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Understanding Kanuka

The Kanuka Symposium last week was a chance for Hikurangi Bioactives Limited Partnership (HBLP) to let the community know all about the research, and potential of kanuka.

The symposium was followed by a landowners meeting for participating blocks in the Kanuka Optimisation Programme — a two year programme funded by the Erosion Control Funding programme.

With so much kanuka growing on land blocks, especially around Waiapu Valley, it made sense for HBLP to find out more about kanuka as an environmental asset and as an economic opportunity.

The possibilities being looked into include kanuka as a natural health product.

HBLP's Kanuka Handbook given out at the symposium said historical records showed that kanuka had a diverse range of medicinal uses.

“Both Maori and early Pakeha settlers used the plant to treat conditions such as urinary infections, coughs, colds, back pain, skin conditions, inflamed breasts, burns and scalds, and gum disease. It was also used to reduce fever.

“Since 2000, there has been growing interest in the therapeutic potential of kanuka essential oil.

“Most of the existing literature relates to manuka oil rather than kanuka oil, but there are several studies exploring the chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of kanuka oil with a view to understanding its possible uses in medicine.

“Given the enormous potential of kanuka oil, a great deal more scientific research and evidence is needed about its medical applications.

“It is necessary to confirm its safety and prove its efficacy for clinical use, as well as to conduct long-term tests of its toxicity.

“It is also necessary to understand any possible interactions when kanuka oil is used in combined therapy with other medicines.”

TAPPING INTO KANUKA: The economic, environmental and medicinal potential of kanuka was unveiled at the Kanuka Symposium held at the Lawson Field Theatre last week, At the symposium were, from left, Nikki Harcourt, Tui Warmenhoven, Rob Kryzus, Tracey Whare, Lynell Tuffery Huia, Bella Paenga, Peter de Lange, Tia Hoira, Storm Brockley-Powell and Andrew Munkacsi. Picture by Paul Rickard

  1. Mate Manuel, Rangitukia says:

    Kanuka alongside its cousin manuka, tauwhini in general, forms part of a sustainable demographic, land, soil erosion and climate change makeover. Historical deforestation had major
    adverse effects, with the land diversified rapidly to pasture and stock. The transformation of those resources to multiple uses benefits the land and the economy.