Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)

What is Manuka?

The best-known form of manuka is in the famous New Zealand manuka honey. This honey is well-respected for its potent antibacterial effects.

Manuka honey is made by cultivating bees that feed exclusively on the flowers of the manuka plant.

It comes to no surprise that the manuka bush also offers exceptional antibacterial and antifungal actions. This effect appears to be transferred into the honey as the bees feed on the nectar of manuka flowers.

The name Manuka is the Maori word for the female plants of the Leptospermum scoparium bush. The male plants are called Kanuka instead.

The Maori use the herb for its antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. it’s useful for inflammation or infection of the digestive tract, diarrhea, as well as urinary tract infections, anxiety, and cold/flu.

Common Names for Manuka

  • Manuka
  • New Zealand Tea Tree
  • Kanuka
  • Tea Tree

Herbal Actions of Manuka

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anxiolytic
  • Astringent
  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Febrifuge
  • Sedative

Safety & Contraindications

Manuka and manuka are both very safe and there are virtually no known side effects or dangers of the herb. The main thing to be aware of is that the high tannin content may block the absorption of minerals or other nutrients. Therefore, it’s recommended you take manuka at least an hour away from meals, and avoid long term use of the raw herb.