Are Manuka and Tea Tree the same?

Are Manuka and Tea Tree the same?

Almost everyone knows about the beneficial healing properties of Manuka honey, derived from bees that pollinate the flowers of the Manuka tree.

Manuka is often confused with Tea Tree, which is also known for its medicinal properties.

However, Manuka and Tea Tree are not the same and have distinct characteristics and uses that distinguish them.

The difference between Manuka and Tea Tree

Both Manuka and Tea Tree are native to Australia and belong to the same larger botanical family—Myrtaceae, also known as the Myrtle family.

Currently, myrtaceae has 127 accepted genera (categories) and both Manuka and Tea Tree belong to two separate genera and species, making them different in their characteristics.

Let’s look at the differences between the two:

Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)

  • Manuka is a small shrub-like tree native to New Zealand and south-east Australia. It is also known as Manuka, Manuka myrtle, New Zealand Tea Tree, Broom Tea Tree, or Tea Tree (this causes confusion with the plant commonly known as Tea Tree)
  • In recent years, Manuka honey has gained “star” status as a natural remedy for wound healing, relief from coughs and colds, clearing infections, easing stomach aches, improving digestion, and helping with ailments such as leg ulcers, eczema, and other skin conditions because of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties.
  • The healing properties of Manuka honey are attributed to high levels of a compound called methylglyoxal (MGO). 
  • Manuka honey is not the only product that originates from this shrub. Manuka oil is an essential oil derived from the leaves, stems, and branches of the plant through the process of steam distillation.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

  • Tea tree is a small bushy tree or shrub that is endemic to Australia, found in Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, contains a high concentration of terpinen-4-ol which contributes to its strong antimicrobial properties.
  • It is commonly used as a natural remedy for acne, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, dandruff, and head lice. Tea Tree oil can also be used as a sanitiser and makes a good all-purpose cleaner

What is better? Manuka or Tea Tree

Both Manuka and Tea Tree have strong medicinal properties, making Manuka oil and Tea Tree oil two popular choices as a natural remedy.

However, a 2020 German study has shown Manuka oil to be more effective than Tea Tree oil when comparing its bactericidal (MBC) data against a wide range of gram-positive bacteria. The scientists related Manuka oil’s efficacy to its β-Triketone components found in great abundance in Manuka oil.

If you are looking for premium Manuka honey products, be sure to visit our website and browse through our extensive Manuka honey collection.