New Zealand’s own Kawakawa Tea

4 02 2009

Kawakawa is one of the New Zealand’s native plants used by the Maori as a medicine. This plant is still popular today because of its positive healing effects on the human body. It can be recommended for digestive and respiratory issues, bladder problems, toothache, but can also be used as a cleansing tonic for skin issues. The leaves could be either chewed raw or consumed as an infusion – like a kawakawa tea. The latter form is often used to fight colds, influenza and other milder illnesses.

Kawakawa tea is not very common outside of New Zealand and therefore its most often prepared locally from freshly picked leaves. In order to prepare Kawakawa tea you need to:

1. Pick Kawakawa leaves. The best leaves to pick are the ones facing the sun, which had most exposure to sunlight. Also it it desirable if the leaves are eaten by bugs, because that indicates higher medicinal value.

2. Rinse the leaves in water

3. Fill a pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil

4. Add Kawakawa leaves and let them cook for 15 minutes with the lid on 

5. Remove and strain all the leaves

The tea should taste peppery and refreshing. Letting the leaves steep even longer will give a more flavorful infusion, so it’s really a matter of preference. You can also dry the fresh leaves for later use.




11 responses

13 02 2009

I have to get hold of the tea to send you some…

13 02 2009

Really? That’s splendid! Thanks!

18 04 2009

Local (NZ) health shops sell small 100g bags of the dried Kawakawa tea for around $NZ8

24 01 2010
Gerry Koopu

Hi I have been making my own kawakawa tea, and am curious to know if I am following the right procedure because my tea is not the same colour as what I have seen on the net. I have been boiling water, adding fresh leaves and cooking for 15 min then leaving to cool. My tea is a light greeny looking colour and not light brown as on the net.

24 01 2010

consider that on pictures things often look different, depends on the color of the inside of the cup and how light the surrounding is. I would say that if it tastes good in your opinion and you like it, then you should prepare it that way

4 02 2010
Gerry Koopu

My kawakawa mix is getting bettereach time I make it, when picking it I follow instructions however there are more things I am wanting to know like:

– Is it better to pick the small or large leaves?
– when preparing the kawakawa, is it just the leaves that go into the pot or is it ok to have some small stems added?
– How long do you recommend it be refridgrated once made, before it is not fit for consumption?

22 03 2010

ive drunk kava for many yearz and im amazed at this plant .my kava bill is near zero.ive been plunger infusioning for only minutes.nice help for ones heath

22 09 2013
Graham L. Morow-Griffin

I developed a serious muscular twitch in my upper let arm very similar to that which is experienced with motor nuron sufferers, this problem lasted for about 3 weeks and was becoming very painful. I realised that it was the area where I had been receiving my flue jabs, my doc. didn’t seem to want to know about it. By chance I made a cup of Kawakawa tea (found some in the back of the pantry) within 5 minutes the twitching had stopped and the pain went in 3 days, I will never be without it again. Needless to say this problem was very concerning and worrying at the time.

31 10 2013

@Gerry, I remember my uncle telling us that it’s better to pick the leaves early in the morning from the eastern side because the energy is better than if you were to pick it in the afternoon. I later found out that it’s scientifically proven that the sap juices are at optimum levels at this time, so our tupuna were definitely ‘on-to-it’. The younger leaves are better, this is also true in Chinese herbs/medicines & for obvious reasons. Another thing to note is that the next time you actually go to pluck the leaves, be aware that some plants will have the yellow/green bud & some don’t. My uncle explained that one was the ‘uha’ – female & the other ‘tane’ – male. Unfortunately he didn’t tell us which one is apt for certain ailments so your guess is as good as mine. The stems are ok to boil; ours invariably turned out a dark brown-red colour & we never refrigerated. I live in Rotorua where it grows abundantly so we have it ‘on-tap’.
Hope this helps ;-)

2 07 2015
Avon Ward

when making my kawakawa tea it goes a black not as black tea but black in colour, and then when I make the next cup it can be green as in green tea colour, does anyone know why this is ( all leaves from same tree)

12 08 2015
Anne Allen

Had Kawakawa Fire tea at Marthas Tea Shop In Wellington where can I buy dry tea leaves

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