ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Essential oil is obtained from manuka, Leptospermum scoparium and kanuka, Kunzea ericoides, which are indigenous plants to New Zealand. The oil from these plants has been commercially available to aromatherapists for more than a decade. In this time, attention has been given to the antiseptic and antimicrobial actions of the oils. Of most interest to researchers and aromatherapists is the presence of β-triketones, present in the manuka oil. These triketones are believed to significantly contribute to the antimicrobial action. More recently, it has emerged that there are significant geographical variations affecting the composition of these oils. Whilst a full understanding of the therapeutic implications is some way off, it is important for aromatherapists to appreciate that these differences exist and the oils selected may match the intended therapeutic purpose.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A fresh look at manuka and kanuka essential
oils from New Zealand
W. Maddocks-Jennings
*, J.M. Wilkinson
, D. Shillington
H. Cavanagh
Universal College of Learning (UCOL), Private Bag 11022, Palmerston North, New Zealand
School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia
Summary Essential oil is obtained from manuka, Leptospermum scoparium and
kanuka, Kunzea ericoides, which are indigenous plants to New Zealand. The oil
from these plants has been commercially available to aromatherapists for more
than a decade. In this time, attention has been given to the antiseptic and anti-
microbial actions of the oils. Of most interest to researchers and aromatherapists
is the presence of b-triketones, present in the manuka oil. These triketones are
believed to significantly contribute to the antimicrobial action. More recently, it
has emerged that there are significant geographical variations affecting the com-
position of these oils. Whilst a full understanding of the therapeutic implications
is some way off, it is important for aromatherapists to appreciate that these
differences exist and the oils selected may match the intended therapeutic
c2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Therapeutic potential
In recent years, there has been considerable
interest in the therapeutic potential of two
commercially produced essential oils from New
Zealand. These are: manuka, Leptospermum
scoparium J. R et G. Forst and kanuka, Kunzea
ericoides (A. Rich Thompson, formerly called
Leptospermum ericoides). Manuka is also known
as kahikatoa, red manuka and tea tree. Kanuka
is also known as white or tree manuka as it is
larger than the manuka with smaller leaves,
flowers and fruit with a white wood (Booker
et al., 1987). Of the 79 Leptospermum species,
manuka is the only one that is native to New
Zealand; however, some controversy exists as to
whether both manuka and kanuka are also
endemic to Australia (Perry et al., 1997). Both
0962-4562/$ - see front matter
c2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +64 6 9527000x70821.
E-mail address: (W. Mad-
The International Journal of Aromatherapy (2005) 15, 141–146
The International
Journal of
manuka and kanuka grow prolifically through both
islands of New Zealand. Maori lore attributes the
kanuka as being the ‘male’ tree and the manuka
the ‘female’ (Booker et al., 1987). Aromathera-
pists and other practitioners need to understand
that there are variations in composition, espe-
cially of manuka oil, which can influence clinical
selection. This discussion will outline the
differences and propose some potential therapeu-
tic applications.
Historical uses
As with the Australian tea tree Melaleuca alterni-
folia, the common name relates to the uses that
Captain Cook had for the dried leaves when he
was exploring New Zealand in the eighteenth cen-
tury. History records a diverse range of uses by
both indigenous Maori and early European settlers.
These include infusions for ‘immoral people’, uri-
nary and intestinal complaints, as a febrifuge,
sucking the gum for coughs, vapour inhalations
for colds, poultices for back pain and skin condi-
tions, inflamed breasts, burns and scalds, mouth-
washes and gargles, gum disease. The wood was
also used for canoe structures, fishing tools, gar-
dening tools, war weapons and firewood. The gum
or manna has mannitol as a main ingredient, which
was used medicinally to relieve oedema and re-
move excess fluid from the body (Booker et al.,
Habitat and production
New Zealand lies in the Southern Hemisphere in the
Pacific Ocean. Its nearest landmass is Australia,
which lies to the west. New Zealand has two main
islands, the North and the South. Whilst the cli-
mate may be considered temperate there are wide
variations from the subtropical Northland rainfor-
ests to the glacial and alpine Deep South. Rainfall
varies with the western side of both islands receiv-
ing higher rainfall. Annual rainfall is between 600
and 1600 mm per year. Annual temperature aver-
ages from 10 °C in the South and 16 °Cinthe
North, with July being the coldest month
overview>). The areas where manuka oil is har-
vested for distillation range in latitude from
35°240in Auckland, in the North Island, to 45°530
in Otago in the South Island. Essential oil yield
ranges from 0.17% to 0.57% depending on the loca-
tion grown (Perry et al., 1997).
As both plants grow readily most commercial
production is from wild harvested areas rather than
plantation type locations, with the distilled oil
being incorporated into a variety of commercially
prepared products as well as being sold undiluted.
Re-growth is rapid after harvesting therefore there
is currently no risks of damage to a wild resource.
In the future, however, plantations may evolve
specialising in a particular chemotype, in a similar
fashion to Australian tea tree with high terpinen-
4-ol content. Essential oil is obtained from manuka
and kanuka through steam distillation of the leaves
and branches. However, manuka may require a
lengthy distillation period (up to 5 h) to ensure that
the maximum amount of b-triketones is present
(Porter, 2001). Of the two, manuka is more popular
and hence most of the existing literature relates to
this oil.
Manuka and kanuka have around 100 different con-
stituents present; however, not all have been iden-
tified with certainty. Almost all of the volume
(95%) is attributed to about 50% of the constituents
(Christoph et al., 1998). It is of value to aromather-
apists and other health professionals to understand
that these two oils are quite unique particularly
when compared to their close relatives from the
Myrtaceae family. Table 1 compares the main con-
stituents of common essential oils of the Myrtaceae
family commonly used within aromatherapy
Manuka oil distilled from plants grown in the
North Island, especially around the East Coast area
have higher (>30%) levels of triketones (leptosper-
mone and flavesone), where as South Island oils
contain more sesquiterpene hydrocarbons and oxy-
genated hydrocarbons (up to 65%). Total monoter-
pene content also varies from 3% to 40% depending
on the location grown (Perry et al., 1997). Essential
oil distilled from L. scoparium grown in Australia
has much lower levels of both triketones and ses-
quiterpenes (Flynn et al., 1979; Perry et al.,
1997). Variances in composition have also been
noted depending on the age of the plant. For exam-
ple, the amount of monoterpenes (a-pinene,
b-pinene and myrcene) increases from less than
1% in young trees to between 17% and 34% from
trees that are three years older. These variations
are also seasonal, with pinene levels at their highest
in the spring and summer when the foliage is grow-
ing. These factors are all important when consider-
ing commercial production (Porter et al., 1998).
142 W. Maddocks-Jennings et al.
Table 1 Comparison of various essential oils from the Myrtaceae family
M. alternifolia
M. cajeputii
M. quinquenervia
ct cineole
L. scoparium
N. Island
L. scoparium
K. ericoides
N. Island*
K. ericoides S.I
K. ambigua Australia
a-Pinene 0 0 0 1.30 6.3 61.6 72.4 39.9
b-Pinene 0.90 0 20 0.50 0.4 0 0.7 0
Myrcene 0 0 0 0 1.7 – 0.3 0
p-Cymene 0 0 0 0 0.7 2–5 2.9 0
11.80 0.40 Trace 33 2.4 <3 <8
Sesquiterpenes Trace Trace Trace 10.5–34 70 <2 7 5
1,8-Cineole <20
<50 >60 0 <7 6 5.1 15.8
Globulol Trace 0 >14 0 0 0 0 11.9
Terpinen-4-ol 30
600 0000 0
Viridiflorol 0 0 3.20 Trace 0 3.2 ? 9.4
Geraniol 0 0 0 0 7.2 0 0 0
Linalool 0 0 0 ?Trace 6–20 0 1.4 0
a-Terpineol 0–Trace 20 5.70 ? 0–1.3 1.1 0 2.9
Caryophyllene 0 0 0 <3 8.3 0 0 ?
Humulene 0 0 0 ?Trace 5.5 0 0 ?
Eudesamol isomers 0 0 00 0 10.11 0 0 ?
Leptospermone 0 0 0 10–20 0 0 0 ?
Iso-leptospermone 0 0 0 2–7 0 0 0
Calamenene 0 0 0 >9 1.5 0 1.1 0
Sheppard-Hanger (1998);Webb (2000).
Sheppard-Hanger (1998).
Sheppard-Hanger (1998).
Chemical analysis of South Island Manuka and Kanuka supplied by Brooklyn Valley Essential oils with permission (results from two different harvests).
Kunzea analysis, Webb (2000, 2002).
The Australian Standard (AS 2782-1985) states that 1.8 cineole must be <15% and the terpinene-4-ol content >30% (Carson et al., 1995).
A fresh look at manuka and kanuka essential oils from New Zealand 143
Initially, four chemotypes were identified based
on the amounts of leptospermone present (Porter
and Wilkins, 1999). Leptospermone has the full
chemical name of 3,5-hydroxy-4-(2-methyl-1-
1,3-dione (van Klink et al., 1999). Group I is rich in
triketones and occurs primarily in the East Coast of
the North Island of New Zealand. Group II is high in
linalool and eudesamol, and mainly occurs in the
Nelson region, northern South Island. Group III is
rich in pinenes from Canterbury in the Central
South island. The fourth group is deficient of all
the above constituents in any significant level and
are found scattered around the country. The den-
sity and refractive index of a sample helps deter-
mine the potential antibacterial activity without
the need for expensive GLC analysis of each batch.
When the polar fraction, which contains the trike-
tones, is removed from a sample the remaining
non-polar sample is inactive against bacteria (Por-
ter and Wilkins, 1999). More recent research has
identified a further 10 chemotypes with varying
amounts of terpenes, sesquiterpenes, linalool and
esters amongst other constituents (Douglas et al.,
2004). Despite the obvious differences in constitu-
tion, the geographical location is rarely noted on
price lists unless purchasing directly from a grower
(see Fig. 1).
The sesquiterpene hydrocarbon, ()-trans-
calamenene (C
), is present between 9.6%
and 18% in some manuka oils, mainly from the
South Island. Guenther (1975) makes a brief men-
tion that calamenene is formed from calamenol
when it loses its water. As a group, sesquiterpene
hydrocarbons are less common than the monoter-
penes (Tisserand and Balacs, 1995) and they are
believed to be antiseptic, bactericidal, analgesic
and antiinflammatory (Sheppard-Hanger, 1998).
Calamenene is also found in calamus, clove bud,
Tolu balsam and black pepper (Sheppard-Hanger,
1998). There does not appear to be any correlation
between the amount of leptospermone and ()
-trans-calamenene present; therefore its presence
can only be detected by GLC analysis. Total sesqui-
terpene hydrocarbon content can range between
60% and 70% consisting of at least 30 different ses-
quiterpene hydrocarbons (Christoph et al., 1998).
Within South Island manuka there is also humulene,
selinene and cadinene which may not be famil-
iar constituents to aromatherapists. South Island
kanuka has spathulenol, which does not appear to
be present in other samples.
Therapeutic uses
Much of the current empirical literature evaluates
the antimicrobial effects of manuka and kanuka
(Rhee et al., 1997) and comparing these effects
with the more common M. alternifolia. Earlier
studies indicate that manuka is effective against
Gram-positive organisms and ringworm and kanuka
has some action against these as well, but neither
are as effective as tea tree (M. alternifolia) against
Gram-positive organisms (Cooke and Cooke, 1991;
Lis-Balchin, 1996; Lis-Balchin et al., 1996a,b; Lis-
Balchin and Hart, 1998). With manuka, the antimi-
crobial actions are attributed to the b-triketones,
namely leptospermone, isoleptospermone and
flavesone (Christoph et al., 2000). Various investi-
gations of the effects of manuka, kanuka, cajeput
(Melaleuca cajeputi), niaouli (Melaleuca quinquen-
ervia) and a b-triketone complex (containing flave-
sone, isoleptospermone and leptospermone) on
several microorganisms were conducted by Chris-
toph et al. (2000).a-Terpineol was used as a posi-
tive control. Each oil was tested against both
Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, a
yeast, dermatophytes and moulds using minimal
inhibitory concentrations (MIC) to determine
M. alternifolia had the broadest range of ef-
fects, followed closely by M. cajeputi and M. quin-
quenervia, which are both high in 1,8-cineole.
Kanuka was only effective against Gram-positive
bacteria at concentrations of between 0.2% and
0.4%; this was lower than tea tree at 0.2–0.45%.
Kanuka had virtually no effect against the yeasts.
Figure 1 Map of New Zealand.
144 W. Maddocks-Jennings et al.
Manuka had mixed effects on all microorganisms,
with greater potency against the Gram-negative
organisms at concentrations of 0.05–0.15%. It
was the most effective of all the whole oils against
P. aeruginosa at 0.85% compared to 1–2% for the
rest of the whole oils. Manuka had virtually no
effect against the moulds and yeast, but was most
effective against the dermatophytes, at 0.3%
compared to 0.6–1.1% for the rest. Most notably
the b-triketone complex was the most effective
against all the microorganisms, except for moulds.
It was higher than the complete manuka oil, from
which it originated. The authors suggest that this
effect may be due to the different lipophilicity
(fat solubility) of the whole oil as it contains up
to 70% of terpene hydrocarbons, which are lipo-
philic. The lack of effect of kanuka oil on C. albi-
cans may also be due to the high percentage of
terpene hydrocarbons (85%), whereas the other
oils, which are effective, contain lower amounts
and also sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (Christoph
et al., 2000).
A later study then explored the effects of adding
the b-triketone complexes to both M. alternifolia
and M. quinquenervia (Christoph et al., 2001). In
this study there was a 40% increase in inhibition
of S. aureus and M. catarrhis (a respiratory patho-
gen) but not with P. aeruginosa or E. coli, with var-
iable activity noted. Manuka also had some activity
against skin and ringworm fungi. Studies conducted
on North and South Island manuka and kanuka and
other New Zealand grown plants indicate that
North and South Island manuka is spasmolytic on
smooth muscle from the guinea pig and North and
South Island kanuka was found to be spasmogenic
(Lis-Balchin et al., 1996a,b). This was attributed
to the high a-pinene content of the kanuka oils.
In comparison, M. alternifolia and L. petersonii
(lemon tea tree) were spasmolytic. Both manuka
and kanuka oils had variable antibacterial and anti-
fungal activity, much lower than tea tree and the
oils of thyme, origanum and marjoram. L. peterso-
nii also had variable antibacterial and antifungal
activity but overall performed better than manuka
or kanuka. A combination of North Island manuka
and kanuka had higher activity than the individual
oils. Lis-Balchin et al. (1996a,b) concluded that
manuka and kanuka should not be considered as
being useful as universal antibiotic oils, especially
as they are more expensive than the other oils
internationally, which are more effective and more
readily available. Within New Zealand manuka is
comparable to Australian tea tree in price.
However, there does appear to be value in using
manuka oil as an antispasmodic (Lis-Balchin and
Hart, 1998).
In vitro studies suggest that kanuka oil is effec-
tive against Herpes simplex Type 1 and Polio Type
1 viruses. The active compounds were identified
as isomers of isobutyryl methoxyresorcinol and un-
named b-triketones (Bloor, 1992). Larger clinical
trials relating to this have not been located.
Clinical implications for aromatherapists
Both manuka and kanuka essential oils have a ther-
apeutic potential beyond the antimicrobial actions
noted above. There does not appear to be any tox-
icology concerns relate to either oil based on the
identifiable constituents present. A search through
the literature did not reveal any published reac-
tions to either oil. Lis-Balchin et al. (2000) believes
that caution should be applied with these oils as
there has not been formal toxicology studies con-
ducted. They also conducted a series of studies
on various animal tissues and note that manuka
and kanuka decrease the force of spontaneous con-
tractions of the uterine muscle cells which may be
of concern in pregnancy and labour (Lis-Balchin
et al., 2000). Anecdotal information gathered
informally from aromatherapy students and practi-
tioners in New Zealand suggest that these oils have
been used extensively without undue concern. One
aromatherapist reported that kanuka was used in a
bath for a lady who was pregnant and her skin
reacted, whereas she had used the oil extensively
without problem prior to being pregnant. It would
be valuable to know if there are any other
examples of possible reactions attributed to either
kanuka or manuka.
Given the presence of several sesquiterpene
hydrocarbons there is considerable scope to utilise
the oils for their anti-inflammatory and antispas-
modic actions. Kanuka oil from the North and South
Island has p-cymene present, which suggests it has
analgesic properties (Sheppard-Hanger, 1998).
Possible conditions include chronic inflammatory
conditions such as polymyalgia rheumatica, fibro-
myalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Possibly kanuka
would be of benefit in incidences of acute muscle
strain acting as an analgesic and anti-inflamma-
tory. As aromatherapists are used to purchasing
different chemotypes of some oils such as rosemary
and thyme species, it would be prudent to consider
this with manuka and kanuka. At the very least a
practitioner should know which island in New Zea-
land the oil has been produced from and ideally
some indication of sesquiterpene and b-triketone
content. From an aesthetic perspective both man-
uka and kanuka have distinctive aromas, which
some may find appealing. Both oils would blend
A fresh look at manuka and kanuka essential oils from New Zealand 145
well with wood oils such as sandalwood or cedar-
wood. The aroma can be softened with the addition
of lavender, lemon or lemon myrtle (Backhousia
citriodora). However, it does depend what action
the individual aromatherapist is aiming to achieve
from the blend as to what oils are chosen.
Bloor SJ. Antiviral phloroglucinols from New Zealand Kunzea
species. J Nat Prod 1992;55(1):43–7.
Booker SG, Cambie RC, Cooper RC. New Zealand medicinal
plants. Auckland: Reed Books; 1987.
Brooklyn Valley essential oils, analyses of manuka and kanuka oil
samples, supplied by the distillers with permission. Available
Carson CF, Cookson BD, Farrelly HD, Riley TV. Susceptibility of
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to the essential
oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. J Antimicrob Chem
Christoph F, Kaulfers PM, Stahl-Biskup E. A comparative study of
the in vitro antimicrobial activity of tea tree oils s.l. with
special reference to the activity of beta-triketones. Planta
Med 2000;66:556–60.
Christoph F, Kaulfers PM, Stahl-Biskup E. In vitro evaluation of
the antibacterial activity of b-triketones admixed to melal-
euca oils. Planta Med. 2001;67(8):768–71.
Christoph F, Kubeczka K-H, Stahl-Biskup E. The composition of
commercial manuka oils from New Zealand. J Essent Oil Res
Cooke A, Cooke MD. An investigation into the antimicrobial
properties of manuka and kanuka oil. Cawthron Institute
report, 1991.
Douglas MH, van Klink JW, Smallfield BM, Perry NB, Anderson RE,
Johnstone P, Weavers RT. Essential oils from New Zealand
manuka: triketone and other chemotypes of Leptospermum
scoparium. Phytochemistry 2004;65(9):1255–64.
Flynn TM, Lassak EV, Smyth MP. The volatile leaf oils of three
species of Leptospermum. Phytochemistry 1979;18:2030–1.
Guenther E. The essential oils, vol. II. Florida: Kriegar Publish-
ing Company; 1975.
Lis-Balchin M, Hart SL. An investigation of the actions of the
essential oils of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and
kanuka (Kunzea ericoides), Myrtaceae on guinea pig smooth
muscle. J Pharm Pharmacol 1998;50(7):809–11.
Lis-Balchin M, Hart S, Deans SG, Eaglesham E. Comparison of the
pharmacological and antimicrobial action of commercial
plant essential oils. J Herbs Spices Med Plants
Lis-Balchin M, Deans S, Hart S. Bioactivity of New Zealand
medicinal plant essential oils. Acta Horticult 1996;426:
Lis-Balchin M, Hart SL, Deans SG. Pharmacological and antimi-
crobial studies on different tea tree oils (Melaleuca alterni-
folia,Leptospermum scoparium or Manuka and Kunzea
ericoides or Kanuka) originating in Australia and New
Zealand. Phytother Res 2000;14(8):623–9.
Perry NB, Brennan NJ, van Klink JW, Harris W, Douglas MH,
McGimpsey J. Essential oils from New Zealand manuka and
kanuka. Chemotaxonomy Leptospermum 1997;44:1485–94.
Porter N. Manuka the good oil from New Zealand. HerbalGram
2001;53:26–30 (2001).
Porter NG, Smale PE, Nelson MA, Hay AJ, van Klink JW, Dean CM.
Variability in essential oil chemistry and plant morphology
within Leptospermum scoparium population. New Zeal J Bot
Porter NG, Wilkins AL. Chemical, physical and anti-microbial
properties of essential oils of Leptospermum scoparium and
kunzea ericodes. Phytochemistry 1999;50(3):407–15.
Rhee GJ, Chung K-S, Kim EH, Sun HJ, Hong ND. Antimicrobial
activities of steam distillate of Leptospermum scoparium.
Yakhak Hoeji 1997;41:132–8.
Sheppard-Hanger S. The aromatherapy practitioner reference
manual, vol. II. Florida: The Atlantic Institute of Aroma-
therapy; 1998.
Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential oil safety, a guide for health
professionals. UK: Churchill Livingstone; 1995.
van Klink JW, Brophy JJ, Perry NB, Weavers RT. B-triketones
from Myrtaceae: isoleptospermone from Leptospermum
scoparium and papuanone from Corymbia dallachiana.J
Nat Prod 1999;62:487–9 (1999).
Webb MA. Bush sense Australian essential oils & aromatic
compounds. Australia: Griffin Press; 2000.
Webb MA. Australian essential oil profile – Kunzea. Aromather
Today 2002;21(3/2):34–7.
146 W. Maddocks-Jennings et al.
... Manuka oil (MO) or Leptospermum scoparium oil or Manuka myrtle, is another essential oil with a long history of medicinal use in the community as a herbal medicine, particularly in New Zealand and Australia [106][107][108]. It is obtained from the leaves and seed capsules of Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium), an indigenous "tea-tree" native to eastern Australia and New Zealand. ...
... It is obtained from the leaves and seed capsules of Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium), an indigenous "tea-tree" native to eastern Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, various parts of the plant have been employed in Maori remedies for centuries, particularly as a Antibiotics 2020, 9, 909 8 of 15 skin antiseptic, an analgesic and wound dressing application-but the plant is most valued for its essential oil, i.e., MO [106,107,109]. MO is mainly composed of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and triketones [110,111]. ...
... MO is mainly composed of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and triketones [110,111]. The triketones in MO make the oil unique, attributing to its potent antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains [107,[112][113][114]. MO is currently listed as a complementary medicine by therapeutic good administration (TGA) in the forms of balm (ARTG ID 331181) and cream (ARTG ID 331980) for skin applications. ...
Full-text available
Impetigo (school sores) is a common superficial bacterial skin infection affecting around 162 million children worldwide, with the highest burden in Australian Aboriginal children. While impetigo itself is treatable, if left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as chronic heart and kidney diseases. Topical antibiotics are often considered the treatment of choice for impetigo, but the clinical efficacy of these treatments is declining at an alarming rate due to the rapid emergence and spread of resistant bacteria. In remote settings in Australia, topical antibiotics are no longer used for impetigo due to the troubling rise of antimicrobial resistance, demanding the use of oral and injectable antibiotic therapies. However, widespread use of these agents not only contributes to existing resistance, but also associated with adverse consequences for individuals and communities. These underscore the urgent need to reinvigorate the antibiotic discovery and alternative impetigo therapies in these settings. This review discusses the current impetigo treatment challenges in endemic settings in Australia and explores potential alternative antimicrobial therapies. The goals are to promote intensified research programs to facilitate effective use of currently available treatments, as well as developing new alternatives for impetigo.
... The ten species endemic to New Zealand have had genetic markers identified to conclusively differentiate them from the 60 known species (Goeke et al., 2017). There are chemical differences and different therapeutic potential based on the geographical location, which was previously raised by the author some 15 years ago (Maddocks-Jennings et al., 2005). ...
... There is a potential for cross-sensitivity to occur with Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) sensitivity, and patch testing is recommended (Rademaker, 1999). Whilst it was taken internally in the research conducted by the author (Maddocks-Jennings et al., 2005), internal use is not recommended. It is included in some oral care products in New Zealand. ...
... The author reported one clinical case where a pregnant client suffered a skin reaction after putting Kanuka in the bath for muscle aches. The client had previously used Kanuka without issue pre-pregnancy (Maddocks-Jennings et al., 2005). ...
... These ecosystems may contain species that generate non-food products such as essential oils (EOs), which are unlikely to expose humans to biowasteborne contaminants (Mclaughlin et al., 2007). There is international interest in New Zealand L. scoparium EO due to its high β-trikenone levels (Douglas et al., 2004), which significantly contributes to antimicrobial properties (Maddocks-Jennings et al., 2005). L. scoparium EO currently sells for US$890 per liter (EONZ, 2014;NZMB, 2014). ...
... The analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from EO plant extracts was performed by Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) (Supplementary methods 1). Samples were interpreted according to commonly found components detected in studies on L. scoparium and K. robusta EOs throughout New Zealand (Porter and Wilkins, 1999;Maddocks-Jennings et al., 2005). ...
Biowastes are unwanted materials of biological origin. They include biosolids, dairy shed effluent, and sawdust. When applied to soil, biowastes can provide plant nutrients, but also introduce heavy metals, pathogens, or xenobiotics. Biowastes could improve degraded or low-fertility soils and generate revenue through the production of non-food products such as essential oils. We grew New Zealand native plants, mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium J.R. Forst & G. Forst) and kānuka (Kunzea robusta de Lange & Toelken) in series of greenhouse experiments in low-to-medium-fertility soils (Bideford clay loam, Lismore stony silt loam, and Pawson silt loam) amended with either biosolids (up to 13500 kg N ha ⁻¹ equiv.), biosolids + sawdust (1:0.5–1250 kg N ha ⁻¹ equiv.) and dairy shed effluent (200 kg N ha ⁻¹ equiv.). Two types of biosolids from Kaikoura (KB) and Christchurch City Council (CB) were used in the experiments. CB (1500 kg N ha ⁻¹ equiv.) and dairy shed effluent (200 kg N ha ⁻¹ equiv.) increased the biomass of L. scoparium by up to 120% and 31%, and K. robusta by up to 170% and 34%, respectively. Adding sawdust to KB increased the biomass of L. scoparium and K. robusta although it offset the L. scoparium growth increase in the KB-only treatment. The growth response of K. robusta to biowastes was greater than L. scoparium with oil production in K. robusta increasing by up to 211% when 1500 kg N ha ⁻¹ equiv. of CB was applied to Lismore stony silt loam. Generally, the treatments had a negligible effect on oil concentration in all the soil types, except for the KB + sawdust treatment, which increased the oil concentration by 82%. Most of the EOs’ major components were unaffected by biowaste addition in the soils, although some components increased in the Bideford clay loam following KB and KB + sawdust application. Biosolids increased foliar concentrations of Zn, Cu, and Cd, but these were below risk-threshold concentrations. Applying CB (up to 1500 kg N ha ⁻¹ equiv.) to low-fertility soils is recommended to establish ecosystems dominated by L. scoparium and K. robusta that annually would produce ca. 100 kg ha ⁻¹ of EOs worth US$ 26k and 24k, respectively. Adding sawdust to CB could have environmental benefits through reduction of N leaching. Field trials are warranted to elucidate critical ecological variables and production economics in biowaste management.
... It is a basic tenet of rongo a that the medicinal properties of plants relate to the environment in which they are growing. This aligns with the observation that the chemistry of m anuka (for example) exhibits marked geographical differences across New Zealand (Maddocks, Wilkinson, Shillington, & Cavanagh, 2005;Perry et al., 1997;Porter & Wilkins, 1998); . It is generally the secondary compounds in plants that convey the bioactive (medicinal) properties, and the quantity and composition of these vary between individual plants of the same species. ...
Most development planners and practitioners have often wrongly assumed that solutions for community challenges lie within the “western scientific knowledge” only. However, the recent studies have highlighted the relevance of Indigenous Knowledge to inform western scientific solutions. This study is on the Barotse Flood Plain of the Western Province of Zambia. Flood inundation understanding by the local communities has direct implications for their livelihood options and for the well-being of their households. The research found that there are a number of important local knowledge systems that are early warning systems based on observations of weather, water level and landscape, and animal behavior, which are widely disseminated through a specific communication network. The chapter concludes with a discussion on how the integration of Western scientific and Indigenous Knowledge Systems will better inform interventions to improve livelihood options for the communities within the Barotse Flood Plain and policy and practice within the developing world at large.
... Leptospermum scoparium J.R. et G. Forst. is a member of the Myrtaceae family with a natural distribution limited to Australia (New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania) and New Zealand. While the species is also cultivated for sale as ornamental shrubs [1,2], it is emerging as an economically important plant, with the main commercial products being mānuka honey made by Apis mellifera L. honey bees [3,4] and essential oils [5,6], both exhibiting unique antibacterial attributes. As such, the potential for the establishment of commercial L. scoparium plantations is receiving increasing interest [7]. ...
Full-text available
Leptospermum scoparium is emerging as an economically important plant for the commercial production of mānuka honey and essential oils, both exhibiting unique antibacterial attributes. To support its domestication this is the first quantitative genetic study of variation for L. scoparium traits. It utilised plants from 200 open-pollinated families derived from 40 native populations, from across the species range in Tasmania, grown in a common garden field trial. The traits studied were survival, growth, and the flowering traits precocity, the timing of seasonal peak flowering, flowering duration, and flowering intensity. Significant genetic variation was evident at the population level for all traits studied and at the family level for three traits—growth, flowering precocity, and time to peak flowering. These three traits had moderate to high narrow-sense heritability estimates ranging from 0.27 to 0.69. For six of the traits studied, population differences were associated with climate attributes at the locations where seed was collected, suggesting adaptation to the local climate may have contributed to the observed population differentiation. Population level geographical trends suggest that genotypes to focus on for domestication originate from the eastern half of Tasmania for precociousness and the western half of Tasmania for earlier time to peak flowering and extended flowering duration.
... Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as Mānuka, is an indigenous New Zealand plant of the myrtaceae family. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of Mānuka essential oil -often associated with its triketone content, have garnered international interest in its potential application in consumer products [5]. Cryptomeria japonica, commonly known as Japanese Sugi pine, is a monotypic genus of pinophyta indigenous to Japan. ...
This study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of Leptospermum scoparium (Mānuka) and Cryptomeria japonica (Sugi) essential oils and assessed the effect of seasonal chemical variation on the oils’ antimicrobial efficacies. Plate based assays were conducted to elucidate the oils’ spectrum of in vitro antimicrobial activity and to determine the oils’ minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) as a measure of antimicrobial efficacy. Gas chromatography – mass spectrometry was adopted to chemically profile oils distilled in different seasons. The resultant compositional information in conjunction with MIC data was used to evaluate the effect of seasonal variation on the oils’ antimicrobial efficacy. Both Mānuka and Sugi essential oils were active against all classes of target microorganisms. However, limited activity was observed against Gram-negative bacteria. The oils displayed consistent chemotypic characteristics regardless of the time of distillation. Nonetheless, there were quantitative differences in compound abundance in both essential oils. Significant differences in the MIC of Sugi essential oil was observed against target microorganisms as a result of seasonal variation in constituent abundances while Mānuka essential oil’s antimicrobial efficacy was unaffected. This study demonstrates that seasonal chemical variation is an important quality assurance parameter to consider for future application of essential oils as antimicrobial agents in consumer products.
... A basic tenet of Rongo a is that plants are part of the landscape and their medicinal properties relate to the environment in which they grow. Research into the chemistry of m anuka (Leptospermum scoparium) trees across Aotearoa New Zealand, for example, supports this view (Maddocks-Jennings, Wilkinson, Shillington, & Cavanagh, 2005;Perry et al., 1997;Porter & Wilkins, 1998). In order to adhere to this principle and to maintain a good conservation ethic, planning for plantings on Te Kaio was restricted to species that are found growing naturally on Te P ataka o R akaihaut u Banks Peninsula. ...
In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori land is frequently owned by local communities and managed by trusts. For such arrangements on rural holdings, land managers often wish both to provide for their communities and implement agricultural management practices in a culturally responsive manner. Agroecology offers an alternative model of land management and provides opportunities for the development of visitor programmes to learn about and observe traditional practices. This paper reports on the integration of agroecology and tourism on a working farm in Te Wai Pounamu South Island, Aotearoa New Zealand. The programme successfully applied spatial analysis in a geographical information system (GIS) within an iterative geodesign framework to plan a route for visitor access across the farm, with suitable areas identified for information platforms located strategically along the way. These agritourism related features were visually communicated through maps generated by the GIS. Such visualisation makes the possible consequences of change more accessible and understandable to decision makers. As well as satisfying the need to verify the approach empirically, there are plans underway to apply GIS in this way to other similarly managed farms in Aotearoa New Zealand. • Highlights: • Iterative geodesign approach used to evolve sites for access paths and information platforms • Approach is of public interest, hence the need for planning farm access facilities for tourists • Agroecology-based plan for managing a traditionally run farm in Aotearoa New Zealand • Local cultural values addressed by GIS for positive environmental and economic impact
... As to manuka, the antimicrobial properties of its honey have been studied more than that of its EO (Mandal and Mandal, 2011). Generally, in our study we observed that the EO resulted to be much more active on Gram positive bacteria than on Gram negative, as reported also by Maddock-Jennings et al. (2005); in addition, van Klink et al. (2005), documented in particular the remarkable antimicrobial effect of EO major compounds, βtrichetones, on MRSA. Moreover, we recently found in another study (Fratini et al., 2017) Overall, it is known that Gram-negative bacteria are more resistant to the EOs effect, due to the hydrophilic lipopolysaccharides contained in the outer membrane, which create a barrier against EOs hydrophobic antimicrobial compounds (Hyldgaard et al., 2012). ...
Full-text available
Essential oils (EOs) are mixtures of secondary metabolites of plant origin with many useful properties, among which the antimicrobial activity is also of interest for the food industry. EOs can exert their antimicrobial potential both directly, in food products and active packaging, and indirectly, as sanitizing and anti-biofilm agents of food facility surfaces. Aim of this research was to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of four EOs (bergamot, cinnamon, manuka and thyme) against Pseudomonas fluorescens and Staphylococcus aureus isolated from milk and dairy products. The chemical composition of EOs was evaluated by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry analysis. Minimum Inhibitory Concentration values were determined by a microplate method against 9 Ps. fluorescens from marketed mozzarella with blue discoloration defect, and 3 biofilm-producing S. aureus from milk. Reference ATCC strains were included. Pigment production activity by Ps. fluorescens was assessed both in culture and in cheese. EOs of manuka (leptospermone 23%) and thyme (carvacrol 30%, pcymene 20%, thymol 15%) showed the highest antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, MIC values were 0.012%-0.024% and 0.024% v/v, respectively; meanwhile EOs from thyme and cinnamon (cinnamaldehyde 55%) exhibited the best activity against Ps. fluorescens with MIC values of 0.098%-0.195% and 0.195%-0.391% v/v, respectively. The antimicrobial activity of these EOs is promising and they could be exploited in the dairy production chain.
Ngāti Porou within the Waiapu catchment, on the East Coast Region of New Zealand's North Island, have long-term interests in their land. Projected climate change scenarios will impact negatively on Ngāti Porou wellbeing. The Waiapu is already suffering from high rates of erosion, sedimentation, and recent drought. The predicted increase in magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events like drought, wildfire, and excessive precipitation will likely result in further degradation to land and waterways. To help landowners mitigate these risks, this project developed a decision tool to provide robust guidance for developing planting plans for nontimber-based forestry for landowners to help mitigate climate change impacts and achieve cultural priorities such as intergenerational equity. There are numerous visual signs (tohu) in a landscape that can be integrated and interpreted by landowners to make robust decisions about productive planting regimes for nontimber resources. Utilizing a single case study area in the Waiapu catchment, we identified visual signs (climate, topography, soils, plant species, physiological state, and bioactives) across the landscape and correlated these to growing suitability of nontimber forestry products and Māori cultural aspirations. Our tool helps empower Māori landowners to engage in climate adaptation and helps build their capability to carry out afforestation projects.
This paper brings to light the current status of products from mānuka, (Leptospermum scoparium J.R.Forst. & G.Forst) and kānuka (Kunzea ericoides (A.Rich) Joy Thomps), and to show that kānuka products also have significant biological potency. Mānuka and kānuka are two native tea tree species found widely within New Zealand. Most research on these two plants was and still is, motivated by the medicinal value identified in the products such as essential oil. It was observed that unlike mānuka, which has extensive and in-depth research and reviews conducted on it, similar studies and appraisals on kānuka is lacking. The few available research outputs available on kānuka have proven that it is superior in terms of anti-inflammatory properties, hence more research and appraisal is required to demonstrate its potency. This review presents evidence that will help promote diversified utilisation of mānuka and kānuka and encourage commercialisation of the latter as much as is done for the former.
Full-text available
All 66 isolates of Staphylococcus aureus tested were susceptible to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia, or tea tree oil, in disc diffusion and modified broth microdilution methods. Of the isolates tested, 64 were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and 33 were mupirocin-resistant. The MIC and MBC for 60 Australian isolates were 0·25% and 0·50%, respectively. Comparable results were obtained by co-workers in Britain using similar methods. These in-vitro results suggest tea tree oil may be useful in the treatment of MRSA carriage.
In view of the folk-medicinal usage of many New Zealand plants, the bioactivity of a number of commercial essential oils produced from local plants was studied in vitro against 25 different bacterial species, 20 different strains of Listeria monocytogenes and 3 filamentous fungi; the anti-oxidant activity was also determined as well as the pharmacological action on guinea-pig ileum. The family Myrtaceae was represented by samples of steam-distilled wood of Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium G.Forst) and Kanuka (Kunzea ericoides (A.Rich.) J. Thompson) and Leptospermum petersonii Bailey syn. L. citratum from high altitude sites of South Island and the east coast of North Island had different but usually good antibacterial activity with poor antifungal action except for L. citratum, and variable antioxidant action; strong spasmogenic activity was shown by Kanuka, in contrast to a spasmolytic action of Manuka and L. petersonii. Other oils studied included New Zealand grown Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia (Maiden & Betche) Cheel), Totara (Podocarpus totara G. Benn. ex D. Don, Coniferae), which showed good and poor bioactivity respectively, and two species of Eucalyptus which showed variable results. The bioactivity of all these essential oils was compared against that of common herbs, grown locally.
The pharmacology and antimicrobial action of selected commercial, plant essential oils was studied to relate bioactivity with the chemical components. Spasmogenic action induced by oils on Guinea-pig ileum in vitro was related to a high terpene content, mainly the pinenes, β-cymene, and limonene. Many of the essential oils that induced spasmogenic activity were also strong antibacterial agents. A correlation was observed between spasmogenetic action of essential oils on smooth muscle and stimulating action in man in vivo as measured by contingent negative variation studies. Different samples of the same essential oil often showed differences in the chemical composition as well as bioactivity. Adulteration of essential oils can therefore be shown by bioactivity, which may be more relevant if the essential oils are used for medical or paramedical purposes including aromatherapy using just the aroma or together with body massage.
Within 16 different commercial samples of manuka oil from New Zealand 51 constituents corresponding to about 95% of the oils could be identified by GC and GC/MS. AU oils investigated consisted of a group of about 35 sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (60% and 70% of the oils) with (−)-trans-calamenene (mean 12.5%), δ-cadinene (6.3%), cadina-3,5-diene (6.3%), α-copaene (5.3%), and cadina-1,4-diene (4.7%) being the most prominent ones. The oil characterizing triketones, namely leptospermone, flavesone, and isoleptospermone amounted to about 20% (mean 22.1%). Monoterpene hydrocarbons were present in the range of 2.2% to l4.1% (mean 4.5%). Four samples differed distinctly from all the others by a lower percentage of triketones (mean 14%). On the contrary they contained higher percentages of α-pinene (8-11%).
Essential oil composition and plant morphology were observed over four years in individual plants raised from seed of a wild population of Leptospermum scoparium (Myrtaceae) collected at a single site in New Zealand. Principal component analyses of data from young and mature plants showed no significant grouping of plants on the basis of oil composition, but identified differences between the essential oil components contributing most to variation in oil composition in both young and mature plants. The dominant variables were six sesquiterpene components in young plants, and three monoterpenes and two sesquiterpenes in mature plants. Levels of these components differed significantly at the population level between young and mature plants and also within and between seasons. Levels of all these components varied markedly within and between individual plants at all sample times. The habit, leaf size and density, and stem and foliage colour also varied markedly between individual plants. The variation observed indicates the need for more extensive sampling and statistical analysis over more than one growing season if sufficiently reliable data on essential oil compositions in individual plants or populations are to be obtained for chemotaxonomic or plant selection purposes.
Standardized steam distillation and GC analytical methods for oils from manuka, Leptospermum scoparium, are described. These methods were used to analyse two oils from each of 15 L. scoparium populations derived from all around New Zealand, seven Australian Leptospermum populations and one population of Kunzea sinclairii. These populations were all grown from seed at a single site. Principal component analyses of the levels of 50 GC peaks in these 46 oils revealed compositional patterns. Kunzea sinclairii oils were distinguished from Leptospermum oils by higher α-pinene levels (mean 76%). Australian Leptospermum oils had significantly higher 1,8-cineole (mean 20%) and total monoterpene levels (mean 51%) than New Zealand L. scoparium oils (1,8-cineole mean 0.9%, total monoterpene mean 14%). This indicates the need for further taxonomic study of plants currently included in L. scoparium in Australia and New Zealand. There is evidence for three chemotypes of L. scoparium in New Zealand, conforming in part to morphological types: a high-pinene chemotype in the far north, a high-triketone (especially leptospermone) chemotype on the East Cape, and a type containing a complex of sesquiterpenes found over the rest of the country. An oil from the East Cape chemotype showed the strongest antimicrobial activity.
A standardized analytical GC method has been used to analyse essential oils from selected Australian and New Zealand Kunzea species, grown from seed at a single site. The distillation yields and analyses are reported for oils from 26 populations of K. ericoides (kanuka) and from single populations of each of K. flavescens, K. pauciflora, K. sinclairii and x Kunzspermum hirakimata (a Kunzea x Leptospermum cross). Principal components analyses of 37 GC peaks in these oils were used to distinguish compositional patterns. Oils from K. flavescens, K. pauciflora and x Kunzspermum hirakimata had chemical compositions distinct from K. sinclairii and K. ericoides. Oils front New Zealand K. ericoides were mainly α-pinene (mean 68%), but some oils had high p-cymene contents, particularly oils from one Marlborough provenance (mean 31%). A wild population of K. ericoides var. linearis gave oils with similar composition to other K. ericoides. Two K. ericoides oils showed weak antifungal activity. © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved
Four acyl-phloroglucinol derivatives showing antiviral activity have been isolated from Kunzea sinclairii and Kunzea ericoides (Myrtaceae) from New Zealand. The structures of these compounds were deduced from analysis of spectral data. Two of these compounds, 1 and 2, are the isomers of isobutyryl methoxyresorcinol. The two new compounds, 3 and 4, were isolated as a mixture and determined to be 4-cyclohexene-1,3-dioxo-5-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4- (1-[2,6-dihydroxy-4- methoxy-3-(3-methyl-1-oxobutyl)phenyl]-3-methylbutyl) and its 2-methyl-1-oxopropyl analogue, respectively.
The two New Zealand tea-tree oils, Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium J.R. et G. Forst) and Kanuka (Kunzea ericoides (A. Rich) J. Thompson), Myrtaceae have been used as folk medicines for treating diarrhoea, colds and inflammation but their pharmacological action has not been investigated. Their mode of action was therefore studied on the field-stimulated guinea-pig ileum. Both Manuka and Kanuka oils induced a spasmolytic effect but Kanuka produced an initial contraction. The spasmolytic action of both oils was the result of a post-synaptic mechanism. Action involving adrenoceptors or cGMP was not considered likely, neither did the oils behave like calcium- or potassium-channel openers. There is some evidence that Manuka acts through cAMP whereas the mode of action of Kanuka is as yet undetermined. The results indicate that the use of these oils as relaxants in aromatherapy might be valid, although their mode of action is not identical.