The Healing Powers of Manuka Honey
Freelance writer Chaney Kwak took his cancer-survivor mother on a road trip through New Zealand in search of the magical healing powers of manuka honey. He writes about his experience in an article for Hemispheres.
“We are in the middle of Te Urewera, the mountainous heart- land of New Zealand’s North Island (…). Driving from Rotorua, a popular resort town ringed by geysers, we’d cut through eucalyptus and pine forests until the straight asphalt band of State Highway 38 came undone like a dropped birthday ribbon,” writes Kwak.
“We are on a pilgrimage for manuka honey, which is produced by bees that pollinate New Zealand’s manuka trees and has become famous for its medicinal properties.”
“I’m a skeptic about manuka’s magical powers. Mom, on the other hand, swears by bee products, manuka or not,” says Kwak.
Following her diagnosis and “a domino of referrals, biopsies, tests, voice messages, and, finally, surgery” Kwak’s mum was “left with a crimson trench 14 staples wide” across her chest and “below that, a slit where a catheter had drained post-surgical fluids.”
“So now we’ve come to the Land of the Long White Cloud not only to satisfy my apiary curiosity, but also to see how this supposed miracle-worker is made, and if it really is better than ordinary honey,” writes Kwak.
In Ruatahuna, Kwak and his mother met Brenda Tahi, who “runs Manawa Honey NZ, a 1,000-hive business that focuses on products made with nectar from native plants.”
“Manuka honey is best when bees’ other food sources are limited—a challenge, because the insects are voracious, opportunistic eaters. Thanks to stringent government regulations, honey in New Zealand must pass one DNA and four chemical tests in order to be labeled as manuka, and authentic manuka honey with high antibacterial activity will show elevated levels of methylglyoxal and can go for more than $100 a jar.”
The two also visited the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, “a famous honey store advertised on tourist websites” just outside Huka Falls as well as Taupo.
To read more about their journey please click here.
Article Source: Hemispheres, Chaney Kwak, August 2018
Image Source: Wikipedia