Move over Manuka, Kanuka is the new buzz word in health

Carmen	Alvarado

Carmen Alvarado

Nutritionist & Herbalist

Not to be confused with its close relative Manuka, Kanuka is shaping up to be the next medical miracle from nature. Recent research has found that the powerful oil and special honey produced from the Aotea Kanuka tree could be the next big thing in promoting gut health and fighting everything from sore throats and urinary tract infections to skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.

What is Kanuka?

The Aotea Kanuka (Kunzea sinclairii) species of tree comes from the Myrtaceae family found in New Zealand, which includes Manuka, Kanuka and Aotea Kanuka. While Manuka and Kanuka are found across many parts of the North and South Island, Aotea Kanuka is only found on Great Barrier Island off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

The Kanuka trees are also known as Great Barrier Island Kanuka as they have only been found on Great Barrier Island where natural skincare company Sven’s Island [KM1] extracts the fragrant Aotea Kanuka oil by hand and harvests the honey once a year when the trees are in bloom.

Like its relative Manuka, the bi-products (including Aotea Kanuka oil and honey) produced from the Kanuka tree have strong antibiotic properties.

What are the health benefits of Kanuka?

With powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, products made from the special Kanuka tree are brimming with health benefits.

Fighting infection. Kanuka honey, which is lower in sugar and less bitter in taste than Manuka[KM2] , can be taken internally to promote good gut health and help fight infections – such as sore throats, as well as urinary tract infections – with research showing it’s effective against the common pathogen, pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a leading cause of infection.

Treating skin conditions. Kanuka can be used topically (applied to the skin) to atopic skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea, acne and cold sores.

Fighting antibiotic resistance. New Zealand researchers are excited about the role Kanuka products could play in the global fight against antibiotic resistance. Initial results have shown Kanuka to be effective in treating a number of skin diseases that are often treated with antibiotics. By using the oil and honey in place of prescribed medication, it’s hoped Kanuka will help limit the use of antibiotics and slow down the rate at which microorganisms develop resistance.

A D.I.Y. facemask for acne-prone skin. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of Kanuka honey help to soothe inflamed skin, heal blemishes, balance the skin’s PH and slough away dead skin cells to keep pores clear. Once a week, apply to clean, exfoliated skin for 30 minutes and wash off with warm water before applying a natural moisturiser.

How is Kanuka different to Manuka?

When it comes to Kanuka Honey the Aotea Kanuka tree provides everything Manuka does and more. According to recent clinical tests, Kanuka honey contains Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP), a naturally occurring protein which infuses any of its bi-products with unique anti-inflammatory properties. Not even the highest UMF/ MGO (Unique Manuka Factor / Methylglyoxal rating[KM3] ) Manuka contains that protein.

Quick Kanuka facts:

  • Aotea Kanuka honey can only be harvested once a year when the trees blossom around December and February

  • Aotea Kanuka is more than 33 times stronger in antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties than other members of the Myrtaceae family. 

  • Aotea Kanuka oil is 100 times stronger than medical grade UMF Manuka honey.

  • Aotea Kanuka oil is high in anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

  • Like a good drop of wine, the longer the honey is kept in barrels the more powerful it becomes.

  • Medical grade Kanuka honey is not the same as the common bush variety Kanuka honey, which though it might appear to look similar, doesn’t contain the all-important AGP protein.

The New Zealand government is undertaking research to find out more about Kanuka but with initial clinical trials showing that it’s effective in the areas of inflammation, relieving pain, antiviral, anti-fungal and antimicrobial application, several of the largest healthcare companies in the world are already in negotiations to use Kanuka honey and oil in products.
Healthy Life loves:

Sven’s Island Natural Remedies. [KM4] Sven, the humble farmer behind the Sven’s Island 100% natural personal care range, has lived on Great Barrier Island off the coast of New Zealand his whole life and has been developing natural remedies for over 35 years as he strives to understand how the native plants that grow wild on the Island can benefit people with health problems. Sven’s Island’s mission is simple: to help people look after themselves naturally, just as nature intended.

Healthy Life stocks a range of Sven’s products containing the rare Aotea Kanuka oil including Fresh Face anti-ageing moisturiser, Miracle Manuka medi-salve and Kanuka honey.

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