Saturday, August 29, 2015

Aussie Oils ONE - Kunzea ambigua

 Sandy Barrett is my friend and fellow student.  Because of her nursing background, she finds the chemistry aspect of essential oils easier to comprehend, and enjoys doing research in order to increase her understanding.  Needless to say, she is so excited for our upcoming course with Mark Webb that she began researching some of the oils Mark discusses in Bush Sense, and shared her findings with us.  This is the first of a series on some of the lesser known Australian essential oil. Sandy writes:
Far too often in life, it is easier to find reasons why we shouldn’t or can’t do something, than
it is to justify DOING it.  Even when it is a once in a life time opportunity, we hesitate, until something finally clicks and we ask ourselves, “How can I NOT?”

 Mark Webb is the author of Bush Sense, Australian Essential Oils and Aromatic Compounds.  An internationally respected educator of essential oils from Australia, Mark is enthusiastic in furthering the understanding of essential oils and their uses. Therefore, when it was announced that he would be offering his course in the U.S., many reached the conclusion of, “How can I NOT?”  For future students of aromatherapy, we *hope* this won’t be a once in a lifetime event (but we aren’t taking any chances!).

In lieu of this, Nature’s Gift will be sharing a series of articles about Australian Essential Oils.  Though familiar in their native habit, Australian essential oils are now becoming more recognized by the rest of the world for their unique properties.    To kick-start this, today's discussion will be about the amazing Kunzea.

Kunzea Ambigua (Smith) Druce – is a shrub found in North - eastern Tasmania and South-eastern mainland, Australia.  The flowers are small and usually white (rarely pink). The aerial parts of the shrub are used for the essential oil, through steam distillation. Other common names are  White kunzea, Tasmanian spring flower, Southern spring flower, and poverty bush. (1)(3)

IN AUSTRALIA, this oil is TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration)  registered for the temporary relief of arthritis and rheumatism pain, flu symptoms, muscle aches and pains, nervous tension, stress, and mild anxiety.    Given the constituents of this wonderful oil, one can understand  the conclusion.  (1)
Per Mr. Webb’s research, the Major Chemical Constituents in a typical analysis of the oil are:
Constituent                                          Average                                     Must be Greater than
Alpha-pinene                                          39                                                      >30                               
1.8 –cineole                                            15.8                                                    9
Globulol                                                 11.9                                                    2
Viridiflorol                                             9.4                                                      6
bicyclogermacrene                                 5.1                                                       4
Alpha-terpineol                                      2.9                                                       1.5
*As well as small amounts of calamenene, spathulenol, citronellol, ledol, limonene    (1)
Monoterpenes – Alpha-pinene, 1.8 cineole, alpha-terpineol, citronellol, limonene
Sesquiterpenes – globulol, viridiflorol, bicyclogermacrene, spathulenol, calamenene, ledol. (2)

Australlian studies have shown Kunzea to be effective against staphylococcus aureus, pseudomonas aeruginosa, e-coli, and candida albicans.  Historically, it was noted by early pioneers that native animals often slept under the bush.  It is believed that the insect repelling qualities aided the animals in relieving themselves of pests such as ticks, mites and other insects.  (1)

  Kunzea has dermal penetrating traits due to its content of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.  For that reason, it is effective for several dermal issues.  When used for gout, Webb states that “patients experienced a healing rash in which uric acid is excreted through the rash.”  The oil relieves skin irritation caused by this.  Webb still suggests that those with sensitive skin to do a patch test prior to use.  He also offers the opinion that the oil is effective on the skin surface, in a bath, or in aromatic profusion blends.  As well, he finds the oil useful as an analgesic, for insect bites, eczema, room deodorizing, for bruising and inflammation, soft tissue injuries such as strains and sprains, control of tinea, as well as anti-inflammatory and respiratory applications. In Bush Sense, it is described as a pleasant, clean, fresh scent with invigorating undertones. (1)   I find his description spot on. 

Robert Tisserand states skin sensitization possible IF OXIDIZED, noting old or oxidized oils should be discarded.  He recommends that because of the a-pinene content, the oil be stored in dark, airtight container and refrigerated.  He states there is no data regarding toxicity, carcinogenic or anti-carcinogenic abilities.  (3)

  In closing, Webb stated, “In isolation, many oils are good.  But combined, you can get some very powerful, low toxicity and very well- tailored blends for the respiratory system.” (1)

(1)Mark Webb.  Bush Sense, Australian Essential Oils and Aromatic Compounds, Adelaide, Australia:  Griffin Press, 2000. 
(2)Rosemary Caddy.  Aromatherapy, Essential Oils in Colour, Caddy Classic Profiles. Kent: Amberwood Publishing, Ltd. 2013 
(3)  Robert Tisserand/Rodney Young.  Second Edition, Essential Oil Safety:  Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

My comments:

We had latched onto the common name "Tickbush" and had been recommending Kunzea in insect repellant blends.  Robbi Zeck, in The Blossoming Heart, recommends Kunzea for emotional healing, for diffusing/dispersing deeply hidden emotional pain.
And then one day a client called seeking Kunzea ambigua for use in a blend that aided the pain of his rheumatoid arthritis.  We had never taken seriously its pain relieving capabilities, although I had read of them in Bush Sense.  So we started blending.  Kunzea, in a base of Arnica infused oils eased my middle of the night leg cramps.  Kunzea in arnica, with helichrysum italicuum added, became our "That's Better" blend, for bumps, bruises and other hurts. We recommend blending it with Helichrysum or German Chamomile for pain resulting from inflamation,  
I expect to learn a lot more, and share more, about this amazing pain reliever after Sandy and I finish Mark's course in Atlanta in October.  

And I thank Sandy for sharing her studies, and being my guest blogger! And Mark Webb for the use of his wonderful photos!
Read more and order your own bottle of Kunzea essential oil here.


Unknown said...

I am so impressed with this blog! I want to know more and more and more now! This is so exciting, I am about to bust!!
Thanks for this great article and I can't wait to order Kunzea oil!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the chemical profile because citronellol, alpha-terpineol are monoterpenols, 1.8 cineole is an oxide, and more like this...

Sandy Barrett said...

Dear Anonymous - I regret causing you confusion. Terpenes contain thousands upon thousands of compounds with varied structural traits. To classify, they have been placed into parent groups - monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, and triterpenes. From there, yes, they are further moved into subgroups known as functional groups.
For the purpose of this article, the listing of constituents into either monoterpene or sesquiterpene parent groups was only to show the correlation between them and the oil's characteristics. Perhaps that was too simplified and incorrect on my part?

Marge said...

Not incorrect or an over simplification at all. This is an overview and your categories are spot on. We aren't doing a course in EO chemistry here.. we're trying to show some of the reasons that a specific oil might be helpful for a specific situation.. and an overview of the components is a good approach. We could break all the components further down into their functional groups.. but perhaps functional groups are the topic for another blog series? ;)

Unknown said...

I would love a discussion on functional groups at some time!

Ginger L. Moore said...

Great basic information article about Kunzea ambigua. I enjoyed reading and learning why it can provide help in specific situations. I look forward to reading more in this series on essential oils from Australia. Thanks, Marge and Sandy!

Cattie said...

Great post! I love Kunzea, used it as a body oil "cold and flu prevention" in combination with Fragonia (very low dilution) in jojoba all last winter with great results. Every time I felt something coming on, I would use this instead of my usual lotion, and managed to avoid all the nasty things that were going around the office. And I love the refreshing scent too!