Polynesians of the Pacific quickly discovered the magic of Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) when they arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand about a century ago.
Maori medicine uses the whole Manuka plant in many ways and early European settlers soon realised the prodigious benefits as well.
In fact, according to the history books, Captain Cook saved his crew members from scurvy by making them drink Manuka leaf tea!
Thirty years ago, I uses to buy Manuka Honey from a local producer nearby.
Heavy, thick and deeply coloured, strong in flavour and aroma.
From Manuka bushes in the garden I made herbal teas sweetened them with honey.
Once flowering finished I would chew the seed capsules for fresh breath and oral health and I used a strong manuka solution as an antiseptic, insect repellent and rash reliever.
Manuka was always at hand, along with its close relative - Kanuka.
Then the world discovered Manuka Honey - it has become a status gift in Asia, a proven wound treatment in Western hospitals and a super food health treat for millions.
There is more to Manuka than just the honey though - the essential oil is proven to be active against bacteria, viruses, fungi and biofilm.
The list of evidence continues to grow and grow.
If I could have only one plant it would be Manuka, the unique Leptospermum scoparium from Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Dr Jude, Co-Founder @ Bio-First