Over the past few years, manuka honey from New Zealand has earned a reputation as a bit of a wonder treatment.
Research has shown that the honey - produced by bees who feed off the manuka bush - has powerful antibiotic properties and can help combat MRSA, fight infections, reduce wound inflammation and help with skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
But there are so many brands available, at vastly different prices (you can pay anything from £5 to £35 for a pot), how do you know which one really packs a good bacterial punch? And does spending more guarantee a better product?
Until about a year ago, the solution would have been to rely on the honey's Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating (they range from 10 to 25). The higher the rating, the more potent - and usually more expensive - the honey. But according to some manuka honey manufacturers, this UMF system is unreliable. The ratings are made by the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) which compares a batch of honey against the bacteria-killing ability of different concentrations of a standard disinfectant.
'But two tests done at different times on the same batch of honey can give very different results,' alleges Kerry Paul, chief executive of Manuka Health, one of the 'rebel' honey manufacturers. The AMHA retorts that results vary only by a few points and, anyway, it takes this into account when rating the honey.
But Mr Paul believes there's a better way - by measuring methylglyoxal (MGO) content. This compound is found in high concentrations in manuka honey - up to 100 times greater than ordinary honey - according to German researchers, and is thought to give it its antiseptic edge.