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Benefits and Uses of Manuka Oil

Leena Palande
For centuries, the manuka plant has been used to treat various diseases and conditions by the Maori people in New Zealand. This story describes the amazing health benefits and aroma-therapeutic uses of manuka essential oil.

Purity Test

To test the purity of your oil, place a drop on construction paper. If there is nothing left behind after 15 minutes, it is pure. If it leaves an oil ring, it is not pure.
The shrub called manuka is native to New Zealand. It is the most abundant shrub found in scrub forest that is spread all over the country. The botanical name of this shrub is Leptospermum scoparium. It is commonly known by various names, like jelly bush, broom teatree, manuka myrtle, New Zealand teatree, or just tea tree.
As Captain Cook used the leaves of this plant to make a tea, it is often referred to as 'tea tree'. The amber-colored essential oil obtained from its twigs and leaves exhibits antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The oil is obtained by steam distillation of the leaves, and it has a refreshing scent. These days, it is used in various skin-care and well-being products.
Historical evidence shows that the indigenous people of New Zealand used to make aromatic diffusion from the manuka leaves. They used to treat wounds with a paste made from crushed manuka seed pods. It is believed that the beverage made from manuka leaves used to keep them energized and healthy.
It has been noticed that the honey obtained from the floral nectar of the plant has antibacterial properties. Though, more research has to be done regarding the medicinal uses of manuka plant.

Health Benefits of Manuka Oil

An essential oil contains concentrated nutrients from plants. Like all other essential oils, manuka oil is lipid soluble (it can pass through cell walls) and can start working within 20 minutes. The oil has great potential for the treatment of various skin, rheumatic, and respiratory conditions. It blends well with basil, chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, and several other oils.

1. Natural Solution to Scalp Problems

Add 2 - 3 drops of manuka oil to coconut oil. Use the mixture for scalp and hair massage. It is one of the best natural remedies for dandruff, lice, and itchy scalp. It not only helps hold moisture and preserves the oil balance of the scalp but also promotes the regeneration of new healthy scalp skin.
Add a few drops of oil to your shampoo and conditioner before washing your hair. This can help get rid of scalp problems. A combination of manuka oil and an emollient like aloe vera gel can be used for better results.

2. Get Rid of Body Odor

You can add 3 - 4 drops of this oil to your body wash, or 8 - 10 drops to bath water. Its fragrance creates a refreshing feeling. Manuka oil soaps are also available in the market. You can use them to drive away body odor.
To eliminate foot odor, add a few drops of oil to warm water and soak your feet in it for 10 - 15 minutes. To rule out the possibility of fungal infection, especially nail fungus, apply the oil over the area in between the toes, over the nails, and the surrounding areas.

3. Use it as an Air Purifier

With the help of an oil diffuser, you can infuse your home with a continuous and subtle scent. It can help freshen and purify the air. It can even kill strong odors arising out of mold, cigarettes, and animal smells.

4. Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties

When taken in proper proportions, the oil can help curb the growth of bacteria in the intestines, respiratory tract, urinary system, and other areas that are susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections.
Manuka tea works great for bladder infection and urinary tract infection. Usually, fungal infections lead to dandruff or seborrhea, athlete's foot, running ears, ringworm, etc.

5. Use it as an Anti-allergen

The oil, when applied topically, helps relieve allergy symptoms like skin rash, itching sensation, boils, and sores. Those who are allergic to dust, pollen, pets, etc., can apply this oil 2 - 4 times onto the affected skin. Don't forget to dilute the oil in almond oil or any other oil before use.
Application of concentrated essential oil can lead to another skin problem.

6. Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Properties

Manuka oil works as an antidote to insect bites and stings. It prevents the diffusion of toxins, and helps reduce both pain and inflammation caused by insect bites. The anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties of the oil help alleviate the symptoms.

7. Insecticidal Properties

It also acts as an insect repellent. Add 5 drops of manuka oil to 10 ml of almond or grape seed oil, and apply this mixture on your skin. You can apply it during both indoor and outdoor activities. It minimizes the chances of infection. However, as babies have very tender skin, the use of such oils should be avoided.

8. For Acne, Pimples, and Other Skin Conditions

This oil works great for various skin conditions, like acne, blemishes, cystic acne, pimples, sunburn, skin rash, and itchiness. You can apply it on the skin to get rid of the annoying sensation caused by cuts, abrasions, chafing, eczema, cold sores, corns, psoriasis, ringworm, etc.
It can even soothe the irritation caused by bed sores and canker sores. The oil, when applied on the skin, keeps it hydrated, soft, and supple.

9. Cicatrisant Properties

A number of oils help get rid of acne and rash, but very few of them help get rid of the scars. Manuka oil is one of them. With regular use, the scars and after-marks disappear gradually. The oil even stimulates new cell growth in the affected areas of the skin. Thus, it helps improve both health and appearance.
As it carries cell regenerative properties, it promotes fast healing of an incised wound, surgery wound, or an opening in the skin caused by an external injury.

10. Painkiller

Massage the aching muscles and joints with manuka oil. This will help alleviate the pain. The oil works great for backache, and rheumatic conditions like painful and stiffened joints.

11. Aromatherapy

The oil can be used for emotional benefits too, as it has significant soothing and relaxing effects on the human mind. Aromatherapy using manuka essential oil can help relieve stress and anxiety. It can cancel the effects of pathogens in the air and create a calming environment.
It can uplift your mood and re-freshen your feelings. You can apply a few drops of this oil to your pillow, or you can place 2 - 3 drops on a paper tissue and insert it inside your pillow case.

12. Respiratory Conditions

Those who often suffer from nasal congestion can inhale the vapors of manuka tea. This simple home remedy can help lower the symptoms of asthma, sinusitis, cold and flu, allergies, cough, and bronchitis. Add 2 tablespoons of manuka leaves to four cups of boiling water. Let it boil for 5 minutes, and then inhale the steam for 5 minutes.
While using oil, add only 6 - 8 drops of oil to the boiling water.

13. Other Uses

Taking into consideration the deodorant properties of the oil, you can use it as a clothes freshener or as a car freshener. Place a few drops of this oil on cotton balls and keep them in your closet. It will also help get rid of moths.
Manuka oil uses are many, and when used in moderation, does not lead to any major side effects. More research needs to be done to know about its healing abilities, medicinal uses, and side effects. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner and a physician (if you are going to take it internally) before using the oil.
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a qualified physician.