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Everything You Want to Know About Ancient NZ Manuka

by Manuka Research on April 23, 2018

Even if you're an avid essential oil user, you may not know about NZ manuka oil. You may not realize that this essential oil has been around for centuries – and for good reason.

What exactly is manuka anyways and how do you use it?

Isn't it the same as tea tree oil?

Here's everything you could possibly want to know about manuka oil and then some.

Q: Where does manuka come from?

The manuka plant is native to New Zealand. The indigenous Maori population have used manuka for many centuries thanks to its abundant health benefits.

This plant can vary in size: bushes reach between 2 and 5 meters while trees topple over 49 meters. As you can imagine, the Maori utilized as much of the plant as possible including berries, leaves, smoke, ash, bark, stems, and wood.

Maori took particular advantage of the leaves by crushing them into a paste for use with wound healing. They also chewed the berries for colic and dysentery. These uses have remained well-documented throughout the years and several modern studies show manuka oil is very effective for a wide range of ailments.

Q: How is manuka oil made?

Manuka essential oil is distilled using steam. Some companies use high temperatures while other companies use low temperatures. High temperature steam destroys many of the plant's potent enzymes.

Traditionally, the Maori harvest green stems, leaves, and twigs. These plant parts would then be distilled using a very low-temperature steam process. This ensures all the vital enzymes and compounds remain intact throughout the entire process.

Q: What makes NZ manuka so special?

Studies show that manuka oil distilled from trees in New Zealand's East Cape region contains the highest levels of enzymes known as triketones. Triketones, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and other compounds are what give essential oils like manuka their potent and valuable qualities.

  1. Antimicrobial and antibacterial: Research shows that manuka oil is extremely effective for reducing or eliminating 15 common microbes and bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, Micrococcus luteus, Sarcina lutea, Bacillus subtilis and Listeria monocytogenes.
  2. Antiviral: In a 2005 study, manuka oil inhibited herpes simplex 1 and 2 when applied one hour before infection. This same study suggests that manuka oil is one of the most powerful essential oils for both treating and preventing viral infections.
  3. Antifungal: Triketones in manuka oil are extremely powerful for targeting a variety of fungal infections and mold.
  4. Anti-inflammatory: A 2016 study indicates that manuka oil is very effective for treating various types of inflammation – especially inflammation from insect bites and wounds.
  5. Antioxidants and anti-aging: A 2013 study shows that the triketones in manuka oil protect the skin from photoaging and UV-B inflammation.

Q: Wait, isn't that the same as tea tree oil?

Yes, and no. Tea tree oil is definitely a powerful antifungal and antibacterial substance because it also contains potent levels of triketones.

Manuka oil, however, contains 20 to 30 times more triketones than tea tree oil and is often more effective for a variety of conditions when compared in studies. These two essential oils create one extremely powerful tool when combined in salves and solutions.

Q: What is NZ manuka oil used for?

Thanks to its abundant antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal, and antioxidant properties, manuka oil is an effective natural solution for several conditions and preventative care applications.

  • Athlete's foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus
  • Shiny and soft hair
  • Skin aging and reducing wrinkles
  • Inflamed skin from sunburns
  • Minor rashes, burns, and abrasions
  • Beautiful nails and soft cuticles
  • Persistent acne and blemishes
  • Eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff
  • Protecting at-risk skin on lips, elbows, knees, and ankles
  • Mosquito bites, bee stings, and other insect bites or stings
  • Chaffed or irritated skin
  • Annoying dry and itchy skin
  • Old scars
  • Sore muscles and aching joints
  • Congestion and respiratory infections

Q: How do I use NZ manuka oil?

Most people love the smell of manuka oil. Those that don't love it at first get very used to it quickly because it has a deep and earthy scent similar to tea tree oil – the two plants actually belong to the same myrtle family.

The pleasant scent makes manuka oil easy to use in a broad range of applications throughout your daily life.

  • Add 10-20 drops to your bathtub to soothe sore muscles.
  • Massage a few drops into aching joints.
  • Use boiling water or a diffuser to inhale manuka vapors and reduce congestion.
  • Aromatherapy applications for relaxation, stress relief, and wellbeing.
  • Apply manuka oil to infected wounds, fungal infections, and other abrasions.
  • Combine with aloe (or use alone) to soothe inflamed skin from sunburns.
  • Add a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner
  • Add a few drops to your facial moisturizer, cleanser, and toner.
  • Rub into nail beds and cuticles.
  • Massage onto your scalp 20 minutes before a shower to reduce dandruff.
  • Place directly onto acne and blemishes.
  • Combine with alcohol in a spray bottle to disinfect hard surfaces and refresh room spaces.
  • Use as an instant natural hand sanitizer.

Q: Does manuka oil interact with any prescription drugs or environmental conditions?

A few essential oils interact negatively with prescription medications or other environmental factors. Citrus oils, for example, can cause UV damage if you apply them to your skin before spending time in the sun.

Manuka oil has no known interactions with prescription medications or environmental conditions.

Q: Is manuka oil safe for children and pets?

Yes. Nothing indicates that manuka oil cannot be used on or near babies, kids, or pets. Take special care when applying manuka oil to babies and small animals like cats.

3 comments
by patricia. delegat on May 17, 2018

thank you for the free sample i will be getting some as found it very good

by patricia. delegat on May 17, 2018

thank you for the free sample i will be getting some as found it very good

by Evie Pikler on May 16, 2018

Thanks for the free sample. I put Manukau honey in my tea.

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