Kawakawa is native to New Zealand and grows readily around most of the county but not in places with severe frosts, with it’s heart shaped vibrant green leaves it makes a lovely garden plant and can usually be found in your local park or bush.
A cousin to Kava which is the well known ceremonial drink shared in the Pacific Islands, Kawakawa does not have any narcotic effects, it does however have many heath benefits and can be made into a poultice to use on wounds, or an oil that’s used in balms such as Trisha’s Viral Salve. It can be made into tea to keep your digestive system healthy and help with stomach ailments and bronchial complaints or you can chew the leaves to to help relief the pain of a toothache.
For skin sores simply take a leaf, bash it a little and put it over the sore with a plaster to hold it in place. The leaf will draw out the infection.
To make tea take 12 leaves and place in 1.5 litres of water. Boil for twenty minutes with the lid on, strain and drink 1/2 a cup three times a day for digestive issues or 1/2 a cup a day for a general tonic.
There’s quite a bit of information on the web regarding this wonderful plant and it’s many uses, here’s what Hope from Love, Food Nourish has to say
Some of the health benefits of Kawkawa are:
Kawakawa has cleansing properties which may help support skin problems such as boils and acne. In traditional Maori medicine it was also used externally to treat boils, eczema and rheumatism.
Kawakawa may help to support bladder complaints and a healthy urinary system.
Kawakawa is traditionally used for a healthy digestive system and stomach ailments, its bitter and stimulating properties makes it excellent for constipation and it is used to support IBS, cramping, bloating and indigestion.
Kawakawa may help to support healthy circulation.
In traditional Maori medicine the Kawakawa leaves were chewed for toothache.
Kawakawa tea can be found in health food stores or I like to pick my own as it is very easy to find in Aucklands coastal areas. If you are not a big tea drinker but would still like to reap the health benefits of Kawakawa you could try taking a herbal liquid tonic such as the Kawakawa and Ginger Tonic by Kiwiherb.
How to drink Kawakawa tea:
Enjoy with a slice of lemon for an extra refreshing drink, sweeten with honey if desired.
Infuse with a couple of fresh mint leaves – mint can also help to soothe and calm an upset digestive system.
Infuse with fresh ginger – ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can also soothe an upset digestive system and help ease any nausea.
Infuse with green tea – For a more stimulating “wake up” tea with some caffeine and antioxidant properties.
Iced tea – Any of the above poured over ice on a hot day for a refreshing iced tea.
If you’d like to grow Kawakawa seeds can be purchased from nzseeds.co.nz at only $12.00 for 100 seeds and information on how to propagate Kawakawa and collect seeds can be found on Doc’s site seed collection and propagation guide
Recipe’s For A Cleaner Life, Wendyl Nissen