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Amazing Healing Powers of Traditional Maori Medicine

Thousands of years ago Maori discovered a land they named Aotearoa. Over time they gained knowledge of the spiritual and physical healing qualities of the abundant native plant life.

There isnít too much nowadays thatís undiscovered. But science is only now waking up to the unique and powerful medicinal qualities of New Zealandís native plant life.

So, why is the flora so unique? The explanation lies in the geographical isolation of New Zealandís islands in the far South Pacific. Secluded for millions of years the temperate, evergreen forests thrived, evolved and developed unusual traits, including remarkable healing qualities.

New Zealand was one of the last places on earth to be inhabited by humans when Maori arrived from Eastern Polynesia only around 1,000 years ago. They utilized the healing power of nature. Their knowledge of Rongoa (Maori spiritual and physical medicine) was considered tapu (sacred) and a combination of the spiritual and the physical. †

Traditionally, these Tangata whenua (people of the land) believed that illness was caused by the supernatural. There was no clear distinction between the mind and the body so the Tohunga (expert healer) was knowledgeable in anatomy and spirituality. Tohunga utilized chants, prayer, massage, dream analysis and the use of plants in their therapeutic practice.

Many parts of a plant were used, for example, the Tohunga bound broken bones with the leaves of the Harakeke (flax) plant, while its gum-like sap was used as an anaesthetic and antiseptic for scolds, burns, aching teeth, wounds, and boils.

Rongoa herbal remedies were also used internally. The leaves of the shrub, Kumarahou, were seeped in water and the liquid taken for bronchitis and chest complaints. †

The practices of the Tohunga were nearly wiped out in the 20th Century by colonization, Christianity and the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907-62. But fortunately, during this time, some Tohunga continued to practice in remote rural areas. †

Modern Maori healthcare is based upon the traditional ways of Rongoa; including elements of the spiritual, physicalFree Articles, emotional and the family (whanau). There is a real interest and awareness now too by scientists and natural healthcare practitioners in this traditional knowledge and the healing power of New Zealandís remarkable plant-life.

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