I have always been passionate about Australian Plants and have been lucky enough to work in the area my entire working life, as a student, teacher, grower, in the media and writing, with five books on the subject including two award winning best sellers. I am a trained agricultural scientist so I come at the subject with a strong scientific background.
Tasmanian plants have particularly fascinated me and when I moved to Tasmanian in 2013, I started collecting and experimenting on plants to extract literally the essence on the plants and distil pure oil from them. Starting in my own kitchen on the beautiful Tasman Peninsula and also at the University of Tasmania’s excellent oil laboratory.
Both there and anecdotally, I heard more about the Kunzea ambigua plant and its outstanding qualities as an anti- inflammatory and to relieve a wide range of skin problems, from those that occurred from chemo and radiation treatment to eczema and shingles. I gave it to a very sceptical friend for her shingles and it cleared them in two days. Whilst exploring my new property I was horrified to find blood all over my shirt and discovered a large leech had made itself at home and created a large hole which became intensely itchy over the next few days. After treating it with Kunzea Oil the itching stopped within minutes and it healed in a couple of days. It is a bit of a miracle oil in my experience.
Kunzea ambigua grows all over Tasmania, but particularly in the North of Tasmania and on Flinders Island. This is where our some of our oil is grown, harvested and distilled. Having bought a beautiful property with magnificent Tasmanian Blue Gum Tree, or Eucalyptus globulus, which are the floral emblem of Tasmania, I also am experimenting with the distillation of these leaves and am delighted with the aroma, feel and chemical make up of the resulting oils.
Eucalyptus has been harvested and distilled since the 19th century and acknowledged as a effective decongestant remedy for upper respiratory infections and inflammatory infections, such as bronchitis, as well as a topical ointment for aches, skin problems and even a complimenting and enhancing antibiotics use. There is considerable scientific research into the benefits of its use, especially when we are all seeking different options to treat illness or enhance existing medicines.
Our growing environments are some of the most pure in the world. The properties of the Manuka plant or Leptospermum scoparium are well known, more from the honey created by bees from the plant’s flowers. This plant grows widely in the Tasmanian bush, but due to the very low oil yield from the plant, has not been widely available.
However the leaves of the plant can be harvested and distilled to create a very special oil which, as does the honey, supports the appearance of healthy-looking skin, reduces the appearance of blemishes, and is also antibacterial and anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antihistamine and a relaxant used directly on the skin or with a diffuser or in a bath. It is made from the same plant as Manuka honey, and it believed to share many of the same benefits (though used externally, of course).
This oil has a very pleasant honey scent, with notes of citrus and wood, and is a personal favourite of mine.
I have long loved and used tea tree oil from the northern NSW species Melaleuca alternifolia but we have been using a Tasmanian tea tree oil known as Lavender Tea Tree or Southern Rosalina, which is not a blend of tea tree oil and lavender oil, but rather the oil of Tasmanian species Melaleuca ericifolia which has a fresh, earthy, gentle lavender aroma and a mild Eucalyptus and Tea tree scent. It is relaxing, refreshing, calming, good for cleaning surfaces, keeping rooms hygienic, use as an alternative to Eucalyptus or Tea Tree. Use it in an oil burner, air purifier, air freshener, massage oil, for your bath, to clean bathrooms, kitchen benches or to add to water for an all round cleaning product.
Interesting fact: Meghan Markle takes tea tree oil with her everywhere! “It's not the most glamorous thing, but I always carry tea tree oil, if you get a cut, a mosquito bite, a small breakout, no matter what it is, it's my little cure-all. It's inexpensive, it's small enough to carry on, and I bring it with me all the time,”
Go Meghan, Love your essential oil sense...
All the best