What is medicinal honey

Gather By Bioactive Manuka Honey is sourced from the pristine bushland on the east coast of Australia. Each batch of honey is independently tested and its provenance is guaranteed from hive to home. 

To buy some of our new Gather By Bioactive Honey, visit our Honey store.


What is medicinal honey?

Humans have used honey for its healing properties for thousands of years, but until relatively recently it was dismissed by many involved in modern medicine as "alternative", untested and ineffective. However, an increasing number of scientific studies have now shown the effectiveness of honey for wound care, gut health and well being. Its efficacy is due to the activity of anti-bacterial agents in the honey that can control infection and promote healing.

A common misconception is that honey is a standard product. However, the taste, colour and antimicrobial activity of honey will vary greatly depending on the flowers bees visit to collect the nectar they turn into honey.

All honeys possess antimicrobial (i.e. germ-killing) activity to some extent, due to hydrogen peroxide producing enzymes in it. Some honeys also contain methylglyoxal (MGO) which produces the antibacterial and antimicrobial activity in these honeys.

If the MGO levels are above 500 in their rating the honey is considered to be medicinal in its usage.

Below are some examples of medical grade honey usage.

To buy some of our new Gather By Bioactive Honey, visit our Honey store.


First Aid honey for cuts, wounds and burns

  • Inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria at the wound site
  • Provides a moist wound healing environment
  • Assists to lift debris and dirt away from the wound site
  • Helps to minimise scab formation and scarring
  • Provides a protective barrier between the dressing and the wound
  • Helps prevent sticking and irritation of the dressing to wound site
  • Antioxidants reduce damage caused by free radicals at the wound site
  • Stimulates cytokine release which reduces inflammation and speeds up the wound healing process.1

For oral and throat care

  • Relief of the symptoms of sore throat
  • Relief of symptoms of sore gums
  • Relief of mouth ulcers
  • Maintenance of healthy digestive function
  • Relief of indigestion
  • Contains naturally occurring sugars

To buy some of our new Gather By Bioactive Honey, visit our Honey store.


Why is this bioactive honey often called "Jellybush" honey?

Jellybush gets its name from the thick gel-like nature of the honey that the bees gather from a species of plants native to Australia and New Zealand, the Leptospermum. Bioactive Jellybush honey contains both hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxal (MGO). Both of these chemicals have been researched by scientists in Australia and around the world and have been shown to have antimicrobial properties. These honeys are:

  • High in antioxidants
  • High in hydrogen peroxide releasing enzymes
  • High in MGO

The antioxidants within the honey are also able to reduce the effects of free radical damage. These natural properties impart potent cleansing qualities to the honey with proven health benefits when taken internally or applied externally to the skin.

Not all jellybush and manuka honeys are active, so always choose a honey that has been tested for it bioactivity before using it for medicinal purposes.  


Here are the rating systems you need to be aware of: 

Gather By Bioactive+ Manuka honey is tested at independent laboratories before being packaged for its level of :

  • Methylglyoxal (MGO) measured in mg/Kg,
  • Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA) measured from MGO levels, and
  • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) measured in mg/Kg.


A unique honey batch number is then assigned to its particular Honey Analysis Report which has validated by independent laboratories at the Sunshine Coast University.

The higher the DHA in the nectar, the higher the MGO and NPA in the honey. The higher the MGO and NPA the stronger and more potent the anti-bactericidal properties of the honey.


What does the word 'bioactive' mean?

This refers to the ability of Australian Leptospermum honeys to kill or inhibit the growth of many bacteria and fungi. The level of this 'activity' or antimicrobial quality is determined by specific laboratory tests.

Seasonal variations in colour and texture and crystallisation of Gather By bioactive+ honey can occur due to it being pure, raw and unheated preserving all the other beneficial enzymes in the honey.


Please see the MGO and NPA ratings table.

























* MGO is measured as mg/kg (ppm)
** NPA is measured as % solution (%w/v) of phenol/water


To buy some of our new Gather By Bioactive Honey, visit our Honey store.


Uses of honey

The below table provides a general indicator on the uses of honey.



About the Rating System

The NPA and MGO ratings are your guarantee that this Australian Manuka honey has been tested and verified for its antibacterial activity.

The two types of 'activity' in Australian Manuka honey are:


1. The Hydrogen Peroxide Activity

The first and most common form of antibacterial activity is due to the slow release of hydrogen peroxide with the help of the enzyme glucose oxidase present in pure, raw honey.

There is a great variation in the hydrogen peroxide releasing ability of different honeys with some honeys being no more antibacterial than sugar. The reason for this variation is probably due to the fact that the enzyme responsible for the release of hydrogen peroxide is sensitive to both heat and light and to other natural chemical compounds within some honeys. This enzyme can be deactivated by exposure to heat, light and natural phytochemicals and reduce the honey's ability to release hydrogen peroxide. This is why when some honeys are tested in laboratories they show no sign of hydrogen peroxide activity.


The Gather By cold extraction methods and amber packaging assist to preserve the bioactivity of the honey we bring to market.


2. The Non-Hydrogen Peroxide Activity (NPA)

The Non-Hydrogen Peroxide Activity (NPA) is related to the presence of a natural phytochemical identified as methylglyoxal (MGO). This antibacterial property is unique to honeys produced from active Leptospermum plants. The MGO component along with a small percentage of other phenolic compounds is responsible for the potent antimicrobial property found in Gather By bioactive+ Manuka Honey.


The MGO is more stable than the antimicrobial effect of the hydrogen peroxide in the honey as it does not become rapidly affected by dilution. 


This NPA activity was first discovered in New Zealand, by Professor Peter Molan whose research has focused on the antibacterial effects of Manuka honey (from the Leptospermum Scoparium species). Professor Peter Molan coined the term "Unique Manuka Factor" in reference to this antimicrobial effect, a term which is Trade Marked.


New Zealand’s Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) is also found in many parts of southern Australia including NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.


Australia has 87 species of Leptospermums with  15 species identified by Gather By that contain high amounts of DHA in the nectar which converts to MGO in the honey.


To purchase some of our new Gather By Bioactive Honey, visit our Honey store.


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