Herb Profile : Kawakawa

KawaKawa is another native tree spice that although being probably one of the most unknown & unutilised native products of New Zealand makes a regular appearance on my menus as it's so versatile and i have successfully been able to use it in a number of dishes including crusting for fish or meats, chutneys & sauces and even in ice-cream.

Botanical Name :

Macropiper excelsum

Common Names :

Kawakawa, New Zealand Peppertree

Kawakawa is one of the most distinctive New Zealand native plants. It was one of the most important healing herbs in Rongoa Maori (traditional Maori herbal medicine) and the use of Kawakawa as a healing or tonic herb is still popular today.

The leaves, simply chewed or made into infusions, were widely used as treatments for stomach pains & indigestion and were also used as a gentle stimulating & rejuvenating tonic, early settlers substituted it for tea, due to their refreshing & sustaining properties.

Topically, Kawakawa leaf applications were also used for bruises and rheumatism, the pain of neuralgia & nettle stings, as well as for eczema.In addition hot Kawakawa infusions have long been a popular treatment for winter ailments.Like other plants in the pepper family, stimulation of the circulation is an effect of internal consumption of reasonable doses of Kawakawa preparations. Such activity could make it useful in conditions such as chilblains, varicose veins, and poor circulation.


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