterial properties

Now you know what to look for when purchasing your preferred Manuka honey!