Maori Medicine – Kawakawa
(Matauranga Kura Taiao Project)

Kawakawa leaves. This picture is loading...
Kawakawa leaves. This picture is loading...
Kawakawa leaves. This picture is loading...
Kawakawa leaves. This picture is loading...


Scientific Name: Macropiper excelsum
Flowers: Yellow forming into green berries.
Kawakawa thrives in the Aotea climate and is readily available all year round. It is usually the first and easiest plant to identify when learning about Rongoa Maori as it grows in low lying areas as opposed to the dense bush. Slightly sour to the taste it will take a little getting used to at first.
Rongoa

§ It is both an external and internal remedy – you can bathe in it and drink it as well. If you are to drink it our kaumatua recommends ½ cup three times a day although variable depending on your needs.
§ Chewing on the leaves helps to alleviate toothaches.
§ Drinking the juice purifies blood, helps alleviate digestive complaints, chest troubles, constipation, high/low blood pressure and asthma.
§ Leaves and bark can be applied as a decoction for wounds, ulcers, skin diseases, eye inflammation, scalds, burns.
Other Uses
§ Kawakawa can be used as a beverage such as tea and beer.
§ The leaves were used for tangis and in time of mourning (head wreaths).

Kaumatua John Apiti talks about uses for kawakawa. This picture is still loading...
Kaumatua John Apiti talks about uses for kawakawa. This picture is still loading...
Kaumatua John Puke picking kawakawa from the Aotea bush. This picture is loading...
Kaumatua John Puke picking kawakawa from the Aotea bush. This picture is loading...


Kaumatua (elders) John Apiti and John Puke
sharing their knowledge of kawakawa.
The following steps describe how our kaumatua prepare the kawakawa for medicinal purposes:

Choose leaves that are exposed to the sun. This picture is loading...
Choose leaves that are exposed to the sun. This picture is loading...
Sun shining on kawakawa leaf. This picture is loading...
Sun shining on kawakawa leaf. This picture is loading...
Pick the leaves. This picture is loading...
Pick the leaves. This picture is loading...


-1-
Gather the kawakawa leaves. Leaves which face the east with full sun are the best (ie pick where the sun shines on the leaves the longest). Pick as many leaves as you can. If bugs are eating the leaves it is a good indication that the plant is even better and has a higher medicinal value. These leaves are more preferable to use.
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-2-
Rinse the leaves clean.



Do not overfill the pot with water. This picture is loading...
Do not overfill the pot with water. This picture is loading...
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Cover the pot with the lid. This picture is loading...
Cover the pot with the lid. This picture is loading...


-3-
Half fill your pot and bring to the boil before adding the kawakawa leaves. Once the leaves are in boil for 15 minutes with the lid on. Let the pot stand to cool.



Scoop the leaves out. This picture is loading...
Scoop the leaves out. This picture is loading...
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Scoop the leaves out. This picture is loading...
Scoop the leaves out. This picture is loading...


-4-
Remove and strain all the kawakawa leaves.



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external image image033.jpg


-5-
Strain the liquid into a jug for pouring.



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-6-
Pour the kawakawa juice into clean bottles and seal. Use as required.
We would like to acknowledge and thank kaumatua John Apit and Hone Puke for their support.
Photos by Davis Apiti