A bitter tonic to swallow but this is how she purges, removing toxins and breaking up heavy mucus and metals
This rākau is found only in localised areas in the middle to upper North Island. However, it is growing well in Ōtaki and other areas of Whanganui a Tara. Gifted to us by whanaunga from the north because of its mana as a potent rongoā. My kuia have been providing it for whanau mai rānō. It evens grows in eastern parts of the South Island and on Stewert Island.
I was fortunate to learn about this rongoā from kuia in the Hokianga and Tamaki Makaurau. It grew naturally in my backyard in Waitakere so I was able to form an intimate relationship with it. What I found interesting is the difference in taste from the rākau growing in the Hokianga to the rākau growing in Waitakere. Hokianga rau is much sharper in its bitterness. Waitakere has a full bodied taste almost syrupy. I put this down to the minerals the rākau draws in. It's important to know the whakapapa of all rongoā especially where it grows.
It is often found on roadside banks and in gum land vegetation. It likes to grow in clay and it’s the clay that gives it a bitter taste. The Tainui growing out of its natural habitat is less bitter due to the absence of clay. Its flowers are a beautiful golden hue and can usually be seen flowering from September to October. When Golden Tainui begins to flower, it signals that the time to plant kumara is fast approaching.
The fresh leaves of Golden Tainui contain a plant compound called saponin. When the flowers are crushed in the hands with water and rubbed, the saponin creates a soapy lather.
The leaves and flowers were used as a poultice or to bathe wounds, sores and rashes. A wairākau can be used to help expel mucus from the lungs and detox heavy metals. It can be used for coughs and colds. Be sure to drink plenty of water to assist with detoxification.
The best time to start drinking this rongoā is when your body is feeling heavy and fatigued or before a change of season. The bitterness of the wairākau wakes the body from its slumber and offers space for clarity of the mind. It prepares us for the change in season by alkalising the body rapidly and clearing mucus. Most people ask if they can sweeten it because of the bitterness. I encourage adults to experience the wiri of the rongoā and strengthen whanaungatanga with it, because that’s where the mana of the rongoā is. For tamariki (6yrs +) I suggest diluting 2 tablespoons of wairākau with ½ cup warm water. Bitters are so good for us and our cells need it. After drinking the rongoā for a few days the body starts to reject sweet cravings. A bitter tonic to swallow but this is how she purges, removing toxins and breaking up heavy mucus.
We have kūmarahou dried leaves in our shop Rongoā Mauri Botanicals (in Māoriland) if you would like to try some. This is a good time to alkalise the body as we shift in to a new season. We’re giving away little packets for the month of March. If you can't make it into the shop we have our Kūmarahou Tincture plus dried leaves on our online shop. Click here
Nau mai xx
1. Place a tablespoon of dried, crushed leaves in a large pot with a litre of water and bring to a boil.
2. Boil for 20-30 minutes with the lid on the pot. You may find the liquid start to froth from the saponins, just lift the lid slightly or turn down the heat.
3. You may have to top up with hot water during cooking due to evaporation.
4. Strain the liquid and allow to cool. Drink a cup while its warm and bottle the rest and refrigerate. Lasts for up 10 days in the fridge although you would have consumed it by then if drinking every day.
I normally have a cup in the morning and one at night and drink it for 5-7 days. It’s
revitalising and nourishing, supplying me with wild, organic minerals that are millions of years old.