Mānuka oil production
To produce Arapaoa Island mānuka oil, foliage is trimmed off wild-sown mānuka trees, trees grown without the use of any pesticides or chemicals. After trimming, the tree remains alive and healthy and can be trimmed again in one or two years.
Only the foliage contains significant amounts of oil. Oil is extracted from the foliage by steam distillation. In this process, steam is passed through the foliage and when condensed it contains a small quantity of pure essential oil. This oil floats on top of the condensed water and is drawn off.
We Distil Mānuka and Kānuka Oils Separately
“Mānuka” refers to two species – Kunzea ericoides (‘Kānuka’ or ‘White Mānuka’) and Leptospermum scoparium (‘Mānuka’ or ‘Red Mānuka’). We distill mānuka and kānuka oils separately. This lets us combine or separate the properties of the two oils as best suits each product. We can also offer both oils in pure form for separate sale.
If you try our mānuka and kānuka pure essential oils you will agree that the two oils are very different. On the other hand some other “mānuka” oils are actually mostly kānuka, or a variable mixture of mānuka and kānuka oils, depending on what foilage was cut on the day.
Gentle Steam Distillation
At Arapaoa Island Mānuka we use a gentle ambient-pressure distillation process. It is common to use super-heated steam for fast oil extraction, but while our lower temperatures take longer to release the oil, they result in a much nicer and more fragrant oil, without heat damage or a ‘burnt’ smell.