Best Manuka Honey for Cough

Manuka Honey for Cough

Manuka honey contains methylglyoxal (MG) in high concentration. MG is rich in antimicrobial properties, so manuka honey is good for when you have a cough.

When you develop a cough, don’t be quick to take antibiotics. If it is viral, antibiotics won’t help and the cough will go away after a while. Manuka honey, on the other hand, is a great treatment for coughs.

It is filled with methylglyoxal, a compound rich in antimicrobial properties and will help you get better. This article takes a look at five manuka honeys that will help you deal with your cough problem.

Comparison Table

Below is a comparison table containing all five manuka honeys that we will review in the article:

ProductUMfCheck on Amazon
J&P Turner 1885 Manuka Honey 15check price here
Bella Manuka Honey20check price here
Onuku Manuka Honey25check price here
Tahi Manuka Honey15check price here
Bee’s Inn Manuka Honey15check price here

Best Manuka Honey for Cough Reviews

1. J&P Turner 1885 Manuka Honey – Slow Extraction

J&P Turner 1885 Manuka Honey The appeal of manuka honey is that it has a higher concentration of a compound known as methylglyoxal than other types of honey. Methylglyoxal is rich in medicinal value: it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Manuka honey producers are keen to uphold a high standard of purity and quality in the market, so they came up with the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), a rating system that helps protect consumers from low-quality honeys.

Manuka honey bought for its medicinal properties should have a minimum grade of UMF 10.+ The 1885 manuka honey has a UMF 15+ rating, which means it’s more than adequate to treat your persistent cough.

It comes with a UMF seal of authenticity and quality. Every batch of the honey has passed through independent testing and verifying to ensure it deserves its good rating.

Good things take time. This honey undergoes a slow extraction process that entails a 3-day period. As a result the honey has an extended shelf life and a soft texture.

Heating and processing degrades the vitality of honey. J&P Turner 1885 manuka honey is raw and unfiltered – no heat, no ultra-filtering.

Like all good manuka honey, it comes from New Zealand, where the manuka flower grows in the wilds of the country’s forests.


-UMF 15+

-UMF seal of authenticity and quality

-Independent testing and verifying

-Slow extraction

-Raw and unfiltered


View price on Amazon


2. Bella Manuka Honey – Non-GMO

Bella Manuka Honey The Bella manuka honey is certified at UMF 20+, a rating which is the equivalen of MGO 830+. MGO stands for methylglyoxal and is another reliable grading system for manuka honey. The ones you can’t trust are the “active” and “bio active” systems as they are the ones preferred by honeys that don’t meet the minimal rating of UMF 10+.

The honey comes from New Zealand, made by bees who feed on New Zealand’s manuka flowers. Each batch of the bella manuka honey is tested and verified independently.

Furthermore, the honey is traceable. Not every manuka honey that says it comes from New Zealand actually comes from New Zealand.  This honey enables you to trace it back to its source, for the sake of transparency and ensuring you that the honey is authentic.

The jars are made of BPA-free plastic. The honey is non-GMO.

The honey is great for treating coughs, sore throats, acne, and you can also use it for beauty purposes to make a face mask.


-UMF 20+

-Each batch tested and verified independently


-Non-GMO honey

-BPA-free plastic jars


View price on Amazon


3. Onuku Manuka Honey – Traceable to Source

Onuku Manuka Honey The Onuku manuka honey is a New Zealand honey, that country of manuka honey’s origin, where the bees feed on the nectar of the wild manuka flower to make the methylglyoxal-rich, highly medicinal manuka honey.

Don’t take their word for it, however. They have provided you with a way to verify their claims about the honey being from New Zealand: the ApitTrack app. This app is designed to track the honey starting from where and when it was harvested.

Furthermore, with its UMF certification, you have an even higher assurance of quality. The UMF 25+ rating is exceptionally high, which means this honey has a very high medicinal value. It has a methylglyoxal content of 85mg/kg, that is MGO 850+.

You can use it for treating your cough, sore throat, oral health, gastric ulcers, acne, and wounds.


-UMF 20+



View price on Amazon


4. Tahi Manuka Honey – Unpasteurized

Tahi Manuka HoneyA UMF 15+ certification makes Tahi manuka honey a tested and verified honey you can rely on to treat your cough. The minimal rating is UMF 10+. The honey is from New Zealand.

The best honey is raw and unprocessed. When raw, it retains all its medicinal value.  Heating denatures the honey and reduces its vitality. Tahi honey is unpasteurized and filtering is minimal. It contains a lot of pollen.

In addition, it does not contain extras like sugar, water or preservatives. You get to drink the honey in its raw form, and that is especially good for treating a cough.

Vegans do not eat honey. It goes against their core ideology of not harming or exploiting animals. You may not be a vegan, but you can certainly have strong beliefs about the capitalistic exploitation of bees by some beekeepers who leave nothing for the bees. Tahi is not like that – they practice ethical beekeeping.

Tahi’s ethical beekeeping entails letting the bees roam freely in the native bush where there are not exposed to pesticides. They do not feed sugar syrup or any other chemicals to their bees.

We should care about the environment more. Every little thing counts. Tahi is involved in conservation projects such as restoring wetlands and planting native trees. Buying Tahi honey enables you to indirectly do something for the environment.


-UMF 15+

-Unpasteurized, minimally filtered

-No added sugar or preservatives

-Ethical beekeeping

-Environmentally friendly brand


-Slightly medicinal taste


View price on Amazon


5. Bee’s Inn Manuka Honey – Independent Testing

Bee’s Inn Manuka HoneyBee’s Inn manuka honey is lab-certified at UMF 15+, an excellent rating that means it’s packed with medicinal value and adequate for treating coughs, acne, wounds, and other conditions.

Each batch of Bee’s Inn passes through independent testing to verify its purity and quality. If you want to verify for yourself, you can trace it to its source. The honey comes from North Island in New Zealand, just South of Hamilton.

Bee’s Inn is a licensed member of the UMF Honey Association, an organization that has the mandate of upholding manuka honey’s high standards of purity and quality so as to ensure customers don’t get duped by substandard honeys in the market.


-UMF 15+

-Licensed member of UMFHA

-Independent testing and verifying of each batch


-Medicinal taste


View price on Amazon


Take Honey Not Antibiotics for Your Cough

Antibiotics are a two-edged sword. On one hand they are effective. On the other, they can cause even greater problems when the bacteria change in response to the drug and become resistant.

This is why in 2018, the UK’s department of health proposed new guidelines that recommended honey and over-the-country remedies as a more preferable first line of treatment for coughs than antibiotics.

First of all, antibiotics are not effective against colds and flu or symptoms like sore throat and coughs: because antibiotics are not antiviral drugs. Viral infections typically go away in a week or two.

The recommendations aim to encourage a decrease in antibiotic prescription by doctors. The rates of antibiotic resistance are skyrocketing, and it only makes sense that we should be wary of using antibiotics when they are not necessary.

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) developed these guidelines after scrutinizing existing scientific evidence.

This evidence demonstrated the effectiveness of honey at reducing symptoms of acute coughs caused by infections in the upper respiratory tract. Using honey reduced the rate and severity of coughs.

Since acute coughs are typically viral infections that get better after a while, antibiotics are unnecessary and ineffective in treating them. Taking antibiotics can induce unpleasant side effects.

The best type of honey to take for medicinal purposes such as coughs is New Zealand manuka honey. The nectar of the manuka flower of New Zealand contains a high concentration of methylglyoxal, a compound rich in antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, medicinal properties. When the bees feed on this nectar they transfer the medicinal value to the honey they make in their hives.


A DIY Manuka Honey Cough Syrup Recipe


-1 cup of raw or organic manuka honey

-1 cup of water

-1/2 cup of lemon juice

-1/4 cup of peeled, sliced ginger, or ½ teaspoon of ground ginger

-Zest of 2 lemons (about 11/2 tablespoons)


-Take a small saucepan. Within the saucepan, mix lemon zest with sliced ginger and 1 cup of water. Boil the mixture, and then let it simmer for five minutes. Strain it through a heatproof measuring cup.

-Rinse the saucepan out, and then add 1 cup of honey which you then warm on law heat. Do not let the honey boil. Put in the strained lemon ginger water and the lemon juice, and then stir the resulting mixture until it becomes a thick syrup.

-Pour the syrup into a clean jar. Lid the jar and put it in the fridge. You can refrigerate this honey cough syrup for up to two months.


What to Look Out for When Buying Manuka Honey

The following are the factors to keep in mind when you are considering a jar of manuka honey that you’ve just come across in the store:

  1. UMF License and Certification

This is the only guarantee you can have that the manuka honey you are buying is genuine and worth your money.

UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor. The UMF Honey Association (UMFHA)  is an independent industry association for producers of manuka honey in New Zealand.

If the jar of honey does not have a UMF seal, do not buy it. It is the only trustworthy seal of authenticity where manuka honey is concerned.

  1. UMF Rating

Brands that have UMF licensing display a rating for their honey, typically between UMF 5+ and UMF 16+. The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) indicates the medicinal/therapeutic capacity of a batch of manuka honey.

The UMF grading system indicates how much methylglyoxal (MGO) the honey contains. The medicinal properties of manuka honey come from methylglyoxal.

The following is a breakdown of what different UMF concentrations mean:

  1. i) UMF 5+ to 9+: It’s the equivalent of regular honey. The level of methylglyoxal is low, and so the therapeutic effect is at a minimum. Okay for regular, continuous use.
  2. ii) UMF 10+ to 14+: Honey in this range has a medium therapeutic effect. Note that UMF 10+ is the minimal recommended rating for honey bought for its medicinal properties.

iii) UMF 15+ to 19+: The honey’s therapeutic effect is strong and effective in curing a variety of illnesses.

  1. iv) UMF 20+ to 26+: Maximum concentration of methylglyoxal and medical effectiveness.
  2. MGO Rating

The MGO rating has a direct relation to the UMF rating. The following table demonstrates the correlation between the UMF and MGO rating systems:

UMF Rating MGO Rating  (mg/kg)
UMF 5+ MGO 83-100
UMF 10+ 263
UMF 12+ 354-400
UMF 15+ 514-550
UMF 18+ 692
UMF 20+ 829

How to read the table:

-UMF 15+ manuka honey contains a minimum MGO 514. On the other hand, MGO 550 manuka honey would also have a rating of UMF 15+.

-UMF 20+ honey has a minimum MGO 829.

Methylglyoxal is present in all kinds of honey but at a low concentration ranging anywhere between 1 and 10 mg/kg. Compare that with the ranges displayed in the table above: as much as 829mg/kg.

Just to provide perspective, here is the concentration of methylglyoxal in different foods/beverages:

-Yogurt: less than 2mg/kg.

-Coffee – 23 -47 mg/kg

-Cheese – 4 to 11 mg/kg.

-Wine – Less than 2 mg/kg

This data demonstrates that manuka honey has an uncommonly high concentration of methylglyoxal and therefore has unparalleled medicinal value.



We consider the Onuku manuka honey to be the best on the list, followed by the Bella manuka honey. Bella manuka honey is non-GMO, traceable, is packaged in a BPA-free jar and has a high rating of UMF 20+.

Onuku manuka honey is the purest and most potent manuka honey in this list. With a rating of UMF 25+, it is safe to say that it is richly abundant in medicinal value. It is also traceable to the source.

Which of the five honeys would you pick to treat a cough?

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Nancy is a part time floriculturist and writer. She has over 12 years experience in the field, and has developed multiple award winning carnations. Her favorite flower is the rare Snowdonia Hawkweed, the rediscovering of which inspired her passion for floriculture. When she is not working in the lab, Nancy is actively engaged in saving the bee population. She constantly underscores the importance of bees to all aspects of agriculture, and has taken to increasing bee protection awareness efforts in her state. Nancy is big on organic food. She has invested in a community farming program that looks to increase efforts towards organic farming in her suburban locale.


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