There are many types of honey on the market, each with a distinctive flavor and characteristics. Two popular varieties are clover honey and manuka honey.
But what’s unique about them, and how do they differ?
Although both types of honey are monofloral, they come from different sources. Clover honey is made with clover flower (Trifolium) nectar. As a result, clover honey is lighter in taste and color. In contrast, manuka is made with nectar from the manuka flower (Leptospermum scoparium), and it’s famous for its gooey, dark appearance and intense flavor.
Let’s take a look at the other characteristics that distinguish them.
The clover flower is a small, delicate bloom found in various colors, including white, pink, and red.
There are hundreds of species of clovers, but the most common are Trifolium repens and Trifolium pratense, also known as white and red clovers, respectively.
Both species are native to Europe-Asia but have broadly extended to most corners of the world, including North America.
Clovers are used as a cover crop thanks to their nitrogen-fixing properties, meaning they benefit the soil they grow in and provide usable nutrients to plants around them.
Characteristics Of Clover Honey
Bees collect nectar from clover flowers to create a honey that is light in color and has a mild, sweet flavor.
Due to its low-intensity flavor, clover honey is one of the most popular types of honey in the world, most often used as an all-around staple in the kitchen. Popular uses of clover honey include as a natural sweetener in beverages like tea and as a spread or topping.
How Expensive Is Clover Honey?
A jar (350g or 12OZ) of clover honey costs between $5-$6 in the United States, $8-$9 in Canada, £6-£7.50 in the United Kingdom, and $9-$10 in Australia.
Benefits And Medicinal Properties
Clover honey is highly nutritious to bees and beneficial to their health. A study showed that honey bee colonies that forage on land with a strong cover of clover species and alfalfa do better than colonies next to sunflowers or canola crop fields.
More specifically, these colonies have better health, more bees, and a greater ability to turn nectar and pollen into vitellogenin—a compound used as the base for making royal jelly.
Clover honey may not only be beneficial to honey bees but also to humans.
Red clover contains isoflavones and has been used to improve health issues such as athlete’s foot, constipation, and ulcers.
Additionally, red clover supplements have evidenced benefits, including antioxidant effects and traditional uses for things like whooping cough, asthma, eczema, and eye diseases.
Although it shows promise to be positive for our health, more research into the medicinal properties of this honey is needed.
The Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as the Manuka tree or “New Zealand Tea Tree,” is a small shrub that belongs to the myrtle family.
This New Zealand native grows in clumps, and its height can reach 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters). The flowers are small and fragrant and have five petals that come in white and pink.
Characteristics Of Manuka Honey
Manuka honey comes from the nectar of these flowers and is prized for its unique flavor and medicinal properties.
It has a dark brown color, a thick, dense consistency, and a creamier texture than regular honey. Manuka honey has a rich flavor with herb notes and a slightly bitter aftertaste – most people consider it less sweet than regular honey. The smell is intense, with a strong floral fragrance.
How Expensive Is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey has grown in popularity thanks to its antibacterial activity. One of the main antibacterial components in Manuka honey is called methylglyoxal (MGO) – the higher the concentration of MGO, the stronger the antibacterial effect and the higher the price.
In the United States, a jar of 8.8 ounces (250g) can range from $15 (MGO 30) to $70 (MGO 850+), depending on the brand.
A similar jar in Canada can cost $ 15 (MGO 30) $85 (MGO 850+) and between £10 (MGO 30) to £60 (MGO 850+).
In Australia, a jar of manuka sits between $15 (MGO 30+) to $100 (MGO 850+).
To sum up, the price of manuka honey can vary depending on where you live, the brand, and the MGO concentration (as well as other components). However, in general terms, you can expect to pay at least $15 – $20 for a standard-sized jar.
Benefits And Medicinal Properties
The Manuka tree has been used for medicinal purposes since before the arrival of Europeans in 1769. The Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous population, used it to relieve conditions such as urinary problems, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, as well as inflammation.
As briefly mentioned before, the most well-known property of manuka honey is its ability to fight infection, thanks to its high MGO content. Manuka has 100 times more MGO concentration than most varieties of honey.
Studies done in vitro (in test tubes) using manuka honey with some antibiotics found that the combination is more effective than either treatment used alone. Case reports have also shown that honey from the Leptospermum tree can be used to treat wounds and ulcers that have not healed using conventional antibiotics.
Manuka honey has been used in animals, such as horses, to successfully treat surgical or accidental wounds.
Unfortunately, there is still not enough evidence to conclude this honey helps heal wounds in humans. However, proof from laboratory experiments and animals seems promising.
Clover honey and manuka honey are two different types of honey with unique characteristics and benefits.
Clover honey is milder in taste, color, and fragrance, while manuka honey is dark, dense, fragrant, and rich in flavor.
Like most kinds of honey, clover and manuka are good sources of antioxidants and have antibacterial qualities. However, due to its above-average concentration of MGO, manuka honey has been prized as an antibacterial powerhouse.
However, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of both varieties of honey in treating health conditions in humans.
Manuka honey is probably one of the most expensive types of honey on the market due to its concentration of antibacterial components and richness in flavor. You can expect to pay at least $15-20 for a standard-size jar of manuka.
In contrast, clover honey is cheaper (about $7) and milder in taste and smell.