Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name:Macropiper excelsum
Family: Piperaceae
Genus:     Macropiper
Species: M. excelsu
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Piperales

Common Name: Kawakawa,

Habitat:Kawakawa is found throughout the North Island, and as far south as Okarito (43.20 °S) on the West Coast and Banks Peninsula  on the east coast of the South Island.It prefers a moist rich & free-draining soil. It prefers a semi-shade to shade position. Kawakawa will tolerate an open windy situation but is frost tender.

Kawakawa is a densely branching shrub in the shade. Consequently it can be used under established planting that has started to open out below the canopy.
The  leaves are about 5–10 cm long by 6–12 cm wide; they are opposite to each other, broadly rounded with a short drawn-out tip and are heart-shaped at their bases. The leaves are deep green in color if growing in the forest but may be yellowish-green when growing in more open situations.The flowers are produced on greenish, erect spikes that are 2.5-7.5 cm long. Kawakawa flowers are quite minute and very closely placed around the spike. After pollination the flowers gradually swell and become fleshy to form small, berry-like fruits that are yellow to bright orange.

The fruit which are only on female trees (2 to 5 cm) long are a whole lot of little fruit clustered on a central stem, green at first but changing to orange when ripe The seed in the soft, orange spikes that are a favoured food of many birds in late summer and are dispersed by them.


The name Kawakawa in Maori refers to the bitter taste of the leaves.

The leaves are often covered with insect holes due to damage by Kawakawa looper moth caterpillar (Cleora scriptaria, Family: Geometridae).See photo  below.
Berries. Each berry is the size of a small plum and egg-shaped. Ripening period is January and February. These fruits are favoured by kereru, or New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) and tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae).

The leaves are often covered with insect holes. The images depict the variety majus which has larger and more glossy leaves than M. excelsum.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit, bark and leaves of the kawakawa all have medicinal properties. The leaves are made into a tea by being steeped in hot water. Maori custom is to use the leaves as a head wreath for tangis, chew the leaves to reduce toothache and place leaves on a fire to create an insect repellent.

The root, fruit, seeds and especially the leaves of the Kawakawa plant were favourite medicinal remedies of the New Zealand Maori.  In fact the kawakawa is one of the only plants still used by the Maori people today. Externally, Kawa Kawa was used to heal cuts and wounds, as an ingredient in vapour baths, and also as an insect repellent. Internally, it was found to be effective as a blood purifier in cases of eczema, boils, cuts, wounds, rheumatism, neuralgia, ringworm, itching sore feet, and all forms of kidney and skin ailments. The leaves were chewed to alleviate toothache. The bruised leaves drew pus from boils and skin infections. A drink made from the leaves helped stomach problems and rheumatics when rubbed on joints. The leaf, if dried and burnt is an insect repellent.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Pomaderris kumarahou

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Botanical Name : Pomaderris kumarahou
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Pomaderris
Species: P. kumeraho
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name:Komarahou, papapa,Kumarou, Gumdigger’s soap

Habitat :Pomaderis kumarahou is found in northern and central areas of the North Island. A plant of  northern gumlands and clay banks.

This is an upright shrub reaching 3 m with oval dark green somewhat wrinkled leaves. The small yellow flowers are in dense clusters forming a spectacular display in the spring. The name “Gumdigger’s soap” was given owing to the lather created when the flowers were rubbed with water.

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Leaves 5-8cm. long with prominent veins and midribs.Flowers numerous and bright yellow in spring.


Medicinal Uses:

Kumarahou is a traditional Maori remedy that has been used to treat a wide range of illnesses.  Its most common use is as a remedy for problems of the respiratory tract, such as asthma and bronchitis.  However, it has also been used in the treatment of indigestion and heartburn, diabetes, and kidney problems.  Kumarahou is considered to be a detoxifier and “blood cleansing” plant, and is used to treat skin rashes and sores, including lesions produced by skin cancer.  High in anti-oxidants, protects liver from lipid peroxidation. Adaptagenic activity increases performance, speed and stamina.
Fresh leaves are applied to wounds. Wounds are also bathed in extracts obtained from boiling the leaves.
An infusion obtained from boiling leaves in water is used internally to treat bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism, to stop vomiting, for coughs and for colds.


Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


Herbs & Plants

Brachyglottis repanda

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Botanical Name : Brachyglottis repanda
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Senecioneae

Common Name : Rangiora or Bushman’s friend . Although it has a single English vernacular name, in Maori it is variably known as Kouaha, Pukapuka, Pukariao, Puke-rangiora, Rangiora, Raur?kau, Raurakau, Wharangi, or Wharangi-tawhito.

Habitat ; It is found in coastal and lowland forest often in high-light situations on the margins or skirts of the forest from North Cape to about Westport.

It is a shrub or small tree up to 6 metres, with stout brittle spreading branches densely clad in a soft white to buff tomentum. The leaves are between 5-25 X 5-20 cm broad with slightly undulating and lobed margins. The lamina of the leaf does not follow the unduations of the margins and is flat. The petioles of the leaves have a characteristic groove up to 10 cm long. Flowers are found on much branched panicles with each floret being about 5mm in diameter X 12mm long.


The large and leathery leaves are highly useful for a number of purposes, hence its common name of bushmansfriend. It makes a practical paper on which letters have been written but is best referred to as bush toilet paper.

Cultivation & Propagation:
It can be a difficult species to propagate from seed. Pick the seeds as soon as they suggest they are ripe, which is when the tiny ‘parachutes’ are blown from the plant in early summer. Collect seeds from a range of plants. Sow directly into the top 5mm of a fine free draining germination mix. Keep warm but do not over water. Germination may begin within 3 weeks. The seed does not store well. The usual method of propagation is by medium wood cutting in early spring.

Medicinal Uses:
In Europe the leaves are recognised as a homeopathic cure for urinary and kidney complaints.
M?ori used the plant for a number of medicinal uses. The leaves were used for wounds and old ulcerated sores, and the gum was chewed for foul breath but was poisonous if swallowed. It can also be used as note paper.

A gum obtained from the plant is chewed to sweeten the breath. Main use is in homeopathic medicine

Other Uses:
It is an attractive complement to an ornamental garden with its large and hardy leaves and attractive display of flowers in spring.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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