So what is Total Activity (TA)?

The Honey Bee Dispensary’s honey is made by bees foraging nectars known to produce particularly ‘active’ honey, derived largely via natural enzymes in the pollen and nectar. The honey is independently laboratory tested* to establish its ‘Total Activity’ rating – in this case 20+.

Basically, the higher the TA number, the greater the antimicrobial strength. Our honey, sourced through Leigh’s Bees Ltd, is labelled by virtue of this antimicrobial strength, rather than taste, texture or nectar origin.

All honeys with a TA in excess of 10 may have beneficial antimicrobial properties – the higher the rating, the more effective the honey.

It is a combination of the Peroxide Activity (PA) and Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA) which determines the TA. PA results from the reaction between Glucose Oxidase (an enzyme produced by bees), moisture and glucose (found in the nectar). The result of this reaction is the steady production of a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent which whilst effective, is gentle on the human body.

NPA refers to any other antibacterial activity which naturally appears in the honey.

* If you would like to see our certification document, please email us.

PS Manuka honey is sometimes rated by its UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) value. The rating scales vary and the antimicrobial activity is generated by a different process, but the concept is the same.

Manuka producers use two methods to describe the activity of their honeys, which give very different values for the same property. The UMF, a trademarked term which describes the NPA, typically ranges from 5+ to 20+. More recently, a Methylglyoxal (MGO) value has come into use, these values ranging from between 100 and 1000 for the same honey.

As a comparison, 5+ TA/UMF equates to 100 MGO, 20+ TA/UMF to 830 MGO.

PPS We can legally make no claims as to the medicinal benefits of our honey.