Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tāngata Whenua – of the Land - Sustainable Home & Garden Show

My favourite stand at the recent Sustainable Home & Garden Show was Tāngata Whenua – of the Land.  

I arrived just in time for a presentation on Rongoā Māori - traditional Māori healing.  It was quite a spiritual experience!   Not only were the healing properties of common garden weeds and natives revealed, it was explained in a way that put us in touch with our relationship with nature and told in a series of stories taken from the personal experiences of the facilitator.

I discovered that plants draw energy in through the underside of the leaf and emit it out through the top.  So you place the underside of a leaf on your skin to draw out toxins and prickles use the top side of the leaf on the skin to draw properties from the plant to soothe for example (providing you are using the right plant for the job of course).

We were given recipes for potions and lotions and one particularly stood out for me.  It was the Tutu - or Toot or Tupakihi - and it is used for healing wounds, bruises, sprains and swollen joints.  With this you use the shoots and leaves to make a poultice.  We were told to boil it vigorously for approximately 37 hours (or was it 72??)!  We were warned that it is poisonous* and it does stain.  They recommended doing this outside using an old bathtub with a fire underneath and keeping that fire well stoked so the tub is boiling and bubbling - much like a witch's cauldron I suspect!!

* All parts poisonous except for swollen petals.  Contains Tutin toxin, which has caused death.

Armed with my new knowledge on herbal remedies and spiritual healing, I returned to our marquee and proceeded to tell my neighbours all about this.  One just so happened to have a very sore lower back and was suffering a good deal of pain.  Perfect - I had my guinea pig!!!  I marched him back to talk to the healer and it was agreed that a jar of lotion (Tutu mixed with bees wax I think) would do the trick.  We were warned in no uncertain terms, that it would not fix the problem but it would relieve the pain.  So one was to remember that walking and exercise were still required and it was not going make them feel like they were 20 again.  No, no!!  It would relieve the pain and it would stain.  Message understood!  It had to be applied a couple of times a day and rubbed in well.  "And wear old clothes - especially to bed!"

I returned the next day to pick up the lotion and my neighbour started to use it with instant results.  Within 24 hours he had ceased his pain medication and was feeling better than he had in a long time!!  Not 20, but remarkably better!!  So how is that?  Pretty impressive I have to say.

During the presentation, the healer was asked what his favourite plant was.  "The Kawakawa!" he said.  This is the Rolls Royce of plants and deserved to be "on a pedastal above all others."  This amazing plant can be chewed, boiled, smoked, steamed or applied directly to skin and treats conditions such as toothache, swollen faces, stimulates kidney and bowels, heals boils, is a diuretic, purifies blood , treats skin disease, gonorrhoea, syphillis, arthitis, bruises, chest congestion, dysentery, heals wounds and can be used as bandaging!  Obviously you would want to check out the "what and how" for each of these so you ensure you get the right relief for the condition you are needing to treat!!

Here are some interesting and informative websites for you to check out.  I tell you that knowing more about common garden weeds makes for a very interesting walk along the road.  I have totally changed my attitude towards weeds and now find myself saying: "what a healthy dandelion that is"!!!

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