New Zealand’s most famous native myrtle, Leptospermum Scoparium or better known as the mānuka plant, is a wonder of nature in our minds with an ever-growing list of healing benefits and applications.
The mānuka plant has been used for hundreds of years in varying forms of holistic practices and medicine and was commonly used by Māori Tohunga healers to treat sickness and injuries. But there are two byproducts of the mānuka plant we want to talk today about the differences and benefits of each -- mānuka honey and mānuka oil.
Enter mānuka honey, New Zealand’s famous beehive sweet treat.
You may have heard of mānuka before because of the growing popularity of mānuka honey. This sweet as treat is not just for slathering on your toast for brekky, it also has heaps of healing properties. Mānuka honey is a product of New Zealand used in everything from teas for soothing sore throats, helping with acne outbreaks and ulcers or digestive issues, to wound healing as an antibacterial paste. And of course a delicious sweetener.
Mānuka honey even has its own grading system for purity and quality, the Unique Mānuka Factor or UMF, and certain ratings have even been used for burn victims and to aid in some cancer treatments.
What if we told you that mānuka oil, specifically East Cape mānuka oil, is up to 1,000 times more powerful than mānuka honey?
Yes, you read that right. 1,000 times more powerful. When you take the mānuka plant and distill it, a process where the mānuka leaf and branches are pruned, gathered, and steam distilled -- it produces the mānuka oil that is rich in triketones that provide the potency. The oil is also extremely precious, with only a 1% yield to branch weight ratio when distilled.
That oil holds an enormous array of natural benefits for our bodies and our skin, and is one of the most powerful essential oils. The triketone-rich mānuka oil packs a ton of bad bacteria beating punch, and East Cape mānuka is extremely efficient in fighting the gram-positive type bacteria like Staphylococcus that are especially wicked.
But it doesn’t stop there. The unique properties of East Cape mānuka oil as an antibacterial make it an amazing solution for reducing infections in cuts, assisting with bug bite healing to prevent scars, helping clear up, and reduce acne even in the most severe cases, and it can be used as a disinfectant for cleaning. And so much more.
So what’s the difference between mānuka honey and mānuka oil?
While both come from the myrtle family of the mānuka plant, this is where the similarities branch off. Pun intended.
Mānuka honey is derived from hives of bees that seek out the nectar from the mānuka flower as their food supply. These bees create the valuable mānuka honey that is gathered by beekeepers all around New Zealand with varying levels of quality and potency based on the type of mānuka plant in that region.
The healing power of mānuka honey is from the phenolic compounds which is believed to contribute to the antibiotic potential. The saturated solution of sugars like fructose and glucose helps with wound healing benefits by keeping the skin moist beneath and protecting it from infection. Because of its form as honey, mānuka honey applications are much more limited than oils and the efficiency for skin products is reduced.
After the distillation process of the mānuka leaf and branches, it only takes a small amount of oil in the skincare products to reap the benefits of it. That’s how powerful it is. Just like mānuka honey, the region where the mānuka plant is harvested dictates the levels of chemotypes like triketones, pinene, and sesquiterpenes -- with East Cape mānuka having the highest antibacterial levels because of the dense triketone content.
Mānuka oil, unlike mānuka honey, can be easily utilised in hair and skincare products because it is synergistic as an oil. This makes it perfect to create amazing essential oil blends using other incredible natural ingredients to tackle unique types of skincare solutions. Along with being a powerful antibacterial, it is also antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial — extending the use of mānuka oil to a wide range of skincare products.
Don’t give up on your mānuka honey on toast, but if you’re looking for a dynamic essential oil to tackle even the most sensitive or severe skincare needs, check out our East Cape mānuka oil skincare today!