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REDUCED SHIPPING RATE AND MINIMUM SPEND UNTIL CHRISTMAS

'The knowledge of bees is the basis of the beekeeper’s success; and for all other people who, amidst the whirl of present-day technology,
still prove to have a clear feeling for lively Nature, they are a source of joyful edification.’
The Dancing Bees, Karl Von Frisch, 1967


Our Wild Honey: Healthy Bees, Medicinal Honey

Malfroy's Gold Wild Honey Frame with Capped and Uncapped Honey
A comb of our wild honey, built entirely by the bees. The comb will be ready to harvest when the cells are fully capped with beeswax.

The Antibacterial Activity of Our Wild Honeys

Honey has been used for thousands of years in many cultures around the world to treat different illnesses. In recent years, it has also been adopted for use in modern medicine as it has been proven that some honeys are antibacterial and resistant to ‘superbugs’ such as golden staph (MRSA). To confirm the level of antibacterial strength in a honey, a variety of tests are used to grade it as having either insignificant, low, medium or high medicinal activity. The honey can then be sold and marketed as having proven therapeutic properties.

It is pertinent to note that there are many other factors, in addition to antibacterial strength, that contribute to a honey’s notoriety as a food with therapeutic properties. How and where it is produced, how it has been processed and stored, and the purity of a honey 1 should also be considered, and potentially tested, when determining the overall health benefits.

Previously we have written articles detailing the results of laboratory tests carried out on our Wild honeys for pollen concentration and HMF (to detect any overheating). In this article I will look at how our honeys performed in Total Activity (TA) tests, which assign a number value to indicate their antibacterial strength.

Malfroy's Gold Central Tablelands Warré Apiary
Malfroy's Gold Blue Mountains Wild flowers
One of our Warré apiaries in the high-altitude woodlands of the Central Tablelands. Although adjoining the Blue Mountains, this region has a markedly different climate and endemic flora. Interestingly, the Wild honey from both regions was found to have high activity. A colourful display of wildflowers blooming near one of our apiaries in the upper Blue Mountains. World Heritage listed for its superlative beauty and diverse and abundant flora, the Greater Blue Mountains region provides a mixed and healthy diet for the bees, which may contribute to some of the medicinal activity.
Malfroy's Gold Central Tablelands Warré Apiary
One of our Warré apiaries in the high-altitude woodlands of the Central Tablelands. Although adjoining the Blue Mountains, this region has a markedly different climate and endemic flora. Interestingly, the Wild honey from both regions was found to have high activity.
Malfroy's Gold Blue Mountains Wild flowers
A colourful display of wildflowers blooming near one of our apiaries in the upper Blue Mountains. World Heritage listed for its superlative beauty and diverse and abundant flora, the Greater Blue Mountains region provides a mixed and healthy diet for the bees, which may contribute to some of the medicinal activity.

Different numbers, different meanings

When discussing the antibacterial strength of honey, it is necessary to understand the different testing systems to ensure beekeepers and consumers understand and interpret the results in the same way.

There are three main ratings systems used to assign ‘activity’ to honey.

UMF: This is the original rating system, pioneered by Dr Peter Molan in New Zealand, and is still the most encountered method for measuring antibacterial activity of Manuka (Leptospermum) honey (UMF is, amazingly, an abbreviation of ‘Unique Manuka Factor’). The UMF approach tests the non-peroxide activity of a honey (NPA) and has recently been updated to measure additional compounds. UMF 5 - 9+ is classed as low activity, 10 - 19+ is therapeutically beneficial, 20+ is highly active.

MGO: This rating system analyses the methylglyoxal component in the honey,2 which is a chemical that is found in Leptospermum/Manuka honeys. The MGO system gives a different number (mg of MGO per kg) when compared to UMF, which has unfortunately caused confusion in the public and resulted in some companies engaging in marketing tactics that capitalise on this uncertainty.3

TA: Total Activity (TA) or Bio Activity uses the same method as UMF but tests for two different factors: hydrogen peroxide activity and non-peroxide activity (NPA). It is the test used for non-Manuka honeys as UMF is a registered trademark, and MGO is only found in Manuka honey. The same number rating system is used for both TA and UMF.

It is important to understand that the results from the UMF/TA method are based on measurable antimicrobial activity (in simple terms, observing the honey destroying Golden Staph/Staphylococcus aureus over time),4 whereas the MGO method measures the amount of a particular chemical compound present in the honey. It has also been shown that additional elements to those mentioned above contribute to the antimicrobial activity of honey.

Malfroy's Gold Brood Comb
Malfroy's Gold Blue Mountains Warré Apiary
Honey from Warré hives predominantly comes from comb that has previously housed brood or was located at the periphery of the broodnest. You can see two combs of honey and five combs of brood in this picture. Photo © Eric Tourneret The Wild honey harvested from our Warré hives in the Blue Mountains contains an extraordinary amount of pollen (owing to the abundant wildflowers blooming in the area and the natural style of apiculture) and high medicinal activity. Photo © Eric Tourneret
Malfroy's Gold Brood Comb
Honey from Warré hives predominantly comes from comb that has previously housed brood or was located at the periphery of the broodnest. You can see two combs of honey and five combs of brood in this picture. Photo © Eric Tourneret
Malfroy's Gold Blue Mountains Warré Apiary
The Wild honey harvested from our Warré hives in the Blue Mountains contains an extraordinary amount of pollen (owing to the abundant wildflowers blooming in the area and the natural style of apiculture) and high medicinal activity. Photo © Eric Tourneret
Malfroy's Gold Award Winning Wild Honey with High Medicinal Activity
Malfroy's Gold Cold Pressing and Straining Wild Honey
Glass jars of our Wild honey showing the range of colours across three 'Highly Active' varieties. The provenance and colour of the honeys did not seem to influence the high medicinal activity. Honey from our natural comb Warré hives is typically pressed, not extracted in a centrifuge. Therefore, the honey contains very high levels of bee bread (pollen) and propolis, which may account for some of the total activity.
Malfroy's Gold Award Winning Wild Honey with High Medicinal Activity
Glass jars of our Wild honey showing the range of colours across three Highly Active varieties. The provenance and colour of the honeys did not seem to influence the high medicinal activity.
Malfroy's Gold Cold Pressing and Straining Wild Honey
Honey from our natural comb Warré hives is typically pressed, not extracted in a centrifuge. Therefore, the honey contains very high levels of bee bread (pollen) and propolis, which may account for some of the total activity.

The Results

Although our primary aim is to increase bee health and resilience, we also endeavour to supply a medicinally beneficial, ethically produced honey at an affordable price 5 to the community. Therefore, we were thrilled to discover that every sample of our honey was found to be highly active.

The variety of honey, region where it was produced, time of year and other factors did not seem to greatly influence the consistently high activity. This suggests to me that the activity may be due in part to entomological (insect) processes rather than, or in combination with, phytochemical (plant) processes. The type of hive used and the associated style of apiculture may also play a role in raising the activity of a honey. I will further investigate these possibilities and publish another more detailed article on the topic soon – please stay tuned.

Honey/Variety

Total Activity (TA)
Malfroy's Gold Wild Honey Blue Mountains Polyflora TA 21+ (MGO 899 equivalent)
Malfroy's Gold Wild Honey Blue Mountains Post Brood Polyflora TA 26+ (MGO 1282 equivalent)
Yellow Box TA 25+ (MGO 1200 equivalent)
Certified Organic Raw Honey + No Activity
1 Many commercial honeys have been found to be tainted with chemicals or mixed with sugar syrups.
2 The MGO originates from the naturally occurring compound dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is present in the nectar of Leptospermum flowers to varying degrees. MGO is recognised as the major contributor to non-peroxide activity (NPA) in Leptospermum honeys.
3 Unfortunately, in their efforts to correctly identify what causes the antibacterial activity of different honeys, the honey industry has inadvertently created confusion among consumers. In some instances, honey packing companies aim to capitalise on this uncertainty about the different number ratings systems by exaggerating the claims about their product. For Instance, there are many honey products marketed as medicinally ‘bioactive’ with additional claims that the honey is an ‘immunity booster’. The ratings on these products often show MGO 30+ or lower. Now that looks impressive, as many people will be familiar with the original and more common UMF rating system where a 30+ rating would confirm very high activity. However, MGO 30+ equates to a UMF/TA of only 2.7, barely registering activity at all and technically giving insignificant therapeutic value. The MGO rating should be at least 263+ to be considered therapeutically beneficial.
4 To assign a number rating, a strain of Staphylococcus is used in an agar well diffusion assay, with the antibacterial effect of the honey on the cells measured in relation to a % solution of phenol (a powerful antiseptic agent).
5 Our Wild Honey is a fraction of the price of similar rating Manuka honeys. Within Australia, a Manuka honey with a rating of MGO 1200 / TA 25+ currently retails for $145 - $155 for a 250g jar (around $600/kg). I was shocked and slightly bewildered when I found an online listing for a similar high rating Manuka honey from NZ selling in Harrod’s (UK) for $21,263/kg ($4,888 for a 230g jar). Despite the high ratings, these honeys are all industrially produced from Langstroth hives, often with plastic combs
+ Brand selected randomly from a retail store







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