Hawaiian Medicinal Plants that you can grow around your home


We often under appreciate modern medicine and the miracles that they produce.  Instead of pills and hypodermic needles ancient Hawaiians had to use what was around them which were often fruits, leaves, and roots.  Here is my list of plants that can grow around your home which were used in ancient Hawaii as medicine.


Noni (Morinda Citrifolia)

Photo Credit: livestrong.com

Noni is a white and often semitransparent fruit that’s most commonly found in forests and valleys.  Even though Noni is known for it’s rotting like smell it can be used to help treat ailments like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Kava (Piper Methysticum)

Photo Credit: bulletproof.com

Kava, known in Hawaii as “Awa” is a drink made from the root of the Kava plant. Traditionally, Kava was used to relieve back pain and headaches, which also gave the drinker a euphoric feel and slight loss of muscle control while maintaining a clear mind.


'Olena (Curcuma longa)

Photo Credit: bksingh9.blogspot.com

‘Olena, more commonly known as Tumeric is a flowering plant from the ginger family.  Known mainly for it’s strong anti-inflammatory properties, some traditional uses for this plant is to treat skin rashes, sores, coughing, and sore throat.  The word 'Olena translates to “yellow” and was used to make yellow dyes for cloths.


Mamaki (Pipturus Albidus)

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dweickhoff

The Mamaki plant can be found on all islands except Niihau and Kahoolawe and is typically sought after for it’s leaves which is used for tea.  If you have a sore throat or cough, Mamaki tea might just be the thing you need!  You can find this plant growing up to 18 feet in mostly wet and seasonally wet areas. 

'Iwa (asplenium horridum)

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dweickhoff

The ‘Iwa fern is common in a variety of habitats in the main Hawaiian islands but is native to Polynesia.  It’s believed that this plant was carried by some of the first voyagers to the islands for medicinal purposes. The roots and leaves of the ‘Iwa fern were often ground up and consumed to treat stomach problems.