The adaptogens & plant chemicals in the kawakawa plant – Aotea Store

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The adaptogens & plant chemicals in the kawakawa plant

Kawakawa is a super ubiquitous NZ native found not only in rural areas but also throughout metropolitan parts.

Kawakawa has green leaves and its stems have knobbly joints, with distinctive leaves shaped like hearts. Their leaves are generally covered in holes from the nibbling of the looper moth caterpillar.

Getting down to the science, phytochemical (plant chemical) analysis of kawakawa has found that the plant contains two active chemical compounds, diayangambin and myristicin. The process by which these chemicals were identified in the plant was reverse-phase liquid chromatography.
These chemicals have epic and very interesting properties. Myristicin is psychoactive and anti-inflammatory, which means that it removes toxic inflammatory chemicals such as nitric oxides in human cells; making it perfect to treat eczema, insect bites and swelling. 

Diayangambin is an immunosuppressant. This means it is a useful treatment for auto immune disorders, where the body's immune system attacks the body's own useful, living tissue. Two common anti-immune disorders that kawakawa has been proven to treat are rheumatism and psoriasis.

And last but not least, there are also bio-active alkaloids including piperchabamide, which have gastroprotective properties that aid digestion and calm the stomach.

Whilst Kawakawa can seem like a fairly innocuous plant, it really is a little gem that we have here in Aotearoa and is now being regarded as a super healing plant not just in māori folklore and rongoā but in the wider community.