Manuka Cover picMANUKA: The biography of an extraordinary honey
by Cliff Van Eaton

The first ever biography of a honey:
• Tells the extraordinary story of manuka honey’s journey from obscurity to world-wide fame
• Includes the latest research into the amazing healing properties of manuka honey and how scientists now believe it works
• Looks at the reasons and some solutions to the world wide decline in honey bee populations

When meningococcal disease sufferer Aaron Phipps appeared on British television in 2000 describing how his months of suffering from non-healing wounds were ended by a pot of honey, viewers learned of the marvels of manuka. It was an important milestone on a journey which saw this unique product move from a commodity that beekeepers virtually gave away to a $140 million a year industry. Historically we have been slapping honey on our cuts and burns from before we began to write things down. But for a natural therapy like honey to be accepted globally as a mainstream medical treatment it took years of research and a ground-breaking paradigm shift.

This remarkable a rags-to-riches journey from obscurity to medicinal marvel is chronicled in Cliff Van Eaton’s new book Manuka, the biography of an extraordinary honey. For, while a quarter of all prescribed modern medicines are inspired by natural plant sources, precious few ‘natural products’ make it through the rigours of contemporary drug testing.

Manuka honey is one of the few exceptions. The work of an inquisitive New Zealand scientist, trained in Wales, paved the way for an international collaboration that resulted in products containing manuka honey being used around the world. It is a journey that started with the world’s first wound care dressing containing manuka and jellybush honey and ended with approval by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration. This approval, by the most stringent drug regulator on the planet, has forced a re-think of the therapeutic properties of natural products. Leading hospitals now use wound dressings containing manuka honey and it has saved the lives of patients infected with disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to standard antibiotic drugs.

Manuka, the biography of an extraordinary honey is a tantalising tale of success driven by the curiosity, passion and the ingenuity of a small group of dedicated individuals around the world. Their tenacity took honey from something you spread on toast to being used in hospitals in the US and Great Britain, as well as a children’s burn clinic in war-torn Iraq.

The book is also a story of hope for the future, sounding a note of optimism in a world that for good reason feels saddened about the special relationship we humans have always had with those marvellous creatures, the honey bees. The increase in hives in New Zealand brought about by the success of manuka honey shows that bees don’t inevitably decline provided that beekeepers receive just rewards for the all-important work they and their honey bees do.

Cliff Van Eaton is a well-known writer on beekeeping subjects and is co-author of two books on bee diseases used by beekeepers in New Zealand and overseas. For over 30 years he worked as a beekeeping adviser and consultant in New Zealand, and has also assisted beekeepers in countries as diverse as the Solomon Islands, Uruguay and Vietnam.

The article below, showcasing this book, first appeared in BBKA News in July 2015.

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Get your copy of Manuka – The biography of an extraordinary honey

We hope to have two copies of this beautiful book available at the Southern Agricultural Show over the 25 & 26 July, where, if you are lucky, you might win one at the incredibly good price of £5.00 on a raffle.
All proceeds will go towards the Manx Bee Improvement Group.

If you miss out on this opportunity, you may purchase the book from the BBKA at a special price for Members – details on the article above – or direct from the publishers,  for £14.95.

Our thanks to Emma O’Bryen who has kindly provided the books for the raffle and assisted with access to the material above. For further information, or if you’d like to speak to the author, Cliff Van Eaton, please contact Emma on 020 7619 0098 or <>.



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