Manuka Oil, Leptospermum scoparium

12:43 PM Posted by jo

Manuka oil has many names and I was introduced to it as tea tree New Zealand   but the people of New Zealand prefer the name Manuka. Other common names are red manuka, ti-tree and  kahikatoa.

According to history Manuka was given the name tea tree by Captain Cook who discovered that many used the leaves for tea. Manuka was used by the traditional people Maori of New Zealand long before European settlements. They made decoctions of the leaves and used if for urinary complaints and for reducing fever. A decoction was also made from the leaves and the bark and rubbed on stiff muscles and aching joints.

Manuka is a sedative and soothing oil that lightens mood. The emotional effect is interesting when comparing it to Australian tea tree. The aroma is quite different as well. The top note is spicy, sweet, slightly honey-like and little bitter. The middle note is deeper, slightly spicy, grassy, more herbal and not so sweet. The base note is soft, woody, forresty, with a touch of pine. The oil is light yellow and feels slightly oily when I rub it between my fingers.

Manuka has shown effectiveness in laboratory tests against 39 separate micro-organisms, especially fungi, staphylococcal and streptococci bacteria. According to Battglia it is a great insecticidal. He also says manuka is recommended for treating athlete's foot, cuts, abrasions, skin eruptions, insect bites, acne and stubborn ulcers.

Salvatore Battalia says manuka is recommended for the relief of muscular pains and aches due to its good analgesic effect. He also says manuka can be used to relieve colds, flu and coughs, he says it can be used for all types of respiratory system.

An interesting observation is that Australian tea tree is a stimulant while manuka is a sedative. A translation of the Maori word manuka is nervousness or anxiety. According to a New Zealand distiller,  the Aromatherapists in Europe indicates manuka's effectiveness for stress associated with anxiety and fear. It has shown to be effective in asthma because of its low irritancy and high concentration.

Therapeutic Actions
Manuka has the following therapeutic actions according to Salvatore Battaglia:
Analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, expectorant, immune stimulant, insecticide and sedative.

Do not exceed the stated daily dose since it can produce acute toxicity. It can produce a mild skin irritation in sensitive individuals but has a low irritation level compared to Australian tea tree oil.

It blends well with bay leaf, bergamot, black pepper, cajuput, cedarwood, cinnamon, elemi, ginger, juniper, lavender, nutmeg, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sandalwood and ylang ylang.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe. Please read my post about essential oil safety.


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
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