Mamaki Among “Plants in Hawaiian Medicine”

Plants in Hawaiian Medicine
Plants in Hawaiian Medicine
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Cited in the 2011 Kartika study, the book “Plants in Hawaiian Medicine” covers 30 native plants including a couple pages on mamaki.  Author Beatrice Krauss was beloved in Hawaii as an ethnobotanist who dedicated her life to the study of Hawaiian plants. She was the first woman to earn a degree in agriculture from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and she later taught ethnobotany there. Krauss completed the manuscript for Plants in Hawaiian Medicine shortly before her death in March 1998 at the age of 94.

But there’s nothing new here as the mamaki section seems to be borrowed directly from the 1922 book “Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value” which suggests that women used mamaki fruit during their pregnancy as a later thrush preventative in yet-to-be-born children. The tradition was that five months into the pregnancy, the expectant mother was advised to start eating four fruit per day for two months and then increasing to eight fruit per day until the child was born.  Then a process was provided for methodically merging the fruit into the child’s diet.

Listlessness is also addressed. Tea made from fresh mamaki leaves was drunk as a tonic for “general debility”—feeling “blah” or weak.


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