Home Page




History and
Lifestyle Articles
about Great
Barrier Island






































The Beginning
From Plants to Products

Ex Oriente Lux. "The Sun rises in the East". Symbolically this old saying glorifies the East as the cradle of civilization. In the East also, the technical orient especially Egypt, Persia and India, began the history of essential oils through the process of distillation. As in many other fields of human endeavour it was in the occident however that these first attempts reached their full development. If oriental meditation kindled the light, occidental genius and industry kept it burning.

It was not until well into the middle ages and even later that the Northern Hemisphere (Europe) became involved in the art of distillation, used primarily for the preparation of distilled waters, rose water etc. The first authentic description of the distillation of real essential oils has been generally ascribed to the Catalan physician, Arnold de Villanova (1235-1311) AD The real production and use of essential oils did not become general until the second half of the sixteenth century.

Here in New Zealand we are just in our infancy with only a small number of distillation plants in operation besides my own. I began extracting Kanuka and Manuka essential oils well over 15 years ago, as a hobby. Supplying friends and associates with the oils I was unable to keep up with the demand with my miniature plant. In 1994 I installed a large water and steam distillation plant and went into commercial production.

Garden of Eden

According to a legend Adam and Eve were allowed to take not only fruits and wheat with them from the garden but also fragrant flowers and the myrtle. The myrtle was their home medicine cabinet for infections, coughs and cold and also for skin and beauty care. With its beautiful fragrance myrtle is believed to stabilize the soul. It was the symbol of divine peace, nobility of mind and delicate sensuality.

Kanuka and Manuka belong to the myrtle family and the genus Leptospernum of which there are over 30 known species in Australia, 3 in New Zealand, while the others are chiefly confined to Malaya and New Caledonia.

The three New Zealand species are;

1) Kunzea Ericoides - Kanuka - White Tea Tree. Endemic to New Zealand it can grown to 20-25m in height, leaves small and soft, flowers between November and December.

2) Leptospernum Scoparium - Manuka - Red Tea Tree. Also grows naturally in Australia - up to 10m in height, leaves biggish and sharp, flowers November - December but can flower right through the year.

3) Sinclairii - Prostrate Manuka - endemic to New Zealand.

The main Australian species that oil is extracted from is their Melaleuca Alternifolia. This is the tea tree oil, as in Thursday island plantation which has been promoted for many years. Confusion can set in between the New Zealand species and the Australian species. It is necessary to differentiate Manuka and Kanuka oils from NZ tea tree oils, although they belong to the same genus they are different oils in their own right.

Barrier Gold extracts both Kanuka and Manuka but the latter on a lesser scale. Kanuka is Barrier Gold’s core oil, a truly New Zealand oil. Kanuka is a lighter oil, on the density scale around 10. Manuka is around 15. Being smaller and lighter the Kanuka oil molecules penetrate the skin and muscle tissue faster and deeper than Manuka. Manuka needs to be blended with other oils to get the same results or it will just sit on the skins surface. With it’s exceptional deep penetrating qualities not only is Kanuka very effective as an anti-inflammatory it also works well as a pain reliever as it gets right into the joints and muscles. It is ideal for steam inhalations to ward off viral infections and chills, or as a relaxer before going to bed.

If there is an outbreak of head lice in your district try this oil. People who have tried it have had marvelous results. Many people use it in preference to putting large amounts of chemicals on their children’s heads. Barrier Gold Kanuka oil is the natural solution, mixed with water, shaken and sprayed onto the scalp. The oil can be used for a whole range of applications. Every bottle comes with a booklet on how to use the oil. It will do everything that the Australian tea tree oil will do and more. Best of all it is truly a New Zealand oil and a great oil so support the New Zealand economy in preference to the Australian.

Plantation vs Wildcrafted Feral Organic

New plantations of Melaleuca, Australian Tea Tree are being established in the Northern regions of Australia on ex tobacco plantations. These plantations were sprayed with large amounts of different chemicals during the tobacco operation - insecticides, pesticides, herbicides - DDT etc. There is cause for concern as to the long term residue effect on the soil that these new plantations of tea tree oil are being established in.

Plantation oils are a mass produced product with no natural diversification allowed. They are maintained with sprays and chemicals and then harvested with machinery.

Unlike these new plantations in Australia Barrier Gold Kanuka essential oil is guaranteed 100% pure and natural. Harvested and extracted on a remote coastal peninsula this Kanuka oil is full of the goodness derived from a natural environment. It is of the highest quality and is ideal for Aromatherapy and Therapeutic use. Harvesting and collecting of the leaf material is done by hand from wild sown plants to get the best genetic diversification in their natural environment. Each plant is individually hand pruned and shaped. The oil is extracted using water and steam distillation, which is gentler than direct steam distillation.

Description of Kanuka Oil

A broadspectrum anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-viral, antifungal and natural insecticide it has exceptional deep penetrating qualities.

A Cautionary Note

Whilst I personally use the oil undiluted and have done for many years as have large numbers of other people without problems do remember that essential oils are potent substances and are not to be lightly handled. Keep away from eyes. To maintain the quality of your oil store it in a cool dark place.

To the Top
To the Top