You’ve probably heard of Manuka honey, the much hyped super food that’s purported to treat everything from a sore throat to blemishes on your skin. We’d like to introduce you to its much more effective cousin - Manuka Essential Oil.
They both come from the same tree, Leptospermum scoparium, which is native to New Zealand but that’s about where the similarities end. Manuka honey is made by honey bees who have pollinated the Manuka flower. Manuka Essential Oil on the other hand is a highly concentrated substance made from steam distillation of the leaves, seeds, and bark of the tree.
These trees are often found in harsh and exposed terrain and subjected to wild, wet, and windy climatic conditions and still they thrive! The essential oil, which is stored in the tree, protects it from attack by bacteria, fungi and insects giving them the stubborn strength they need! That we can then harvest and distil the oil for ourselves to harness those same benefits is truly remarkable.
While essential oils and their claims of efficacy are often (deservedly) maligned, the power of Manuka Oil has been scientifically demonstrated and published in numerous peer-reviewed and published studies, and the findings are incredible.
Study after study demonstrated the ability of Manuka oil to stop the growth of and kill a broad range of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and fungi.
From a study in New Zealand:
“Manuka oil, particularly the triketone-rich chemotypes from East Cape, has activity against pathological bacteria e.g., Staphylococcus, Listeria, and Streptococcus, and against some fungi e.g. Trichophyton and Microsporum, as well as anthelmintic and insecticidal activities.”
Porter, N. et al, Crop & Food (2000), Essential Oil Production from Manuka and Kanuka, Broadsheet 116, July 2000
And from a study in the UK:
Studies have also showed the powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, wound healing and synergistic capabilities of Manuka oil.
Scientists have related Manuka Oil's efficacy to its β-Triketone components. These unique compounds occur naturally in Manuka Oil and the natural compound with the greatest abundance of β-Triketones, by far, is Manuka Oil.
Not all Manuka oil is created equally
We know Manuka Oil is effective because of the β-Triketones in it, and that the more there are the higher the anti-bacterial activity. Studies have shown that Manuka Oil from the East Cape of the North Island of New Zealand is the most effective of all because of the constantly elevated levels of β-Triketones, much higher than oil sourced from any other location.
Reference: Perry, N. et al. (1997), Essential oils from New Zealand manuka and kanuka: Chemotaxonomy of Leptospermum, Phytochemistry, April 1997, 44(8), 1485-1494
We source our Manuka Oil exclusively from our supplier in the East Cape to ensure our products are as effective as possible.
We’ve also selected our supplier for the good they’re doing in their community. The East Cape is a tiny, remote area of New Zealand which traditionally had few employment opportunities. Our Manuka Oil supplier was established with the aim to train and upskill local people and be able to provide opportunities for people to find jobs without having to leave their community. Today they employ dozens of people and Manuka Oil has become a core part of the community’s identity.
An age old remedy
The therapeutic properties of different parts of the New Zealand Manuka Tree have been known for centuries by the indigenous Māori population. Traditional uses include the treatment for skin, eye and oral infections, pain and inflammation, fever, coughs and colds, burns, scalds, cuts and wounds, urinary complaints, diarrhoea, and constipation. An infusion of the bark was used externally and internally as a sedative, and to treat scalds and burns. The ash from the bark was rubbed onto the skin to treat skin diseases, while vapour from leaves boiled in water was used for colds. The inner bark was boiled and the liquid used as a mouthwash.
The distilled essential oil is a relatively new product, first produced commercially around 40 years ago. Since the 1990s, it has become one of the most researched botanicals with over a thousand peer reviewed publications, and a popular ingredient in skincare, therapeutics, aromatherapy, and consumer products.
How does WashBar use it?
You’ll find Manuka oil in our ManukaBar, Original Soap for Dogs and our Horse & Hound bar. We have found it makes a big difference to the health of dog’s skin when used as part of the grooming routine. Having Manuka Oil in your dog's soap means they can easily and conveniently benefit from the important antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties of the oil.