Our organic 'honi' soap...currently sold out.

It's become a popular soap because of the gentle, soothing qualities offered by the organic extra virgin olive oil…enhanced by the organic honey content. I've managed to use twice the honey content normally added into a soap recipe...that took knowledge & experience to resolve the inherent problems.

It's very interesting...the lazy person syndrome that I raised discussing ‘goat’s milk’ soap comes into play again. I looked at many soap-making sites/groups before I started including honey in our soap. Complaint after complaint by makers discussing the problems they'd encountered...but all kept on repeating the same mistakes and recipes discussed. I simply looked at the problems, & worked out a probable solution.

I originally intended to use Manuka honey in 'honi'...but then I did my thorough research, & discovered that there would be no benefit in doing so, over normal organic honey. Manuka honey is a very vulnerable product...but we're not being told that, in marketing material by promoters. Indeed, its merited benefits are amazing- but to receive those benefits through most commercially processed products would virtually be impossible.

The merited qualities of Manuka honey come from the active enzymes...normally contained within the beehive honey. The beehive is carefully temperature controlled by the bees- maintaining a fairly constant temperature of 34-35 C degrees. The enzymes are destroyed for various reasons, once the honey is removed from the hive...one being temperature exposure. At 37 C, nearly 200 of the beneficial components of Manuka honey are destroyed. At 40 C, invertase- an important active enzyme/glycoprotein, which controls the breakdown of sucrose- is destroyed. This clearly indicates that to obtain any benefits from Manuka honey, it must be used raw…not put through the temperature exposure used during pasteurisation, that is generally applied to commercial products.

Manuka honey enzymes are also destroyed by exposure to light. Hence, why the best quality, graded Manuka honey is packaged in dark glass containers.

In fact, even raw Manuka honey loses all of its enzyme activity 10-15 days after removal from the hive- even under fully controlled conditions.

The relevance of the above factors are then further impacted by the soap-making process. Any additives to soap are introduced to the mixture at the very end, before the soap is poured- be it fragrance or colouring compounds, herbs, clays etc. When a sugar- in this case honey- is added to the mixture, a molecular reaction occurs. Significant heat is naturally generated in the reaction…temperatures in excess of 50 C occur. The soap mixture, which is normally a cream colour, instantly changes to a deep, terracotta colour…it’s quite alarming to observe- and the temperature rapidly rises.

There is no way to prevent this response…only control it to a degree. Without the reaction occurring, the honey could not be successfully combined. I read of results of the honey/sugar essentially separating into ‘toffee’ like particles within the soap…or the soap mixture exploding like lava. The resultant temperatures would undoubtedly destroy any active enzymes contained in Manuka honey, given its temperature sensitivity.

Beyond the above facts to be considered, I can’t attest to the value of many available commercial products, without knowing the processes and temperatures used in production.

It would however logically appear that if you want to receive the benefits of Manuka honey, the best results would be achieved by using raw Manuka honey, packaged in a lightproof container, and freshly harvested.

Again, we see people quickly jumping on to Manuka honey to gain profit from current marketing…without doing their own research to support the claims. I saw a company promoting a Manuka honey soap online for $40/100g. The soap might have warranted the price based on the quality and expense of the Manuka honey used, but it would offer absolutely no claimed benefits…impossible!

So I don’t use Manuka honey in our organic ‘honi’ soap for the above reasons…a little bit of research offers value in the time spent. I do however use a quality organic honey, offering all the naturally soothing benefits of a chemical-free honey to the skin…doubled in volume content to any other honey-based soap on the market. I highly recommend its use on problematic, irritated skin.