All posts by Koru Naturals

The Fascinating History of Patchouli


Patch joins Bay Rum, Sandalwood, OUD, and Fire and Flowers in the collection of NZ Fusion solid fragrances.

If you are a fan of gorgeous patchouli you may know this sensual fragrance has been around for centuries. The exact history is actually quite fascinating when you look deeper into its mystery and allure to find out where the fragrance originates. That’s why at Koru Naturals, we’re adding the brand new NZ Fusion Patch Solid Fragrance to a stellar lineup of favorite scents. Let’s dive deeper into the history of patchouli, so you know a little bit more about this warm and inviting scent. Or if you haven’t tried patchouli for yourself, maybe this will tempt you to add it to your collection.

Patch Solid Fragrance

Patchouli is complemented by Australian Sandalwood, Egyptian Jasmine, Madagascar Vanilla, and Turkish Rose Oil. This results in a complex, rich, and intense fragrance.

As with the other NZ Fusion solid fragrances, you may personalize it by combining with other fragrances. Adding Sandalwood makes it woodier, whereas blending with Bay Rum provides spicy notes.

The Origin of Patchouli

The word “patchouli” itself means “green leaf” because it comes from a herb growing green bush that’s part of the mint family. It does bloom delicate pink flowers that show up in the fall with seeds that are all part of becoming the patchouli scent we know today.

Even though it’s native to Southeast Asia, the South Indian people, known as the Tamil, actually developed some of its first uses and named the plant. They used it for medicinal purposes, insect repellent, and even in some culinary ways or through herbal teas they drank. Growing best in a moist and tropical climate, without direct sunlight, the leaves of the patchouli plant can reach heights of up to three feet when healthy.

Centuries later the herby bush made its way up through the Middle East on trade routes when adventurers used to bargain silk, goods, spices, and oils like the ones made from the patchouli’s leaves.

The French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte brought from Egypt cashmere and silks protected from moths with patchouli leaves, so he may have been the one to introduce it to parts of Europe. People just fell in love with its heady rich scent that was distinctively all its own, exquisite and beautiful. So in Europe  Patchouli went from insect repellent to upscale fragrance.

It wasn’t until 1837 that the patchouli was known as a recognizable scent and quickly made its way to the rest of the Western world.

The Modern Era of Patchouli

The counterculture in America, mainly in the 60’s and 70s really embraced everything the scent of patchouli had to offer. People loved to use it in essential oil form, burning in incense, and it became a common note in many popular fragrances. The essential oil is created by steam distillation of the leaves to produce the pure oil that was very popular at the time.

The rich earthy aroma with a slight mint undertone became a very well known aura around people who were referred to as “hippies.” Men and women with long hair, a free spirit, and a carefree way of dressing became associated with the fragrance.

However, most of the Patchouli used in the 60’s was either synthetic or of low quality. This is in contrast with the pure Patchouli Essential Oil used in our new fragrance, which is extracted only from the top 3-4 leaves of the plant and aged for at least 3 years. This Patchouli has a rich, dark, earthy-sweet, and mellow aroma. Sandalwood, a touch of sweet Madagascar vanilla, and lush Turkish rose complement the Patchouli notes of this fragrance. This is a fragrance with outstanding depth and warmth that will allow you to treasure wearing patchouli all day long.

Try Patch today!

Lanolin: the perfect skin care ingredient

The sheep’s gift to humans

Why is lanolin so good for our skin? Because it works better than any other ingredient! The structure of lanolin is very similar to that of human skin lipids, making it compatible and effective as skin moisturizer.

Lanolin serves to protect the sheep from the elements, keeping their coats protected and dry in all seasons. But, the sheep’s wool grows continuously, so it can get hot and dirty if the animal is not sheared. Lanolin is extracted from this wool, making it not only natural but cruelty-free.

Dry skin is caused by a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin, known as Trans Epidermal Water Loss. Moisturizers work by forming a layer on the top of the skin that holds water in, but still allowing air to flow freely. Although there are many moisturizing substances available, lanolin is the most effective one from natural sources, working to prevent TEWL while protecting the skin.

All Lanolin products in the Koru Naturals collection are made with the best lanolin available.

View our collection of pure lanolin, lanolin creams, and lotions.

Mythology that warms our hearts

Mānuka and Māori Mythology

“In the beginning before the world was light, Rangi the sky-father and Papa the earth-mother were bound together, their offspring caught in the darkness between them. Their strongest son, Tane Mahuta, put his shoulder to Papa and thrust upwards with his powerful legs, creating life and light.”
− Maori legend

And Tane Mahuta became the Maori God of the forests. Tane Mahuta married Tawake-toro, and together they had the Mānuka tree! This is how deep  Mānuka’s roots are in New Zealand’s history and culture.

The Māori often say that Mānuka has “whakapapa”.  Literally translated, whakapapa means “genealogy”. But, it is actually a deeply spiritual concept that is a fundamental principle in Māori culture. Your personal whakapapa places you in the context of your ancestors and the lands where they lived, and centers your identity in the context of your personal history.

So Mānuka has whakapapa, and this is why New Zealanders take everything that is Mānuka so seriously.

Tāne Mahuta doesn’t just exist in mythology, but is also a gigantic kauri tree alive today. Tāne Mahuta stands at an impressive 170 feet tall, and it’s trunk is 45 feet wide, and it may be over 2,000 years old. You can hug this kauri tree at the Waipoua Forest of Northland, New Zealand, and feel a surge of inner peace and deep respect for its ancient history.

At Koru Naturals we know that when we go through great lengths to ensure the purity and quality of our Mānuka Honey and Mānuka Oil, Tāne Mahuta is watching us approvingly!


Ministry of Education.

Image Copyright

How to avoid Manuka Oil scams

High triketone content Manuka Oil
Ask some basic questions before buying Manuka Oil

A consumer’s guide to New Zealand Manuka Oil

The three natural health jewels of the Pacific

Australia and New Zealand have a historically deep commitment to natural health. Traditions of native peoples were transferred to the European settlers and were subsequently adopted by people around the world.

The most famous natural health products of the Pacific are Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil from New Zealand, and Tea Tree Oil from Australia. At Koru Naturals we carry both Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil from Te Araroa, in the East Cape region of New Zealand.

As with any other natural product, an educated consumer is key to making informed purchase decisions and fighting adulteration and omissions of critical information (1).


In the last few years we have seen a significant increase in the level of awareness of quality issues with Manuka Honey. Now most U.S. consumers know that they have to get UMF® certified honeys, and they have to ask pointed questions about storage conditions. For Manuka Oil, however, the awareness is lacking, mainly because it’s a fairly new product for the U.S. and there is quite a bit of chemistry involved in the understanding of quality. But, if you are interested in Manuka Oil, and you should be because it’s a wonderful product preferred by aromatherapists and natural health people, please bear with us as we tell you what questions to ask before buying.

Triketones tell the story

All essential oils contain compounds that serve as chemical markers for purity. For example, two chemical markers for peppermint are menthofuran and viridifloral, which can be used to detect adulteration (2). For Manuka Oil the markers are a family of compounds called triketones, primarily ß-triketones that are unique to Manuka oil, the main ones being leptospermone and isoleptospermone (1, 3, 4).

As with other essential oils, geography and climate make a difference. Although Manuka trees grow all over New Zealand, the type (known as chemotype) that grows in the East Cape has the highest triketone content, and is therefore the best for extracting Manuka Oil (4).

There are two main producers of Manuka Oil in the East Cape: Natural Solutions from Te Araroa, which supplies our oil, and the New Zealand Manuka Group from Gisborne, which sells under the brand Melora and also supplies oil in bulk to companies in the U.S. Both companies produce excellent oil and comply with the basic requirement of listing the triketone content on the label. Natural Solutions simply lists the minimum percentage on the label. For example, our current oil has at least 41% triketones, so it’s labeled 40%+. The New Zealand Manuka Group has developed a more complicated nomenclature to provide the same information: MβTK™, which stands for MANUKA OIL ßeta TRIKETONES. So, for example, a Manuka Oil produced by this firm with at least 10% triketones would be labeled MβTK™ 10+ (5).

Both the Natural Solutions and the Melora oils are bottled in New Zealand, which provides a high level of confidence on quality and integrity. The same cannot be said for Manuka Oils bottled in the U.S. Many U.S. sellers don’t even disclose the triketone content of their products or whether they have been diluted. For the Manuka Essential Oils that are imported in bulk and bottled in the U.S. there are some important questions to ask to avoid buying adulterated oils:

  • Is the oil bottled in facilities equipped to handle essential oils or it’s done in someone’s kitchen, basement, or garage?
  • Is the oil sent for analysis after bottling?
  • Is the equipment used appropriate for handling manuka oil?
  • What was the triketone content of the bulk oil, and what is the content after bottling?

Given the long history of adulteration of valuable essential oils, we recommend buying Manuka Oil exclusively from sources that can be trusted, with particular emphasis on transparency regarding the levels of triketones and the reliability of the bottling operation. Manuka Oils bottled at the source in New Zealand offer the best assurance of integrity.






When Simplicity Wins: Pure Lanolin Lip Balm

Pure Lanolin Lip Balms

Follow Kelly as she continues to simplify her life, this time tackling lip balms

Let’s get honest here

Right now, look into your handbag or cosmetic kit, and calculate how many lip balms you have. Over five, 10, even 20? If you are a lip balm lover, like I am, you probably have quite collection in your lip care arsenal. The problem with that is how good are the ingredients in each of your lip balms? They might be packed with fragrances, preservatives, and fillers you definitely don’t need. Some of them may even be irritating your lips! That’s exactly the opposite of what you want in a lip balm. Simplicity wins on this one again. It’s truly better to narrow down the ingredient list of what’s in your lip balm to one simple ingredient. Pure lanolin.

Pare Down Your Lip Balms

Don’t fall for all that cosmetic industry hype. Finding a lip balm that is simple, inexpensive, and effective is truly what your lips need. In my own life, I was finding that the more ingredients in my lip balms, glosses, and lipsticks, the more irritated my lips were all the time. I couldn’t get away from flaky, dry lips no matter how much lip product I continued to pile on them.

The Simple Solution Exists

The solution for me was Koru Naturals Pure Lanolin Lip Balm. I’m so glad that I’ve found them. Koru Naturals Pure Lanolin Lip Balm comes in sets of four tubes or pots, or you can also get it in one larger single pot.

I have a few pots in strategic places around my home to slick on my lips anytime I like. Here’s a tip I’ve found to wake up to silky lips: leave a pot by your bedside to put on a layer at night. That’s it! The feeling of having soft smooth lips just can’t be beat. All because I’ve found the single most effective lip soother, pure lanolin.

Vitamin C in skincare: how difficult can it be?

by Tamara Green

NZ Fusion Botanicals
NZ Fusion Botanicals

Pretty difficult, apparently. We had so many customers ask why the NZ Fusion Botanicals Vitamin C and Manuka Honey Brightening Serum is better than other Vitamin C serums that we decided to investigate what’s so special about it. And, after many hours spent talking with the cosmetic experts that designed the product and to chemists at some of the companies that make the ingredients, we have our answer (drum roll, please): we’re not sure.

Well, it’s pretty frustrating that after talking to so many experts we still don’t know exactly why this serum works so well. But, the reality is that although cosmetic science has advanced so much in the last few years, the performance of a particular combination of ingredients is still difficult to predict.  Even when using top ingredients and the best minds in the field, some outcomes are better than others. And in the case of this serum, the outcome has been fantastic.

Digging deeper into the ingredients, we can guess why this combination was particularly successful. The first thing we see on the ingredients list is that the focus on natural ingredients and ancient knowledge about plant extracts, which are the two primary principles of NZ Fusion Botanicals, were clearly applied to this product. There is not a single nasty chemical in this serum, and we see a number of plant ingredients that have long histories of benefiting the skin.  Even with my limited knowledge of skin care ingredients, I can see several fascinating components. I see aloe leaf juice and cucumber extract, both known for calming irritated skin and hydrating your skin. Of course, there is also Vitamin C in the form of ethyl ascorbic acid. Fruit extracts are the source of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, known to improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Niacinamide, or Vitamin B3, needs no introduction after how much Dr. Oz has extolled the multiple skin benefits of this ingredient.

And then, Manuka Honey 20+, the queen of all skin care ingredients, deserves its own paragraph. We have known for a long time that you can take two skin creams with similar ingredients but one has Manuka Honey and the other one doesn’t, and the one with the Manuka Honey is far superior.  And other honeys are not the same. So maybe skin care is like nutrition where no other honey is as good as pure Manuka Honey.

As I apply this NZ Fusion Vitamin C Serum tonight, I’m thinking that creating skin care products has a lot in common with cooking: ingredients are of course critical, but temperature, size and material of the cookware, time, and other factors make a huge difference. And, as in cooking, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case in the serum. If it works great, just use it. After all, that is all that matters!

When simplicity wins

by guest beauty blogger Kelly R

Olive squalane
Pure plant beauty oils

When Simplicity Wins

Beauty can be overwhelming at times. This is especially true of skin care. With so many different products to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down exactly what’s right for your own skin type. Plus, when you are using too much on your skin, those fine layers can become confused giving you all sorts of problems to deal with.

Issues that might show up in your skin are aging fine lines, deeper wrinkles, dryness or dehydration, and even sensitivity problems with redness and inflammation thrown in for bad measure. All you want is beautiful skin, right? It’s not too much to ask for, we’re happy to say. Here’s the real deal on skin care: when simplicity wins, your skin will win too. It’s just that simple. Koru Naturals has been bringing simple skin care solutions with natural and organic ingredients to people everywhere since 2002. Here’s a few ways to pare down your skin care routine to more effective products that truly work wonders for your skin.

When Simple Is Best

Paring down your skin care routine is going to be a great first step to start with on the road to better behaving skin. If you have a whole litany of skin care items you use in your routine, it’s time to cut out the ones that aren’t absolutely necessary. You are probably overdoing it if you have over ten skin care items on your vanity shelves.

The goal here is to get your skin to perform better with fewer products. You don’t really need multiple cleansers, exfoliators, and serums all cluttering up your life. Break it down to four items that are actually going to work for your skin. Your skin can only absorb and change so much that when you are overwhelming it with products it’s going to react, and not in the way you want it to. Radiant, youthful skin can be yours when you figure out that simple is best.

Try To Pick Four Products You Need

When looking to simplify your skin care routine, get it down to four products at first. Those four products are a cleanser with makeup remover, a targeted facial oil, a moisturizer, and an eye cream. You want clean skin that is well hydrated and protected, especially if you have to heal some damage in your skin from over-exfoliation or too harsh chemicals in all of your products. Stress on your skin can be reversed if you can commit to subjecting it to less skin care trauma, which means getting rid of unnecessary products.

The Beauty Of Pure Oils

When talking about facial oils, it’s important to choose ones that will have the active ingredients you need to pamper and hydrate your skin. Two perfect ones to look at are

Rose Hip Seed Oil and Pure Olive Squalane Oil. Each has very unique skin care benefits that will help your skin.

Rosehip seed oil
Rosehip seed oil

Rose Hip Seed Oil is pure and cold pressed to help heal that top layer of dehydrated skin. This “extra virgin” oil from NZ Fusion Botanicals is extracted using a single simple press to get out all that natural oil from the seeds of the wild rose bush. A gorgeous oil which when patted on gently morning and night will give you the smooth, soft skin you crave. Vitamin E, which is found in naturally high amounts in the rosehip seeds, is going to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, fade old acne or eczema marks, and even helps with sun damage and sensitive skin.

Olive squalane
Pure olive squalane

Pure Olive Squalane is another winning singular oil to try on your face. This type of oil is a natural skin antioxidant because it’s able to lock moisture into the skin, strengthen the skin’s tissue, and even calm irritation. The harvest is straight from olives of the highest quality to get that all important squalane into the bottle. This kind of beneficial oil is suitable for all skin types, but aging skin and even people with psoriasis or rosacea can truly benefit from the moisturizing power of pure Olive Squalane Oil added to their skin care routine.

Above all when you use high quality skin care that is truly targeting your skin’s needs, you won’t have to buy all those excess products. The effective part of skin care comes from having a simple routine that works. Incorporating pure oils along with the right cleansing routine is going to give your skin the simple care it really needs.

Tui Balms

Tui Balms

The original Tui Bee Balme was created in New Zealand by Colin Isles in the early 80’s. The recipe was donated to the Tui Community, where the operation remains to this day. The brand is named after the Tui, a beautiful bird endemic to New Zealand.

Tui Balms is dedicated to the creation of all-natural and safe balms in the tradition of balms made by ancient cultures.  The word “balm” denotes a fragrant, healing or soothing lotion. Derived from the earlier word “balsam” – a fragrant, aromatic, often resinous substance oozing from various plants, balms are synonymous with gentle healing of the skin. Prior to modern technologies to emulsify water and preserve skin care creams and lotions, almost all skin care products were balms. These balms were made by shamans, elders and the wise women of tribes or cultures who had a long-standing relationship with natural ingredients, especially plants. It is in this tradition that Tui Balms has come to make massage balms, Bee Balm and other natural balms.

Tui Balms rely greatly upon pure essential oils for their active and fragrant properties.  Tui makes balms using only natural source ingredients. The Coop grows its own food organically, using the principles of Permaculture, which members feel provide a practical connection to the balm makers of days gone by.

Traditional balms are different to modern medicines. They can be equally effective and in some cases more so. But they often need to be worked with differently. Balms may need to be applied more frequently than heavy-handed synthetic equivalents. Similarly, it is important to keep in mind that a balm is a gentle healing substance and might need to be applied over a longer period of time than say, modern immune response suppressors, like hydrocortisones.

Balms generally are positive healers. In this sense, they nurture and nourish the skin to health rather than negatively suppressing symptoms or killing off organisms, including those that are beneficial. This is not to say that the balms are devoid of any antiseptic properties The bee balm for instance contains Propolis, which has anti-bacterial qualities. Balms soothe and nurture while being gentle and safe, enhancing and assisting the body’s own natural pathways to health. The essential oils and waxes used are often targeted towards overall effects like relaxation rather than acting as broad spectrum “cure all” silver bullets. The effects these balms have are therefore beneficial holistically. In the same vein, the certified organic NZ beeswax and pure vegetable oils used are ideal carriers of the other active ingredients. They moisten and nourish the skin also, rather than being extra unnecessary material that serves no good purpose. This is in stark contrast to many products that can contain a wide range of ingredients unnecessary to healing and even potentially damaging to health.

View our collection of Tui Balms

Please watch an interesting video on the Tui operation.

A portion of the proceeds by Tui are donated to the Tui Spiritual and Educational Trust