New Zealand is blessed with a range of native trees and plants that have remarkable healing properties. We’re fortunate to have an abundance of Kawakawa, Manuka, Kanuka, and Tarata trees on our Waipu, Northland property, each with their own distinct health-giving properties, and each bringing a different benefit to our soothing skincare products here at Nature’s Pond.
Kawakawa is one we hear about a lot about these days - it’s the most common and most well-known, but how much do you know about this wonderful medicinal plant and the healing properties of it?
Kawakawa is one of the most important herbs in traditional Maori medicine. Its antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties make it very versatile for treating a range of ailments.
Kawakawa has two active chemical compounds, myristicin and diayangambin. Myristicin is anti-inflammatory which makes it perfect to heal and sooth eczema, swelling, and skin irritations like insect bites. Diayangambin has immunosuppressant qualities that make it helpful in easing symptoms of auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
Kawakawa also has bio-active alkaloids that aid digestion and calm the stomach. Kawakawa is also a diaphoretic, meaning it promotes sweating, which can be helpful in expelling toxins and aiding recovery from colds and flu.
Kawakawa can be used in so many ways, from treating infections, cuts, wounds, eczema, psoriasis, stomach pain, skin disorders, and even toothache! Here at Nature’s Pond, it is a mainstay of our skin care, and we use it (along with our other healing natives) in all our facial skincare products as well as in our healing balms.
These days it is common to hear about the medicinal properties of Manuka honey derived from Manuka pollen, but in traditional Maori medicine, all parts of the Manuka tree were used. Manuka leaf infusions were used to treat kidney and urinary problems, vapour from boiled leaves was used to ease respiratory problems, leaves and bark were boiled together to make a rub for aching joints, bark ash was used to treat skin diseases, and a liquid from the bark was used as a sedative, mouthwash, and digestive tonic.
Here at Nature’s Pond, we infuse Manuka straight from our own Manuka trees into our facial skincare and healing balm products. Manuka is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory which makes it wonderfully soothing for inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
Kanuka is another wonderfully healing native plant that grows on our property and is infused into our Natures Pond skincare and healing balms. It has similar properties to Manuka, but its chemical make up is different. Like Manuka, it has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that make it soothing for skin irritations, but it also has antifungal properties which make it very useful for helping to control fungal infections.
Tarata, or lemon wood is a lesser-known herb, and the fourth native plant we use in our Natures Pond products. In traditional Maori medicine it was used to make hair oil and perfume and the gum was used to cure bad breath. Tarata leaves and bark were also boiled together, and the resulting decoction used to ease aching joints and rheumatism. It gives a pleasant lemon citrus scent when the leaves are crushed - an added bonus to its health-giving properties.
We feel fortunate to have access to these healing New Zealand natives and the soothing properties they give. The benefit to our family has been incredible - read about my daughter Amber’s journey with psoriasis here – it’s why we started Natures Pond! Our products are handcrafted with love using 100% natural ingredients (no nasties here!). Check out our set up here, and our range of products here.
With healing love,
Sally at Natures Pond x