Monday, 15 June 2009

Manuka and Kanuka Essential Oil

Manuka and Kanuka grow wild in New Zealand and produce two very healing essential oils.

I had heard of Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) before from the Manuka honey I’ve seen in shops but hadn’t heard of Kanuka (Leptospermum ericoides) until recently when it was recommended to me in a blend for pain relief along with marjoram and German chamomile essential oils.

Manuka and Kanuka both have very similar properties and can help many of the same common ailments. These oils are quite new to aromatherapy and as such there is “scant amount of pharmacological information available” about these oils although, “based on folk medicinal usage, they are said to have remarkable powers of healing” according to Maria Lis-Balchin, author of Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals.

They are both members of the myrtaceae family and are often termed as the “New Zealand tea tree” however they are actually thought to have a wider range of active compounds than tea tree essential oil.

Properties of Manuka essential oil includes antibacterial, analgesic, antihistamine, anti-infectious, antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, antiallergenic, insect repellent, deodorant, nervous relaxant, antiseptic, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, antifungal, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory.

It can help with rheumatism, itchy and irritated skin including the scalp, stress related conditions, nervousness, anxiety, acne, ulcers, muscular aches and pains, arthritis, athlete’s foot, urinary tract infections, cuts/abrasions, asthma, hayfever, skin rashes, cold sores, insect bites/stings, boils, sinusitis, dandruff, colds/flu, scars, depression, high blood pressure, bronchitis, catarrh, ringworm, and burns.

Like tea tree, it can also be used neat on the skin and has actually been found to have less skin irritating properties making it more suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Interestingly the leaves which are grown at higher altitudes are more antibacterial than those grown at low altitudes.

There is less information available about Kanuka essential oil than Manuka. The properties of Kanuka essential oils include anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-viral, antifungal and insect repellent.

It can help with acne, athlete's foot, candida, ulcers, head lice, arthritis, rheumatism, muscular aches and pains, cold sores, coughs and colds/flu, corns, cuts/abrasions, insect bites/stings, itchy skin, sprains/strains, migraine, ringworm, sinusitis, urinary tract infections, and warts.

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