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Manuka oil is miraculous. The Maori knew it, and used it for almost everything that ailed them. When Captain Cook and the first settlers arrived, Maori healers shared their wisdom and manuka oil became the ‘go to’ treatment for all sorts of scrapes and sores. Now modern science has refined the oil extraction process to ensure this time-honoured treatment continues to benefit New Zealanders.
Manuka belongs to the myrtle family, a group of trees that is native to New Zealand and Australia. While our manuka has much in common with Australia’s tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), it has evolved to have a number of differences. For example, its antimicrobial properties are up to 30 times more potent.
Manuka oil contains β-triketones, a group of organic compounds that have antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, which are useful in everything from preventing acne through to assisting with fungal infections particularly on the foot.
The process used to harvest manuka oil is carefully managed to ensure New Zealand’s native forests aren’t harmed. Manuka branches are harvested sustainably by pruning, which allows the trees to continue growing. The plant material is left for a few days to wilt. Then, the foliage is packed into a still. The still is brought to the boil and a consistent temperature of 100 degrees celsius is maintained for about 300 minutes. The resulting steam and oil condense as they pass through the exit pipes, and then collect in a container. The oil floats to the top, where it is siphoned off. This oil forms the base product of ManukaRx. Yield is about 1%, so the product is valuable. In the interests of sustainable recycling, the leftover manuka branches and foliage make excellent mulch.
To make Manuka oil ointment, manuka oil is combined with a variety of other natural ingredients, such as beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter keep the skin soft; castor seed and sunflower seed oil to aid the healing power; and turmeric oil to assist the antibacterial effects and help with inflammation.
Combined, these incredible natural ingredients make ManukaRx a super ointment. You can use it to help with a range of skin complaints.