A prolific scrub-type tree, often one of the first species to regenerate on cleared land. It is typically a shrub growing to 2–5m tall, but can grow into a moderately sized tree up to 15m in height. Evergreen with dense branching and small leaves with a short spine tip. The flowers are white, occasionally pink, 8–15 mm in diameter, with five petals. The leaves can be used to make a delicious tea or brewed into a beer. The tea is emetic when strong.
Other medicinal uses of the plant according to Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand are:
Ashes of mānuka were rubbed on the scalp to cure dandruff.
Mānuka branches were used to splint broken limbs.
Leaves were put in a calabash with water and hot stones, and the liquid was drunk to ease a fever.
The bark was boiled in water, which was drunk to cure dysentery and diarrhoea.
Nowadays the honey from bees which have been feeding on mānuka is well known for its anti-microbial properties.
The wood is tough and hard and makes excellent firewood. PB5.
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