Kawakawa | Piper Excelsum
Botanical Name: Piper excelsum
Common Names: Kawakawa, New Zealand Peppertree
Botanical Family: Piperaceae
Parts Used: Leaves & fruit
Kawakawa is a small evergreen shrub-like tree, that can grow up to six meters high. In its natural state, Kawakawa is densely branched, aromatic, with natural large heart shaped emerald green & fleshy leaves. The zigzag branches are swollen & jointed at the nodes, similar to the bamboo stem.
The leaves are approximately 5-10cm long and are often holed, chewed by the native NZ looper moth. The fruit is a yellow/orange, conical berry, each of which contains a single seed.
Kawakawa is commonly found in semi-shaded areas of native bush, usually in coastal and lake regions in the North Island, the top of the South Island & The Chatham Islands.
Volatile Oil – 45-70% in essential oils & 1.6-2.5% in the dry herb (mostly myristicin)
Mixed cadinenes – 12.2 % essential oils – 0.43% in dry herb
The presence of other pharmacological active compounds such as flavonoids and alkaloids seems likely, based upon analysis of related species.
- Diaphoretic & Circulatory stimulant
- Myristicin is reported to have anti-tumor activity
- Natural immune support
Indications – external use:
- Skin conditions such eczema, skin rashes
- Boils, sores, abscesses & skin infections
- Cuts, wounds & abrasions
- Insect bites, sand-flies, mosquitoes & bug bites
- Poor circulation, varicose veins, chilblains & raynauds
- Bruises & swellings
- Fungal, warts & ringworm,scalds and sun burn
- Aches & pains, rheumatism, neuralgia, arthritis
- Acts as a mild insect repellent
- Circulatory insufficiency including chilblains
- Anti-inflammatory activity. Neuralgia, rheumatic & arthritic pains and bruises.
- Stomach pains, indigestion, bloated-ness due to over eating or allergy food types (ie:wheat products)
- Digestive aid & carminative effects.
- Skin conditions, such as eczema boils & rashes – internal & external
- Circulatory insufficiency, chilblains, arterial & Raynard’s disease.
- Colds, coughs, bronchitis, worm infestations.
- Gonorrhea & syphilis – internal & external
- Debility, general fatigue, lack of energy.
- New reports on weight balancing effects
No precautions or contraindications have noted by Rasmussen (2001)
No toxic effects found on Piper excelsum leaf