- More Under the Radar EO's- Manuka

Have you ever heard of Manuka essential oil? If not, then this EO has flown under your radar until now. But no worries, because today we are going to change that!

Botanically known as  Leptospermum scoparium, this is a small tree, or shrub, that is considered native to New Zealand, although Australia also has an abundance of it, and is one of the chief exporters of the EO made from the leaves and branches. It does also grow in New Guinea and Southeastern Asia. The Eo is  steam distilled, and gives off a rich, but sweet, woody and herbaceous middle note fragrance. It is warmer and richer than tea tree EO, but is the New Zealand cultivar of the tea tree.  

While the leaves of this plant have primarily been used in remedies for urinary complaints, congestion, and muscle aches and pains, every part of the plant has been used by the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand,  when making their [natural] medicines. In fact it is still widely used today. Historically, a decoction of the leaves was drunk for urinary complaints and fevers, while the leaves were boiled in water and the steam inhaled for relief from head colds. The leaves and the bark were also used to make a decoction where the warm liquid was used to rub into aching joints and muscles. They also used the emollient white gum, called pai manuka, to give nursing babies, as well as to treat burns. And even the bark was chewed to relax and to enhance sleep. It truly was, and is, an all around useful plant.

As an interesting side note, it is believed that both the manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and the Melaleuca alternifolia, were mixed,  made into a tea, and drunk by Captain Cook, which is how the Melaleuca alternifolia  got its name, [the] Tea Tree.

Manuka possesses analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, deodorant, expectorant, immune stimulant, nervine, sedative, and vulnerary properties, as well as being an immune stimulator. 

Because of the above properties this essential oil will be a beneficial additive in remedies for; acne, arthritis, asthma, athletes foot, burns, candida, colds, cold sores, cough, cracked skin, dandruff, eczema, fever, infections, insect bites and stings, intestinal infections, muscular pain, rheumatism, ringworm, sinus congestion, sinusitis, sore throats, sunburn, thrush, urinary infections, wounds. While it is not recommended for internal use at all, it may be used in a steam inhalation treatment, where it will act as an expectorant.

According to one source found in my research, the concentration of the components in this oil will vary with the height of the tree that the leaves were taken from, but I was unable to confirm this claim. While it is very similar in qualities to the Australian tea tree eo, several sources report that it is stronger in its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal actions. There is research, from both Britain and New Zealand, that indicates that this eo posses a broad spectrum antibiotic action.  While it is considered generally safe for healthy tissue, the claim by some vendors that it is non-irritating, non-sensitizing, and non-toxic, is debatable. I have found growers that caution that, in some people, it can be mildly irritating to the skin, and that acute toxicity can occur when it is used in amounts above the recommended dosages. So, as with everything, caution and moderation is advised.

This EO is also used to treat wounds and cuts, seedy toe, thrush, mudfever, and rainscald in horses. When mixed with lavender, it offers a treatment for hives and skin reactions to insect bites, and when diluted, it is applied for a once a week skin conditioner, after the bath.  

It also makes a good treatment (when diluted) to use on the hot spots that dogs get when they are bit by fleas, or in a spray for flea repelling, or even added to a dogie shampoo for general cleansing. 

This EO should be in the medicine cabinet for sure. And now that it is no longer under your radar, you can put it there! 

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