Native to Tasmania and its surrounding islands, Kunzea essential oil is derived by steam distillation from the terminal branches of Kunzea ambigua and is a member of the Myrtaceae family.
The plant goes by the names “White Cloud” or “White Kunzea”. It is a large shrub growing 3-5 metres in height. It flowers in the spring, which in these parts is from late August until December.
The oil has been around for a number of years but was known as a boutique oil used primarily for its therapeutic values. The Australia Therapeutic Goods Act claims evidence to show it can assist with temporary relief of pain associated with arthritis and for the relief of muscular, tendon and joint aches and pains. This oil will also offer temporary relief for symptoms of influenza.
Over recent years a number of projects have led to new producers and with it better economies of scale that have led to increased production, a sustainable supply and better prices, opening the door to other applications.
As a perfumery ingredient it is being recognised as something unique in the green herbaceous family and can already boast a number of references. Harvesting at the right times can enhance the content of viridiflorol, which can also be isolated and sold as a single component.
Kunzea is an interesting product with a great story that can add a unique twist to many fragrances and medicinal products. In our dynamic market each product must have something unique as well as being a great functioning item, so why not give Kunzea a try?
Kunzea is wild-harvested and remains relegated to a cottage industry. Production capacity remains limited though efforts are on to increase capacity via sustainable plantations and product standardisation. There are almost no quantities of oil available, though around 100 kg of oil was predicted to come into the market and 2020 was expected to be better. However, with the onset of the pandemic, there is uncertainty and apprehension hovering over the sector.
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