I have been providing you with resources and information on new essential oils resources. This is to empower you with education for their safe use and to take advantage of these new aromatic tools for living a healthy, non-toxic lifestyle.
Last week, I started reviewing Kunzea essential oil. It is truly a unique essential oil. It is a single oil with a chemical makeup that makes it behave more like a blend. You can catch summary of its awe-inspiring properties, uses, chemistry, and my own personal experience by watching this video.
After noting its profound emotional effect on me and the accolades of Kunzea ambigua form my essential oil mentors, it was my desire to continue to learn more and share it with you. Below is a summary of what I found.*
A Review of Studies on the Benefits of Kunzea Essential Oil
1. Supporting an Annoyance Free Outdoor Event
In a test with human volunteers, Kunzea ambigua showed minor repellency against some annoying critters outdoors. Several other articles refer to Kunzea’s potential for this as well.
Although in this study, Kunzea was less effective than DEET, there is the benefit of it being a less toxic choice. (You may want to read this on why I’m wary of DEET.)
Another option to save your hands from swatting critters all day is this Insect Repellent.
I think I may add a little drop of Kunzea oil to my bug-away goop for when I head out to explore and find the great outdoors especially populated creepy-crawlies!
- Evaluation of repellent properties of volatile extracts from the Australian native plant Kunzea ambigua against Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culcidae). J Med Entomol. 2009 Nov;46(6):1387-91.
- An article on manuka and kanuka for its microbe properties, makeup, and therapeutic potential: A fresh look at manuka and kanuka essential oils from New Zealand. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 2005; 15(3):141-146. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijat.2005.07.003
- A Contemporary Introduction to Essential Oils: Chemistry, Bioactivity and Prospects for Australian Agriculture.
2. Keeping Kids Hair Critter-Free
In a 2016 in vitro study, the authors state:
Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) infestations are a public health concern. The insecticidal properties of the Australian native plant Kunzea ambigua (commonly known as tick bush) have been documented. In this study, we tested activity of kunzea oil (KO) against head lice through in vitro bioassays. Head lice were exposed to filter paper treated with either KO, as either a 5 or 100% oil, or commercial formulations containing either permethrin or tea tree oil (TTO) for 120 min. Head lice exposure to KO, both as a 5 and 100% solution oil, resulted in 100% mortality within 120 min with a mean survival times of 17·1 and 34·8 min, respectively. There was no significant difference between the mean mortality of head lice exposed to 5% KO (17·1 ± 1·0; 95% CI: 115·2–19·0) and 5% TTO (21·2 ± 1·9; 95% CI: 17·4–25·1). This study revealed, for the first time, that KO holds great potential as an effective alternative to current active ingredients contained within commercial pediculicide formulations.
Although petri dish studies cannot be generalized to humans, in this situation this study is helpful. This is because it is based on a topical application of the essential oil to a critter. It is not extrapolating the action of an isolated compound from an essential oil that has to be further biotransformed in the organs of elimination of the human or mammal.
- Can kunzea oil (Kunzea ambigua) control head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis)?. Parasitology Open. 2016; 2. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b411/6b0ec67cbfc48153cf09b641d53ab93a604b.pdf
3. Skin Care in Humans, Horses, and More Proof of Inhibiting of the Unwanted Buggies
In this thesis on Kunzea, the author reviews:
The differences between species of Kunzea
The potential for its ability to blot out unwanted microbes and annoyances
Kunzea’s action on a skin condition in horses and toenail fungus in humans
The review states:
For thousands of years natural products have had a prominent role in treating ailments. Among the plant-derived products used as medicinal agents, essential oils have been widely appreciated for their use as antimicrobial agents. Myrtaceous essential oils have also attracted industrial interest primarily due to their antimicrobial properties. Tea tree oil is the prominent contender. Kunzea oil is a myrtaceous essential oil obtained from the shrub Kunzea ambigua (Smith) Druce 1917. K. ambigua, genus Kunzea, family Myrtaceae, is endemic to northeast Tasmania as well as the Furneaux Islands and eastern coastal regions of Victoria and southern New South Wales. Kunzea oil has been listed as a therapeutic substance by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia for topical application for the treatment of various dermatological ailments (AUSTL 72143; 1996). Kunzea oil is currently used in aromatherapy, as a topical antiseptic and for the treatment of various bacterial-fungal skin infections, eczema and psoriasis in humans and pastern dermatitis in horses. The initial objective of the study was to examine the chemical composition, antimicrobial activity and the insect repellency potential of kunzea oil. The second phase of the study investigated the potential usefulness of kunzea oil for the treatment of onychomycosis and efficacy of formulations containing kunzea oil for the treatment of pastern dermatitis in horses, in randomised controlled trials.
Investigation on the chemical composition of kunzea oils demonstrated differences
between oils from different plants (Kunzea spp.) analysed in this study. The results from the repellency trial indicated that K. ambigua essential oil offers protection from biting mosquitoes similar to that afforded by citronella oil. Kunzea oil-based formulations may be suitable for use in areas of low mosquito activity by people who wish to avoid the use of synthetic repellents. Kunzea oil appears to possess potentially useful in vitro antimicrobial activity with some fractions having higher activity. However, more work is required to further establish the optimum antimicrobial potential of kunzea oil. Two of the randomised clinical trials demonstrated the potential clinical usefulness of kunzea oil based topical formulations to treat pastern dermatitis in horses and pedal fungal infections in humans. Results of the pilot in vivo investigations open several avenues for further work in the form of in vitro bioassays and randomised, controlled trials for the development of topical formulations as an addition to the current battery of topical modalities for the management of cutaneous infections in humans and animals.
- Thomas J. ‘Kunzea oil: investigation of composition, bioactivity and therapeitic potential’, PhD thesis, University of Tasmania. 2012. https://eprints.utas.edu.au/14805/
Additional references supporting statements in thesis:
- Horse Study and Pastern Dermatitis: Thomas, J and Narkowicz, C and Peterson, GM and Jacobson, GA and Narayana, A, “Randomised controlled trial of the treatment of pastern dermatitis with a formulation containing kunzea oil”, Veterinary Record, 164 (20) pp. 619-623 [Full Text]
- Toe Nail Fungus in Humans: Thomas, Jackson and Narkowicz, CK and Jacobson, GA and Peterson, GM and Burnet, H* and Ceridwen, C*, “A randomised trial of kunzea oil in comparison with amorolfine nail lacquer for the treatment of toenail onychomycosis”, Out of the Wilderness – 2009 APSA Annual Conference program and abstracts booklet, 9-11 December 2009, Wrest Point Convention Centre, pp. 71.[Conference Extract] [Full Text]
- Psoriasis in Adults: Adding it to coal tar treatment- no more efficacy, but never investigated alone: Thomas, Jackson and Narkowicz, CK and Jacobson, GA and Peterson, GM and Basson, S*, “An evaluation of the clinical efficacy of kunzea oil formulations in the therapeutic management of psoriasis in adults”, Out of the Wilderness – 2009 APSA Annual Conference program and abstracts booklet, 9-11 December 2009, Wrest Point Convention Centre,Hobart, Tasmania , pp. 117. [Conference Extract] [Full Text]
4. The Power of a Patent
In a patent application, “Essential Oil of Kunzea Ambigua and Methods of Use,” the abstract states:
A method for treating disease includes the steps of obtaining the essential oil from the Kunzea ambigua plant and administering the essential oil obtained to a human to take internally. The essential oil of the Kunzea ambigua plant has been discovered to act positively against parasitic infestation of humans and animals, and also has been found to have high kill rates against various viral and bacterial infections.
You can read all its descriptions and claims here.
Kunzea essential oil is an amazing addition to anyone’s essential oils toolkit. It has many varying properties due to its distinct makeup. I believe that we are only beginning to explore its power. This weekend, my mom had the same response that I did with this oil.
Please try it and comment below.
As promised, in this post, “Essential Oils as Natural Tools for Enjoying the Sunny Outdoors Annoyance-Free and Staying Healthy and Cheerful for Summertime Fun,” I review this month’s promotions. Click here to read. There are still a few days left!
* Please note that the studies from PubMed aren’t specific for any essential oils company.
- Safety First! Please review the resources for essential oils safety here.
- Essential Oils Quality
- Get an essential oils consult from me. I apply the philosophy and principles of the naturopathic and functional medicine to guide you with which essential oils and supplements will work best for you!
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
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