Manuka Essential Oil: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Manuka Essential Oil: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Manuka essential oil (leptospermum scoparium) is a powerful oil steam-distilled from the twigs and leaves of the manuka tree. Sometimes, this oil is confused with Australian tea tree oil or tea tree melaleuca. However, while all three essential oils are from the same tree family and have similar benefits, manuka has a more herbaceous scent.

Therefore, the aroma of manuka oil smells especially great when blended with other essential oils. Plus, it can be used in aromatherapy more effectively than it’s more medicinal-scented cousin: tea tree essential oil.

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Basic Facts

Manuka flowers growing in the wild

Want some fast facts about manuka essential oil? It’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial – and that’s just half the story!

  • Latin name: Leptospermum scoparium
  • Aroma: light, herbaceous, spicy, muted notes
  • Blends well with: bergamot, clary sage, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, chamomile, geranium, rosemary, sandalwood, peppermint, cypress

This multifaceted oil is native to New Zealand and Australia. In New Zealand, the indigenous Maori people use manuka oil in their traditional medicinal preparations.[1]

There are countless manuka essential oil benefits that we’ll go through below. For example, it’s antibacterial, an antihistamine, and is fantastic for deodorizing. We’ll also share how to put those benefits into action in your everyday life!

Manuka Essential Oil Benefits

So, what is manuka essential oil good for anyway? Well, it has a wide range of benefits — and each one is reason enough to give it a spot in your medicine cabinet!

1. Antibacterial

DIY natural home cleaning products including manuka essential oil, vinegar, and baking sodaManuka is a powerful antibacterial agent for all your skin and household cleaning needs. One study tracked manuka with various bacteria, including E.coli.[2] The study found that manuka inhibited the growth of these bacteria, even after a longer incubation time.[3]

2. Anti-inflammatory

Woman in her house itching a mosquito bite on her armInflammation can happen when your skin tries to fight infection, skin diseases, or insect bites, among other things. Manuka is a great anti-inflammatory oil as one study demonstrated. It showed manuka oil was anti-inflammatory without interfering with other important parts of your immune system.[4]

3. Antioxidant

Woman applying manuka essential oil moisturizing cream to her neck.In one study comparing manuka essential oil with kanuka and melaleuca oils, it found that manuka oil had the most antioxidant activity.[5] Therefore, it’s assumed that manuka essential oil is a better option for rebuilding and protecting skin cells than its cousin, standard tea tree oil (melaleuca).

Remember: This essential oil often varies in its benefits and potency based on the geographic region where the product was harvested. So, do some research on your brand to know exactly what type of manuka you’re getting.

4. Antimicrobial

Pink manuka flowers growing in the wildThe antimicrobial aspect of manuka oil comes in handy for a variety of skin issues. This oil is even effective against staph,[6] although it should be used as a supplemental treatment with a doctor’s approval. The antimicrobial effects make manuka great to help combat acne issues, especially since it’s mild enough to use on the skin when combined with a carrier product.

5. Antihistamine

Woman on her couch sneezing into a tissueAccording to some limited research, manuka essential oil can reduce your body’s production of histamine. This means manuka oil can be helpful during an allergy attack or reaction for lowering inflammation.[7] Still, more scientific research is needed to prove the validity of manuka’s antihistamine abilities.

6. Antifungal

White manuka flowers in full bloomA common fungal infection, such as candida, can be reduced with manuka essential oil.[8] The antifungal aspect of this oil can help kill off unwanted topical issues and overactive yeast.

7. Skin-cooling

Sunburned woman taking off her strap to relieve the sunburn on her backApplying manuka essential oil topically can produce a mild skin-cooling effect.[9] This benefit, along with the other benefits such as antimicrobial and anti-inflammation, can be helpful in skin issues or easing painful insect bites.

8. Oral health

A plastic spoon with a dollop of manuka honeyYou should never ingest or put essential oils in your mouth without a doctor’s approval. However, there’s some evidence suggesting manuka oil is beneficial for your oral health. For example, one study using it in a mouthwash showed it helped reduce pain and symptoms of mucositis.[10]

Fun Fact: Bees that pollinate the manuka tree produce manuka honey, which also has some antibacterial effects.[11]

Uses for Manuka Essential Oil

Woman holding up a bottle of manuka essential oil next to a pink manuka flower plant

Manuka essential oil can be used in a number of ways due to the abundance of benefits it boasts.

Now that you know the fascinating health benefits of manuka, let’s check out the best uses for manuka essential oil so you can make the most of this versatile oil:

  1. Manuka essential oil acne wash: Did you know manuka essential oil is excellent for acne? Add a few drops of manuka oil to your face wash for an anti-acne kick. You can also put it into your toner or moisturizer to make it a part of your daily routine.
  2. Insect bite cream: A painful, swollen, and itchy bite is neither appealing to look at nor pleasant to feel. Try adding manuka essential oil to a neutral skin lotion for a spot treatment to calm the site and ease irritation symptoms.
  3. Mouthwash: Add just one or two drops of manuka essential oil to some mouthwash for the added benefit of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect.
  4. Sunburn cream: If you accidentally spend too long in the sun, reach for a bottle of manuka oil and aloe mixed together or lotion and manuka. This can help cool the site and ease inflammation, while keeping your skin free from bacteria.
  5. Face and neck serum: To maintain a youthful glow and increase your skin’s antioxidants, include manuka essential oil in your night oil serum. You can combine it with coconut, bergamot, and frankincense to get a plethora of antioxidants and anti-age oils in one.
  6. Dermatitis: Combine a few drops with a carrier oil to reduce symptoms of dermatitis and ease inflammation.
  7. Calming Candle: While more research is needed, the aromatherapy benefits of manuka essential oil may provide some calming effects. You can add it to a DIY candle to light when you want to relax and clean the air at the same time.
  8. Anti-fungal soap: Homemade soap-making can be easy. It’s especially fun when you can add in manuka oil for a great smell with the added benefit of being anti-fungal. This allows you to feel confident, knowing that, with each shower, you’re reducing the potential for candida or Athlete’s foot.
  9. Cleaners: Make an all-natural cleaner to use on your countertops in your house. Just add some manuka essential oil with orange essential oil to a mixture of water and vinegar. It will clean while it freshens the whole area.
  10. Deodorant: Most bad smells stem from bacteria, and manuka has such a strong antibacterial agent that it can also reduce body odor. It’s often added in natural deodorant recipes — or mixed with powders to sprinkle in smelly shoes!

Manuka Essential Oil: A Complete Beginner's Guide

References

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