All posts by Koru Naturals

Lessons of a lawsuit: Trader Joe’s “Manuka Honey”

Murky rules for labeling Manuka Honey in the U.S. confuse and deceive consumers

Trader Joe’s won dismissal of a class action lawsuit alleging that honey sold at their stores labelled Manuka Honey wasn’t pure. Exploring the facts of the case, Judge Kandis A. Westmore ruled that it wasn’t a case of adulteration but that the honey wasn’t a monofloral Manuka, which is permitted in the U.S. (1) Monofloral honeys contain primarily honey derived from a single plant species.

Adulteration of honey is common primarily among imports from some Asian countries and, in general, involves the addition of corn syrup. Trader Joe’s was never accussed of selling adulterated honey, but the claim was that less than 60% of the honey was truly Manuka.  In the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration allows the naming of honey “with the name of the plant or blossom if you or the honey producer has information to support the conclusion that the plant or blossom designated on the label is the chief floral source of the honey.” In other words, it is legal to label a honey as Manuka with as little as 51% of the honey being truly derived from Manuka flowers.

In contrast to this notoriouly lax standard, the New Zealand standards for what can be labelled Manuka Honey are very high. Labeling a honey Monofloral Manuka requires four chemical tests and one DNA test for Manuka pollen. Although these requirements have resulted in higher production costs and have affected producers of lower quality honey (2), they provide confidence in the quality of Manuka produced in New Zealand (3). Our Natural Solutions honeys are in full compliance with the New Zealand standards for monofloral Manuka Honey.

Given the regulatory gap between New Zealand and the U.S., it is possible to import New Zealand honey that is just labeled plain “honey” and sell it in the U.S. as Manuka. Legal, yes, ethical, we don’t think so.


  1. Class action lawsuit dismissed
  2. Maori beekeepers hit hard by new purity rules
  3. Ministry of Primary Industries rules for Manuka Honey testing

Pure lanolin and its softer relatives: How do you pick the right product?

Why Lanolin is such a good skin care ingredient

Lanolin is one of the most wonderful natural products to protect your lips, hands, feet, and your entire body. Lanolin helps keep the sheep’s coat protected and dry throughout the year.  Lanolin is extracted from the wool after shearing, and refined to the highest grade available.

The  composition of lanolin is very similar to that of human skin lipids. Therefore, it is more skin-compatible than any other natural or synthetic ingredient in skincare. Lanolin forms a protective layer on the skin that allows air to get in but holds water in, allowing the skin to hydrate naturally. Lanolin can also be a water reservoir, holding up to 400% of its weight, contributing to the natural skin hydration of lanolin products.

With more than 50 lanolin products in our collection, Koru Naturals offers the most extensive selection of lanolin skin care available today. But, the question is often asked: how do you pick the right one? To help with this decision, let’s first classify our lanolin products according to lanolin content:

  • Pure lanolin – 100% USP grade lanolin. It comes in 2 oz pots, lip balm tubes, and small and large lip balm pots
  • Lanolin and sunflower wax lip balm
  • Balms – 40% to 60% lanolin
  • Creams and lotions – Less than 10% lanolin
Pure Golden Lanolin

Our top selling product since 2001, our lanolin has an exceptional level of purity.  Simple and highly effective, our Australian Golden Lanolin is used regularly as skin moisturizer and protectant. It’s also a favorite of DIY crafters, who use it to create creams, lotions, and balms.

Pure lanolin is a wax, which can be pretty hard, particularly in cold weather. What I do is to use a hair dryer on low to soften it to a semi-liquid consistency that is easy to apply. If you use it on your feet it’s best to do it at night and wear woolly socks. Do it daily for a week and you’ll be amazed at the results!

Our 100% pure lanolin is also available in lip balm containers:

Lanolin and Sunflower Wax Lip Balm

Whereas the blue label tubes are the most popular lip balm form, they cannot be shipped in summer because the lanolin melts. The Green Label tubes have a small amount of sunflower wax added, which increases the melting point. Green Label tubes can be shipped year around and they are convenient for warm climates.

Lanolin and Tupelo Honey Lip Balm

On the Lamb Lip Balm: Pure Lanolin combined with Tupelo Honey, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and castor oil


Pure lanolin can be blended with oils and butters to create products that are softer and easier to spread than pure lanolin.

Creams and Lotions

Too numerous to list all, you can browse all products on our main lanolin page. In general, lanolin creams and lotions contain less than 10% lanolin because otherwise they would feel sticky. A few products and lines we love:

Your skin will thank you

Lanolin was the beauty secret of the 20’s and 30’s, but then it was neglected in favor of newer and more expensive ingredients. However, there was never a good reason to neglect lanolin as excellent skin care ingredient, other than generally false claims used to justify high prices. What lanolin does for sheep is also good for your skin, so regardless of what product you choose your skin will thank you.

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

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


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


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


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!