What is the difference between Manuka and Kanuka?

What is the difference between Manuka and Kanuka?

Manuka and Kanuka are both inhabitants of New Zealand. Manuka is also known as the New Zealand tea tree. Named by Captain Cook who used Manuka to make tea as he like the taste, Manuka leaves were also boiled by the Maoris and inhaled to treat head colds. Manuka is a small shrub with sharply pointed leaves and small flowers in white and pink, grow on the Manuka tree during Spring and Summer in New Zealand. Manuka can be found throughout New Zealand and belongs to the Myrtle family. There are only three species of Manuka tree in New Zealand which are found throughout the North and South Islands.

Manuka Oil 

Manuka oil also produces a therapeutic scent, so it is also used in aromatherapy. This oil is good for reducing stress and other mental strains that affect the physiological functions of humans. Manuka oil can help the body and foot aroma. Add a few drops of the Manuka oil to body wash for the same effect. This oil can also be used as a perfume. Manuka oil is also used as a disinfectant, killing of germ and airborne viruses. One of Sven’s Island’s product’s ingredient is Manuka oil. Their oil is produced using steam distillation, not chemicals. Small branches and leaves of the Manuka tree are chopped, soaked, and then steam-distilled. The steam contains the oil which is then condensed to release pure Manuka Oil. It reduces skin inflammation, wrinkle development, and skin thickness. It also helps to prevent sun damage to the skin, reduce the growth of Herpes Simplex Viruses such as cold sores and reduce fungal growth.

Kanuka Tree and Essential Oils

Essential oil is one of the crucial components of our daily life these days. Everybody is talking about its benefits and the uses in our daily lifestyle. It is used to cure many skin issues such as wrinkles and can make you look younger, more beautiful, and make your skin glow. Kanuka is endemic to New Zealand, and its essential oil is one of the main ingredients found in Sven’s Island’s products. Research has suggested that Kanuka was also used by the Maori people and early settlers in traditional medicine practices. Kanuka Essential Oil does not irritate the skin, and if used as a mouthwash, can reduce inflammation. Kanuka was also used as a cure for gut problems such as diarrhoea, constipation or if applied topically, it can help with scalds and burns.

Kanuka and Manuka Differences

Kanuka, even though superficially like Manuka, is a different plant to Manuka. In its natural form, Kanuka can grow up to 15m tall whereas the Manuka will generally stop growing around 6-8m. The stem and branches are typically clad in long, leathery strips of bark, while Manuka is short, papery, with flaky brown bark. Kanuka leaves do not share the sharp tip of Manuka leaves. Kanuka flowers are usually single but occur in clusters. The capsules of Manuka remain on the lower branches of the trees for numerous years while Kanuka sheds its pills within one year. Manuka capsules are app 8–10mm in diameter while Kanuka is 4–5mm in diameter.

Manuka is also better at surviving in inhospitable conditions, making it more widespread throughout New Zealand than Kanuka. On the other hand, Kanuka prefers dry, semi-fertile sites, intermediate between warm-temperature and sub-alpine zones. The chemical composition of honey and essential oils from Manuka and Kanuka is also significantly quite different. Kanuka Essential oil is lighter than Manuka Essential Oil due to its compound composition. The difference in form also allows Kanuka Essential Oil to be more easily absorbed into the skin, making it great for massage or aromatherapy.

Kanuka and Skin Care

Kanuka essential oil is used to deal with a lot of problems. Skin problems which are caused due to the fungal infections can be healed with Kanuka essential oil since this oil includes anti-fungal compounds. If you suffer from ringworm, fungal infections on your nails or athlete’s foot, help it heal with Kanuka essential oil. To solve these types of skin problems, you need to use this essential oil topically regularly. It is used to cure skin irritations due to the beneficial and soothing elements of Kanuka essential oil. Luckily for you, this essential oil can be found in Sven’s Island products such as their Ultra-Renewal Moisturiser, their Spotless Gentle Gel Cleanser, and their Medi-Salve Ointment.

The strong anti-inflammatory response of organic Kanuka Leaf Oil and Kanuka honey found in their Ultra-Renewal Moisturiser helps with topical skin conditions on the face and to reduce redness and pigmentation while creating a brighter, more radiant complexion. Sven’s Island’s Spotless Gentle Gel Cleanser also includes New Zealand Lemonwood leaf extract which inhibits the growth and formation of acne-causing bacteria along with organic Aloe Vera juice that soothes skin irritations. Their Medi-Salve ointment is a certified 100% natural product, containing fast-acting antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties provide fast and effective relief for topical skin conditions and can also reduce scar tissue damage.


Sven’s Island utilises the benefits of a unique species of Kanuka found only on Great Barrier Island. Kanuka, which is also referred to as Kunzea ericoides from the Myrtaceae family, the source of Sven’s Island’s Kanuka essential oil. It is also known as a white tea tree and is an inhabitant to New Zealand. In summary, Kanuka is a new and unique oil that shows much promise, particularly in the areas of relieving pain, inflammation, anti-fungal and anti-microbial application.

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