The name "manuka" is the Maori name for the tree whose nectar produces manuka honey. The manuka tree belongs to the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family and is related to the Australian tea tree. The hardy plant can thrive in lowlands and at sub-alpine heights alike. The tree, which is now known for its honey and essential oil, has been used traditionally by the Maori for thousands of years. The honey is obtained from the nectar of the white manuka flowers.
Propolis is the resin produced by bees which protects the hive against bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms. Propolis is responsible for staving off illness within the densely populated hive, defending it against intruders and for preventing spoilage—even in hot and humid environments. Since the combinations of polyphenols in propolis, as well as the concentrations thereof, are completely dependent on the local botanical diversity, propolis from different regions and continents is distinctly different.