We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Kanuka?

By James Franklin
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A kanuka is one of a species of flowering trees and shrubs whose leaves produce a rich, pleasant scent when crushed. Native to Australia and New Zealand, the kanuka has been used by New Zealand’s native Maori people for centuries as an herbal remedy. Modern medicine has confirmed what the Maori already knew, that kanuka oil has strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has a pleasing scent and is used to enhance cosmetics and perfumes. Its soothing effect has made it well suited for aromatherapy.

The kanuka and its close relative the manuka are sometimes called “white tea trees.” The name might have come from historical accounts that say British captain James Cook brewed leaves from the trees to make strong tea for his sailors. In recent years, the kanuka has seen increasing use in Europe and North America as a natural, herbal treatment for many skin conditions. The medicinal benefits of both the kanuka and the manuka have begun to be examined more closely by Western physicians.

Although data is limited, research has shown that kanuka oil can kill several types of bacteria, including listeria, staphylococcus and streptococcus. The oil, which is distilled by pruning and steaming the plant’s leaves, also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat a variety of skin ailments, such as acne, rashes and eczema. Its antifungal properties make it effective against athlete’s foot. It even kills parasites such as ringworm and head lice.

The kanuka is often confused with the manuka. To make matters worse, the two names are sometimes used interchangeably. Despite their sometimes similar appearance, there are easy ways to distinguish the plants from one another.

Species of kanuka generally are larger, with the shrubs often maturing into trees. The manuka is a smaller, multi-stemmed shrub. Older kanuka trees can reach a height of 60 feet. The kanuka’s seed cases are much smaller than those found on manuka species, and its leaves have a much duller sheen. Kanuka leaves also are softer, lacking the manuka’s sharp tips and rough texture.

Kanukas grow best in temperate climates that tend to be on the warm side. They flourish on hills and near coastlines but are rarely found in forests. When grown in clusters, the kanuka’s white flowers can form the impression of a snowy landscape from a distance. Its wood is not well suited for building or making tools and is often used for firewood.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.