The traditional use of kawakawa – Aotea Store

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The traditional use of kawakawa

Kawakawa is revered among Maori as being super healing and restorative. There are so many amazing traditional stories of Kawakawa use. In battle, the elders would say that if there were injured warriors, they should rest on their return near a Kawakawa grove. The elders would then light a fire, pick Kawakawa and wave the branches of Kawakawa through the flames and embers so they would wilt. After the heat activates the healing plant agents, they would then case the injured warriors and their injuries in Kawakawa leaves. Maori have used Kawakawa for hundreds of years. 

Māori healers (tohunga) and medical practitioners (kairongoā) traditionally used the kawakawa plant from the bush for its proven healing properties in a wide range of treatments such as burns, rashes, toothaches or swelling. Our kawakawa balm is made with great care, and is based on traditional knowledge (mātauranga) combined with modern science.

Some useful applications of kawakawa balm:

Autoimmune disorders - psoriasis, rheumatism - Kawakawa contains diayangambin, an immunosuppressant. Although we need a healthy immune system, unfortunately conditions exist where the immune system attacks the body’s own living tissue. These are called autoimmune disorders. Our kawakawa balm dampens this immune dysfunction response and has been proven to relieve and help in the treatment of rheumatism and psoriasis, two autoimmune disorders.

Eczema - Eczema is a condition of the skin involving dryness, cracks and even bleeding, which makes it more vulnerable to irritants or infection. It can be very debilitating and painful. Our kawakawa balm helps, effectively reducing irritation and the itchiness which often accompanies eczema and other inflammations of the skin. The beeswax ingredient provides a coating or protective layer while the sweet almond oil is soothing on the skin. The mānuka oil is antibacterial, fighting infection, and most importantly, the kawakawa has a super high anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and analgesic content making it a wonderfully effective natural balm.

Rash - because of these properties, kawakawa balm is also a wonderful natural treatment for nappy rash. Kawakawa balm helps soothe the rash, while fighting the inflamed area through its antibacterial myristicin and diayangambin.

Lip protection - kawakawa balm is also an excellent lip balm, protecting and healing cracked lips from prolonged exposure to the sun, sea and wind. The beeswax in particular helps produce a protective layer, so it is recommended that kawakawa balm is applied in advance of exposure. However, once exposed, the kawakawa certainly plays a role in soothing any pain or discomfort.

Anti-inflammatory and soothing - As explained above, because of the myristicin in the kawakawa plant, which allows the cells to release nitric oxide, the kawakawa balm is great at soothing insect bites, bruises and swelling. At extreme concentrations, kawakawa can go as far as having a numbing effect on these irritations.

What makes a good kawakawa balm

Apart from kawakawa, our balm also contains sweet almond oil, which, like many natural and essential oils, is fantastic for the skin. Oils contain fatty acids, which the skin needs for normal repair and growth and which are also soothing on the skin. We also add beeswax, which is a natural sealant, and mānuka oil, which has amazing antibacterial properties. Kawakawa leaves contain a component called myristicin, which has an analgesic effect. It is also a strong anti-inflammatory. It works by removing nitric oxides from cells, reducing inflammation. 

Because of the special nature of the kawakawa plant, kawakawa balm has a huge variety of applications. The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial strength of the product means it is an absolute warrior at tackling rashes, swelling, and inflammation, as well as more comprehensive problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Our kawakawa balm, full of powerful natural ingredients, is made with great care to provide relief, to soothe and to heal a range of conditions and promote healthy skin.

Our range of therapeutic skincare is inspired by indigenous thinkers and rongoa Māori. Click here to browse our range.