For­est is a food store, phar­macy

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - STE­WART HARREX

New Zealand’s na­tive bush is a ver­i­ta­ble free su­per­mar­ket. The for­est is full of plants that have both medic­i­nal and edi­ble po­ten­tial.

Maori, and later the early set­tlers, prized the unique ther­a­peu­tic val­ues found in the plants of the New Zealand bush. To­day re­search is val­i­dat­ing the medic­i­nal and nu­tri­tional prop­er­ties these plants pos­sess.

For in­stance, kawakawa makes a lovely tea that is warm­ing and can be used as a tonic. Tra­di­tion­ally used for gen­eral di­ges­tive and cir­cu­la­tion prob­lems as well as pain and in­flam­ma­tion, the spicy seeds also have a culi­nary use.

Manuka may be fa­mous for the honey it pro­duces, but there is more to manuka than sim­ply honey. Manuka oils work as an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory, anti-mi­cro­bial, and anti fun­gal agents. The in­side bark has been used as a seda­tive for pain, while the leaves make a de­cent tea.

Mingimingi ( Co­prosma propin­qua), has lit­tle juicy blue berries. The leaves can also be boiled and the liq­uid taken for headaches and flu symp­toms.

The fruit of mako­mako (wineberry) can be eaten raw and made into jam and wine. This plant also has a few medic­i­nal qual­i­ties that are ben­e­fi­cial for treat­ing stom­ach pains and rheumat­ics.

New Zealand’s wild black­berry, tataramoa or bush lawyer, has fruit that can be used for stews and jams. Maori use its bark and leaves for sore throats, stom­ach com­plaints and di­ar­rhoea.

With win­ter on its way, kumer­a­hoe or bush­man’s soap is one of the most use­ful plants for treat­ing sea­sonal ail­ments. Un­for­tu­nately, the plant does not grow in this area nat­u­rally, but kumer­a­hoe is known for its treat­ment of bronchial ail­ments, and is still in­cluded in some com­mer­cially avail­able reme­dies.

This is only a small sam­ple of the na­tive plants that have nat­u­ral chem­i­cal-free ef­fi­cacy as ill­ness pre­ven­ta­tives and health sup­port, es­pe­cially dur­ing the win­ter cold and flu sea­son.

There is plenty more in­for­ma­tion about the medic­i­nal and nu­tri­tional con­tent of New Zealand’s na­tive plants avail­able on­line.

S OWEN

New Zealand’s kawakawa con­tains medic­i­nal as well as culi­nary qual­i­ties.

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