Why is Manuka Honey So Expensive?

Manuka honey is not only delicious, it has multiple health benefits.  It has been known to help with digestive health, wound healing, and even skin care.  

You may have noticed that a jar of manuka honey costs a lot more than regular honey.  So why is manuka honey so expensive?  Read on to learn all about manuka honey. 

What is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is a special honey that is made when bees pollinate the manuka bush, or Leptospermum scoparium. This bush grows mostly in New Zealand, but can also be found in Australia as well.  

Manuka honey is so special that New Zealand has created a special advocacy group just for it – the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, or UMF for short.  Unique Manuka Factor is a grading system that identifies natural, unadulterated New Zealand manuka honey.  

When buying manuka honey, you will see the UMF grading on the label.  Having the UMF rating on a jar of honey means that the honey is genuine manuka honey. The higher the grade, the more unique manuka honey attributes are in the honey.  

Low grade manuka honey will have a UMF of 5-9.  Medium grade is UMF10 – UMF15.  High grade manuka honey is graded UMF16+.  

Why is Manuka Honey so Expensive?

With this special rating system, you can probably guess that manuka honey costs more than regular honey.  I’ve seen high grade manuka honey sell for $70 for an 8 ounce bottle.  Compare that to clover honey, which you can get a 12 oz bottle for under $4.  So why is manuka honey so expensive?

Manuka honey is expensive because of its rarity.  It is the rarest honey in the world, accounting for just 1% of all honey produced.  

Not only is it rare, manuka honey is difficult to produce.  The manuka bush blooms only 2-6 weeks out of the year.  That means that bees don’t have much time to forage from the plants.  

Manuka honey is also monofloral, meaning that the bees must forage predominantly from manuka flowers only.  Since it’s impossible to control where bees fly, it is extremely difficult to create honey that is monofloral.  

Manuka honey is expensive because of its rarity.  It is the rarest honey in the world, accounting for just 1% of all honey produced.  

Health Benefits of Manuka Honey

Despite its price, many people routinely buy manuka honey for it’s taste and health benefits.  

Digestive Health

Manuka honey’s anti-inflammatory properties are known to aid digestive health and protect against gastric ulcers. To get the benefits of manuka honey, eat 1 – 2 tablespoons of manuka honey daily. This can help with digestive health and boost your immune system.


A special bee enzyme gives honey a natural germ killing power.  In addition, manuka honey contains an enzyme called MGO, which further attacks germs and can help to heal wounds. Look for manuka honey with higher MGO levels to get more antiviral properties. 


Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus, 2 common bacterias are susceptible to manuka honey.  Amazingly, researchers have found that manuka honey appears to actually attack infections that form a biofilm.  

A biofilm is a thin, slippery layer of bacteria.  It was previously thought that once a biofilm has been formed, the infection is untreatable. However, manuka honey has been successful in treating infections that haven’t responded to regular antibiotic therapy.  

Wound Healing

The acidic properties of manuka honey have been known to promote wound healing.  You can even buy bandages that have been infused with manuka honey.  

In addition, manuka honey is low in moisture and can help to draw fluid out of wounds. This helps to kill bacteria and speed up healing. 

Skin Care

Manuka honey can be used to treat skin problems such as acne and eczema.  Manuka honey reduces inflammation and irritation caused by acne and eczema. 

It is especially beneficial for eczema, as manuka honey reduces inflammation, kills bacteria, keeps the skin moist, and provides a skin barrier to prevent infection. 

How to Use Manuka Honey

Digestion and Immunology

To get digestion and immunology benefits of manuka honey, eat 1-2 tablespoons of it daily.  It can be eaten alone or with other foods.  Manuka honey tastes great spread on toast, with yogurt, and added to tea.  


For sore throat and sickness, 1 tablespoon should be taken daily to relieve symptoms and boost the immune system. 

Wound Care

For wounds, such as minor cuts and scrapes, apply manuka honey to a bandage and then place the bandage onto the wound. A waterproof or sealed dressing may be placed on top of the bandage if necessary. 

Change the bandage frequently, as the fluid leaking from the wound dilutes the honey and lessens its effectiveness. 


For skin care, such as acne treatment, apply a thin layer of manuka honey directly to the skin. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes before washing it off.  For best results, leave the mask on for 1 hour.  


If treating eczema, apply manuka honey onto the affected area 3 times a day.  If the honey is quite thick, you can warm it slightly to make it easier to spread. There are creams available that include manuka honey, or you can make your own by mixing 1 part beeswax to 10 parts coconut oil and 10 parts honey.


Manuka honey is a special honey that is made when bees pollinate the manuka bush in New Zealand. Manuka honey is so expensive because it is rare – accounting for just 1% of all honey produced.  It has many health benefits, boosting digestive health, the immune system, and helping wound healing and skin care.