Mapou, or Red Matipo (Myrsine australis) A hardy tree, resistant to wind. Easily grown from seed. Wavy edged leaves, small red blotches, red stems. Maori medicinal plant, leaves boiled to ease toothache. Inconspicuous flowers, small black fruit on female trees in summer. Attracts birds.
Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) with Kereru feeding on fruit. Has broad heart shaped leaves and blackish stems with swollen joints. A much valued medicinal plant of Maori. Leaves have a hot peppery taste.
Karo (Pittisporum crassifolium). A tree especially suited to coastal conditions. Fast growing, germinates easily from fallen seed. Leaves alternating, whitish beneath. Scented purple flowers in spring, round green fruit that burst to reveal sticky black seeds in Autumn. Attracts birds.
Kōwhai The bark of the kōwhai tree was heated in a calabash with hot stones, and made into a poultice for wounds or to rub on a sore back. A person bitten in the face by a seal had wai kōwhai (kōwhai juice) applied to their wounds, and was well within days.
Tanekaha.This rongoa is a fantastic healant for fungal infections. It is also very good for the liver and treats all manner of liver dysfunction. It is a great haemostatic and allays internal bleeding – internal hemorrhage. Large doses have also been used as an abortificant. The bark of the tanekaha was used to reduce the incidence of painful, heavy periods.
Rātā The bark of the rātā tree was soaked in water, which was then applied as a lotion. A poultice of bark was put on sores, wounds and abscesses. The inner bark was steeped in water and drunk for diarrhoea and dysentery. Rātā nectar, collected by tapping the flowers against the inside of a calabash, was taken to cure a sore throat.
Puriri, Vitex lucens This rongoa is related to the chaste tree and therefore has hormone balancing properties. It is also good for treating ulcers and the boiled leaves have been traditionally used to treat strains and backache. It has also been used internally to treat sore throats.
Horopito. Parts used: Leaves.The Horopito plant is most well known for its action against candida. The active constituent of horopito is polygoidal which makes the “hot taste” in peppery spices, producing significant anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of candida albicans and other yeast-like fungi. Externally useful for fungal infections, such as candida albicans and ringworm, wounds cuts and burns. Horopito stimulates the circulation of the…
Poroporo,Parts used; berries, leaves, inner bark.The berries are poisonous when eaten green but safe when ripe. The leaf was used for the itch, a poultice for sores, chronic eczema, and psoriasis,sores and ulcers.Internally as an effective contraceptive. A factory was established at Waitara in 1978 for extracting the steroid hormone extract to be added to contraceptive pills and for treating rheumatoid arthritis however the plant closed in 1981.