New Zealand Manuka is a shrub that can grow in the wild as high as 8 metres tall. Known as Manuka it can also be referred to as Red Manuka or Kahikatoa locally. The botanical name is Leptospermum scoparium. Many mistake Manuka for Kanuka, as Kanuka can be known as White Manuka. However this is Kunzea ericoides another product offered growing in Tasmania, Australia.
The oil is extracted from the aerial parts of the plant by steam distillation. East Cape Manuka is known for its many unique properties and is grown and harvested wild. Harvesting can be difficult as the better quality oil comes from plants situated in coastal hillside areas exposed to wind and salt where the soil can at times be both very wet and dry.
Manuka Oil has exceptional scientific pharmacological efficacy. Scientific research on New Zealand East Cape Manuka oil (MTK™ > 20%) is showing it has unique and superior antimicrobial properties (amongst many others) compared with oil sourced from other geographic regions within New Zealand; this is attributed primarily to the high ß-triketone content. In particular there is very strong antibacterial (against Gram-positive bacteria), antiviral and anti-parasitic activity.1
The oil itself consists of over 100 individual chemical components. The majority of the chemical components (molecules) that constitute Manuka essential oils and other essential oils are terpenoids; namely monoterpenes (C10 terpenoids), sesquiterpenes (C15 terpenoids) including oxygenated hydroxyl and carbonyl derivatives (aldehydes, alcohols and esters).2
Terpenoids are the largest class of natural products, while terpenes have a variety of roles in mediating antagonistic and beneficial interactions among organisms. They defend many species of plants, animals and microorganisms against predators, pathogens and competitors, and they are involved in conveying messages to conspecifics and mutualists regarding the presence of food, mates and enemies.3
Genuine pure New Zealand East Cape Manuka oil is also remarkably high in another defined group of compounds known as ß-triketones. In general Manuka oils from different geographic locations around New Zealand can be simplified into 3 basic chemotype groups based on the ratio of the monoterpenes: sesquiterpenes: ß-triketones. Further chemotype groupings can be defined based on individual compounds within the oil.4
Ultra are pleased to offer oil from the East Cape of New Zealand containing high Manuka ß-triketones harvested and distilled by ‘Manuka Oil TriketonesTM’
1,2,3&4 Manuka Oil TriketonesTM
This oil, once only sourced through wild harvesting, has become one of New Zealand’s signature commodities. With an escalating demand and with a view to sustainably farming this plant, the first plantation was established in 2016. Local Māori landowners were approached and in collaboration with scientists established the first commercial plantation. Today New Zealand boasts multiple specialised plantations and is developing many more. Production has more than doubled since 2016 and this year forecasts reveal a 70% increase compared to last year’s crop. Over 80% of manuka oil is obtained from plantations in the East Cape of New Zealand.
Unique with the distinction of being the first place on earth to see the sun, the East Cape of New Zealand is quite sparsely populated and remote from urban activity. The land is primarily owned by the Māori and Hapu families, the indigenous habitants of the place. To them manuka is taonga, a revered and sacred gift from the land. What makes the oil produced here unique and of far superior quality is the presence of high beta-triketones of 20% and above. This imparts a high antimicrobial property and makes it an especially valuable ingredient in cosmetic and medical applications requiring targeted efficacy for gram positive bacteria such as P. acne, S. aureus, T. mentagrophytes and M. canis at very low dilution rates.
The remote location of the East Cape and limited employment opportunities make it difficult to sustain the communities. There are no individual ownership rights for the land or whenua in the local dialect. In most cases, land blocks are jointly owned by the Māori and Hapu family generations who live off it and benefit from the revenue it generates. Sometimes the land is never sold and there are hundreds of family member owners in a single land block. However, the tides are changing as the operational manuka plantations have become a source of sustainable livelihoods for the descendants of the original occupants of the land. Now, with companies implementing long-term partnerships, a ‘fair share’ programme, local up-skilling, and employment focus for local people, new opportunities have opened up for these remote rural communities.
Demand for this product is outstripping supply. The material with higher beta-triketone is scarce. Demand is increasing for material with lower beta-triketone levels as well. Prices are increasing as no major changes in supply are expected.
Market price AUD 995.00 /kilo (25% beta-triketone)
Market price AUD 895.00 /kilo (20% beta-triketone)
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