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.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Natural Sciences Image Library of New Zealand
Photograph by Peter E. Smith
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