So whats all the fuss about NZ native herbs? well Kawakawa is a versatile herb and one of the most important in Māori traditional medicine. It is still used to treat cuts, wounds, stomach and rheumatic pain, skin disorders, toothache and most recently after getting "inked".
The plant is popular with many non-Māori too. "A basinful of these leaves steeped with boiling water mixture, applied to the bruise, has great curative powers."
Kawakawa's antimicrobial and analgesic properties make it useful for treating skin infections, and reducing inflammation of psoriasis, eczema and rashes. It is also antidyspectic (counters dyspepsia or indigestion) and antispasmotic (eases muscle spasms or cramps), so it makes an excellent digestion tonic.
Horopito, (Pseudowintera colorata) only grows in New Zealand. This ancient shrub is a member of the primitive Winteraceae family, more common to the Southern Pacific regions. Simply put the plant is ancient – one of the first flowering plants almost unchanged for 65 million year (according to fossil records).
Horopito has a long history of medicinal use by Maori. The leaves were bruised, steeped in water and used for paipai (a skin disease) and venereal diseases (such as thrush/candida)
The leaves were also chewed for toothache and were rubbed on mothers’ breasts for weaning infants. When the Europeans arrived to New Zealand, they to adopted to use Horopito for its medicinal qualities.
Studies have highlighted excellent antibacterial and anti-fungal activity that we believe makes it excellent for treating the skin for any blemishes or cuts instead of using synthetic chemicals that many products use for this purpose.
Horopito has a very primitive vascular system – not built for vigorous growth and is very susceptible to drought. It is found in abundance because its hot taste repels predators, hence dense horopito undergrowth in deer country.