How much do you know about Kawakawa? With its knobbly stems, and large, heart-shaped leaves, this native herb is not only beautiful in the visual sense, but it also boasts a tremendous amount of health benefits that are certainly worth knowing about!
This wonder herb has been used for centuries in traditional Māori medicine and, more recently, has become popular in various products, including natural skincare, tea, and health tonics. The name kawakawa in Māori refers to the spicy taste of the leaves, with the fruit, bark, leaves, and roots all said to possess remarkable healing properties.
What are the health benefits of kawakawa and what is it most commonly used for?
Kawakawa leaves contain a component called myristicin, a mild antiseptic that helps trigger the release of nitric oxide in our cells. In other words, this component causes an anti-inflammatory response in our bodies to aid the healing of many types of ailments. This response can be so strong that it produces a numbing effect, which is why the leaves can be chewed to relieve toothache.
Most commonly, the leaves of Kawakawa are steeped in hot water to create a powerful health tonic. Traditionally, the tea is sipped to soothe the digestive system and aid in gastrointestinal issues. This infusion can also be used to support respiratory health, and common coughs and colds.
The leaves of Kawkawa can also be infused in bath water to support conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis. And when it comes to wounds and bruising, you can heat the kawakawa leaves and place them on the skin to help speed up the healing process.
Furthermore, the leaves can also be infused in a base such as almond oil, then applied topically to treat skin conditions, such as rashes, eczema or psoriasis. Experiencing the benefits of Kawakawa at home comes in the simplest of self-care methods.
Where can I find Kawakawa?
When it comes to foraging your own Kawakawa leaves, you might have noticed that the leaves are sometimes studded with holes. These are eaten by insects who instinctively know which leaves contain the most active compounds. These are the leaves to go for! The holier, the better!
Kawakawa prefers warmer weather and is most commonly found in bush areas of the North Island, and upper northern parts of the South Island in New Zealand. This native can grow anywhere from one metre to six metres high, and it is instantly recognisable for its dark green, glossy leaves and brown, knobbly stems. It prefers to grow in shaded, moist-rich areas and often thrives beneath the canopy of larger trees.
How can we enjoy the benefits of Kawakawa in tea?
With all this said, we couldn't be more delighted to share the release of our Kawakawa and green tea blend. Grown and wild harvested in Gordonton, Waikato, our Kawakawa is combined harmoniously with a selection of health-boosting herbs to create the ultimate wellness tonic.
Echinacea - Packed with antioxidants, this herb reduces inflammation, offers natural pain relief, and lowers blood sugar levels. We like to think of it as an immunity powerhouse!
Spearmint - Sweeter tasting than peppermint, this fragrant herb is said to help alleviate nausea, indigestion, and stomach upsets.
Green Tea - Studies show that green tea is known to help fight various common diseases, boost metabolism, support oral health and mental focus. Click here to read in depth about this wonderful tea.
All in all, this refreshing tea is bright, herbaceous and invigorating to drink. In the warmer months, we recommend making up a large jug and serving it iced with some fresh herbs and lemon. But it is, of course, just as delicious when enjoyed from the teapot. Our Kawakawa organic loose leaf blend comes beautifully packaged in a gift-sized box, or a larger bag offering 100+ serves. Try some for yourself by clicking here.