Maori were drinking and bathing in amber water centuries ago, Since the early Maori settlers of New Zealand arrived around 1,000 years ago, the Manuka Ti-Tree plant was known to have special medicinal and therapeutic properties.
It is believed that Manuka represents the feminine, sometimes described as the “Mother oil” and Kanuka the masculine, also known as the “Father oil”. Manuka has a wonderful ability to calm and support the nervous & musculoskeletal systems while Kanuka strengthens the ‘stress-axis’ by supporting the function of the hypothalamic adrenal cortex and our physiological as well as our physical and emotional responses to stress.
Captain James Cook first visited New Zealand in 1769 and sailed into Mercury Bay with a crew who were sick with scurvy and infection. He landed in Purangi looking for fresh water and supplies and noticed the local Maori were drinking and bathing in amber water.
They told him about the cleansing and healing properties of the Manuka Ti-Tree plant so Cook took it back to his ship. He didn’t want to risk it on all of his crew, so gave it to the sickest guy on his ship. The crew member recovered so Captain Cook decided to give it to all of his crew to prevent any further attacks.
Cook wrote: “…the leaves were used by many of us as a tea which has a very agreeable bitter taste and flavour when they are recent but lose some of both when they are dried”