The complexities of nature are virtually infinite. These complexities do not stop with human beings, as there are no two people who are exactly the same. One-size-fits-all solutions rarely exist in our world because such complexity leads to an unfathomably unique set of problems and solutions for each individual. But if nature is to blame for making things so complicated, then nature is also to be thanked for providing such a complex range of solutions to its own challenges. For instance, in the world of essential oils there are countless compounds which seem to have overlapping benefits. But just as every person is unique even amongst their closest relatives, so is every essential oil! This provides for an intricate array of solutions to match humanity’s diversely nuanced requirements.
Manuka Essential Oil is a fascinating example of this nuance. It is often referred to as “the better Tea Tree oil” because while it bears some relation to Tea Tree and Lavender Tea Tree it also has some subtle and not-so-subtle differences which make it more appealing and accessible to certain users. Let’s discover how Manuka manages to carve out a distinct niche for itself…
What is Manuka Essential Oil? How does it differ from Tea Tree, Lavender Tea Tree, and Manuka Honey?
As previously mentioned, Manuka, Tea Tree, and Lavender Tea Tree are all closely related within the Myrtaceae family of plants. However, Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) a.k.a. New Zealand Tea Tree is native to, you guessed it, New Zealand! Meanwhile, Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Lavender Tea Tree (Melaleuca ericifolia) are both native to Australia. To make matters even more confusing, the essential oil provided by the Lavender Tea Tree plant is referred to as Rosalina Essential Oil and bears much resemblance to Eucalyptus Oil, while products labeled Lavender Tea Tree are often just a blend of actual Lavender and Tea Tree, with the intent of dulling some of the sharpness of Tea Tree alone. But what makes Manuka Essential Oil the “better Tea Tree oil” to some? Well, it can be summed up in three words: Potency, Scent, and Sensitization.
Manuka Essential Oil is less sensitizing to the skin than Tea Tree oil, even as it fights a broader range of bacterial infections and otherwise provides basically the same positive benefits. Many users also greatly prefer the aroma of this New Zealand species, describing it as much more pleasant than that of the Australian variety. As some people desire the benefits of these compounds but may find themselves too sensitive for Tea Tree or underwhelmed by efficacy of Lavender Tea Tree, Manuka may provide for them a perfect solution.
Have you heard of Manuka honey? Known for its impressive anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties, this food product has been rising in popularity recently. It is made by European honeybees, which were introduced to New Zealand by settlers in the 1800’s, harvesting the nectar and pollen from this impressively hardy, non-European plant. Unfortunately, the hardiness of the plant is not enough to offset the scarcity of the bees or the limited window of time in which the honey can be harvested. This means there will not be enough Manuka honey to go around if demand continues to rise.
However, Amrita’s Manuka Essential Oil from New Zealand is steam distilled from the leaves of the plant, which is generally one of the first to regenerate after land is cleared. This process is much more sustainable than that of honey production and reveals more possibilities for the plant to exhibit a wider range of benefits and potential applications for the modern user. Let’s learn more about these benefits…
What are the Therapeutic Benefits of using Manuka?
As its nickname “New Zealand Tea Tree” indicates, Manuka Essential Oil offers similar benefits as the Australian Tea Tree strains. Its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and insecticidal properties have been a godsend for the Maori in New Zealand for centuries and now are available to the whole world via the sustainable process of steam distillation harvesting. It’s a wonderful compound for deterring and fighting superficial infections on the skin, or internal ailments such cold, cough, and flu.
It has been hypothesized that the presence of sesquiterpenes found in Manuka Essential Oil are responsible for its ability to reduce irritation in skin, even as other Tea Tree oils may be more sensitizing. And just as its Australian counterparts, this strain is equally astounding when it comes to deterring bugs, insects, and parasites. Widely known to hydrate the skin, promote rapid healing, and to help deter excessive UV damage while promoting collagen growth, it is also credited with analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities that can help soothe and relieve muscular aches and pains when applied topically.
The aroma of Manuka Essential Oil provides some unique benefits of its own. Universally enjoyed more than that of Tea Tree Oil, which is considered by some to be “sharp” or “medicinal” smelling, users have noted that Manuka’s pleasantly spicy, sweet, herbaceous aroma provides a significant grounding effect on the soul. Again, the sesquiterpenes shine as they protect and stabilize the nervous system while helping to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. Notable chemist/biologist Ruth Von Braunschweig claimed at the Australasian Aromatherapy Conference of Sydney in 1998 that Manuka acts as a “protective” oil like Myrrh and Cedarwood, smoothing out psychological scars.
How would one use Manuka?
Amrita’s Manuka Essential Oil from New Zealand can be applied in a variety of ways. Apply topically to focus on its stunning benefits to the skin, such as hydration, deterrence of UV damage, encouragement of collagen growth, promotion of wound healing, as well as deterrence of insects, parasites, and bacteria. Application via whole body massage or aromatic bath will reap additional benefits to the respiratory, musculoskeletal, and nervous system on top of its integumentary attributes. As it grounds you spiritually by balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve reactions, note the soothing effect of the oil on sore, achy muscles while trusting in its innate ability to fight and deter airborne illnesses. Of course, Manuka Essential Oil can also be diffused and inhaled to prioritize the user’s spiritual balance through its pleasant aroma while also focusing on respiratory health. Let’s look at some specific applicational situations…
- Overall Topical Application: 5-6% Dilution
- Manuka Essential Oil is safe to apply topically to the skin when properly diluted. In fact, users who find traditional Australian Tea Tree a little too sensitizing really ought to try Manuka on for size. Focus on areas of muscle aches / pains to maximize the analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits of the compound. This method also helps to deter insects, parasites, and bacteria while promoting the rapid healing of cuts, abrasions, and bug bites. Its promotion of collagen growth helps provide a triple whammy against prematurely ageing skin as it simultaneously prevents excess UV damage and provides much needed hydration. Dilution for this method should be no more than 5-6% (25-30 drops per tablespoon of any carrier oil).
- Whole Body Massage Application: 2
- 3% Dilution
- Another popular way of utilizing Manuka Essential Oil is to apply a slightly lower concentration to the entire body through a relaxing massage. Hey… You deserve it! This method distributes the same wonderful effects for the skin as the topical method, but throughout the whole body in a slightly more subtle way. The muscles will love you for it too, especially if they need some of the anti-inflammatory or analgesic action known to be provided by the compound. All the while, your spirit becomes more grounded and balanced in the process… This method is a one-way ticket to your happy place! Proper dilution for the whole-body massage application should be no more than 2 - 3% (10-15 drops per tablespoon of any carrier oil).
- Aromatic Bath Application: up to 3% Dilution
- Manuka Essential Oil is absolutely perfect for mixing into a soothing, aromatic bath. Take the edge off from rattled nerves with its spiritually and emotionally grounding capabilities. As the steam opens up your pores, your skin will readily embrace the wonderful attributes provided by this compound. While it works to help rapidly heal cuts, abrasions, and bug bites, it will also leave long lasting hydration and continue to deter UV damage and insects / parasites / bacteria, all while promoting collagen growth. The respiratory system will enjoy Manuka’s ability to relieve and prevent cold / cough / flu while the muscles will also be soothed. Dilution for this method of application should be no more than 3% (15 drops mixed with bath salts or milk before adding to a full bath).
- Diffusion / Inhalation Application: add a few drops to a
Nebulizer or Nasal Inhaler
- This is the best way to focus the power of Manuka Essential Oil toward the health of the nervous and respiratory systems. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves will be gently eased towards a state of balance as the soul is provided with an overall grounding effect, possibly even a slight feeling of sedation. The aroma of Manuka is generally considered much more pleasant than that of Tea Tree, so the diffusion / inhalation method of application might be just right for this compound when seeking similar benefits. If your priority is the prevention of seasonal illness and/or respiratory infection, then this will give you the most bang for your buck. Simply add a few drops to your nebulizer or inhaler and enjoy!
What would blend well with Manuka?
Manuka Essential Oil is considered a “middle” fragrance note. Therefore, it blends well with “base” notes such as Myrrh, Sweet Marjoram, or Sandalwood, and top notes such as Lavender or Bergamot. These are not the only essential oils that blend well with Manuka, so feel free to experiment!
Here are a few DIY recipes containing Manuka for you to try in your nebulizer:
It seems that just about every natural ailment has a natural remedy if one puts their mind to seeking it out. Lucky for you, Amrita has done just that with Manuka Essential Oil. Yes, it lacks the popularity of its relatives, Tea Tree and Lavender Tea Tree, but some may find that Manuka has found exactly the right niche for those who seek to dial in exact benefits while reducing potential side effects. Rewards await those who are patient enough to try the gamut of essential oils while listening to the body’s feedback and determining exactly what works best for them. An obscure plant from an obscure land, Manuka is waiting patiently for whoever has the discerning taste for its uniquely balanced properties. Discover what we already know and try Manuka Essential Oil today!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.