Kawakawa is a plant that we respect and honour for its many uses. It is aptly known as “the pharmacy of the forest” and “the plant of the heart” due to its broad range of medicinal uses both internally and externally, its heart-shaped leaves and tonic effect on our cardiovascular system, and for sacred curative and protective uses in Rongoā – the traditional Maori system of healing.
Kawakawa is a ubiquitous native shrub that is hard to miss, the deep green leaves are usually dotted with ragged holes due to it being the favoured host plant of the New Zealand Looper moth, and during the months of January and February the female plants have fleshy, orange fruiting spikes that are a food source for native birds. The leaves, fruit and bark of this humble, health-giving plant all impart medicinal properties.
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