Its nearing the end of Māori language week and I thought it would be great to highlight some of our traditional medicines. The New Zealand bush is rich in history, culture, beauty and its also a source of native plants you could use in your life for medicinal purposes.
Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum)
The pharmacy of the forest! This is a potent plant that is beneficial for easing the digestive system by helping ease digestive pains and indigestion, it is also a great winter tonic and helpful for relieving coughs and colds, sore throats and tonsillitis. Topically it is ideal for cuts, boils, abscesses, wounds, eczema and toothache. The leaves can be steeped in boiling water and taken as a tea. Kawakawa extract contains volatile oils and lignan's it has many herbal actions and they are depurative, carminative, anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Analgesic, Antidyspeptic, Diuretic, spasmolytic and diaphoretic. If your after Kawakawa for external use try our Kawakawa balm it is amazing for eczema!.
Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
This is one of our most famous pharmaceutical quality medicines noted for its healing ability world wide. Whether its the essential oil or honey made from the Manuka flowers. This little beauty is used for IBS, IBD, diarrhoea, gastric ulcers and stomach infections. It is also used for colds, flu and fevers; but also as a mouthwash for gum disease and mouth ulcers. Topically its used for wounds, cuts, sores, acne, bacterial or fungal infections, haemorrhoids and anal fissures. Manuka also comes in the form of a herbal extract and its constituents are volatile oils, tannins, flavonoids, triterpene acids and derivatives. The herbal actions of Manuka are antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, anti-ulcerogenic, diuretic, spasmolytic and sedative.
Koromiko (Hebe stricta)
Internally this native is really effective for severe diarrhoea and stomach pains, but it also stimulants appetite. Topically it is used for weeping and inflamed sores, ulcers, nappy rash, mouth ulcers and even dental infections. It is most effective in herbal extract form, but young leaves may be chews for digestive complaints or a poultice can be made for topical ailments. The active constituents in Koromiko are Tannins and alkanes, but it has many herbal actions including astringent, antidiarrheal, antibacterial, carminative, choleretic, emmenagogue and spasmolytic properties. Traditionally its was used in ritual ceremonies and healing of the sick. The Tohunga would use Koromiko for its spiritual and medicinal powers.
Kumerahou (Pomaderris kumeraho)
This native stands out in respiratory conditions its a bitter herb but great for stubborn coughs, bronchitis, asthma and any broncial or pulmonary conditions. Along with helping our respiratory system it is also used for skin diseases like eczema, wounds, sores or rheumatism. In herbal extracts its consituents are saponins, flavonoids, and ellagic acid. Its herbal actions are depurative, expectorant, antidyspeptic, antirheumatic, aperient, and vulnerary. Traditionally the flowers could be used as a soap substitute.
For further information on these plants send me a message via the booking form
Hope you enjoyed a little run down on our very own medicinal resources x
Booker, S., Cambie, R., & Cooper, R. (1987). New Zealand medicinal plants. Auckland: Reed.
Rasmussen, P. (2001). Therapeutic uses of NZ Native phytomedicines. Auckland: Phytomed.
Riley, M. (1994). Maori healing and herbal. Paraparaumu: Viking Sevenseas
Rhys Jones, 'Rongoā – medicinal use of plants', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/rongoa-medicinal-use-of-plants (accessed 16 September 2018)