Story: Plant extracts

Horopito (1st of 2)


Chew a small piece of horopito leaf and its burning, pungent flavour will show you why this plant is also called pepper tree. Māori used it to treat toothache, and women also rubbed the leaves on their breasts to help wean infants. The chemical causing the taste is polygodial, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties.

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Natural Sciences Image Library of New Zealand
Reference: DCSI3214Smd
Photograph by Peter E. Smith

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How to cite this page:

Nigel Perry, 'Plant extracts - Medicines', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 April 2024)

Story by Nigel Perry, published 24 Sep 2007