Compared to other temperate growing areas in the world, New Zealand has very high levels of ultraviolet light, especially in summer. Plants defend themselves against these higher levels of UV by producing more polyphenols, substances that have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
It’s this type of adaptation that could explain why oil from New Zealand manuka (leptospermum scoparium) is considered more effective than oil from Australian tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia).
The Cawthron Institute, New Zealand's largest independent science organisation, concluded that manuka oil was 20 - 30 times more active than Australian tea tree oil against gram positive bacteria and more than 5-10 times more effective against tested species of skin fungi.
The natural advantage of New Zealand manuka oil is why ManukaRx® ointment is poised to become the ‘go to’ treatment for common skin problems. Here’s a quick summary of how it can be used:
- A salve for cracked or chapped skin, especially lips
- To help prevent infection of minor skin abrasions and cuts
- As a treatment for minor burns, following first aid with cold running water
- To soften cuticles and prevent nail fungus
- Between the toes, to prevent tinea
- As a nappy rash treatment
Why is NZ’s UV so high?
Ultraviolet levels in the New Zealand summer are about 40% higher than similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere. There are three main reasons for this:
- The earth orbits the sun in an ellipse, not a circle. The closest point of approach of the sun to the earth occurs in December/January, which is the southern hemisphere summer. The furthest away is in June/July, which is the northern hemisphere summer.
- During the summer months, there is less ozone in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere.
- New Zealand has very clean air.