Health food fans are buzzing about manuka honey: thick, creamy stuff made by bees that pollinate pink-flowered manuka trees in New Zealand and Australia. While all honey has antibacterial properties and has been proven to soothe coughs and sore throats, manuka honey is believed to be extra potent, thanks to compounds in the plant. It’s even been used in hospitals to heal wounds. To make sure you’re getting the real deal, look for two sets of letters on the jar: MPI and UMF. The first is the mark of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, which indicates that the honey has been produced according to the ministry’s standards. The second stands for Unique Manuka Factor and is a rating of the antibacterial strength of the honey, which usually ranges from 5 to 20. Generally speaking, the bigger the number, the higher the price tag. An eight-ounce jar can cost anywhere from around $25 to nearly $150. It’s hard to know if higher UMF numbers translate to more benefits, so start with a more affordable option and upgrade if you feel like splurging. Stir some into your tea; spread it on toast; or slowly savor it straight from the spoon in an effort to make your investment last longer.
Mix 2 tbsp. manuka honey, 2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt, and the juice from half of a lemon. This face mask calms skin, thanks to the honey’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties.