Used for centuries by the Maori people to heal and calm dry and itchy skin, the kawakawa tree is thought of as a ‘miracle’ plant and it is one of New Zealand’s most powerful and nurturing botanicals. Indeed, the Maori people deem it as one of the most important medicinal herbs.
Kawakawa’s botanical name is Macropiper excelsum and is typically found growing in coastal and lowland forests throughout the North Island and the northern half of the South Island. It is a small tree growing usually to about six feet tall and has very dense branches. In the summer, it produces sweet edible yellow berries, and these have been known to have a diuretic effect. Traditionally, it also would have been used as an infusion, made from the leaves or roots, and used for bladder problems, boils, bruises, to relieve pain or toothache, or as a general tonic.
When sipped as a herbal tea, its analgesic and antimicrobial properties work myriad wonders, as it is also thought to have antispasmodic properties, which makes it a wonderful tonic to ease tummy cramps.
Also hailed as having a detoxifying effect, it is fantastic when used in cleansing products as it naturally works to draw out impurities while at the same time delivering an anti-inflammatory, antifungal and healing effect. It works to strengthen the skin, while restoring hydration and providing intense nourishment. It’s perfect for skin prone to eczema and acne, or that which is either overly dry or oily, calming and rebalancing upon application. It also assists in alleviating itchiness and redness.