A Q&A with Kim Bulder, resident naturopath at Manuka Health
We speak to Kim Bulder, the resident naturopath at Manuka Health. Founded in 2006 and driven by the desire to understand the benefits of these natural products, Manuka Health are proud producers of native New Zealand Manuka Honey and bee products. Here, Kim sheds some light on the company’s practices and how they care for their incredible little bees.
What is so special and beneficial about Manuka honey? How does it differ from regular honey?
Manuka honey combines the powerful properties of the native New Zealand Manuka tree and the natural goodness of honey. Native to New Zealand, the Manuka tree is uniquely adapted to thrive in New Zealand’s challenging natural environment. Hardy and resilient, Manuka acts as a natural protector and regenerator of the land. Manuka has a long history as a respected medicinal plant, traditionally used by the New Zealand Maori people as a remedy. It’s the Manuka nectar that makes Manuka honey so different from other types of honey. The Manuka tree only flowers for a few weeks a year and this is when it produces the special Manuka nectar that is collected by bees and transformed into Manuka honey. Manuka honey has been shown to contain higher levels of naturally occurring compounds compared to other types of honey, specifically methylglyoxal (MGO), the unique ingredient that makes Manuka honey so special. It is the first honey to be so extensively researched and recognised by scientists and medical experts due to its unique natural properties.
Can you tell us a little bit more about propolis and royal jelly? How can we incorporate these products into our health and wellbeing regime?
Bee products have been used for centuries for their health-promoting properties and
research has shown the unique and potent properties of Propolis and Royal Jelly. Propolis is one of nature’s most powerful protectors, made by bees from plant resin and used to safeguard their hives. Propolis has powerful protective properties and provides immune support and antioxidant protection for total wellbeing. Advanced Propolis testing by Manuka Health has identified New Zealand Propolis to be of superior potency compared to Propolis grown in other regions. The research identified and measured specific bioactives (flavonoids and caffeates including CAPE) found in high levels in New Zealand Propolis. Fed to queen bees, Royal Jelly is rich in nutrients that support health and vitality and has traditionally been used for anti-aging support. Royal Jelly is the only natural source of the fatty acid 10H2DA (10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid), which is believed to help support collagen production.
Can you explain the ‘rating’ system of Manuka honey?
Unlike regular honeys, Manuka contains high levels of a compound called methylglyoxal, or MGO for short. Our research partner – Professor Thomas Henle from the University of Dresden in Germany and his team discovered MGO as the magic ingredient in Manuka honey, a discovery long sought after in the science world. Their ground-breaking scientific research identified MGO as the lead marker for Manuka honey potency and grade. Not all Manuka honey is created equal and MGO levels can vary greatly from honey to honey. To be assured of potency the honey must be tested and certified for natural MGO content. In 2008 Manuka Health pioneered MGO testing as a more precise and reliable method of grading Manuka honey, based on this ground-breaking research. Both MGO and UMF are trusted Manuka honey grading systems, and both measure MGO content. Every jar of Manuka Health MGO™ Manuka Honey is tested and certified for natural MGO content. The MGO number tells you how much MGO is in your jar of honey – simple. The higher the MGO rating the higher the grade!
You moved into your new state-of-the-art facility two years ago. Can you tell us about this space?
In 2008 we opened one of the largest customised honey storage and packing facilities in New Zealand in Te Awamutu, which includes an ISO17025 accredited laboratory, temperature controlled honey storage warehouse, blending, packing and distribution all under one roof. This means we can ensure a secure supply chain from beekeeper to finished product.
How do you care for your bees?
At Manuka Health we are passionate about our hardworking bees and committed to making our high-grade range of New Zealand honeys sustainably. We work with our landowners and beekeepers to make sure that our bees are nourished, nurtured and protected all year round, whilst they are hard at work making our delicious Manuka Health honey and other bee products. Our beekeeping team are some of the most experienced in New Zealand. We are committed to: hive health and nutrition, which means ensuring our bees are looked after all year round. We have robust wintering programs that keep our hives protected and fed when they are not busy making our honey and we don’t use antibiotics in our hives.
What is something we can all do right now for thriving good health?
Slow down! Aside from the fundamentals of a wholefood diet and daily physical movement, taking time to unplug from the busyness of life is a great way to inject some self-care into every day. A walk in nature, nap on the couch, meditation – whatever works for you, just keep it simple and free of the need to achieve anything.
What is your favourite product in the Manuka Health range?
I love our new Vision Shield product. As much as I try to limit my screen time, it is an inevitable part of my job and life. I take Vision Shield daily to ensure I’m getting the essential nutrients needed to help protect my eyes against blue light.
What’s next for Manuka Health?
Inspired by the knowledge that New Zealand bee products hold special and unique health properties, we are driven by a desire to use science to understand and harness these unique natural products, and to share them with the world. We have many new products launching this year, and not just honey! Bee products have been used for centuries for their unique properties and this year we are very excited to launch a new range of supplements in New Zealand & Australia.
These are research-based natural solutions for modern health concerns and combine the special health promoting benefits of bee products with proven botanicals and vital nutrients for total wellness. We believe in the power of these extraordinary natural ingredients to help protect and restore our wellbeing in an increasingly stressful and depleting world. Based on scientific research and traditional herbal medicine and made in New Zealand, our Manuka Health supplement range has something for everyone!