Horopito : Highly Effective Anti-Candida Herb

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.


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.


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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