NZ | AU | UK | CN
Twitter Google Plus facebook youtube Pinterest Instagram

How traditional Maori herbs are still relevant today


  • I love Kiwiherb! Finding something that worked so well, and was safe for my daughter when she was at an age where she couldn't have all other medicines, it was such a great help! And now I use nothing else
    – Alyssa Francis-King
  • On Sunday we bought De-Stuff for our 3 year old daughter who has struggled with a cold all week. After 2 doses of it, along with the Chesty formula, she slept so well that night and woke up looking and sounding so much better. Now almost 3 days later her cold is all but gone. I wish I had have found out about it sooner.
    – Bridgette Robinson
  • I'm not often inspired enough to go seek out a brand's Facebook page just to give them my positive feedback - in fact this is the first time ever. I just wanted to express how much I love the children's cough syrup, it's always worked wonders on my kids - it's now taken to the next level with the inclusion of the syringe which is long enough to reach the bottom of the bottle - hurray! It's always been the bane of my mum-life trying to reach the medicine when the bottles have run low with syringes that aren't long enough - thank you!
    – Melissa White
  • Absolutely love baby balm. My 6 week old had flakey, dry skin and nothing I had tried was helping until I tried baby balm. Her skin is so much better. I can't believe how fast it worked. Thank you Kiwiherb!!!
    – Alex Lazzaro
  • Received a bottle of children's chest syrup to trial and what can I say it's magic in a bottle!! After a single dose they didn’t cough the whole night which meant a better sleep for everyone after two days they were so much better and they liked the taste which is great, can't wait to try more of your products
    – Daniella Bhagat
  • My wife and I have been using this product for years and they are amazing and work fantastic!!! We have the all the children's stuff including the echinature, chest syrup, throats syrup and the De-stuff!!! Absolutely amazing products We love them
    – Craig Hume
  • I brought a bottle of De-stuff for my 11 month old daughter yesterday who has had a runny nose for the last 5 days, I've been wiping her nose constantly but after 2 doses of De-stuff I've only had to wipe her nose twice today. I wish I'd known about this sooner. I will be using this straight away in the future
    – Melissa Bayne
  • Brought a bottle of children's chest syrup and it works like magic no more coughing during the night. Also my son loves the taste
    – Philippa Quigley

How traditional Maori herbs are still relevant today

How traditional Maori herbs are still relevant today

Posted by

About the Author

Asti Renaut

Asti Renaut (BHSc. Comp Med, BA, Adv Dip Nat, Adv Dip Herb Med, MNZAMH)

Asti Renaut is a degree-qualified medical herbalist and naturopath with over ten years clinical experience. Asti practices in Christchurch, New Zealand, treating a wide range of health issues. She especially enjoys working with infants and children, and finally has one of her own to practice on! One of the cornerstones of Asti's practice and philosophy is the importance of education and sharing information. She believes that empowering clients to understand their own bodies and health, and giving practical tips and tools to use from the garden and kitchen are just as important for wellness as qualified professional care. 

posts by this author

Rongoa – Maori Herbal Medicine

The unique therapeutic properties of New Zealand’s native herbs were recognised and developed by Maori as part of a complex system of traditional medicine and healing. The healing potential of these plants and this knowledge is as relevant today as it ever was. As awareness grows of the limitations of pharmaceutical medicines, attention is increasingly turning back to our herbal allies in the plant world.

New Zealand’s isolated geography has contributed to the development of a distinctive and singular ecology and a diverse range of plants, many of which have been utilised by Maori as rongoa (medicinal plants). As with many medicinal herbs, traditional knowledge is increasingly being validated and expanded upon by scientific investigation into the specific phytochemicals (plant chemicals) present in a given plant and their effects on the body. New Zealand native herbs have been valued both by Maori and by early European settlers for their unique healing properties. Today there is a resurgence of interest and awareness in Rongoa Maori, and in the therapeutic potential of the indigenous flora of New Zealand.

Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) - This plant is one of the best known NZ natives thanks to the international reputation of Manuka honey. The essential oil is also well-known for its similarities to Australian Tea Tree oil as a natural antiseptic. The oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and is less irritating to the skin than its Australian cousin. The tincture made from Manuka contains the properties of the oil, but also has a natural astringency, making it perfect for improving tissue healing.

Koromiko (Hebe salicifolia, H. stricta) – The Hebe family is a large and diverse one, and most New Zealand gardens, as well as many all over the world, will have one of its members growing in it somewhere. There are over 170 Hebes, but not all are medicinal, and are grown more for decorative purposes due to their attractive geometric leaf patterns. Naturally anti-microbial and astringent, this is a wonderful aid for healing anything weepy, oozy or infected, both internally and externally.

Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) – The beautiful heart-shaped leaves of this native shrub are distinctive and welcoming. Kawakawa has a multitude of uses and is indeed a herbal friend for humans suffering from digestive upsets, bloating, cramping, coldness or circulation problems, pain and inflammation. It is naturally anti-microbial and helps fight infection.

Totara (Podocarpus totara) – Totara fence-posts were prized by farmers due to their ability to withstand rot. Totara is naturally anti-microbial and has been found to be effective against strains of Staphylococcus aureus that were unresponsive to pharmaceutical antibiotic treatments.

Poroporo (Solanum aviculare, S. laciniatum) – Contains natural plant steroids to help reduce inflammation and infection. Strictly for topical (external) use only.

Hoheria (Hoheria populnea) – The lovely Lacebark is a well-known tree, but its medicinal properties are not so well-known. Hoheria is a soothing herb used for all kinds of coughs and digestive upsets. Once you have identified the right tree, pick a leaf and have a chew. Slowly the sweet cucumber taste will develop and you will feel the slippery gel in your mouth that helps reduce inflammation throughout the body’s tissues.

Tanekaha (Phyllocladus trichomanoides) – An ancient tree that is powerfully astringent, this is a fantastic aid to fighting infection and healing tissues.

And this is just a taste of what New Zealand plant medicines are capable of! Sourcing these plants sustainably and supporting those who protect and preserve our indigenous plants is of the utmost importance. It is well understood that healing the forest is the first step towards healing ourselves.