Kawakawa

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Maori name: Kawakawa
Common name: Pepper tree
Botanical name: Macropiper excesum

Origin and general information:
Kawakawa is a New Zealand native tree, growing from the North Island, as far south as Canterbury, Growing to a height up to 20 feet kawakawa has easily distinguishable heart-shaped leaves and edible orange fruit which are available most of the year round. From the same family as kava.
Excellent to help skin complaints, eczema, psoriasis used topically, ringworm, cuts and wounds, rubbed onto babies gums to ease teething pains, used as a skin moisturizer, anti-bacterial, may help ease acne. Helps ease rheumatic pains, for boils abscesses, and septic conditions, rashes, scabs, festering sores.

Traditional Kawakawa Rongoa: (Maori medicines or preparations made from the plant)

Skin complaints: Steaming or bathing the patient was a common cure for many skin conditions. Including a condition resembling ringworm. Boils were also treated with kawakawa. An infusion would be given by mouth night and day for 3 days.
Stomach pain: Stomach pain was treated with kawakawa leaves and bark, which were taken orally
Dysentery: Kawakawa root was chewed to cure dysentery.
Rheumatism and Arthritis: Kawakawa leaves were boiled and the remaining liquid was bathed in by the patient.
Externally - for Wounds and bruising: Kawakawa leaves roasted produce juice used for application to wounds. Alternatively the wound could be dressed or bound with fresh leaves, to speed the healing process Boiled, hot kawakawa leaves were applied to bruising as hot as the patient could stand.
Genitourinary complaints: Infusions made from boiled leaves was taken as a diuretic.
To treat sexually transmitted diseases introduced by early Europeans kawakawa leaves and sticks were burnt. The patient was surrounded in the smoke and then steamed when water was placed on the fire. Alternatively leaves and twigs were boiled and given orally.
Respiratory complaints: an infusion of kawakawa leaves was kept warm on the fire in winter to drink, treating chest troubles
Toothache/swelling of the mouth or cheeks:
leaves were crushed into a poultice and placed over the affected area Leaves and fruit were also commonly chewed to for toothache.


 

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