Aotearoa scientists are proving the health effects of kawakawa. Kawakawa has long been used in Māori medicine (rongoā). Kawakawa is used within balms to soothe eczema, boils, bites, stings and grazes, as well being known to relieve stomach issues.
In the latest paper, researchers from University of Auckland have been studying the healing properties of Kawakawa “Our findings show that kawakawa contains a great diversity and abundance of pharmacologically active metabolites,” says Liggins Institute research fellow Dr Chris Pook.
Kawakawa is a relative of black pepper, both belong to the plant family Piperaceae. Which is famous for its diverse roles in traditional medicinal and culinary practices from cultures around the world.
“The most abundant compound, of more than 60 that we found, was pellitorine, which has numbing effects on the body and could explain its use for pain-relief in rongoā Māori,”
– Dr Chris Pook
The Liggins researchers are now running trials testing the potential for kawakawa to reduce inflammation and improve the health of people with diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Kawakawa has recently become more widely used in a variety of things such as skincare, spice mixes, teas and tonics. Below are our picks of Kawakawa infused products.