Kumarahou / Tainui
~ Kumarahou / Tainui (Kumarahou & Pomaderris Tainui/Apetala) ~
This NZ native is a plant ally that I turn to for coughs, colds, viruses, lingering illness, & to improve general wellbeing. I've always got a stash of dried leaves in my apothecary & I'm growing a plant on my property for quick access to fresh leaves.
Kumarahou & Tainui are known as tonic herbs which are used to restore & strengthen the whole body. I notice a definite improvement in a cough or cold when I start drinking Kumarahou infusions. Continuous coughing lessens almost straight after drinking, which is why I endure the extremely bitter taste, it's also well known for treating asthma. In fact I've had strangers knock on my door asking to harvest my kumarahou to use for asthma.
To prepare, gently simmer the leaves in a pot of water for 20-30mins until the liquid turns amber red, then strain. It's very bitter, so for family members that can't handle the taste sweeten with honey.
Kumarahou is also known as a blood purifier, therefore improving elimination channels such as the liver, kidneys, lymph and bowel. Due to this ability to clear toxins from the body, Kumarahou can assist with skin conditions (taken internally).
I've had great results using Kumarahou as a bittering agent in a homebrew.
Kumarahou can be foraged in the North Island of New Zealand & dries very easily.
However (as with all foraging) please be mindful of the plants health & how much you are taking. I've heard that Kumarahou is struggling in the wild due to too many people overharvesting before the plant flowers, not allowing it to self seed. Please only take what's needed & ONLY after flowering is complete.
If you'd like to learn about Rongoa Maori, or more about NZ Natives for healing, I highly recommend learning from your local Rongoa practitioners. The tikanga & protocols around gathering NZ natives for medicinal use are exquisite, we can all learn from these beautifully respectful practices. I really value the teachings of Pa Rob McGowan & Donna Kerridge.
Please remember to gather respectfully, mindfully & sustainably, caring for the plants & the land, fostering a reciprocal relationship.
Learning to wildcraft your own food & medicine with abundant plants growing on the land (where you live) is a beautiful way to build a strong connection with the land & improve your health & wellbeing. I'd love to see more people learning about, respectfully gathering & using NZ natives.