Kawakawa – Macropiper excelsum
A true gift from Mother nature, Kawakawa is a plant that we respect and honour. It is aptly known as “the pharmacy of the forest” and “the plant of the heart” due to its broad range of medicinal uses both internally and externally, its heart-shaped leaves and tonic effect on our cardiovascular system, and for sacred curative and protective uses in Rongoā – the traditional Maori system of healing.
Kawakawa is a ubiquitous native shrub that is hard to miss if you are strolling in a lowland forest or coastal walkway throughout the North Island or upper half of the South Island. The deep green and yellow leaves are usually dotted with ragged holes due to it being the favoured host plant of the New Zealand Looper moth, and during the months of January and February, the female plants have fleshy, orange fruiting spikes that are a food source for native birds. The leaves, fruit and bark of this humble, health-giving plant all impart medicinal properties.
Kawakawa shrubs grow abundantly around New Zealand. This health-giving gift from nature is ideal to use as a refreshing tonic tea on a daily basis, or as a treat.
The benefits of drinking fresh kawakawa tea include:
Helping digestive problems, assisting urinary tract health, anti-inflammatory properties, cleansing the blood and detoxification.