Kohekohe has large glossy pinnate leaves. The flowers and fruit are found on panicles growing directly from the stem, rather than from branch lateral or terminal buds. This is called cauliflory. Pollination and seed dispersal is by bat or bird that fly beneath the forest canopy. The tree is absolutely stunning when in flower. It is endemic to NZ and found in lowland and coastal forests throughout most of North Island.
For those of us who have been lucky enough to taste Kūmarahou you may be surprised to know that there is a plant that is even more bitter to taste. That plant would be Kohekohe.
In severe cases of menstrual cramps I would prefer to see a tonic consumed and sipped simply because of the connection that is developed and strengthened between human and plant.
The traditional method of working with plant medicine is not in the physical realm. We work with the spirit of the plant primarily from start to completion. It's ideal to taste the plant, bitterness and all, and connect with her while the juice is flowing into your system. You have to really feel the sensations that rise as you drink and observe what your body does during this time. The bitter taste is your friend. Bitterness shakes the body to the core and flushes out impurities by expelling. The body shudders from the taste but it's the shuddering and quivering that moves toxins.
So learn to enjoy bitter by taking it slow. We are so used to having our drinks and food sweetened that we have become impervious to natural plant juices. We can't seem to accept the naturalness of what a plant tastes like anymore without having to add something more palatable. I implore you to learn to relish the natural taste of the plant because it is in the taste of the plant that initiates the cells to re-balance.
Taste is Sound
Sound is Vibration
Vibration is Mauri
A painful period can range from a dull ache to a violent cramp. They are painful sensations felt in the lower abdomen that can occur both before and during a woman's menstrual period. Uterine contractions cause most of the pain felt during menstrual cramps because the contractions inhibit blood flow to the lining of the uterus.
Kohekohe plant medicine can relieve congestion of the pelvis which helps to ease painful and cramping menstruation. It can moderate mood swings associated with hormonal fluctuations.
When we are in a fragile emotional state, menstrual pain can be even more severe. Our emotions play a huge role in how our body responds. Where there is pain, you can bet that emotion is there also and often old wounds that are hidden and buried. Kohekohe can assist with bringing old wounds to the surface so they can be worked through and healed.
How To Make a Wairakau
It's ideal if you can find someone to assist you in identifying the tree and show you how to harvest and prepare the medicine.
About 5 days before your next period go and harvest some kohekohe leaves. Once you know where this tree is you'll be able to come back to it as long as it is being sustained. Connect with the tree any way that resonates for you whether it's by talking to it, saying a karakia, singing to it or silently vibrating with it, be sure to make a heart connection.
When you get home, make sure you have space and you're on your own to connect with the plant some more. Know this, the moment you began to seek the tree
its medicine had already started working on you.
1 Gather 2 handfuls of kohekohe leaves and set 1 handful aside
2 Place 1 handful of leaves in a medium sized pot and cover with water
3 Boil for 20 mins and allow to cool
4 Strain the plant juice, bottle and label then refrigerate (after you have your first glass).
When you have your first sip, take it slowly. If it's your first time drinking plant juice this may taste very foreign to you, so please take it slowly. You can add more water to your glass so it's not so concentrated if you wish.
Once you have had your first few mouthfuls of kohekohe tonic, have another few mouthfuls the next day before bed. Keep sipping a few mouthfuls of tonic right up until your first day of menstruation. Observe your body and how you feel. Stop IMMEDIATELY if you have discomfort while drinking the tonic.
I recommend to drink a few mouthfuls and not a glass full because the taste is very strong. After your first experience of drinking kohekohe tonic you can start taking it as a tincture.
It's good to have the body experience the sensations of kohekohe in its entirety first as an acknowledgement to the plant. You can learn to make kohekohe tincture here. Just substitute kawakawa with kohekohe.
1 Run a bath
2 Add half of the second handful of leaves into the bathwater
3 You can add kohekohe tonic to the water if you wish.
If you don't have a bath just add the kohekohe tonic into a spray bottle and mist the body. Allow to dry naturally.
1 Take the remaining leaves and place in a clean jar
2 Pour a good quality oil over the leaves and make sure the leaves are fully covered
3 Tap the jar on the counter to remove excess air bubbles
4 Place lid and label with date and what leaves they are plus name of oil
5 Sit on a sunny windowsill for 4-6weeks making sure to mix the contents with a gentle shake every other day.
6 Strain oil and place into a clean jar or bottle.
7 Use the oil to massage into skin especially around the lower abdomen, over the hips and lower back area.
Massage the oil into your skin. It feels so feminine and nurturing.
A rongoā traditionally used to regulate cycles for women at all stages of life. It provides support for feminine balance and is a powerful aid for healing. Our Wā Hine Rongoā is a set consisting of a tincture that can be taken daily to support healing and a moisterising balm for massaging the body with particular focus on the pelvic area.
We now offer an online rongoā course on our Wā Hine Range to support deeper healing of the whare tangata. The course specifically focuses on the Kohekohe plant with direct questions to enable you to go deeper with your healing. The course is delivered in stages and not all at once. The beauty of this course is that it can be done in your own time from the comfort of your home.
To learn more about our Rongoā Mauri courses, click here