When I first heard of the mamaki plant, I was fascinated that it was so revered by native Hawaiians yet virtually unknown outside of those little specks of volcanic dirt in the middle of the Pacific. Americans have been introduced by Oprah to oolong tea from Taiwan and by Dr Oz to red rooibos tea from South Africa, yet they are still clueless about this treasure from our own backyard, so to speak. What’s more, oolong and rooibos are praised as a weight loss aid. Yet native Hawaiians talk about using mamaki for help with things like…
- circulatory/blood issues
- and more
As a long-time health enthusiast I am also aware that companies that sell natural products find it difficult to get the word out about the purported benefits of those products due to gestapo-like tactics of various government agencies. For example…
- CHERRIES: The FDA sent warning letters to 29 companies that market cherries. The FDA threatened the companies with legal action and instructed them to remove scientific information from their websites that described the health benefits of natural medicines found in cherries.
- WALNUTS: The FDA has determined that walnuts sold by Diamond Foods cannot be legally marketed because the walnuts “are not generally recognized as safe and effective” for the medical conditions referenced on Diamond Foods’ website. According to the FDA, these walnuts are now classified as “drugs” and the “unauthorized health claims” cause them to become “misbranded,” thus subjecting them to government “seizure or injunction.”
- POMEGRANATES: The FTC launched an attack against POM Wonderful for making legitimate, scientifically-backed claims about the health benefits of pomegranates and pomegranate juice.
- GREEN TEA: Company goes to court with FDA over labeling.
- ESSENTIAL OILS: FDA threatens to designate the essences of plants as drugs because people claim they may help with health issues.
- COCONUT OIL: FDA targets Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps for sharing health benefits of coconut oil.
And heaven forbid that a plant becomes widely known for curing cancer…the government will ban it altogether…
Nevertheless, I am fascinated by the idea of cataloging the native understanding of mamaki as well as any research on it. And, while we are at it, let’s throw in real-world testimonies and antidotes that might help point to areas worthy of further research.
Since I have no interest in manufacturing mamaki products themselves—only the dissemination of information—I figure the bureaucrats have no interest in me. So we’ll see how much can be accomplished by this labor of love. If Oprah and Dr Oz ever talk about mamaki, maybe I’ll take a little pride in the small part I played in that. And with the traffic they’ll generate to this site, perhaps I’ll be able to turn a profit on tea-related ads and products.
UPDATE: July 26, 2014 – Courts Slaps FDA and FTC for Unjustified Attacks