Manuka honey in Australia is derived from the Leptospermum tree, also known as the Tea Tree. The Leptospermum species is comprised of 86 recognised subspecies, of which only two are found outside of Australia. Leptospermum recurvum is found in Sabah, Malaysia, and Sulawesi, Indonesia. Leptospermum Scoparium is found in both New Zealand and Tasmania.
Evidence suggests that Leptospermum Scoparium originated in Australia and moved to New Zealand through long-distance dispersal events sometime during the last 20 million years. This transfer of seeds was likely caused by strong winds and cyclones. This theory arises from the understanding that the Tea Tree possesses fire-adaptive traits, which are better suited to Australia’s climate. It is believed that the presence of the Tea Tree in New Zealand was fairly limited, until the arrival of Polynesian people. Polynesian fire and forest clearing practices then allowed the plants to thrive.
At the end of the day, Leptospermum Scoparium is found in both Australia and New Zealand. Same plant, same flower, same honey! Allowing us at the Tasmanian Honey Company to produce Manuka honey in Australia for all to experience.
MGO vs UMF Explained
UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) was the first term to appear in relation to Manuka honey, at a time when understanding of its Non-Peroxide Activity was limited. All kinds of honey produce varying degrees of Peroxide Activity, or TA (Total Activity).
In 1981, a professor at the New Zealand Waikato University, Peter Molan, set about researching the healing properties of Manuka honey, as Tea Tree oil (derived from the same plant), was already known to have healing qualities. This research lead to a discovery that there were in fact antibacterial qualities present in Manuka Honey. In turn, the Unique Manuka Factor brand was born.
In 2006, Professor Thomas Honle of Dresden University of Technology (Germany) discovered the true magic ingredient of Manuka honey; Methylglyoxal, or MGO as it’s now known.
Methylglyoxal holds the antibacterial agent in Manuka honey, which is why it has been widely used for years by medical professionals to assist in wound healing, oral health, gastric ulcers, and digestive symptoms.
UMF and MGO are both trademarked terms that, in their own right, have made exceptional discoveries, showing the healing qualities of Manuka honey. This is why you will notice either UMF or MGO ratings on Manuka honey packaging.
TA – Total Activity
Total Activity is a measure of both Peroxide Activity (PA) and Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA). Whereas UMF or MGO ratings refer to Methylglyocal and are only a measure of NPA found in Manuka honey.