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Horopito and Kawakawa Horopito and Kawakawa

Posted on by Lesley Armstrong

Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) and Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) are two native trees found throughout New Zealand, both known for their traditional and modern medicinal properties. These native trees can be used to treat a range of ailments including tooth and stomach aches, gastric infections, coughs, colds and asthma, they can promote circulation, and are effective anti-fungals for topical infections including ringworm, bruises, cuts and burns.
Horopito

The ‘hot taste’ of horopito comes from its main biologically active component known as polygodial which demonstrates significant antifungal and antibacterial medicinal functions well-known to the Maori. Early settlers affectionately dubbed horopito the ‘Maori Painkiller’ and substituted it for quinine to treat diarrhea and gastric infections.   It has a mildly numbing effect in the mouth.

Antimicrobial components such as polygodial  kill bugs or stop bugs from replicating, and when combined with tannins which have astringent properties (tighten tissues) they create a powerful resistance to disease by enhancing microbial activity.

Traditionally, Maori boil fresh leaves of Horopito or chew them to relieve a tooth or stomach ache. Circulation is stimulated by applying horopito topically or when taken internally.  It has been successfully used to treat candida albicans (thrush) and athletes foot.

Horopito grows up to eight metres tall through most of New Zealand (except the Far North). Its leaves are green splotched with red with a blue-grey underside.

Kawakawa
kawakawa leaf

Kawakawa is important to Maori as an important healing herb in Rongoa Maori (traditional Maori herbal medicine) and as a culturally significant item worn in wreaths on the head as a sign of mourning or to welcome guests at a tangi.

Kawakawa contains a constituent known as myristicin, an antiseptic and pain reliever. It has gentle stimulating and rejuvenating properties and has long been used as a tonic or tea.

Kawakawa leaves are infused as tea to help stomach pains and indigestion. They can also be placed over cuts and boils to speed up healing time. The leaves can be boiled in water and used topically to treat bruises and the pain of neuralgia as well as rheumatism, eczema and nettle stings.

Kawakawa leaves can be dried and burnt and used as an insect repellant, or their sweet and peppery flavour is used in savoury dishes.

Kawakawa, known for its heart-shaped leaves is found throughout the North Island and northern half of the South Island in coastal and lowland forests.

Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) and Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) are two native trees found throughout New Zealand, both known for their traditional and modern medicinal properties. These native trees can be used to treat a range of ailments including tooth and stomach aches, gastric infections, coughs, colds and asthma, they can promote circulation, and are effective anti-fungals for topical infections including ringworm, bruises, cuts and burns.
Horopito

The ‘hot taste’ of horopito comes from its main biologically active component known as polygodial which demonstrates significant antifungal and antibacterial medicinal functions well-known to the Maori. Early settlers affectionately dubbed horopito the ‘Maori Painkiller’ and substituted it for quinine to treat diarrhea and gastric infections.   It has a mildly numbing effect in the mouth.

Antimicrobial components such as polygodial  kill bugs or stop bugs from replicating, and when combined with tannins which have astringent properties (tighten tissues) they create a powerful resistance to disease by enhancing microbial activity.

Traditionally, Maori boil fresh leaves of Horopito or chew them to relieve a tooth or stomach ache. Circulation is stimulated by applying horopito topically or when taken internally.  It has been successfully used to treat candida albicans (thrush) and athletes foot.

Horopito grows up to eight metres tall through most of New Zealand (except the Far North). Its leaves are green splotched with red with a blue-grey underside.

Kawakawa
kawakawa leaf

Kawakawa is important to Maori as an important healing herb in Rongoa Maori (traditional Maori herbal medicine) and as a culturally significant item worn in wreaths on the head as a sign of mourning or to welcome guests at a tangi.

Kawakawa contains a constituent known as myristicin, an antiseptic and pain reliever. It has gentle stimulating and rejuvenating properties and has long been used as a tonic or tea.

Kawakawa leaves are infused as tea to help stomach pains and indigestion. They can also be placed over cuts and boils to speed up healing time. The leaves can be boiled in water and used topically to treat bruises and the pain of neuralgia as well as rheumatism, eczema and nettle stings.

Kawakawa leaves can be dried and burnt and used as an insect repellant, or their sweet and peppery flavour is used in savoury dishes.

Kawakawa, known for its heart-shaped leaves is found throughout the North Island and northern half of the South Island in coastal and lowland forests.

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