How do you feel about using plants as medicine? I think it’s an art which is why we need to practice and get help from masters of the craft to be able to use them correctly.
When my family and I went on our very first family trip to Kauai in May, we visited the only family I still have there. My uncle and his wife live in Waimea on the west side of Kauai, and he has a lot of plants in his yard native and non-native. He knows how much I love native plants and he spent so much time showing and telling us about them. It was amazing and I was soaking it all up. However, being 9 months pregnant at the time, I was constantly taking bathroom breaks throughout the day (that’s just how it goes, right?).
My uncle noticed my frequent breaks (who didn’t?) and told me that there is a native plant that might help with the urge to pee. He said he uses it and it works really well for him. He also said it’s good for the baby I was growing at the time. Bless my uncle, he spent his whole Saturday driving all over looking for the plant, Kauanoa, and once he found it he stayed up late making the drink so that I could take it home with me the next day.
I shared about it on Instagram (maybe you saw it) and I got so many responses. (Our community is the greatest). People told me what they knew about Kauanoa, and what I heard the most is that it helps with pregnancy, labor and delivery.
One lady told me that she drank it the last month of her pregnancy and went to pick up something and the baby just came right now. (I cannot confirm or deny this story, but it’s fun and inspiring - and oh my gosh, could you imagine?)
I drank the tea for the rest of my pregnancy and while I still had to pee quite frequently (I think that one is just unavoidable for full term pregnant women), my delivery was quick, five minutes and 2 pushes and out came another angel into this world. None of my other deliveries were that quick so I think the Kaunaoa definitely made a difference!
It makes sense to me, because just like today’s western medicine, the Hawaiians, of course, would have found ways to alleviate pain and make things easier for their people.
I’m not an expert in laau lapaau (Hawaiian medicine), but I wanted to share my experience with you. Don’t just go out and try it on your own, but do research and find teachers or experts (the best are kupuna with life experiences of using these medicines).
What a gift it was to spend time with my uncle and receive this knowledge. My love for native plants continues to grow the more I learn about their history and uses.
(Here are a few websites I have found to help you in your journey to learn more about Kauanoa.)
- Native Plants Hawaii: Kauanoa
- Bishop Museum, Hawaiian Ethnobotony Online Database: Kauanoa
- University of Hawaii at Manoa PDF
Tell me in the comments: What experiences have you or someone you know had with Kauanoa? I’d love to hear all about it.