Fighting Fungus: Cleansing With Active Horopito - Dr. Edward F. Group III

Dean Fountain

New Zealand lies deep in the South Pacific, an island not to itself, but by itself. This seclusion has resulted in an amazing example of extraordinary flora and fauna. Aside from the incredible wildlife and sweeping views, New Zealand is home to over 2000 unique plants that have had the interest of the natural medicine and herbal remedy crowds for a long time. One plant in particular, horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) has been of specific interest due to its demonstrated ability at fighting harmful organisms, including fungus and Candida albicans.

fighting candida

What are the Benefits of Active Horopito?

Although horopito has been cited as having antioxidant activity, most of the excitement surrounding it is due to it containing a compound called polygodial. Polygodial has been extensively researched and repeatedly shown to be toxic to many harmful organisms; both alone and when used in combination with other herbs.

The Department of Environmental Science at the University of California Berkeley has reported many significant findings concerning polygodial. Researchers there evaluated the in vitro activity of polygodial and reported that it demonstrated strong and fast fungicidal activity against candida albicans. When conditions are acidic, polygodial’s defense against fungi sharply increases. [1] [2]

Active Horopito and Anise Seed

Although polygodial is extremely noteworthy on its own, it also performs well in tandem. When it’s combined with anethole, the active ingredient in anise seed, the efficacy of polygodial goes through the roof. Whereas polygodial attacks harmful organisms at a molecular level, actually punching holes directly through cell membranes and infiltrating cells directly to initiate its vengeance, anethole’s role is to prevent the attacked cells from recovering. A combination of both compounds produces a one-two punch that is toxic against fungus. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Researchers at TMC Hospital in Shizuoka, Japan observed this effect when evaluating a polygodial-anethole compound against multiple fungal pathogens, including candida. Not only was the compound effective, no adverse effects were reported. [7]

Supplementing with Active Horopito

If you’re one of the 80 million Americans who suffer from a form of yeast infection, I recommend cleansing your body and supplementing with the herbs that have proven effective at fighting fungus and yeast overgrowth. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, only invest in supplements that are produced using non-toxic, organic means. Herbs like horopito have their advantages but if they are grown in toxic conditions and pumped full of pesticides you may be better off without it!

References (7)

  1. Kubo I, Fujita K, Lee SH, Ha TJ. Antibacterial activity of polygodial. Phytother Res. 2005 Dec;19(12):1013-7.
  2. Lee SH, Lee JR, Lunde CS, Kubo I. In vitro antifungal susceptibilities of Candida albicans and other fungal pathogens to polygodial, a sesquiterpene dialdehyde. Planta Med. 1999 Apr;65(3):204-8.
  3. Fujita K, Fujita T, Kubo I. Anethole, a potential antimicrobial synergist, converts a fungistatic dodecanol to a fungicidal agent. Phytother Res. 2007 Jan;21(1):47-51.
  4. Kubo I, Fujita K. Naturally occurring anti-Salmonella agents. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Dec;49(12):5750-4.
  5. Kubo I, Taniguchi M. Polygodial, an antifungal potentiator. J Nat Prod. 1988 Jan-Feb;51(1):22-9.
  6. Kubo I, Fujita K, Lee SH, Ha TJ. Antibacterial activity of polygodial. Phytother Res. 2005 Dec;19(12):1013-7.
  7. Metugriachuk Y, Kuroi O, Pavasuthipaisit K, Tsuchiya J, Minelli E, Okura R, Fesce E, Marotta F. In view of an optimal gut antifungal therapeutic strategy: an in vitro susceptibility and toxicity study testing a novel phyto-compound. Chin J Dig Dis. 2005;6(2):98-103.

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Horopito a natural insect repellent - "The Study of Horopito Looking at its Insecticidal Properties and Chemical Analysis"

Dean Fountain

This information is taken from Corrie Anderson's study in 2017.

Corrie Anderson, of Columba College, has been awarded a Gold CREST for her project "The Study of Horopito Looking at its Insecticidal Properties and Chemical Analysis" 

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Whats all the fuss about horopito?

Dean Fountain

Horopito is multipurpose herb that benefits those from nightshade allergies, candida (thrush) and other ailments.

Below is the facts about horopito - all have been studied and proven (not placebo)

Pseudowintera colorata (Horopito)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Canellales
Family: Winteraceae
Genus: Pseudowintera
Species:P. colorata
Binomial name: Pseudowintera colorata
Common names: Horopito, Mountain Horopito, Pepperwood, NZ pepper tree, winter's bark, or red Horopito.

Pseudowintera colorata is a species of small, woody evergreen flowering shrub part of family Winteraceae. The species is endemic to much of New Zealand. It is abundant in upland and mountain forests in the North Island and extends down to sea level. It grows up to eight metres in height. The upper surface of its light-green, elliptical leaves is often splotched with red, especially if the plant is exposed to sunlight. The leaves undersides are a blue-grey colour.

Tiny greenish-white flowers appear in early spring, followed by black berries in autumn. The berries are very palatable to birds.
Pseudowintera colorata is continually exposed to attack by various insects and parasites and its occurrence in high rainfall areas makes it particularly susceptible to attack by fungi. This has led to efficient built-in defence mechanism of a compound called Sesquiterpene dialdehyde polygodiali which has anti-fungal properties.
Pseudowintera colorata leaves and an extract from the leaves are now used in a number of commercial antifungal products based on the results of scientific research.
The characteristically sharp, hot peppery taste of a leaf when chewed is primarily due to these polygodial compounds which cause pungency on the tongue in concentrations as low as 0.1 µg. Ground up leaves are used as a condiment in ethnic foods.
As the leaves taste bad to deer and stock and are not eaten, this shrub often dominates the understorey vegetation in heavily browsed forests.
Maori uses: Horopito has long been used by the indigenous Maori population of New Zealand both internally and externally for many purposes. As far back as 1848.
Horopito is documented in the treatment of skin diseases such as ringworm, or for venereal diseases. “The leaves and tender branches of this shrub are bruised and steeped in water, and the lotion used for ringworm; or the bruised leaves are used as a poultice for chaffing of the skin, or to heal wounds, bruises or cuts".
Infection due to Candida albicans (Maori – Haha, Haka) is documented as being a major cause of death of Maori babies, due to their being fed an "unsatisfactory diet."
I do not suggest - please take other medicines less harmful and more pleasant Leaves used, like horopito, to wean a child from the breast. Leaves crushed and rubbed on breasts (Best 1908).
I do not suggest :The juice of Horopito leaves was placed straight in the mouth, or alternatively, leaves were steeped in water to extract the juice and this decoction was used in the treatment of what we now understand as oral thrush (candidiasis).
Early European settlers to New Zealand also used Horopito for medicinal purposes. For internal use, leaves were either chewed or prepared as a tea. "
The leaves and bark are aromatic and pungent; the former is occasionally used by settlers suffering from diarrhoeic complaints.
A decoction of the leaves was taken for stomach ache and was known as "Maori Painkiller" and "Bushman's Painkiller."
There are accounts of the bark being used in the 19th century as a substitute for quinine:
"The stimulating tonic and astringent properties of which are little inferior to winter's bark.". A French nun, Mother Aubert, went to live among the Maori at the end of the 19th century, and the native plant remedies she later created became commercially available and widely used throughout the colony of New Zealand.
Horopito was one of the two ingredients in her patent medicine, Karana.
In a letter to the French Consul - 2nd December 1890, she described it as "superior to Quinquina [quinine] in the treatment of chronic stomach sickness.
It has been very useful to me in cases of anaemia of debility, of continuous diarrhoea etc and in recovery from temperatures".
p
taken in August at Pokaka

Description

Pseudowintera colorata, or mountain horopito, is an evergreen shrub or small tree (1–2.5 m) commonly called pepperwoodbecause its leaves have a hot taste. It is also known as the New Zealand pepper tree, winter's bark, or red horopito. It is so named because early taxonomists recognized the similarity between horopito and the South American Drimys winteri that provided the herbal remedy "winter's bark." They are both members of the Winteraceae family, which are mainly found on the land masses that once made up the great southern continent of Gondwana - South America, Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea. Its yellowish-green leaves are blotched with red, with new leaves in the spring being bright red. It is distributed within lowland forests up to higher montane forests from 36° 30' South as far southward as Stewart Island/Rakiura. A characteristic plant association for P. colorata is within the podocarp forests of Westland, where alliant understory plants such as Rumohra adiantiformis, Ascarina lucida, Pseudopanax colensoi, Pseudopanax edgerleyi and Blechnum discolor are found.[2]
The reproductive parts of the Winteraceae family are primitive, reflecting their origin among the first flowering plants. In New Zealand, Horopito appears in the fossil record for more than 65 million years. It is particularly unusual in that its flowers come directly off the older stems rather than from among the leaves. It is a very slow growing plant that lacks the specialist water conducting tubes found in nearly all other flowering plants.[3]
The evergreen horopito plant is continually exposed to attack by various insects and parasites and its occurrence in high rainfall areas makes it particularly susceptible to attack by fungi. This has led to efficient built in defence mechanisms. Consequently, horopito has a rich source of secondary metabolites that have an interesting range of biologically active properties.[4]

Uses

Pseudowintera colorata is grown as a spice, as an ornamental, and as a traditional medicine plant.

Traditional medicine

Horopito has long been used by the indigenous Maori population of New Zealand both internally and externally for many purposes. As far back as 1848, Horopito is documented in the treatment of skin diseases such as ringworm, or for venereal diseases. "The leaves and tender branches of this shrub are bruised and steeped in water, and the lotion used for ringworm; or the bruised leaves are used as a poultice for chaffing of the skin, or to heal wounds, bruises or cuts".[5] Infection due to Candida albicans(Maori – Haha, Haka) is documented as once being a major cause of death of Maori babies, due to their being fed an "unsatisfactory diet."[6] The juice of Horopito leaves were placed straight in the mouth, or alternatively leaves of Horopito were steeped in water to extract the juice and this decoction was in an effort to treat what we now understand as candidiasis (oral thrush).
Early European settlers to New Zealand also used horopito for medicinal purposes. For internal use, leaves were either chewed or prepared as a tea. "The leaves and bark are aromatic and pungent; the former are occasionally used by settlers suffering from diarrhoeic complaints." [7] A decoction of the leaves was taken for stomach ache and was known as "Maori Painkiller" and "Bushman's Painkiller."[8] There are accounts of the bark being used in the 19th century as a substitute for quinine: "The stimulating tonic and astringent properties of which are little inferior to winter's bark."[9] A French nun, Mother Aubert, went to live among the Maori at the end of the 19th century, and the native plant remedies she later created became commercially available and widely used throughout the colony of New Zealand. Horopito was one of the two ingredients in her patent medicine, Karana. In a letter to the French Consul dated 2 December 1890, she described it as "superior to Quinquina [quinine] in the treatment of chronic stomach sickness. It has been very useful to me in cases of anaemia of debility, of continuous diarrhoea etc,., etc and in recovery from temperatures".[10]

Activity of chemical constituents[edit]

The main biologically active chemical component isolated from the leaves of P. colorata is polygodial. The chewed horopito leaf has a characteristically sharp, hot peppery taste. This is primarily due to polygodial which causes pungency on the tongue in concentrations as low as 0.1 µg.[11]
An ex vivo study used a horopito and aniseed mixture (Kolorex) to inhibit the growth of C. albicans in the oral cavity. This research concluded that the antifungal action of Kolorex was constant against all species tested (including C. albicans, C. tropicalis, C. glabrata, C. guilermonii, C. parapsilosis and C. krusei) with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 1:20 (diluted with sterilised distilled water) of Kolorex.[12]
Another study concluded that a mixture of horopito (containing polygodial) and aniseed (containing anethole) protects the gut of mice from colonization and dissemination of Candida albicans. After mice were inoculated with C. albicans and treated with Kolorex, testing of intestinal samples showed that Kolorex treated mice had a much reduced concentration of C. albicans per gram of tissue. The data suggested that the horopito and aniseed product might exert an early competitive effect against colonisation

HOROPITO

Pseudowintera axillaris and P. colorata

Botanical Family:

Winteraceae

Common Names:

Horopito, Peppertree, Ramarama Distribution: Occurs naturally throughout both the main islands of New Zealand, except in the very north of the North Island. It is found in the lowlands, to the mountain forests and can form thickets after forest destruction.

Parts Used:

Leaves, fruits

Constituents:

Volatile oils including eugenol, polygodial, bicydic sesquiterpenoid dialdehyde (P. colorata only)

Pharmacological Actions:

  • Anti-fungal – an agent that inhibits or destroys fungi.
  • Antiseptic – an agent used to prevent, resist and counteract infection. Counter-irritant/rubefacient – an agent that increases the circulation to that area of skin, stimulating the dilation of capillaries, causing redness.
  • A stringent – an agent that contracts tissues, making them firmer and reduces discharges.
  • Insecticidal
  • Circulatory stimulant (internal use)
  • Stimulating expectorant (internal use) – supports the body in the removal of excess amounts of mucus.

Medicinal Uses:

  • Fungal infections, including Candida albicans, ringworm (Trichophyton spp)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach ache
  • Circulatory insufficiency
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Toothache.

Contraindications:

None, though not recommended during pregnancy or lactation

Herb-Drug Interactions:

None known to date

Dosage/Preparation:

10-30ml per week of a 1:2 fluid extract (available by prescription through a Registered Medical Herbalist)

Recipes:

Mediterranean Pikelets

Ingredients
  • 5 large tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 C of plain flower
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 100mls milk
  • 2 Tb Horopito infused avocado oil
  • 2 heaped Tb finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch of fresh Coriander chopped
Method
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together in a large mixing bowl. Add tomatoes and coriander. Whisk egg, milk and horopito infused avocado oil together and stir into the dry mixture until smooth. If too thick, add a little more milk or horopito infused oil. Drop dessertspoonfuls on a medium hot griddle, BBQ or frypan, until lightly brown. Turn when mixture slightly bubbles. Serve with a stunning fresh green herb salad, some Turkish bread and salsa.
Salsa
Finely chopped tomatoes, red onion, Lebanese cucumber, coriander mixed together with Horopito infused avocado oil – absolutely delicious

Horopito Seafood Jambalaya

Ingredients
  • ½ kg assorted seafood.
  • 16 fresh mussels.
  • 2 cups of rice.
  • 1 900 gm tin organic peeled tomatoes.
  • 1 chopped onion.
  • 1 grated carrot.
  • 1 Tb Horopito infused avocado oil.
  • Sprinkle of kawakawa powder.
  • 4 Pikopiko (fiddleheads) salad shoots
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic.
Method
Place rice in pot. Add horopito infused avocado oil and mix thoroughly. Cover with water and cook for 1 hour. While rice is cooking sauté onion, garlic and carrot until tender. Add chopped organic tomato. Bring to boil and place on low element with lid on for 1 hour.
Once rice is cooked lightly sauté seafood in oil. Lightly mix seafood into salsa. Place the hot rice in a lightly oiled ramekin dish. Place the tomato and seafood in a soup bowl.
Garnish
Lightly sauté Pikopiko shoots and cooked mussels in the shell. Finish with a light sprinkle of Kawakawa powder. NB. Horopito infused avocado oil can be purchased at some specialty shops or supermarkets
“One of the best-known natural painkillers in our native bush is called the horopito, which is the pepper tree. “It’s a very interesting product because I think scientists have identified about 29 different compounds in that particular plant. “It has powerful antioxidants, and about four active anti-fungal compounds: significant antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties.” Tipa says he was sea kayaking at Lake Te Anau several years ago and camped on the beach, and with no insect repellent the group was “monstered” by sandflies. “Our hands were swollen up, faces were swollen up, so I had a stroll along the shore of the lake and I found some horopito bushes growing nearby, we picked a few leaves, threw them in a billy of hot water, heated it up then applied the leaves to our hands. “In the space of the time it took for the leaves to cool down the swelling had gone and what was a red welt became just white - white marks where the leaves had been.” Tītoki
The main biologically active constituent of Horopito is known as polygodial. Polygodial is a component of the “hot taste” in peppery spices common in traditional Japanese cuisine, and it has been shown to exhibit significant antifungal and antibacterial activity. Researchers in New Zealand demonstrated the ability of polygodial, isolated from Horopito, to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans (the yeast that causes thrush), and other researchers have shown it to be effective against a variety of yeast-like fungi.
Horopito has a long list of traditional uses both by New Zealand Maori and by early European settlers. There is also some promising scientific research done in New Zealand that highlights some specific therapeutic benefits of Horopito.
Traditionally, fresh leaves of Horopito were chewed or boiled for toothache and stomachache. Early settlers used Horopito as a substitute for quinine to treat diarrhoea and gastric infections. It was used for stomach aches and known as the ‘Maori Painkiller’ in such cases. It was also utilised for coughs, colds and asthma.
Topically, Horopito was used for skin diseases, wounds, cuts and burns as well as for painful bruising and sore joints.
As the heat implies, it can also be used for promoting circulation, and is useful for those with chill-blains, and impaired circulatory function.
Research completed in New Zealand in more recent years shows a clear anti-fungal action for Horopito, specifically against Candida species (which causes thrush) but also other fungal organisms such as Trichophyton species which causes ringworm. The active constituent here appears to be polygodial, which has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activity.
The powerful combination of antimicrobial components (such as polygodial) that kill bugs, or stop them replicating, with tannins (that make tissues tighten up and have a range of positive biological activities) has been shown to enhance antimicrobial activity while also improving resistance to disease.
Horopito, when applied topically to the skin in Manuka Paint, can be utilised to stop the spread of fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, and to enhance skin and nail health. When combined with the equally powerful extracts of New Zealand native Manuka, as well as New Zealand-grown Thyme, a potent skin lotion is produced. This can be applied neat to the skin of the body, feet and hands, or diluted for use in more sensitive areas for the treatment of thrush. For stubborn nail infections, a good tip is to use a file or emery board to buff the nail first to allow the ‘paint’ to penetrate the nail to the bed beneath.
Horopito, for all its peppery glory, is gentle on the skin when used in the right doses. Once again, herbal medicine offers up some powerful natural options for treatment of some of our most common ailments.
horopito
horopito
Pepper tree is a common name for two distinctly different native trees – horopito and kawakawa. Horopito has peppery tasting leaves and belongs to a primitive flowering family – the Winteraceae. Kawakawa has heart-shaped leaves and belongs to the Piperaceae family, which is the true pepper family. Kawakawa is closely related to the Polynesian kava plant.

Horopito

Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) is a shrub or small tree that grows to eight metres in height. It grows throughout much of New Zealand, with the exception of the far north. It is abundant in upland and mountain forests in the North Island, and extends down to sea level in the southern South Island. It regenerates well after the destruction of tall forests and at high altitudes forms dense secondary shrublands and low forest.
The upper surface of its light green, elliptical leaves is splotched with red, especially if the plant is exposed to the light. The underside is blue-grey. Tiny greenish-white flowers appear in early spring, followed by black berries in autumn.
Horopito leaves have a hot peppery taste and leave a burning sensation in the mouth. The taste is caused by polygodial, a compound that also has some anti-fungal properties. As horopito tastes bad to deer and stock, it often dominates understorey vegetation in heavily browsed forests.

Lowland horopito

Lowland horopito (P. axillaris) grows to about 10 metres in height. It is common in forests of the North Island up to about 700 metres and lowland forests in the northern half of the South Island. It has glossy green leaves, slightly larger than those of its upland relative. Like horopito, it flowers in early spring, producing tiny lime-coloured flowers along its branches. Its fruit is a dark red berry.

Kawakawa

Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) is found in coastal and lowland forests throughout the North Island and the northern half of the South Island. It is a small tree, growing to six metres tall, with dense branches. It is easily recognised by its heart-shaped leaves and jointed stems, which resemble bamboo stalks. The leaves are often pocked with holes caused by the looper caterpillar Cleora scriptaria.
The tiny male and female flowers are arranged in upright spikes and grow on separate trees. In summer female spikes ripen to a deep orange and their swollen fruits are a favoured food of forest birds.
Kawakawa was often used by Māori. The leaves were placed over cuts and boils to speed up healing, and a tea was made from an infusion of its leaves.
cooking
A shrub or small tree, horopito grows throughout much of New Zealand, with the exception of the far north. An antioxidant, it was traditionally used both externally and internally in Maori medicine to treat fungal infections and stomach upsets and has been shown by researchers to be extremely effective against yeasts such as candida albicans. Horopito is also known as 'bush pepper' as the leaves have a hot peppery, citrusy taste and can be used as a seasoning on food, similar to black pepper. Buy it dried from specialty food stores and health stores, as a tea or as a seasoning. Use horopito as a rub for meat (including game), fish and vegetables or to add to sauces or marinades.
Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata).
Māori traditionally used the leaves to treat skin diseases and disorders, and modern science has indeed confirmed the plant is effective against ringworm and Candida albicans.
Polygodial, the bioactive compound that gives the plant its bite, also has antifungal properties (the greater the red margin of the leaf, the greater the polygodial concentration). The plant is also astringent (contracts body tissues and reduces bleeding) and antiseptic, so it's still used today for wounds, cuts and bruises.
For home DIY:
* Infuse horopito leaves in olive oil (simmer fresh leaves on low heat with olive oil for four hours) as a rub for fungal conditions.
* Make a horopito tincture (steep in vodka for 4-6 weeks) and add it to a base cream with mānuka essential oil.
* To make up a 100g cream, use 70g of base cream (available from an online natural source supplier), and add 26ml horopito tincture and 4ml mānuka essential oil.
Horopito will grow in both sun or semi-shade, but the best foliage colour occurs in the open. Plants are frost tender in the first year, so keep sheltered when young. They can be propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings or seed. Soil should be free-draining but reasonably moist and rich in organic matter.

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Facts about Horopito medicinal properties

Dean Fountain

Horopito was historically bruised leaves where soaked in water and the decoction used to treat a Maori skin rash known as paipai.

The sap was known as a healing aid for gonorrhoea and skin eruptions.

For stomach ache a decoction of the boiled leaves was drunk.

Early settlers called this plant “Maori Pain Killer.

Known as “Bushman’s Pain Killer”. The leaves were chewed for toothache, and women rubbed them on their breasts when weaning their infants.

The inner bark, steeped in hot water, and applied to burns while still warm was reputed to leave no scars.

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FAQ's about Diatomaceous Earth

Dean Fountain

WHAT IS IT?

What is Love Your Gut Powder made from?

Love Your Gut Powder is organic Diatomaceous Earth – also known as Fossil Shell Flour (Amorphous Silica). Love Your Gut Powder is food-grade, meeting the strict criteria of Food Standards Australia & New Zealand.

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Recipe: Roast kumara halves with crispy bacon & horopito mayo

Dean Fountain

Recipe supplied by DELANEY MES from Stuff.co.nz article.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/recipes/106103626/recipes-brussels-sprout-salad-roast-kumara-with-horopito-mayo-and-cauliflower-mustard-puree

 

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Horopito : Highly Effective Anti-Candida Herb

Dean Fountain

Have you ever heard of Horopito?

Thanks to its extraordinary properties, this fantastic indigenous herb has been extensively utilized as traditional medicine for numerous decades by the Maori people of New Zealand.

However, although this majestic plant has existed for more than 65 million years and despite almost two decades of scientific research proving that Horopito possesses impressive medicinal properties, many of us have never even heard about this herb. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

In this blog, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Horopito, including how it can help to naturally prevent recurrent candida.

 

Introducing Horopito: the New Zealand herb with impressive medicinal properties

The botanical and Latin name of Horopito is Pseudowintera colorata. That name is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? But don’t worry, this unique flowering plant also comes with other much simpler names that can be easily remembered. These include:

  • New Zealand Pepper tree
  • Winter’s bark
  • Red Horopito

Wondering why Pseudowintera colorata has such a strange name? Well, early taxonomists realized that there was a great resemblance between members of the Winteraceae family, namely Horopito and the South American Drimys Winteri from which the herbal treatment “winter’s bark’’ is derived.

What does horopito look like?

Horopito is a prehistoric shrub that grows to about eight meters in height. When exposed to light, the red blotches on the upper part of its light green, oval shaped leaves, strike out even more. As for the lower surface of the leaves of Horopito, they have a beautiful blue-grey hue. With spring comes the blooming of little flowers, greenish-white in color and when autumn follows, black berries make their appearance.

  • Fun fact: Horopito stands apart compared to other plants as its flowers do not come among the leaves, rather it comes directly from older stems.

Where does Horopito grow?

Belonging to a primitive flowering family known as the Winteraceae, this pepper tree grows throughout a lot of New Zealand’s mountains in wet upland forests. Apart from the far North, it is also found in abundant quantities in the Southern South Island, close to the sea.

  • Fun fact: Amazingly, compared to most blossoming plants that exist, Horopito does not have tubes to carry water. This is why it cannot live in areas that are not damp and where there are no heavy downpours regularly.

Besides its medicinal properties, what makes Horopito so special?

This evergreen shrub is a very sturdy plant. While many species of plants were being eradicated by volcanic winters and ice ages, Horopito continued to struggle in order to survive. It started to produce chemicals that were so strong that they kept at bay, not only animals and insects, but even microbes such as fungi and bacteria.

When extensive forest areas were destroyed, this exotic woody evergreen flowering plant knew perfectly how to regenerate itself and at high altitudes, it produced some minor impenetrable shrub lands and low forests. That’s not all: the beautiful elliptical leaves of the plant are naturally rich in two potent antioxidant flavonoids namely quercetin and taxifolin.

What is Horopito’s mechanism of action against candida?

The principal active ingredient of the Horopito plant is a very spicy compound known as sesquiterpene dialdehyde or ‘polygodial’. After extensive research, scientists discovered that polygodial is a very powerful, natural substance that possesses anti-fungal properties.

In 1982, while Professor J.R.L Walker and his team were working on the isolation of sesquiterpene dialdehyde from Horopito leaves at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, they surprisingly noticed its anti-fungal property against Candida albicans. Scientists report that polygodial uses different kinds of mechanisms to disturb the roles played by fungi and yeast. This natural potent substance is also able to upset the structure of the yeast’s membrane due to its ability “to act as a non-ionic surfactant” [2].

  • Fun fact: Polygodial is found in larger amounts in Horopito leaves with margins that have a lot of red spotting [3].

2. Horopito also possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties

In addition to being a potent anti-fungal, polygodial also demonstrated moderate antibacterial activity [4] and proved to be anti-inflammatory. Scientific research conducted in New Zealand showed that the effect that polygodial had on the digestive system, extended far beyond anti-fungal activities. Many studies clearly showed the capability of polygodial to poison and thus kill candida in cases such as gut candidiasis and oral and vaginal thrush [5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

3. Horopito and dental care

Pseudowintera is used in the manufacturing process of a range of products such as avocado oil with infused Horopito, care creams and anti-fungal creams. When chemists studied the constituents of Horopito’s essential oil, they discovered that it contained not one but 29 components – one of which was ‘eugenol’, a dental pain killer.

4. Horopito has been traditionally used as a pain killer

Long ago, Maori inhabitants of New Zealand made an astonishing discovery. They found that a particular tree from the Winteraceae flowering family, the Red Pepper tree, could treat not one but several illnesses. They made a decoction with the leaves and used to calm internal pain. They named this decoction the ‘Maori pain killer’ [10].

The Maori used this natural pain killer to treat those suffering from stomach aches, poor blood circulation and respiratory complications such as colds, asthma and coughs. They also used Horopito leaves topically to treat painful wounds, bruises, cuts, burns and inflammation of the joints. Thanks to its peppery constituents, Horopito leaves do not simply help strengthen tissues and kill germs; but it also helps improve blood flow throughout the body.

How did the Maori prepare these pain killers?

Well, the Maori benefited from the natural analgesic properties of the Horopito leaves in various ways. For instance, to provide rapid relief, the Maori would crush the leaves – these were then infused in water and swallowed or made into a paste and applied directly on the skin.

5. Horopito and 10-Undecenoic acid

When combined with 10-Undecenoic acid and high grade oregano oil, Horipito does wonders. Undecenoic acid, also known as 10-undecenoic acid, Undecylenic acid and Undec-10-enoic acid, is best known as a fatty acid with anti-fungal properties.

This acid which acts as a poison for Candidiasis, is obtained when castor oil is cracked under pressure. Since 1949, the food industry has made use of salts of undecenoic acids in order to inhibit yeast and the various types of fungi. At the same time, the medical industry used this acid as a drug against fungus. Due to the undecenoic acid present in topical antifungals and toenail fungal infections, sufferers rapidly recover.

6. Horopito and oregano oil

A study led by a Georgetown University Medical Center showed that oregano oil brought the growth of a candida contamination to a complete halt. The same study also stated that “the daily oral administration of origanum oil may be highly effective in the prevention and treatment of candidiasis.”

It is believed that natural antimicrobial agents which can be found in oregano such as carvacrol and thymol, are capable of reacting with water in the bloodstream thus causing the dehydration and death of candida cells. Yet another study showed that carvacrol gave better results compared to eighteen drugs that had been prescribed when getting rid of dangerous microbes. Individuals suffering from candida skin infections should mix three to six drops of oregano oil with a glass of water or some coconut oil and then take it twice every day for a greater chance of success. It can also be taken in form of capsules or applied directly to the skin when mixed with another carrier oil.

How to take Horopito

Horopito is available in different forms: capsules, soft gels, liquid and powder. It is advised that a person eats before taking capsules or soft gels and then drinks a lot of water. Here’s a simple guide depending on the form you choose to take:

  • Capsule form: One capsule of Horopito taken twice daily
  • Liquid form: Ten to thirty ml per week.

FAQ's

Now that you know what Horopito is and how it can help you, you may have some additional questions. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about Horopito below but feel free to contact us should you need more information. We’ll be delighted to discuss any concern you may have regarding the amazing Horopito.

Where can I buy it?

You can purchase horopito at www.rhayne.co.nz 

Can it be consumed as a tea?

You can definitely consume Horopito tea as a treatment for digestive discomfort. You can also add some peppermint leaf if you’re feeling nauseated and anise seed to make the tea naturally sweeter. However, remember that Horopito leaves are peppery – you don’t want to use too much. 

What does it taste like?

Horopito is considered by many as one of the most unpalatable plants in New Zealand. That’s because chewing Horopito leaves releases naturally occurring peppery-like compounds which produce a hot taste and leaves one with a numb tongue. Actually, this is why Horopito is popularly known as ‘pepper wood’.

But don’t let that deter you from spicing up your meals with Horopito: recent discoveries have shown that ancient tribes used to crush Horopito leaves and add them to ethnic food so as to enhance the food’s taste and give it a bang of additional flavor. Keep reading to find out how to use Horopito to add more zing to your meals.

  • Fun fact: Due to its pungent taste, Horopito is unpalatable to predators.

How can one use it in the kitchen?

People are often skeptic about the use of Red Horopito leaves in recipes. But they never regret doing so: you see, cooking Horopito leaves releases wonderful woody notes as well as bourbon aromatics. Here are a few scrumptious Horopito tips you absolutely need to try next time you feel like going on a delicious adventure in the kitchen:

    • Due to its matchless citrusy and peppery taste, Horopito makes dressings, marinades and sauces taste yummy.
    • When used as a finishing seasoning, Horopito gently infuses flavor into meat, chicken, fish and seafood.
    • You can also boost the taste of your veggies with some winter’s bark and accompany your meal with some Horopito tea.
    • Using a salt grinder, mix Horopito leaves with some salt crystals (Himalayan salt would be a great addition to the mix). or purchase at www.rhayne.co.nz 

Use this simple herb-salt blend as condiment once your food is cooked. You can also use it to sprinkle on your barbecue.

Where can you get the leaves for cooking purposes?

Nowadays, Horopito leaves are harvested on a commercial scale. They are washed, dried and crushed into multiple categories of powder. You can easily obtain them in the form of peppers and flakes. They are advertised and promoted as herbs which can be used to coat and stuff fish, meat and vegetables. People also mix them to their batter when baking breads, biscuits and cakes.

Does Horopito exist in powder form?

Yes: Horopito is now produced in powdered form on a commercial scale for culinary purposes and for companies which prepare Horopito capsules and tablets.

Does the essential oil of Horopito exist?

Yes and you may be surprised to learn that it contains 29 active components including eugenol which is a potent dental pain killer.

 

Is it safe to take Horopito during pregnancy or if I am breastfeeding my baby?

Although there is no evidence that Horopito may cause teratogenicity (disturbance of the embryo or foetus which may result in a halt in pregnancy or a birth defect), as a precautionary measure, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid taking Horopito.

Can I rub it’s oil or cream on my skin if I have a rash?

Pseudowintera colorata has been used traditionally for a very long time and millions of doses of Horopito have been consumed in the last 20 years. Long ago, its leaves used to be chewed and then softly rubbed on women’s breasts at the time of weaning their babies.[11] However, it did happen for some individuals to feel nauseated or get stomach pains after taking Horopito the first few times. This is due to Horopito’s natural heat which is similar to cayenne pepper.  As a precaution, rub a dab of cream inside your wrist and then leave it few hours to find out how your skin reacts.

Is it okay to take Horopito and aniseed together?

Yes, in fact aniseed has been used traditionally to treat upset stomachs and bloating. Combining Horopito leaves with aniseed will give you a natural treatment for mild digestive issues. Moreover, these two act as a potent antifungal and can help eradicate candida overgrowth.

Is it good for thrush?

Yes, please check ‘Horopito and candida overgrowth’ above.

Can it be used to treat various kinds of fungus?

Yes, please check ‘Horopito and candida overgrowth’ above.

How does the Horopito plant work against infections such as fungal candida?

Please check ‘What is Horopito’s mechanism of action against candida?’ above.

Does it kill good or beneficial bacteria?

Although Horopito possesses antibacterial properties, it only targets and kills harmful bacteria or pathogens and does not kill good bacteria.

Can I experience die off from taking a Horopito supplement?

Some individuals reported that they experienced nausea after taking Horopito based products, especially the first time. Experts concluded that that this was either due to Horopito’s hot taste or the result of yeast or other fungus being killed. When this occurs, the dying yeast and fungus release toxins in the body – these toxins then cause feelings of nausea, headache and exhaustion. This is known as ‘yeast die-off’ or ‘Herxheimer’ reaction. In simple terms, when yeast cells are quickly destroyed, a die-off occurs. When this happens, people tend to prematurely put a cross on their Candida diet. This is why when die-off symptoms are seen, those who are following a Candidiasis diet should be prepared.

I have heard that it can cause diarrhea – is this true?

The Maori people used Horopito tree leaves and bark as a means to treat those who suffered from diarrhea and stomach pain. However, some individuals may get a die-off reaction in the form of diarrhea. If the diarrhea persists, make sure to consult a doctor.

Can Horopito interact with medications?

Although cases of Horopito interacting with other medications have not been reported, it is better for a person to consult his health care professional before taking several supplements.

References

1. Forest Herbs Research. New Zealand naturopath cream study, Nelson, New Zealand, 1995:data on file.

2. Antifungal mechanism of polygodial. Kubo I, Fujita K, Lee SH. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Mar;49(3):1607-11. PMID: 11312903.

3. Red leaf margins indicate increased polygodial content and function as visual signals to reduce herbivory in Pseudowintera colorata. Cooney LJ, van Klink JW, Hughes NM, Perry NB, Schaefer HM, Menzies IJ, Gould KS. New Phytol. 2012 Apr;194(2):488-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04063.x. Epub 2012 Feb 6. PMID: 22309352.

4. Kubo , Fujita K, Lee S H, Ha T J. Antibacterial Activity of Polygodial, Phytotherapy Research, 2005, 19, pp 1013-1017.

5. Protective effect of an oral natural phytonutrient in recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: a 12-month study. Kumari A, Bishier MP, Naito Y, Sharma A, Solimene U, Jain S, Yadava H, Minelli E, Tomella C, Marotta F. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2011 Oct-Dec;25(4):543-51. PMID: 22217987.

6. Prophylactic strategies in recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: a 2-year study testing a phytonutrient vs itraconazole. Chopra V, Marotta F, Kumari A, Bishier MP, He F, Zerbinati N, Agarwal C, Naito Y, Tomella C, Sharma A, Solimene U. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2013 Jul-Sep;27(3):875-82. PMID: 24152852

7. Effect of a novel phyto-compound on mucosal candidiasis: further evidence from an ex vivo study. Nakajima J, Papaah P, Yoshizawa M, Marotta F, Nakajima T, Mihara S, Minelli E. J Dig Dis. 2007 Feb;8(1):48-51. PMID: 17261135

8. Preventive strategy for Candida gut translocation during ischemia-reperfusion injury supervening on protein-calorie malnutrition. Marotta F, Barreto R, Kawakita S, Minelli E, Pavasuthipaisit K, Lorenzetti A, Nishiwaki M, Gelosa F, Fesce E, Okura R. Chin J Dig Dis. 2006;7(1):33-8. PMID: 16412035.

9. In view of an optimal gut antifungal therapeutic strategy: an in vitro susceptibility and toxicity study testing a novel phyto-compound. Metugriachuk Y, Kuroi O, Pavasuthipaisit K, Tsuchiya J, Minelli E, Okura R, Fesce E, Marotta F. Chin J Dig Dis. 2005;6(2):98-103. PMID: 15904429.

10. Riley M. Maori Healing And Herbal, Viking Sevenseas, 1994, pp146-148.

11. Brooker S G, Cambie R C, and Cooper R C. New Zealand Medicinal Plants, Heinemann, 1987, P.240.

 

This report was taken from www.yeastinfection.org - August 7, 2016

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