Look for Pūhā growing in fields and overgrown cultivated gardens. Knowing the history of the whenua that it grows in is important, ensuring it hasn't been sprayed or anything else that could affect the rongoā. Harvest only the leaves, and stalks if you have plenty of pūhā growing. Leave the flowers so it can self-seed. It's a taonga where I am so I try to replenish it as much as I can. I find myself to be quite protective of my patch of pūhā because most people see it as a weed and pull it out or mow over it. But when you see pūhā with mauri-filled leaves such as in the picture above, can you blame me? This is rongoā, this is kai.
Ko te Rongoā tō kai
Ko te kai tō Rongoā
Let food by your medicine
And medicine be your food
I cut the stalks and leaves into pieces and fill a jar with them. Then I add vodka ( not flavoured) right up to the top. Lid it tightly. Place a label on it with at least the name of the rākau and the date. The tincture is ready to use in six weeks. I strain and then add to a tincture bottle or a small spray bottle.
I add pūhā tincture under my tongue or spray in my mouth to strengthen my immune system and to nourish my blood. I'll use the tincture before new seasons or when there are cosmic events like the eclipses that are happening this month. Even taking the tincture before full moon is great to strengthen and ground me.
Pūhā has high doses of Vitamin C, more than oranges, as well as being nutritionally rich in Vitamins A, B1, B2, plus many minerals.
I spray this little taonga on rashes, cuts, pimples to clean the skin as it acts like an anti-microbial. The main purpose for me though is that it grounds me and brings me into awareness. It revitalises my blood therefore my whole body.
I like making tinctures because the rongoā lasts a long time and I can take it with me everywhere and lasts throughout the year. I can capture the essence of the rongoā and hold it in time.
I feel very blessed to have seen her in her element xx