Fragonia and Kunzea (Kanuka) are two relatively new Australian essential oils. What if anything do they have in common with the more popular Australian Tea Tree essential oil? Let’s find out.
Essential Oils 101
Characteristics of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree Essential Oils
While the Fragonia shrub is small in size, the Kunzea and Tea Tree shrubs are small to medium. Of the three plants mentioned, the varieties written about in this article bear creamy-white, fluffy flowers with stamens that are longer than the petals.
According to the experts, the chemical composition of Fragonia essential oil includes the oxide 1, 8 cineole, hydrocarbons, and alcohols in a one-to-one-to-one (1:1:1) ratio. This uniqueness is responsible for the oil’s rather mild quality. The essential oils of Kunzea and Tea Tree also consist of oxides, hydrocarbons, and alcohols, but quantities vary.
Fragonia Essential Oil
Fragonia’s fragance is the sweet, fresh combination of flowers and citrus, though some people include medicinal. The oil is the color of clear yellow with a delicate texture and a thin or watery consistency. Fragonia essential oil blends well with the oils of Kunzea, Tea Tree, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Sandalwood.
Kunzea Essential Oil
Kunzea essential oil has its own distinct chemical composition with five C15 compounds (sesquiterpine compounds), which are responsible for its extremely powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The fragrance is clean, fresh, and medicinal with a touch of spice. The color is light to golden yellow, and the consistency is thin or watery. Kunzea oil blends well with the essential oils of Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon Myrtle, other lemon-scented essential oils, and Peppermint.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea Tree essential oil also has a clean, fresh, strong, woodsy or camphor-like fragrance with a spicy undertone. The color is a clear, light yellow and the consistency is thin. Tea Tree oil blends well with Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Clove, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Thyme, and Rosewood.
Method of Extraction and Shelf Life of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree Essential Oils
The essential oils of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree are extracted via steam distillation. Leaves, stems/ twigs, and sometimes flowers, are used. Fragonia and Tea Tree essential oil have a shelf life of three to four years. Kunzea essential oil has a shelf life of two to three years.
History of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree Essential Oil
As mentioned, Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree are native Australian shrubs. They are also members of the Myrtaceae family.
Ownership of the Fragonia plant solely belongs to the Australian couple, Peta and John Day of the Paperbark Company. They have cultivated and processed Fragonia since 2001, and have trademarked the name. The shrub’s botanical name is Agonis fragans. It is often called by its common name, Coarse Tea Tree. It grows best in marshes.
Kunzea’s botanical name is Kunzea ambigua. It was originally called Leptospermum ambiguum, but was apparently renamed after the German botanist Gustav Kunse by English botanist George Claridge Druce in 1917. Common names include Kanuka, white Kunzea, white cloud, poverty bush, and tick bush (cattle tend to relax or sleep under the tree as it repels ticks and other pesky bugs). The plant favors a sandy or sandstone soil. Kunzea essential oil was developed by John Hood, a Tasmanian farmer, who observed the plant growing up against a steel wire fence and the fence showed no sign of rusting.
Tea Tree’s botanical name is Malaleuca alternifolia. Its common name is simply Malaleuca. In the 1920s, an Australian chemist and businessman Arthur Penfold proved Tea Tree’s therapeutic properties and made it commercially available. The plant had been used for medicinal purposes by native Australians for centuries. Like Fragonia, it favors a swampy or coastal habitat. Tea Tree is one of the most popular and well-known of the Australian essential oils. Under the right environmental conditions, it can be grown in countries outside of Australia.
Comparing Therapeutic Properties of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree Essential Oils
The therapeutic properties of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree essential oils have been tested thoroughly by Dr. Daniel Penoel, who is renowned in the world of aromatherapy. Penoel has worked in this field since 1977. Research has also been conducted by various universities and commercial laboratories in Australia and elsewhere.
Fragonia Essential Oil
Fragonia’s global popularity is on the rise because of its essential oil which is quite effective. It is an antimicrobial, which includes viral, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal debilitating attributes. So, it can be used as an expectorant and a decongestant, working its magic on the flu, colds, and other respiratory issues. It can also be used as an antiseptic to prevent bacteria from entering wounds and allowing the wounds to heal.
Fragonia oil is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory product as well and is therefore a great reliever of joint, muscle, and dental pain. The essential oil also relieves tiredness, menstrual cramps and bloating; stress, anxiety, and deep emotional pain (it eradicates deep, old negative energies/ blockages such as grief); strengthens the immune system; helps children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD); relieves or minimizes jet lag; is an insecticide, and will freshen rooms in the home.
Fragonia essential oil can be used as a vaporizer for colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments to relieve congestion. I have also read suggestions to rub a drop around the insides of your mouth or gargle with it. But I would be extremely careful with those kinds of usage, however, and consult an expert. The essential oil has been proven to be gentle on the skin and in baths.
As a stress, anxiety, and other emotional and physical issues-reliever, aromatherapists suggest rubbing Fragonia on parts of the body that houses your seven vital chakras (energy centers or points on the human body, determined by Buddhist, Hindu, Tantric, and yoga traditions).
Kunzea Essential Oil
The discovery of the benefits of Kunzea essential oil has been the most recent. It has antibacterial properties and can eradicate the likes of Staphylococcus. This makes it an effective antiseptic in cleaning minor wounds and bruises. It is antifungal and therefore relieves Candida, dermatitis, and eczema (even treats rashes on pets); antiviral and good for relieving minor symptoms of colds, flu, shingles; it is an anti-inflammatory and relieves the pains, stings, itching, and swelling of insect bites, and supplies at least temporary relief from the pain of arthritis and rheumatism; it is an analgesic and relieves regular muscle and joint pains and strains; it also relieves stress, minor anxiety, and nervousness; fights ulcers; is an insecticide and a room freshener.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea Tree essential oil like Fragonia is a powerful fighter against microbial infections, including viral, bacterial, and fungal. It works against ailments such as flu, colds, bronchitis, nail and foot fungus (athlete’s foot), dandruff, dermatitis, eczema, acne, shingles, chicken pox, and measles; it is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, and therefore treats muscle and joint pains and sprains; it is an antiseptic and treats minor wounds, scrapes, bruises, burns, bug stings, itching, pain, and swelling; it heals scar tissue and spots, boils, warts, blisters, sunburn; it strengthens the immune system; wards off or treats lice (good for hair care); helps increase perspiration to remove toxins from the body; and it is used to treat halitosis (Tea Tree essential oil is orally-toxic and should not be ingested). It is also an insecticide.
Tea Tree is used as a vaporizer, in shampoo, soap, lotion, ointment, and as cleaner for laundry, and the bathroom.
Safety Precautions and Side Effects of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree Essential Oils
Since all essential oils are extremely potent, experts suggest diluting them before use with a base or carrier oil instead of using the oils neat that is, 100 % pure. Examples of carrier oils are olive oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, wheat germ oil, coconut oil (since this solidifies at room temperature, an additional carrier oil must be used with it), rosemary oil, rosehip oil, and evening primrose. The particular carrier oil used depends on the applications the essential oil is being used for. If you had dry or sensitive skin, for instance, sweet almond oil would be a good carrier. If the application was hair care, then coconut oil would be best.
If you must use an essential oil neat, use the smallest quantity possible. The website http://www.nmoils.com recommends using the standard dilution of “20 drops of essential oil to 20 ml of carrier oil” or a minimum of “5% concentration of essential oil.” I have also seen 15 drops (2.5 %) of essential oil to one ounce (oz.) of carrier oil.
Experts recommend that Fragonia, Kunzea and Tea Tree essential oils (as with all of them) not be used during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.
Fragonia essential oil should not be used on children younger than three years of age (though some say it is fine to use it). If applied topically, exposure to the sun should not take place within the first 12 hours. Keep in mind, that Fragonia has been proven to be one of the gentlest of essential oils and is non-toxic.
Kunzea essential oil should not be used on children though it is considered non-toxic and non-irritating.
Tea Tree essential oil has been shown to be a skin irritant and is toxic. Ingestion of even the tiniest quantity can cause serious reactions (stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, confusion, drowsiness, rashes, coma, etc.) and/ or be fatal. It is definitely not safe to use on children.
Unique Therapeutic Properties
Relieves dental pain, symptoms of the female monthly menstrual cycle (cramps, bloating, tiredness), deep emotional pain; attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHA) in children; jet lag
Extremely powerful anti-inflammatory, so more effective on bug bites, stings, itching, swelling; more effective on burns; works on pet rashes
Good for scar tissues & spots; treats warts, boils, blisters, sunburn; helps free the body of toxins by increasing perspiration
Cost and Availability of Fragonia, Kunzea, and Tea Tree Essential Oils
All three essential oils can be purchased on- and offline from any health food store, nutrition store, Ebay, Amazon, or aromatherapists. Be sure to seek recommendations and shop around.
Essential oils are usually sold in dark bottles to protect them from sunlight. Sizes and cost are as follows: 2 ml for $4.00 to 7.00 dollars; 5 ml for $6.00 to 10.00 dollars; 10 ml for $6.00 to 30.00 dollars; 15ml for $5.00 to 60.00 dollars. There are also 12ml, 50 ml and 100 ml size bottles. Kunzea essential oil seems to be the most expensive, while Tea Tree is the least expensive.
This article is simply to provide information and does not suggest you use these essential oils to treat any ailment. Always consult qualified and certified aroma therapy practitioners before using Fragonia, Kunzea, Tea Tree or any other essential oil.
Beverley Byer (author) from United States of America on February 19, 2018:
Nice. Appreciate your comment!
Beverley Byer (author) from United States of America on July 30, 2015:
Thanks for you comment. I'm not sure where my supplier gets her oils, but it hard to believe there isn't one U.S. source.
nic on July 30, 2015:
Thank you for the interesting comparison.
I've noticed using google search, at least with Fragonia - that
all sellers to the U.S. are shipping from the UK or Australia. I have yet to find one in the states. Have you a source here?