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Manuka – (Leptospermum scoparium)


Manuka is a small tree or shrub native to New Zealand and parts of Australia. It is also called "tea tree" even though it is not the same species as the Australian Melaleuca tree. The story behind the name "tea tree" is that the leaves were used to make herbal tea by Captain Cook. This tree spreads easily. It is evergreen with small leaves and spiny tips. It blossoms with white flowers. Honey and oil made from the tree are both used to treat many different ailments with great success.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Manuka honey is taken to relieve sore throat, infections, ulcers, colds and gum disease. The leaves can be made into an herbal tea for urinary complaints and for fever reduction. This tea's steam can be inhaled to treat head colds, sinus infections, hayfever, asthma and bronchitis. Young shoots from the tree can be chewed and swallowed to treat dysentery.

Externally – Manuka honey is added to creams to fight eczema and dermatitis. It also soothes skin that is cracked and damaged. This honey is also helpful for the inflammation of arthritis. It can also relieve pain in the back, neck and shoulders as well as be applied to sprains. The honey can be applied to wounds. It keeps out germs and helps heal even stubborn sores.

It is equally effective against fungal infections like ringworm, jock itch, athlete's foot and nail fungus. The honey is also used for acne, blisters, cold sore, scabies, rashes, burns, ulcers, insect bites, lice, dry skin, herpes, abrasions, body odor and psoriasis. When the leaves and bark are boiled together, this solution can be rubbed on rheumatic joints and stiff muscles. Vapor baths are made with leaves and branches.

Crushed leaves can be applied as a poultice to treat skin problems and wounds. Oil has proven to be antimicrobial and to be effective against the MRSA virus. The oil can also be applied to the skin for sunburn, fungal infections, itchy scalp and dandruff, acne, oily skin, irritation and rashes, odor, cuts, scratches, athlete's foot, insect bites and stings and aches and pains.

Other Uses – Manuka sawdust is used for smoking fish and meat as it imparts a wonderful flavor. The wood is durable and has been used for tool handles. Local wild parakeets use the leaves and bark to get rid of parasites. The honey is rich and full of antibacterial and antifungal properties. The oil is insecticidal and is also used in aromatherapy.

Parts Used

Leaves, oil – The leaves, branches, honey and oil are used medicinally.


Do not use manuka while pregnant or lactating. It may increase the effects of medicines like cefadroxil, bacitracin, cephradin and meropenem. It may work against medications like ofloxacin, enoxacin and sparfloxacin. Check with your physician before taking if you are on prescription medications.

Preparation and Dosage

Be sure that the Manuka honey you use is "active" to assure the best results. As for any herbal product, follow the instructions on the label for the proper dosage.

Manuka Herbal Remedies Top