Scottish Heather Honey | A Cheaper Alternative to Manuka

The best known honey for medical purposes is perhaps the costly Manuka honey from New Zealand. However, a more recent study claims that Scottish heather honey is even more effective as a medicine. It's cheaper too. The Scots often refer to their heather Honey as the Champagne of all honeys. The video below introduces you to the bees that bring us this special product.

My Notes

Scottish heather honey is making the headlines for all the right reasons. But before we look into that, let's take a quick look at why all honey is such a sought after product.

Almost all raw organic honeys share some amazing medicinal properties. A lot of the best honeys also have some unique properties of their own. Some honey tends to be a lot more expensive than others, for all kinds of reasons.  Here are some of the common health benefits that most raw honey shares.

  • Cancer and heart disease prevention: Honey contains antioxidants and flavonoids. These can help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
  • Reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders: Recent research looks at how honey can act as a treatment for disorders such as bacterial gastroenteritis and ulcers.
  • Reduce throat irritation and cough: All honey helps to soothe sore throats and coughs, though buckwheat is perhaps the most effective at this.
  • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal: All honeys are antibacterial. This is because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Hydrogen peroxide is also the world's safest all-natural sanitizer.
  • Heal wounds and burns: Topical application of honey is an effective treatment for helping to soothe wounds and have them heal faster.
  • Skin care: The anti-bacterial qualities of honey make it helpful for skincare. When honey is combined with other ingredients it can also prove to be moisturizing and nourishing.

What Makes Scottish Heather Honey Special

The geographical location, the terrain and the unique climate all contribute to this fine product of Scotland. The worker bees go to feed on the local heather to produce a delicious, full-flavored honey that is second to none.

Scotland is a place where the heather grows wild and the bees go crazy for the heather nectar. The honey has a taste that's just perfect for tea and scones. This is not a honey that suits all palates though. Scottish heather honey is one of those foods that people either love or hate. It's often a dark amber color with a medium to strong woody flavor. It leaves behind a kind of lingering peaty after-taste. This is not what you might call a sweet honey. If anything, it has a slight bitter taste to it.

Those who like heather honey will tell you that it's delicious on ice cream or in Greek Yogurt, but that's not all. Thanks to its strong flavor, you can use the honey to create unique and distinctive dishes. Here are a few of them:

  • Cream Crowdie (poplar Scottish cream cheese dessert)
  • Honey Cakes (light, delicate cakes, topped with almonds and heather honey)
  • Heather Honey Chicken. Another traditional Scottish dish.
  • Atholl Brose (a unique Scottish drink made by mixing oatmeal brose, honey, whisky, and sometimes a little cream)

This celebrated honey of Scotland is not only famous for its unique contribution to foods. This is also a honey that has made scientists take note the world over.

Step Aside Manuka

According to recent studies, Scottish heather honey is the new super food. Scientists now think that it's even more effective for treating infections than its Kiwi cousin Manuka. The Glasgow University's School of Veterinary Medicine conducted the study. They found that Scottish heather honey kill strains of dangerous bacteria called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This MRSA is a nasty bacterium. It's one that can cause serious infections in different parts of the body. It's nasty because it's much tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus. The reason for this is because it's resistant to many of the commonly used antibiotics. This honey also kills three other types of bacteria.

As a result of this study, Scottish heather honey is now enjoying a huge rise in demand around the world. Beekeepers will tell you that they can’t produce enough of the honey to meet modern day demands. Another appeal is that a jar of this honey is about a third of the price of Manuka.

One scientific study showed that eight honeys were effective against 10 bacterial isolates. But Scottish heather honey was the one that proved to be the most effective overall. You can read an abstract of that study by following the link below.

The antimicrobial activity of honey against common equine wound bacterial isolates.
Carnwath R, Graham EM, Reynolds K, Pollock PJ.
Vet J. 2014 Jan;199(1):110-4. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Aug 17.

Like other honeys, the Scottish heather variety also boasts other health benefits. It is a good source of energy for one. Plus it has its anti-bacterial qualities, and so many people take it to soothe a sore throat. Furthermore, the honey is a good source of minerals. This includes things like magnesium, calcium and potassium, as well as B vitamins.


Scottish heather honey is unique in its taste, aroma and medicinal use. It's now considered to be the most effective honey for treating infections. Yes, even more effective than New Zealand's Manuka honey, and at a fraction of the cost. These things combined have put the heather honey from Scotland in high global demand. Because of this, we can expect to see its price soar in the not too distant future.

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