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.