Manuka essential oil, Leptospermum Scoparium, originates from New Zealand. It has a long history of use by the Maori people for bronchitis, rheumatism and similar conditions. Manuka oil has some features of Tea Tree oil but also has other important ones.
The best Manuka oil comes from the wild shrubs which grow in the bush. Manuka essential oil is extracted by distillation from the leaves and is virtually colourless. There is a constituent, Leptospermone, which is very insecticidal. The smell is very sweet and gentle.
Manuka oil is antiviral, antifungal and highly bactericidal. It can be used for all respiratory infections and the fact that it is also decongestant is a bonus. Because of its pleasant aroma it is good to be used in vaporisers.
It is an excellent antiseptic for the use on the skin, and can be applied to cuts, spots, boils and ulcers. Manuka can be used neat on the skin when needed, but it has a drying effect, particularly if used repeatedly.
It can be applied in treating acne and oily conditions of the skin. For general use it should be diluted to avoid drying effect. 1 or 2% dilution is suitable for massage. It is a good idea to use rich carrier oil like avocado or jojoba for people with dry or sensitive skin.
The oil has an anti-histamine action and is anti-allergic generally. It is good for insect bites and stings and can be tried for allergic rashes like hay fever. It is also a good local analgesic and helpful for muscular pain as illustrated by the Maori’s use.
Other benefits of manuka essential oil is that it is an effective insecticide and is suitable for use in sprays and burners. The gentle aroma makes it acceptable for keeping cats free from fleas as they will not tolerate stronger smelling oils.
The delicate scent means that it can blend well with any other oil. It is a good alternative for Tea Tree oil as anti-infectious oil, though it may not have the same immune-stimulant properties.
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