Whilst I was in New Zealand, I enjoyed numerous ‘tramps’ through forests getting back to nature. Whilst on a walk to the Rob Roy Glacier (see pics on Facebook/Everlasting Health – NT), I came across some pretty flowers & shrubs of which I took some photos. Later on the north island at the cultural dinner we attended at Te Puia in Rotorua, I purchased the book “Te Rongoa Maori – Maori Medicine”. I flicked through the book & thought…I think I’ve seen one of these plants???
The karamu (Coprosma spp.), has over 40 species in New Zealand. The glossy-leaved karamu (C. robusta) is wide spread in the main islands in forests & forest margins.
The leaves can be applied as a compress to relieve aches & pains. Cuts, sores & bruises can be treated with a decoction of the leaves in water. A liquor was made by boiling the shoots in water then used for kidney & bladder complaints. The tohunga (who is an expert in a field – here would be Maori medicine), incorporated karamu in some of his rites & it helped to expel evil spirits from people. Plants are used all over the world as medicine to heal their people.
Information from the book “Te Rongoa Maori – Maori Medicine”, P. M. E. Williams, 2008.