Native Bush Tea
Many plants in the New Zealand bush make excellent tea.
Maori have been brewing plant teas for centuries, and have an extensive knowledge of the best brews and herbal remedies. European settlers also experimented with a wide range of native teas, searching for native substitutes to replace the Earl Grey and English Breakfast they had left behind.
In this section I have compiled all the plants I could find that have some historical record of being drunk as a tea or leaf infusion. Where appropriate, I have also fleshed this out with my own experience drinking native brews.
Kawakawa – Macropiper excelsa
Also known as the New Zealand pepper tree, Kawakawa produces a lightly spicy, refreshing drink. The ultimate herbal tonic, Kawakawa tea was an important Rongoa plant – used to treat stomach pain, worms, toothache and disease. Many of the leaves are riddled with holes from the Kawakawa Looper caterpillar…
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