Claude Stratford and Alan Bougen met one fateful day in 1974, when Alan’s horse had been terribly injured and was in pain. A nearby beekeeper (Claude) had left a jar of honey and a note informing Alan
to use this honey on his animal’s wound. Lone behold, it worked! The horse had healed. Alan went to the address on the note attached to the honey and within twenty minutes of meeting, the two forged a lifelong partnership and launched Comvita. That was 45 years ago and this truly pure Mānuka honey brand began as a co-op and has since crossed all continental divides to bring a truly superior brand of Mānuka honey to the masses.
So what exactly is Mānuka, why is it so special, and why is Comvita so unique? Today I met with Senior Vice President of North America, Corey Blick at the gorgeous London Hotel in West Hollywood to learn about the brand, the regulations set by the New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and UMF Honey Association to ensure quality, and how being armed with information can help educate the public on what makes this magical elixir found only in New Zealand and southeastern Australia so very pure.
First off, Mānuka honey is a monofloral honey produced from the nectar of the Mānuka tree. Monofloral means the honey comes from only one plant versus multifloral, which is something you’ll find on most all Mānuka brands other than Comvita, meaning the honey is derived from several different species of flower (multifloral isn’t pure Mānuka). Mānuka honey is produced by European honey bees that forage on the Mānuka which grows uncultivated throughout New Zealand and southeastern Australia. The Manuka plant flowers only two to six weeks per year, making it incredibly valuable. The plant is also said to have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, and has been used to treat severe medical skin conditions like burns and flesh wounds. It has also been used to aid the healing of gastrointestinal infections as well.
Comvita has been making Mānuka honey for 45 years and they harvest honey in 40,000 hives across New Zealand. Devoted to environmentally sound and supportive practices, they continue to set the standard for quality, bee-friendly honey retrieval respecting the locations the bees naturally harvest, and have been at the forefront of being UMF compliant. The UMF Honey Association oversees all use of the UMF quality trademark and supports licensees and consumers through a number of programs and activities ensuring quality, conscientiousness, and responsible harvesting. Comvita is among only 100 beekeepers, producers, and exporters to be a UMF licensed member.
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Talking with Corey Blick was enlightening and educational, and once I took a spoonful of the Comvita 10+ Manuka Honey, I understood the passion for the brand. With a new campaign that includes new brand packaging and referring to their honey as gold, I can personally vouch for it being absolutely true—it is special. Adding the remaining honey to my freshly poured cup of hot tea, the tea tastes like solace in a single sip.
Reviewing their product line, I decide the next tasting would be something most everyone steers clear of: apple cider vinegar. “Do you like the taste of apple cider vinegar?” asked Blick. “Does anyone?” I reply, and we all laugh but not before he says that’s the most pure response he’s ever heard. (But let’s be honest, no one really likes apple cider vinegar. We just do it for the health benefits—until now.)
Boldly curious to taste the Mānuka infused Comvita apple cider vinegar, I put aside all hesitation as Blick pours a good one ounce into my empty glass. I pick it up without watering it down (knowing the true test is having it as pure as possible), I take a breath (like I do before having to down a harsh whiskey), and I drink. To my surprise, I make no horrifying face nor do I grimace. Instead the apple cider vinegar is not only pleasant, but dare I say something I will gladly drink on a daily basis. It’s that good—and as unusual as that may sound, it really is. Lastly, I notice one of their newer products set to be released late this year, the honey suckers. Meant to soothe a sore throat, I open the darling plastic wrapper and taste it. The suckers are sensational. In fact, the sucker soothed my scratchy throat lingering from an absurdly brutal allergy season.
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All in all, Comvita is a brand I knew nothing about and thankfully after today, I’ve found a Mānuka honey I can’t live without. If ever I had any confusion about what Mānuka honey is or how knowing monofloral versus multifloral can make all the difference, I am now crystal clear. “Following our independent testing on a number of popular brands, confirming some Manukas really being multifloral (“blend”) honey with minimal bioactive compounds, we felt compelled to educate consumers on what to really look for. The reality is Manuka is an extremely limited resource, flowering only a few weeks per year, making it expensive to produce. As many health-conscious consumers seek out Manuka for its revered properties and are paying $25-$50+ per jar, this campaign is aimed to help consumers get their money’s worth.”
Comvita is available online from their UMF™ 5+ to UMF™ 20+ Manuka honey, bee propolis, olive leaf extract, and apple cider vinegar. Later this year, their line of natural Manuka children’s day and nighttime cold remedies, as well as their Manuka suckers will be available at select retail stores.
#ThisIsRealManuka | www.comvita.com
Ritual Simplicity: 5 Natural Beauty Rituals To Make You Look AND Feel Good
Courtesy of the #RitualSimplicity Comvita Blog Series
Looking your best doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, these 5 skin and hair rituals are designed to save you time and money while providing the utmost in indulgence.
1. Integrate Manuka Honey Into Your Skincare Routine
There’s a reason why Real Manuka Honey has become the latest skincare obsession. Revered by dermatologists for its ability to improve overall hydration and act as a natural astringent, this unique monofloral honey pairs perfectly with raw sugar to create a simple, yet effective pore refining exfoliant. Incorporate this into your beauty routine anytime your skin is feeling lackluster to give it a refreshing, healthy glow.
- Combine ½ cup Comvita UMF™ 10+ Manuka Honey and ¼ cup raw sugar in a small bowl.
- Apply the mask on your face and neck, leave on for 20 minutes. Apply leftover ingredients to other areas of rough, dry skin.
- To remove the mask, use a warm wash cloth and gently rub in circular motions to exfoliate as you clean.
2. Adopt a Dry Brushing Regimen
Dry brushing is is a simple at-home routine to help increase circulation, stimulate and cleanse the lymphatic system, unclog pores, and remove dead skin cells. Incorporate it into your daily routine before jumping into the shower or bath to promote healthy, breathing skin.
Here’s the scoop on how to do it:
Using a firm, natural-bristle brush, spend 3-5 minutes dry brushing your entire body when your skin is completely dry. Starting from the feet, apply gentle, yet vigorous pressure; move the brush upwards in long, circular motions toward your heart until your skin appears pinkish red. Follow up with a cleansing Manuka Honey exfoliant (see #1) in the shower, then slather on a generous layer of coconut oil to hydrate and lock in moisture.
3. Nix Store-Bought Products in Favor of All Natural Ingredients
It seems like there are hundreds (if not thousands) of skincare products available to choose from these days. Unfortunately, many of these products are often packed with harsh chemicals that can potentially do more harm than good over the long-term. This year, commit to using natural household ingredients to achieve soft, radiant skin without all the unnecessary additives.
- Place a pot of water on the stove and heat until water begins to boil.
- Stand over the pot at a safe distance and allow the steam to open the pores for 1-2 minutes.
- Mix in 2 tsp Manuka Honey and ½ tsp lemon juice into the mixing bowl and stir well. (*For sensitive skin types, aloe vera gel can be used in place of lemon juice.)
- Gently dab the honey-lemon mix over the face, being careful to avoid contact with the eyes.
- Let the mask sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the mask using a warm washcloth, then splash cold water over the face to close the pores.
4. Heal Your Hair with This Nourishing Homemade Mask
From harsh climates and hot water to excess heat from styling tools, it’s easy to see why hair is susceptible to breakage and damage. Fortunately, it’s easy to put the life back into your tresses by whipping up an all-natural Manuka Honey hair mask in the comfort of your own home.
Add 1 tbsp Comvita UMF™ 10+ Manuka Honey and 1-3 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil into a saucepan and heat on low until melted, routinely stirring to combine. Apply the warm mixture to wet or dry hair, concentrating on the ends. Let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with your usual shampoo. (Note: You may need to wash twice to get the residue completely off your hair.)
5. Soothe Sensitive Skin in Just 3 Simple Steps
Due to its unique topical properties, Manuka Honey may help calm redness and soothe other minor skin irritations. Combat sensitive skin woes by mixing 1 tbsp with 2-3 drop of lavender essential oil; apply a thin layer to the face and let sit for 10 minutes before removing with warm water.