The Lepstospermum Scoparium

Mānuka is the name given by the Maori people of New Zealand, to Leptospermum Scoparium. Endemic to New Zealand, Mānuka is an evergreen shrub of the Myrtaceae family with a is very short flowering period during the austral spring (4 to 6 weeks per year). It grows only in the wild on the North Island and the South Island and is very resistant to harsh climatic conditions. Its size rarely exceeds 3m, its leaves are small and fragrant and its flowers are white and fragrant.

The Leptospermum Scoparium was listed for the first time by the botanists who accompanied the expeditions of James Cook in the 18th century, the first European navigator to have set foot there.

Since the beginning, Mānuka has been a key plant in traditional Maori medicine. Its leaves placed on the skin were used to relieve skin irritations and promote the healing of wounds.

Its bark and leaves crushed and ingested or in decoctions proved to be very effective in treating urinary problems, dysentery and respiratory and digestive difficulties.

Mānuka honey and science

At the origin of scientific knowledge on Mānuka honey there is Professor Peter Molan.

A researcher at the prestigious Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, Professor Molan has dedicated his life to the study of honeys. In the early 1980s he undertook specific research on Mānuka honey to scientifically understand the reasons for its exceptional antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. He then discovers that certain Mānuka honey has a unique activity, different from the peroxide activity present in all the honeys of the world. Hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic molecule whose activity on humans is very limited, is naturally created by the bee during the production of honey. In some manuka honey Molan finds a very powerful unique antibacterial activity, different from hydrogen peroxide, which he calls "non-peroxide activity" (NPA).
A replicable Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) test protocol is implemented to detect the presence of NPA activity in Mānuka honeys and science is beginning to recognize its unique properties.

In 2008, Professor Thomas Henle of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany discovered the active molecule at the origin of the properties of certain Mānuka honeys: Methylglyoxal (MGO).

Methylglyoxal or MGO

Highly concentrated in active Mānuka honeys, methylglyoxal, or MGO, comes from the natural chemical transformation of dihydroacetone (DHA), a compound in the nectar of Mānuka flowers, during the maturation of the honey. Expressed in mg per kg of honey, its concentration varies according to the terroir and the harvesting conditions. The higher the MGO level, the stronger the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity. The MGO levels of all BOTANISTS' honeys have been tested in the laboratory to guarantee their properties.