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Herbology 101 - Herbal Remedies and Herb Information

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manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
Photo: manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) A New Zealand myrtaceous tree with strong elastic wood and aromatic leaves. The blossoms are the source of the nectar used by bees in making manuka honey.

Manuka is also called Jelly Bush, Leptospermum, and tea tree, though the last term is more commonly used to indicate the Australian tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia) from which we gain the essential oil.

Manuka products have high antibacterial potency for a limited spectrum of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Kakariki parakeets use the leaves and bark of manuka and kanuka (white tea-tree) to rid themselves of parasites. Apart from ingesting the material, they also chew it, mix it with preen gland oil and apply it to their feathers.

Manuka honey, produced when honeybees gather the nectar from its flowers, is distinctively flavoured, darker and richer in taste than clover honey and has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. The finest quality manuka honey with the most potent antimicrobial properties is produced from hives placed in wild, uncultivated areas with abundant growth of manuka bushes.

Additionally, manuka sawdust imparts a delicious flavour when used for smoking meats and fish.

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