Once the two trees were thought to be closely related, but botanists have identified important differences between these two New Zealand natives.
Kunzea ericoides, the kanuka tree, doesn’t reach its full growth for decades, and can live for centuries. It flowers once a year, with creamy blossoms which are smaller than the manuka tree’s flowers.
Leptospermum scoparium, the manuka tree, has a lifespan of about 60 years. It has one major flowering each year, producing beautiful blossoms, and may flower again later in the year.
The two plants look different, and manuka is more prized for the very special honey produced by bees who sip from its flowers. But both are ancient natives of New Zealand, and both have been used for centuries in traditional health and beauty treatments.
Captain Cook and early European settlers called these trees “tea trees,” for the simple reason that they made tea from them. Unfortunately, these early tea fanciers made tea from many kinds of leaves, and also applied the name “tea tree” to Melaleuca Alternifolia, which is the source of many oils called “tea tree oil.” These oils often contain contaminants.
Our organic kanuka and manuka oils, from sustainably harvested trees and extracted by the gentle steam extraction method, are completely different.
Maori and European settlers alike believed that the oils from the leaves of these trees improved their health. Historical records show that distillations from these trees were thought to help with stomach ailments, pain, and skin care, among other things.
Researchers at Victoria University found that both these trees produce oil with anti-bacterial qualities. Massey University researchers found that manuka oil was beneficial for acne.
But which will you prefer? Happy customers have written about great results from both of these oils, and you may need to try them both to discover which one suits your needs best.
Fortunately, we also offer a kanuka oil/ manuka oil blend.