In the realm of natural remedies, Manuka holds significant recognition, especially in relation to its renowned derivative products, Manuka honey and Manuka oil. Both of these products originate from the same parent, the Manuka plant (Leptospermum scoparium), found in New Zealand and Australia. Despite their common ancestry, there are differences between the two, primarily in how they’re produced and in the unique properties they offer. Let’s explore what sets these two products apart and what they share in common in this blog post.
Manuka honey is produced when bees gather nectar from Manuka flowers. The collected nectar is then transformed into honey within the beehives.
On the other hand, Manuka oil is derived not from the nectar, but from the plant’s foliage, bark, and seeds. This oil extraction occurs through a technique known as steam distillation, predominantly carried out during the autumn, summer, and spring seasons. The distillation process involves subjecting the leaves and small branches of the plant to steam, resulting in the extraction of the volatile essential oil.
Both Manuka oil and honey have shown remarkable medicinal properties. According to research, they contain compounds exhibiting antiseptic, bactericidal, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. They have been used traditionally across generations to treat wounds, cuts, sores, and several types of skin diseases.
Their potent antibacterial properties position them as key ingredients in a wide range of recent health and skincare products. These include, but are not limited to, cosmetics, cosmeceuticals, naturopathic remedies, and topical medications.
Efficacy and Variations
The efficacy of Manuka oil in any application is determined by the level of triketones it contains. Conversely, for Manuka honey, the primary compound responsible for its antibacterial effectiveness is Methylglyoxal (MGO). It’s important to note that, just like Manuka honey, the composition of Manuka oil can significantly vary based on several factors, such as the geographical origin of the plant, the season in which it’s harvested, and even the plant’s specific chemotype. All these factors can directly impact the constituents of the oil.
For instance, Manuka oil from the East Cape region of New Zealand, which is sought after for its high levels of triketones (over 20%), greatly diverges from that of Australia, which exhibits a different essential oil profile that lacks triketones.
Notably, both Mānuka honey and Mānuka oil have potential against multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial species such as Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), antibiotic and multidrug-resistant strains of E. coli, and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE).
Application: Diverse Utility
Both Mānuka honey and oil are significant ingredients in numerous health and beauty products. However, when it comes to skincare applications, the oil holds a slight advantage over the honey. The high viscosity of honey somewhat limits its usability, while the oil, as an essential oil, blends seamlessly with other skincare ingredients. Notably, people often add Mānuka oil to other essential oils like tea tree oil in treatments for conditions such as toenail fungus.
Potential and Safety: It’s Just the Beginning
Despite their extensive use, exploration into the potential benefits of Mānuka oil has only just begun. Preliminary studies suggest it to be a potent essential oil with medical applications paralleling that of tea tree oil and Mānuka honey. However, the research remains limited, underscoring the need for more studies to fully decode the workings of Mānuka oil.
In terms of safety, while Mānuka honey is safe to consume, it’s generally advisable not to ingest Mānuka oil.
In essence, both Mānuka honey and Mānuka oil present plant-based solutions for health and skincare regimens, carrying the potential to effect a revolution in antibacterial treatments. Nevertheless, these are still early days, and harnessing their full potential requires more scientific inquiries.
So, the next time you pick up a skincare product with Mānuka honey or oil, remember you’re holding a tiny bottle of nature’s profound potency – a blend of science, nature, and tradition that might just be the next big thing in skincare.