Kawakawa (Piper excelsum), a member of the pepper family (Piperaceae), is a native New Zealand plant. It has heart shaped leaves. You may notice that some plant leaves often have holes as it is a food source for the Looper moth (Cleora scriptaria).
Kawakawa is of cultural and traditional significance to the Māori and is used in the practice of Rongoā (traditional healing system). This tradition has been passed down to generations for thousands of years.
It is said that Kawakawa is well known for its ability to soothe:
Inflammation (general aches and pains)
Cuts, grazes, wounds
It contains properties that are:
Analgesic (which can create a numbing effect)
Antispasmodic (can help with muscle spasms and/or cramps)
Antidyspectic (indigestion) and
Diaphoretic (induce sweating) to remove toxins.
Kawakawa contains certain compounds such as:
Diayangambin - In a study the "....findings indicate the potential interest of diayangambin in the treatment of immune and inflammatory responses." 1 Diayangambin is known as an (immunosuppressant) and it inhibits cell proliferation. It is said to help with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
Lignins - this compound can be used in skincare and in cosmetics. "Lignin possesses intrinsic bioactivities (antioxidative, antibacterial, anti-UV activities, etc)…..Lignin also enhances the plant resistance (adaptability) against environmental stresses." 2
Myristicin - soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, psychoactive, hepatoprotective, insecticide, "...mildly antiseptic and has pain numbing properties..." 3. It is said that it is a pain blocker.
EESHA'S KAWAKAWA BALM
Eesha's Kawakawa balm and Kawakawa oils are formulated without the addition of water which means it helps mitigate the effects of Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) from skin thereby ensuring that dry and itchy skin will be moisturised.
We balance the oils and richness of our balm formulations to ensure that careful consideration and knowledge are given to the ingredients, its purpose and to the manufacturing process. Any unnecessary ingredient is excluded.
Eesha's balms and oils are quite versatile and handy to have. We recommend Kawakawa oils and balms to be used as and when needed.
My daughter has Te Ātiawa (Māori) ancestry, is part Fiji Indian and Pakeha (European). As such, it is important for her to learn about her ancestors, cultures and traditions.
We harvest Kawakawa with a Karakia (prayer) before and after harvesting to god (Atua) and to the forest (Ngahere). When picking Kawakawa leaves and stems we are considerate of sustainability, the direction the leaves face and are mindful of when Kawakawa is harvested to ensure the potency of our balms and oils.
We always recommend consulting with a health care provider if you are pregnant, nursing or have any other pre-existing conditions.
1. Research gate, January 2003, Planta Medica 68 (12:1128-31), DOI:10.1055/s-2002-36355, source: PubMed - Diayangambin Exerts Immunosuppressive and Anti-Inflammatory Effects in vitro and in vivo - (Authors - Elvira j De Leon, Dionisio Antonio Olmedo, Pablo N. Solis, Mahabir Prashad Gupta, Maria Carmen Terencio) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10980877_Diayangambin_Exerts_Immunosuppressive_and_Anti-Inflammatory_Effects_in_vitro_and_in_vivo
2. NIH (National Library of Medicine) - Biological Activities and Emerging Roles of Lignin and Lignin-Based -Products-A Review (Fan Shu, Bo Jiang, Yufeng Yuan, Mohan Li, Wenjuan Wu, Yongcan Jin, Huining Xiao) - PMID: 34806363 DOI:10.1021/acs.biomac.1c00805 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34806363/#:~:text=Lignin%20possesses%20intrinsic%20bioactivities%20(antioxidative,(adaptability)%20against%20environmental%20stresses.
3. Kawakawa - the medicine plant (Waikatoregion.govt.nz) https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/assets/WRC/Services/regional-services/Beachcare/2012-Kawakawa.pdf