Kawakawa - Hallow Naturopathics
Plant remedy aficionado, Erin Cave, from Hallow Naturopathics goes foraging for kawakawa leaves. She explains the goodness of plants and shares her recipe for kawakawa balm and other kawakawa concoctions.
Hi Erin, what is naturopathy and what’s special about it to you?
Naturopathy is holistic natural health care, in a nutshell. It’s care aimed at preventing illness and treating the root causes of issues, rather than just symptom management. We deep dive into people’s health stories and get to implement up to date evidence based treatment options while supporting the body to do its thing. I love it because... I’m a huge science nerd and I love plants.
3 favourite plant remedies, go...
1. Herbal tea. Easy. You can choose whatever flavour or herbal action that you like or need. Tea is a herbal water infusion, if you want to get technical - and is a gentle and safe dosage of herbs, so it won’t upset your tum, it tastes good and it’s full of calming ritual and quiet.
2. Miso soup. No joke. Miso is fermented soy beans, it’s probiotic, it’s alkalising, it’s a delicious little soup-erstar.
3. I’m a big fan of everyone eating their greens and every other colour for that matter. Whole fruit and veggies are the simplest form of good nutrition, and one of the easiest. Plants are incredible.
We hear you’re a fan of our Kawakawa tea. Can you walk us through the benefits of each ingredient please?
Kawakawa is a great all rounder in terms of health, which is why it heavily steeped in our history and aptly utilised in Rongoā (Maori herbal medicine). It has anaesthetic and antimicrobial qualities (among many others), making it a great herb for sore throats. It’s a nervine, which means that it helps to calm the nervous system down too.
Spearmint is the slightly less mentholy cousin of peppermint and they share a number of benefits. It’s a gentle gut soothing herb, has antibacterial properties and can help to increase focus and calm.
Echinacea is a great immune-modulator, which means that it supports immune function and can help to both prevent illnesses and reduce recovery times.
Green tea is super high in antioxidants, which reduce the physical stressors that can lead to cell damage (oxidation).
Are there uses for Kawakawa other than tea?
There are a few; it’s a bit of a wonder herb. Here are my top 3:
1. As a digestive bitter herb, kawakawa makes a great infused vinegar or vinaigrette adding a pop to salads and pasta along with a dose of digestive support.
To make this: forage healthy looking kawakawa leaves or fruits (or use dried) and don’t worry about the holes - the insects know what’s good for them and are choosing to eat the healthy plants. Wash and dry the herbs that you’ve picked and put a sprig or two into a bottle and fill it with organic vinegar (my favourite is apple cider, but you can use yours) and seal the bottle. Leave it for a few days to infuse. It should have a light peppery taste and a good vinegary tang.
2. Kawakawa balm, because it’s a healing and antimicrobial herb, it lends itself really well to balms for everything. Lip balm, baby butt balm, etc.
To make this:
- Infuse kawakawa (about 8 leaves, finely chopped) into 1 cup of a warm almond or coconut oil for approx 8 hours. You can also add chamomile, lavender and/or peppermint to the infusion.
- Over a double boiler, add either beeswax (3 tbsp) or sunflower wax (2 tsp) to the infused oil and then add 2 tbsp of cacao butter. Stir until completely combined.
- Pour into sterilised jars and allow to cool.
3. Kawakawa cough syrup, because of its affinity for the respiratory system and antimicrobial properties.
To make this:
- Make a simple syrup (or use rice syrup) using organic raw sugar and water.
- Pour the hot syrup over washed and dried kawakawa leaves or fruit and allow to steep for 24 hours.
Strain and pour into a glass bottle.
Thanks a million Erin!