Herb Profile : Horopito

I have chosen Horopito for my first product of my range as it unique to our country and is a pre-historic plant which is one of the oldest flowering trees in the world. The use of native herbs is something I believe we should become more familiar with as they can enhance our everyday meals, and they are products I use in my everyday cooking.

Botanical Name :

Pseudowintera Colorata

Common Names :

Horopito, New Zealand Pepper-tree, Winter’s bark, Red Horopito

Leaves of the Horopito tree were traditionally used by the Maori people of New Zealand to treat stomach complaints, poor circulation & respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds and asthma. This is probably due to its astringent (tissue tightening) & antiseptic properties. Skin complaints were treated using the bruised leaves that before application had been steeped in water or chewed. The peppery constituents of Horopito stimulate the circulation when it is applied topically, and also taken internally.

Topical uses include fungal infections, such as Candida albicans & ringworm, wounds, cuts and burns, painful bruises & joint inflammations, skin diseases and also as an insect repellent. Fresh leaves were also chewed for toothache.The main biologically active constituent of Horopito is known as polygodial. Polygodial is a component of the “hot taste” in peppery spices common in traditional Japanese cuisine, and it has been shown to exhibit significant anti fungal and antibacterial activity. Researchers in New Zealand demonstrated the ability of polygodial isolated from Horopito to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, and other researchers have shown it to be effective against a variety of yeast-like fungi.

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