Some of the more prominent native Hawaiian plants are: morning dew, hibiscus, honeysuckle, manuka, luau, lily, mistletoe, pine bark and poppy. Some of these plants have been introduced by the Polynesian Indians. Some others were brought from other regions of the world.
One of the most important species introduced was the tea plant, camellia sinesis. This was from Hawaii and became very popular with the Hawaiians. The scientists reported that it had antiviral activity and so they began to use the extract from it for healing various illnesses. It was also used to protect the body from bacteria, viruses and fungi. Many of the Hawaiian medicinal plants, like manuka honey, had strong antiviral activity.
In addition, there were reports that the ancient Hawaiians used Hawaiian medicinal plants for warding off evil spirits and for protecting the body from injuries, cuts, burns and wounds. According to tradition, if a deep wound healed by the warding plant, a year would not pass by before another wound would appear. There were also some conditions where the plant was believed to relieve pain. Manuka honey is one such example.
Know More About The Past
After World War II, Dr. K. Noh was appointed as director of Hawaiian medicinal plants in Hilo. He established a nursery and encouraged further expansion of his work. He had many collections-1st floor to house his vast collection of plants. Many of his plants survived the war, but not all. Many plants were very rare. He made his collection-1st floor accessible to the public.
In the early 1960s, Dr. Noh began a study of the effect of Hawaiian anti-inflammatory herbs on various maladies. The study concluded that there were certain anti-inflammatory herbs that had positive effects on ulcers in the colon, leukemia and oral cancers. The research resulted in the formulation of a standard form of Hawaiian anti-inflammatory medication called Noni. A year later, the Hawaii State Board of Pharmacy began licensing pharmacies to sell the anti-inflammatory medication in doses containing ten percent of Noni extract.
Hawaiian Morning Glory
Another notable anti-inflammatory plant was the famous Hawaiian morning glory. The legend says that the morning glory grew by picking the flowers from the kiwi bushes on the island. However, the plant proved more unpopular than desired when a local pharmacist tried to mass-manufacture the flowers for use as an anti-inflammatory. The pharmacist used the flowers to make cough syrup, which was peddled to pharmacies as a cure for colds and coughs. The cough syrup proved to be a welcome addition to many households’ herbal remedies for their sore throats and coughs.
Hawaiian Red Wattle Bark is another of the main Hawaiian medicinal plants, but it is only available on the main Hawaiian Islands. It is a woody perennial plant that come in several varieties, but it is most commonly found in Navelava and Pohau Island (Kona). The bark of this tree has been used for healing purposes in the form of tea for hundreds of years. This bark is also often found in various forms as a poultice. It has strong antiseptic qualities and can be very useful in treating wounds, eczema, oral infections, neuralgia, rheumatism, sciatica, varicose ulcers, varicose veins and diverticulitis.