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Kawakawa - A Staple in our House

Updated: Jul 31



Māori have been using the kawakawa herb

for generations as rongoā (plant medicine)


A Blood Purifier

It’s that time of year when we feel like a bit of an internal cleanse and I can’t think of a more beautiful plant to work with than the kawakawa herb (Piper excelsum). We’ve all heard about this super plant and how wonderful it is as a traditional plant medicine. It’s one of the most talked about native plants and can be easily accessible if you know how to identify it correctly.


When I’m feeling run-down, lethargic or just need general body restoration I go to my favourite spot to harvest some kawakawa leaves and make myself up a tonic to drink. I’ll drink it morning and night for about a week or until I feel my body has had enough. The tonic grounds me and brings my body and my spirit into balance. It triggers something in my cells and prompts health and well-being by bringing everything into balance. Kawakawa has many physical healing properties but it’s potency is in it’s spiritual healing properties.


Taken internally, Kawakawa cleans the blood and acts as a blood thinner so be mindful of this. It assists with respiratory ailments and warms the chest area due to the peppery leaves. It soothes sore throats and supports the lungs during colds or bronchitis. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-neuralgic activities and is useful as a liver tonic also. It’s a wonderful revitaliser and excellent as an overall health tonic for the body.


It’s very simple to make a tonic made from Kawakawa leaves.


Bathing in Leaves


Another way to use the kawakawa leaves is to soak the leaves in warm water until soft and place on the body or infected area like you would a wrap or poultice. Keep the leaves on the body for about an hour or until you feel it is complete. This method draws toxins from the body or infected area. An ideal place to do this is in a bath but if you don’t have a bath, lying somewhere comfortable and warm is perfect.

There is something truly nurturing to lay in a bath with kawakawa leaves around you. If you have never experienced this, I encourage you to try it. It is magical and it is bliss.



Flowering upright spikes occur on separate male & female plants. The fleshy fruiting spikes, that appears on the female plant, turn a yellow to orange colour on maturity. I like to collect a handful of these seeds and dry them and add them to meals. The peppery flavour enhances meals and there’s nothing more satisfying than eating from the wild.

“I use my kawakawa balm daily as a facial moisturiser”

During the winter months access to harvesting this super herb can be challenging so I always have kawakawa tinctures on hand. It’s good to keep the immune system strong through the colder months. Kopakawa Throat Sprays are in big demand as the temperature starts to drop and people start feeling the niggles of a cold coming on. Our throat sprays are made with Kawakawa, Kopakopa and Tōtara and make a wonderful formula that keeps bacteria at bay. Kawakawa balms are always in demand as people discover its powerful healing abilities and it’s a fabulous balm for nourishing the skin. A wonderful balm for nappy rash, cuts, grazes and other skin conditions. I use my kawakawa balm daily as a facial moisturiser.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the kawakawa herb and that you get to experience it for yourselves.

Please remember, when harvesting kawakawa take only what you need

and make sure the plant will be able to sustain itself after you have harvested from it.

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Email: jo@tewakarakau.com

Phone: 027 332 8066

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