Manuka Honey: the MPI is watching

Natural Solutions East Cape Te Araroa production

How MPI keeps standards high and fights adulteration

If you bought Natural Solutions Certified UMF honeys from us before you saw the seal of the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), which is one of the agencies that certifies our honeys. MPI is the government agency charged with overseeing, managing and regulating the farming, fishing, food, animal welfare, biosecurity, and forestry sectors of New Zealand’s primary industries. As such, it is responsible to maintaining New Zealand’s reputation for the quality and integrity  of its agricultural products.

MPI and Manuka Honey

In late 2017 MPI introduced a number of regulations designed to protect apiaries and consumers worldwide regarding the authenticity and grading of New Zealand mānuka honey. These are the steps required to certify manuka honey for export:

  • Tests to separate mānuka honey from other honey types and to identify it as either monofloral or multifloral mānuka honey. Monofloral honey is produced predominantly from the nectar of  mānuka trees. At this time there are chemical and DNA tests approved to assess monofloral identity. These markers were adopted after a 3-year international scientific program. If the honey label just reads “mānuka honey” without qualifications it has to meet the MPI monofloral standards.
  • As with any other food industry, traceability is key. Under the new rules, producers must record the location of apiary sites, the number of hives, and the volume harvested. The amount of honey produced must match the amount harvested. Furthermore, each honey box must be numbered.
  • Freight agents must receive all certifications prior to shipping mānuka honey overseas.

What MPI cannot control

Whereas the MPI has placed a tight control over the authenticity of mānuka honey, they are unable to control what happens after the honey leaves New Zealand. Adulteration and improper storage could easily negate the quality controls instituted by MPI in New Zealand. The only protection for consumers is to buy mānuka honey from a reputable company like Koru Naturals.

Sources: MPI and Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey on Good Morning America: What they got right, what they got wrong, and what they didn’t mention

GMA Investigates: MANUKA HONEY

GMA Investigates: MANUKA HONEY gma.abc/2HNA1Wz

Posted by Good Morning America on Monday, August 6, 2018

The expanding popularity of Manuka Honey

Yesterday’s segment on GMA will certainly serve to expand the popularity of Manuka Honey in America. As much as we welcome the enhanced exposure to this wonderful natural product, as Manuka experts that have operated in the U.S. for more than 16 years we feel we have to comment on this report.

What they got right

The most important part of the report is the emphasis on authenticity. With an estimated 50% level of adulteration worldwide, the UMF certification is the best guarantee that the honey is true Manuka. In addition to the certification, the UMF Association is an excellent source of information about Manuka Honey.

 What they got wrong

The segment leaves the impression that any Manuka with a certified level of MGO is good for you. In reality, the low MGOs honeys are unlikely to provide any meaningful benefits. For example, Manukas with 400 MGO are common at grocery stores and on line marketplaces. We think that this is just too low. Our lowest grade honey is the UMF 15+ which, for the current batch, has a 668 MGO level.

What they didn’t mention

Storage conditions are critical for the integrity of Manuka Honey. It is common for large companies to import large quantities of Manuka and store it in hot warehouses. Even worse for the integrity of the product is cycles of heating and cooling, which can occur when the honey is moved among warehouses. In contrast with these conditions, we store our honey in a special honey room with temperature and humidity control. The honey is only taken out of this room to ship to customers.

Another important factor is whether the U.S. importer has a New Zealand Export Certificate. These certificates are issued by the NZ Ministry of Primary Industries only if the shipment goes directly to the importer. Export certificates are optional for the U.S., so it’s possible to import Manuka Honey without having one. For example, some shipments go from New Zealand to certain Asian countries, where they are split and sent partially to the U.S. This increases the chances of adulteration and improper storage of the honey. We at Koru Naturals only import batches with export certificates issued to our partner, Natural Solutions, for shipping directly to us.

Manuka Honey skincare

In addition to the highly popular use as health food, Manuka Honey is an excellent skin care ingredient. As mentioned in the segment, some brands are using celebrity endorsements as part of their marketing. In our experience, celebrity endorsements don’t necessarily correlate with quality, although they do go together with high prices. Our approach is to carry only products that we know are excellent, and to offer the lowest possible prices. Our Manuka Honey Skin Care products have been carefully selected through the years to represent the highest quality and value. Our leading brands are Wild Ferns, Pure Source, Lanoliné, NZ Fusion Botanicals, and Naturals New Zealand, all top quality producers.

Become an educated buyer of Manuka products

We invite you to become an educated buyer of Manuka products. Our knowledge and experience guarantee the highest value and authenticity of both our pure Manuka Honey and Manuka skincare products.

 

Rooibos Tea and Manuka Honey: a marriage made in heaven

Rooibos and manuka eye cream

Anti-aging action on the delicate skin around your eyes

Creating natural skin care products is as much art as science. Cosmetic chemists that specialize in natural products always begin by searching the scientific literature for ingredients that offer desirable properties, are available regularly and are produced with respect for people and the environment.

Although the reasoning process for selecting ingredients is similar across the industry, the outcomes are often unpredictable. It’s not unusual for a new product made with excellent ingredients to show little, if any, improvement over what’s already available. On the other hand, a product designed along similar lines may turn out to be exceptional and far superior to what was previously available. A little luck and black magic, both unpredictable, make all the difference

The NZ Fusion Botanicals Rooibos Tea and Manuka Honey Eye Cream is one of those pleasant surprises. Combining Manuka honey with antioxidants is not new. However, it is now becoming increasingly clear that the nature of the natural antioxidant used can make a big difference.

Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) is a South African shrub that grows in the mountainous region around Cape of Good Hope. The deep red tea brewed from its leaves has a long history in traditional South African medicine, with numerous uses that include topical application for skin disorders.

Rooibos has 50% more antioxidants than green tea and it is also rich in vitamin C, a key component of a healthy skin. The combination with Manuka Honey results in a rich cream with a light red color derived from the honey and the tea. This cream does not have any artificial fragrances or colorants, and the total natural content is 95%.

How about beauty within?

We now know that nutrition plays a key role in beauty. In particular, a diet rich in antioxidants results in healthier skin and hair. Many nutritionists recommend incorporating Rooibos into a daily routine of healthy foods, plenty of hydration, exercise and stress control. With its delicious taste and relaxing effects, a couple of cups of Rooibos every day can be the perfect addition to your daily routine. And, of course, try the NZ Fusion Eye Cream and see what the combination of Rooibos and Manuka can do for the skin around your eyes.

A frequently asked question: Can I add Manuka Honey to my tea?

An the answer is yes, as long as the tea is not too hot. Remember that heat is the enemy of active manuka honeys. Rooibos tea with our Natural Solutions UMF honeys is a wonderful and healthy combination. Just brew the tea, allow it to reach lukewarm temperature, and add half a teaspoon of either 15+ or 20+ honey.

 

Two new solid fragrances!

One for her, one for him.

Poet’s Narcissus

From the fields of Southern France we get pure extracts of Narcissus poeticus flowers which, combined with other natural ingredients, result in this beautiful new fragrance.

Poet’s Narcissus solid fragrance

The daffodil flowers that inspired this fragrance are intensely fragrant and have a beautiful combination of white petals and yellow corona.  The aroma is reminiscent of jasmine, hyacinth and a light citrus. To this initial flower base we add herbal, earth, orange, and wild notes that result in a feminine, soft yet persistent, solid fragrance.

The Dark Side

Boozy, earthy and woody, our new solid fragrance for men caters to the bad side of the best of gentlemen. It took a very long time to develop this fragrance, but it was definitely worth it. Perfect to alternate with our Bay Rum fragrance, and as a sensual and meaningful gift.

The Dark Side solid fragrance

 

 

 

 

The allure of Indian fragrances

Indian fragrances

INDIAN MYTHOLOGY AND FRAGRANCE

Fragrance, culture and history

Those of you who follow our blog already know how we like to connect mythology with the products we sell. It is so much fun to learn about how cultures have used natural product through history than to deal with something that was made in a lab recently and is devoid of cultural significance.

The recent launch of the PATCH solid fragrance gave us an opportunity to explore the history of fragrance in India. And how rich and fascinating that history turned out to be!

After a lot of reading, we selected these myths and stories that we found particularly captivating.

The Sad and Beautiful Legend of the Parijata Flower

The Parijata flower is a form of Jasmine that flowers only at night. By day the fragrance is gone, so if the flower is to be offered to the Gods it must be picked at night and offered immediately. Legend has it that Parijata was a mortal princess that fell in love with Surya, the Sun God. Against her father’s advice, Parijata got together with Surya on Earth. Predictably, Surya quickly got tired of Earth and abandoned her, going back to the Sun. Brokenhearted, Parijata tried to follow Surya, but was burned to death by his heat. The Gods felt sorry for her, so they decided to reincarnate Parijata as a tree that would only flower at night to avoid the heat of the sun. Today, Parijata extracts of flowers collected at night are used extensively in perfumery and incense sticks.

The legend of Kamadeva

Kamadeva is the Hindu god of love and desire. Like Cupid, he carries a bow and arrow, but his bow is made of sugar cane, the string a line of honeybees, and his arrows are tipped by five kinds of flowers: mango, jasmine, white lotus, blue lotus, and ashoka.  It was the fragrance of these flowers that made Kamadeva’s arrows so irresistible at capturing hearts.

Gardening Accords

Sophisticated gardens in ancient India combined flowering plants on the basis of the compatibility of their aromas and the timing of flowering. This is in contrast with gardening in the West, where visual integration is generally the norm. In perfumery an accord is a combination of notes that result in a unified single aroma. The gardening practices in India made us think of a “gardening accord”. In fact, the concept of skillfully combined natural aromas was a key part of South Asian cultures: “A good perfume should be like a well-run kingdom, with the correct balance of allies (mild components), neutrals, and enemies (pungent materials).  A good perfume should also be harmonious with incense and garlands, the season and the humoral character of the person wearing it. The skilled use of perfumes delighted the gods, appeased kings, and excited lovers” (4).

Gardens were the center of a plush life that also included poetry readings, music, and multiple day and night aromas from flowers, candles and burning woods. The Sultan’s bedchambers would open directly to the garden, and he would enjoy baths in violet and rose water.

The Book of Delights

In 1469 Ghiyath Shahi assumed the throne of Malwa in central India. In his inauguration speech he was very clear about his plans: he would dedicate his sultanate to his enjoyment of life. At least he was honest, and he shared his expertise of life’s pleasures in a book he wrote called the Book of Delights.

The Book of Delights covers both cooking recipes and the making and enjoyment of perfumes. A true gentleman at that time was expected to have an encyclopedic knowledge of both cooking and perfumery, together with poetry, gardening, and seduction. Much of the book is dedicated to perfumes for the House of Pleasure, which was his harem, and includes detailed descriptions of how to scent a woman’s body.

Perfumes and Life

The history of fragrances in ancient India is a lesson on integrating perfumes with art, spiritually, religion and seduction.  Whereas in the West we tend to think of perfumes as part of fashion and celebrity marketing, extensions such as aromatherapy, candles and room diffusers bring similar connections to loftier aspects of life. Indian perfumery has been in decline because of the dominance of Western, primarily French, fragrances and the extinction of unique sources such as sandalwood and karmawood.  We like to think that with PATCH we are bringing some of that magic back.

Articles we enjoyed reading for this post:

  1. Alexis Karl, Royalty and Fragrance
  2. William Dalrymple, The perfumed past
  3. TanyaDutt, The fragrant myth of Parijat
  4. James McHugh, Sandalwood and Carrion: Smell in Indian Religion and Culture

Extracting Bee Venom without harming the bees

Bee Venom Extraction
Image credit: Umberto Salvagnin

We are asked all the time whether bees are killed to extract the bee venom used in the products we sell. The answer? Never! We love bees and we would never contribute to their destruction.

So how is the bee venom extracted? Through a unique and patented method developed by New Zealand scientists. Bee venom is produced in the venom gland of the bee, and is stored in an adjacent sac in the bee’s abdomen. The amount of venom a bee has depends on age. Newly hatched bees don’t have any venom at all, but the amount increases rapidly for the first two weeks of a worker bee’s life, reaching a plateau of about 0.3 mg (dry weight).

New Zealand scientists have invented a collection device for venom that doesn’t kill the bees. The device consists of a glass sheet placed on the bottom of the beehive. The glass sheet conducts a gentle electric current. When the current is turned on, bees that are on the sheet automatically stick out their stingers, and the action of the muscles pushing the stinger also pumps a small amount of venom out the end of the sting. This venom falls on the glass where it is collected and purified for storage, and freeze-dried to ensure that the venom’s bioactive materials are not degraded. It takes one million sting deposits on a collector board to make 1 gram of dry venom. This is the reason the cost of bee venom skin care products is so high.

So if you love bees and New Zealand Bee Venom skincare, you can buy our products without hesitation knowing that bees were never harmed in the process.

Follow the example of the sheep

What keeps the sheep dry and warm? Lanolin!!!

Follow the example of the sheep and use lanolin to protect your skin. Lanolin is the top natural ingredient to protect your lips, hands, feet, and your entire body

Our famous pure lanolin is the best product available today. And it has only one ingredient: lanolin!

And it also comes in convenient lip balm containers.

Stay all natural and avoid these ingredients, particularly on your lips:

  • Lanolin alcohols
  • Artificial colors
  • Parabens
  • Petrolatum
  • Sulfates

You want to add more moisturizing protection? Use our products that combine lanolin with emu oil

With over 30 lanolin beauty products, Koru Naturals is the leader in lanolin skin protection

 

The Fascinating History of Patchouli

 

Patch joins Bay Rum, Sandalwood, OUD, and Fire and Flowers in the collection of NZ Fusion solid fragrances.

If you are a fan of gorgeous patchouli you may know this sensual fragrance has been around for centuries. The exact history is actually quite fascinating when you look deeper into its mystery and allure to find out where the fragrance originates. That’s why at Koru Naturals, we’re adding the brand new NZ Fusion Patch Solid Fragrance to a stellar lineup of favorite scents. Let’s dive deeper into the history of patchouli, so you know a little bit more about this warm and inviting scent. Or if you haven’t tried patchouli for yourself, maybe this will tempt you to add it to your collection.

Patch Solid Fragrance

Patchouli is complemented by Australian Sandalwood, Egyptian Jasmine, Madagascar Vanilla, and Turkish Rose Oil. This results in a complex, rich, and intense fragrance.

As with the other NZ Fusion solid fragrances, you may personalize it by combining with other fragrances. Adding Sandalwood makes it woodier, whereas blending with Bay Rum provides spicy notes.

The Origin of Patchouli

The word “patchouli” itself means “green leaf” because it comes from a herb growing green bush that’s part of the mint family. It does bloom delicate pink flowers that show up in the fall with seeds that are all part of becoming the patchouli scent we know today.

Even though it’s native to Southeast Asia, the South Indian people, known as the Tamil, actually developed some of its first uses and named the plant. They used it for medicinal purposes, insect repellent, and even in some culinary ways or through herbal teas they drank. Growing best in a moist and tropical climate, without direct sunlight, the leaves of the patchouli plant can reach heights of up to three feet when healthy.

Centuries later the herby bush made its way up through the Middle East on trade routes when adventurers used to bargain silk, goods, spices, and oils like the ones made from the patchouli’s leaves.

The French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte brought from Egypt cashmere and silks protected from moths with patchouli leaves, so he may have been the one to introduce it to parts of Europe. People just fell in love with its heady rich scent that was distinctively all its own, exquisite and beautiful. So in Europe  Patchouli went from insect repellent to upscale fragrance.

It wasn’t until 1837 that the patchouli was known as a recognizable scent and quickly made its way to the rest of the Western world.

The Modern Era of Patchouli

The counterculture in America, mainly in the 60’s and 70s really embraced everything the scent of patchouli had to offer. People loved to use it in essential oil form, burning in incense, and it became a common note in many popular fragrances. The essential oil is created by steam distillation of the leaves to produce the pure oil that was very popular at the time.

The rich earthy aroma with a slight mint undertone became a very well known aura around people who were referred to as “hippies.” Men and women with long hair, a free spirit, and a carefree way of dressing became associated with the fragrance.

However, most of the Patchouli used in the 60’s was either synthetic or of low quality. This is in contrast with the pure Patchouli Essential Oil used in our new fragrance, which is extracted only from the top 3-4 leaves of the plant and aged for at least 3 years. This Patchouli has a rich, dark, earthy-sweet, and mellow aroma. Sandalwood, a touch of sweet Madagascar vanilla, and lush Turkish rose complement the Patchouli notes of this fragrance. This is a fragrance with outstanding depth and warmth that will allow you to treasure wearing patchouli all day long.

Try Patch today!

2017 Holidays Gift Ideas and Sales

Pohutukawa Trees in flower means that It’s that time of the year again! We put together offers and gift ideas for you.

Wild Ferns Manufacturer’s Offers

Special Wild Ferns offers for the  American friends of the brand:

 

Lanolin Soap
Lanolin Soap

Get a free bar of the new Lanolin Soap with at least $40 purchase of Wild Ferns products

OR

Get a free Manuka Honey Hand and Nail Cream with a purchase of at least $60 in Wild Ferns products

Special offer on a set of 6 Small Wild Ferns Body Lotions

Gift Ideas

New Zealand Soaps – Always a hit

For men with Facial Hair

Great Lip Balms – Really different from anything else

Solid Fragrances – So much fun!

Rotorua Mud Bath at 20% off

Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Shower Gel at 20% off

And a lot more at Koru Naturals!

The Beautiful Simplicity of Emu Oil

Benefits of Emu Oil

Emu oil for beauty is simple and effective. I’ve talked about taking your skincare and paring it down to just the essentials before in recent articles here. When simplicity wins, you win with an easier beauty regimen that’s just right for your skin and hair. Emu oil is the next level oil you should be exploring for your routine. I’ve found that the benefits of emu oil are extraordinary and time-tested. Here are some of the beautiful benefits of emu oil, that you are going to definitely want to test out for yourself, with a bottle of your own from Koru Naturals.

History

This is an oil you should look into that comes from an interesting Australian flightless bird. The Aborigines of Australia were some of the first people to discover all the ways the emu bird, this Wonder Down Under, could be used successfully for holistic healing, haircare, and especially on the body and face for skin health.

When it was first discovered, the back fat of the bird was used to create the emu oil. The reason the oil is so beneficial number one comes from this fact. This oil contains a bounty of omega fatty acids, including 3, 6, and 9. The trifecta of “good for you” oils as a skin treatment is legendary. This can’t be overstated. What emu oil naturally contains is amazing. Omega-9 specifically is called oleic acid, which is also in many other nut butters (shea butter) and vegetables oils, like olive or grapeseed oil. Oleic acid is responsible for keeping skin supple and radiant.

 Antioxidants Are Plentiful

Another reason, other than the fatty acid content of the emu oil, is that it’s also loaded with antioxidants that help hydrate aging skin, help with skincare issues like eczema or psoriasis, and can even act as a corrective agent to improve the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and other skin imperfections. What doesn’t this simple oil do? It’s a powerhouse all around to add to your skincare regimen.

 Hydration Is Plentiful with Emu Oil

The moisturizing properties of emu oil are insanely effective. It’s able to penetrate much deeper than other oils for true, deep down moisture. I’ve found this is the most luxurious part about using emu oil. After my shower at night, I slick on a layer of emu oil on my damp skin, including my face, to lock in the moisture. It’s truly the best face serum and not expensive like most others on the market for hundreds of dollars. The next morning when I wake up, I notice just how silky soft and gorgeous my skin feels. It’s a nightly treatment that is absolutely essential to my routine now because I just can’t get over how great my skin feels to the touch. My hands and nails enjoy the nourishment too because as a nail hydrating oil it’s helped to stop breakage and ragged cuticles. 

 Plus, it’s been helpful to reducing the appearance of stretch marks and old acne scars. As a mother of two, I thought stretch marks were just a part of life. Once I introduced emu oil into my bodycare regimen, those marks look so much better!

Your Hair and Scalp Will Love Emu Oil Too

Not only does emu oil work wonders on the skin, but you can also use it on your scalp and hair. For scalp issues, like hair itch relief, emu oil can help hydrate and nourish the scalp balancing out your natural oils to reduce the appearance of dandruff and dry scalp. 

 You can also use emu oil as a treatment mask. Just mix a few drops of emu oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil and slather on your hair from root to tip. Leave on for 20 minutes and then shampoo and condition as you regularly do. You’ll find that your hair is fortified, soft, and less frizzy overall. Use this intensely hydrating treatment mask about once a week for best results.

 I sometimes will rub some emu oil in the ends of my hair before I go to the gym or to the pool to protect my strands. Then I just pull it into a topknot and go. It’s an easy way to hydrate and pull my hair up for activities.

 A Note on the Emu’s Environment

Today for Koru Natural products, the emu oil is created from United States farming sources, where all the extraordinary birds are treated humanely. They aren’t subjected to antibiotics or keep in poor conditions. That was an important fact for me before I started using emu oil. Having this oil as a part of my life for years has been such a benefit for my skin and hair’s health and condition, but I had to know the birds were being treated well too.

 If you are interested in finding an exceptional oil that treats so many skin and hair issues, you’ll be so glad you looked into simplifying your skincare with this one product. It’s definitely something I always have on my vanity now for so many reasons. You’re going to love it too!