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Manuka Essential Oil Health Benefits

Updated on August 1, 2016

Manuka essential oil is derived from a New Zealand ‘Tea Tree’, Leptospermum scoparium. L. scoparium is the most abundant shrub found in scrub-forest all over New Zealand. Out of some seventy-nine known Leptospermum spp, L. scoparium is the only endemic Leptospermum spp. native to New Zealand. It is also found in Tasmania and Australia.

‘Manuka' means nervousness or anxiety in Maori. Manuka is associated with Captains Cooks, whose men made a tea from Manuka leaves. The leaves have certain natural flavor and it has to brew for a longer period compare to that of Camellia sinensis to release the flavor.

Essential oil is obtained by the steam distillation of the wild harvested terminal leaves and branches. The distillation usually takes between 2-6 hours to complete. It is an amber colored liquid with overall refreshing scent. Scent characteristics: clove-terpene like, bitter-herbaceous, resinous, with a hint of fruitness.

The essential oil of Manuka is extremely variable in oil chemical composition. The following are chemicals composition of the essential oil indentified in various quantities per species: alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, myrcene, para-cymene, 1,8-cineole, linalool, methylcinnamate, alpha-farnesine, isoleptospermone, leptospermone, sesquiterpenes (cadina-3,5-diene and delta-amorphene, triketones).

The amazing therapeutic uses of Manuka essential oil are only discovered quite recently. However, Manuka traditional uses have been known since long among the original inhabitants of New Zealand. Main therapeutic actions of the essential oil identified: anti-histaminic, anti-allergenic, cytophylactic, cicatrizant, antibacterial, antifungal, antidote to insect bites and stings, antidandruff, and nervous relaxant.

Anti-histaminic

Histamine is an active amine, C5H9N3, found in human tissue. It is released as part of an allergic reaction in humans. It aggravates coughs which usually lead to real bad and exhausting coughs. Manuka essential oil can be used to help check production of histamine and thereby bring relief from continuous coughs. Combine 2 drops of Manuka essential oil in 1 cup of water and use it as gargle. Combine 2 drops of Manuka essential oil with 1 tablespoon organic honey and ½ teaspoon lemon/lime juice. Keep the mixture for as long as you can keep in your mouth before swallowing.

Anti-allergenic

Sneezing, itching, and skin rashes are common indications of allergy. Allergy is defined as hyper reaction of the body towards certain substances, such as pollens, foods, dust, pets or microorganisms. Manuka oil helps reduce or sedates these hyper reactions and brings relief from allergenic reactions.

Cytophylactic

Manuka essential oil helps promote regeneration of cells and thereby promotes overall growth and healing of wounds. It can be applied topically to patients suffering heavy wounds after any accident or surgery.

Cicatrizant

A cicatrizant is an agent that promotes healing through the formation of scar tissue. Manuka essential oil helps the scars to fade away by promoting new cell growth in the affected parts. As antimicrobial, it also helps protect the wounds from infections.

Anti-bacterial

Manuka oil is found to be effective against bacteria, virus and fungi. It can be applied topically to scabies, ulcers, wounds, cuts or burns. Due to Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) content, it is believed that Manuka essential oil is effective when used internally to help check infections in the intestines, colon, urinary system, and respiratory tracts. For topical treatments, Manuka essential oil can be used neat (Tea Tree Oil needs to be diluted). For internal use, combine 2 drops of Manuka essential oil with 1 cup water or 1 tablespoon organic honey.

Anti-fungal

Running ears, ringworm and athlete foot are common fungal infections. Use Manuka essential oil to alleviate the infections by applying a drop or two.

Antidote to insect bites and stings

Manuka oil can be applied to the skin to help reduce inflammation and pain caused by insect bite or venomous sting. It is a good insect repellant and can be used at home or outdoors. Manuka essential oil can be used neat (Tea Tree Oil need to be diluted) except on less than 2 year old baby skin. Prepare your homemade insect repellant by mixing 5 drops of Manuka essential oil in 10 ml base oil (such as grape seed, almond) and keep the mixture in dark glass bottle.

Anti-dandruff

Dandruff or seborrhea affect is characterized by lack of moisture and oil in the scalp. It is believed to be associated with bacterial or fungal infections. These usually results in degeneration of scalp skin. Manuka essential oil can be used to help maintaining the moisture and oil balance of the scalp, fighting any kind of infection and eventually regenerating new scalp skin. You can do it at home by mixing Manuka essential oil with the bathing water or massage in the head combined with emollient such as Aloe Vera gel.


Nervous Relaxant

Manuka essential oil helps relax the nervous system. It helps those with depression, anxiety, anger, nervous disturbances and afflictions. It is useful for hypertensive people whose blood pressure raised at slightest anxiety or tension. Apply it neat on temple or nape.

Other benefits

If you experience skin rashes, itches, sores, chaffing and other problems related with skin, try applying Manuka essential oil to treat them. Prepare massage oil by combining 5 drops of Manuka essential oil with every tablespoon of base oil of your choice. Massage to affected areas for several minutes. Massage oil containing Manuka essential oil can also be used to alleviate pain in muscles and joints.


NOTE: Most aromatherapists, holistic health practitioners and herbalists trained in the application of essential oils for healing purposes do not recommend essential oils for internal use. However, as can be seen in the article, I recommend Manuka essential oil to be taken internally in certain health conditions. The recommended doses are based on my personal experience in using Manuka essential oil and Tea Tree oil. I also compare with other essential oils such as Cajeput and Eucalyptus, both of which are sensitizing to cells. Manuka essential oil is found to be less sensitizing than Tea Tree, As a result, I use this criteria to justify the internal use of Manuka essential oil.

DISCLAIMER: All material in the article is provided for educational purposes only. It may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information, therefore, always consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to individual health and well-being. The information and opinions expressed herein are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgment available to the author. Readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. The author acknowledges occasional differences in opinion and welcomes the exchange of different viewpoints.

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